Lisa Ruyter, a New York-based artist, exhibited most recently at the Galerie Georg Kargl in Vienna. She is currently working on a solo show due to go on view next year at Berlin’s Arndt & Partner.
Olaf Breuning: Olaf Breuning’s sculptures often look like sets for his photographs, which often look like stills from his films, which often look like documentation of his sculptures. While creating a highly sophisticated, media-unspecific practice, he skirts kitsch, rearranging pop clichés in a way that disrupts any high/low discussion. This fall, New York’s Metro Pictures will be showing Apes, a sculptural installation that debuted at the Kunstverein Freiburg in June. With a low-tech presentation that includes spooky music, smoke machines, dirt, trees, and primates with glowing eyes, Apes is wholly lacking in irony. You walk away with a pure moment, a stolen pleasure, an embarrasingly sweet feeling.
Jessica Craig-Martin: The formal brutality of Craig-Martin’s flash photography flattens out the deepest space. She might be the photographer Warhol couldn’t be. Shooting people desperate to be seen at parties but with no desire to protect her subjects’ vanity, she opportunistically crops out their primary identifying features – faces, essential body parts. I’m curious to see her work develop now that people know what comes out of her camera. Will the parties change her or will she change parties?
Muntean/Rosenblum: Known for paintings based on magazine photos of teenagers, this collaborative team also makes sculptural installations that include “performances”—a person leaning against a sculpted car or sitting on a handmade workout bench. Coming upon live props can be unnerving, as if you’d discovered the mannequins in a store window were alive. M&R took me to “The Blue Lagoon,” a group of contractor’s model homes located in a lot near the Vienna Ikea. For their next show at Galerie Georg Kargl, the duo will erect a façade based on one of these houses.
Mary Heilmann: In the future, when we ask, “What did an abstract painting look like at the end of the twentieth century?” the answer may well be, “Like a Mary Heilmann.” Her bright, playful abstract canvases never look dated and can handle just about any context. It’s rewarding to see a seasoned pro prove to be hipper than anyone else around.
Brice Dellsperger: Assigning the name Body Double to almost everything he does, Dellsperger remakes specific movie scenes (often from Brian De Palma films), replacing the original actors with pierced transvestites via video collage. He has done the museum cruising scene from Dressed to Kill twice, setting it once in Euro Disney and once in the Kunstmuseum Wiesbaden. Amplifying the effects of De Palma’s constant doubling, he appropriates the work of the master appropriator. Check out www.bodydoublex.com, a site created for Body Double X, his recent full-length remake of a popular lowbrow French melodrama from the mid-’70s, in which every role is played by an actor named Jean-Luc Verna. It gets really disorienting, especially when a half-dozen characters are on screen at once.
Kim Sooja: Kim Sooja makes videos in which she is often at the center of the frame, facing away from the camera, absolutely motionless. This allows us to observe actions around her (and in some cases reactions to her) – a flowing river and the reflections of the sky, a rocky landscape under clouds, a busy street. Her work, which sometimes incorporates multiple-channel projections and installations of bright Korean fabrics, provokes a consideration of the displaced self.
Rachel Harrison: Harrison forces sculpture and photography to live together, however awkwardly, and in so doing, brings up one of the key challenges of modern life: How do we negotiate between physical and depicted space in a world where most lived space also functions as representation, or virtual reality? As place becomes more and more generic, her pictures show us a world where human presence defies the empty repetition of mass-market architecture; when she weds her pictures to a physical structure, the match is at once lifeless and exciting – the art equivalent to being stranded in an airport.
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/pp/pphome.html. A good way to brush up on these seminal American photographers like Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Russell Lee. But there’s much more than Farm Security Administration images here. The most entertaining way to navigate is to search “all categories / collections” and just type in a few of your favorite things or random words like ‘dream’ or ‘hair.’ The results are fast and fascinating, and the site can put you in touch with the odd idea of being “American.”
Lily van der Stokker: Straddling those twin conceits—the intimate and the public—van der Stokker’s wall paintings and furniture accompaniments function as performance art rather than objets d’art. Her paintings flaunt bright pastel colors and decoratively psychedelic patterns that are unabashedly pleasing, but there’s a conceptual end—a challenge to the role of the artist as pleasure provider— which fits snugly with the decidedly less-than-commercial format of work on walls. Her recent large-scale outdoor commissions, such as The Pink Building, created for Hannover’s Expo 2000, take her funky stuff and makes it epic.
Mitchell Algus Gallery (New York) Algus scours his collection of magazines, catalogues, and textbooks, to rediscover artists who, despite having been fundamental to the development of art trends in the ’60s and ’70s, weren’t written into the canon because they didn’t fit the categories of the moment. With a season timed to draw comparisons between his artists and current, flashy trend-setters, Algus’s increasingly attracts well-respected critics and fashionable artists who are willing to acknowledge the amnesia that goes hand in hand with fashion. No other gallery in New York so convincingly undermines received wisdom—and history.