Essay: A Tale of Two Gift Economies (SFAQ)

The story of the Hyde brothers offers up two archetypes of gift economies. One stresses the individual gift of the artist, which may or may not be valued by the market (and so, by extension, requires patrons of various forms—or grant funding offered by organizations like Creative Time—to survive). The other offers a collaborative model of making in which gift giving and capitalistic production are so fluid and interwoven as to be at times indistinguishable.

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Review: Amie Siegel at Ratio 3 (Artforum)

The humor darkens when it dawns on us that while the film is set at an unknown future time, what we now think of as new technology hasn’t survived at all. A young woman reads a worn book on birds that was first checked out in 1961 (and in 2070); we later see her wandering through a display of taxidermic animals.The great irony of the film is that it attains its dreamy futuristic quality by dealing with old-fashioned artifacts in an atmosphere of loss.

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Review: Tracey Snelling at Rena Bransten Gallery (Artforum)

The thrill of looking in “Mystery Hour” at first seems merely cynical and cheaply erotic—a hard-boiled flick done up in a shocking pink palette—especially given the many sex scenes projected in film clips. But in addition to embodying the genres of thriller and horror into make-believe set pieces, Snelling has also captured their gendered underpinnings

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Review: Regina Mamou at Historic Water Tower Gallery (Artforum)

Regina Mamou’s latest architectural and landscape photographs depict bygone attempts to create utopian communities in America. Each work serves as a reminder that utopia literally means “no place.” Despite the large scale and clarity of the photographs, their evasive titles keep many of the depicted houses, monuments, and terrains teasingly unknown.

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Review: Suicide Narcissus at The Renaissance Society (Artforum)

...despite its more ostensibly environmentalist themes, this is ultimately a show about time: specifically, how to come to terms with the orders of magnitude between human history and the scale of geologic time. The most rewarding pieces here forgo any outwardly ecological argument and focus on modes of anthropocentric thinking and ways of conceptualizing the (for us) nearly infinit

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Catalog Essay: CERN/Jeremy Bolen (Andrew Rafacz Gallery)

One major focus of the Cern series, and a longstanding concern of Bolen’s work, is our conviction in the recording apparatus itself,taken to be a transparent vehicle for truth about worlds beyond human perception in scientific research and a technological ob-Operating in the realm of scientific images, with a strong grounding in American survey photography, Bolen’s work oscillates across the boundary between art practice and scientific research, troubling our belief in “the document,” whether photograph or a laboratory measurement, as a transparent and conclusive representation of a reality that we otherwise cannot access.

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Review: Kevin Blythe Sampson at Intuit (Bad at Sports)

Sampson arrived on January 11th and has been putting together An Ill Wind Blowing for the two weeks since, using recycled material from previous work and found objects from the back rooms of Intuit. The result is a multimedia interactive installation with an aesthetic of contingency, vulnerability, and stratification that corresponds shrewdly to the thematic content of the show.

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Aesthetics of Cuteness Double Review (The Believer)

If two very different theoretical books are to be believed, we ought to start taking seriously the contemporary role of one seemingly trivial aesthetic category: the cute. English professor and literary theorist Sianne Ngai implicates it as central to current problems in our contemporary politics of aesthetics; architect and designer Lance Hosey hopes it can save the planet. In both of their arguments, the role of the cute, and its appeal to our instincts toward consumption and caring, helps answer the question of art’s potential role now that it has left the realm of the sacred and become part of everyday life.

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Catalog Essay: Rigoletto's Curse (Seerveld Gallery)

How does a fragment speak and tell Baker to use it in one of these configurations, and how? Some fragments don’t catch her eye, and she passes them with quick fingers back into the entropic piles in her studio. But some, like Rigoletto’s assassin, are in the right place at the right time. They fit a logic that creates itself. The logic of each of Baker’s assemblages operates like Rigoletto’s curse: begun purely instinctively, it then follows rules it creates as it goes along, until it culminates in a piece whose connections seem inevitable

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