Good advice on the art school crit, and great advice for navigating around negatrons:

“…stay away from drama queens, bastards, and bullies, even the ones who are powerful and who seem to hold the potential for your future professional advancement. …Assholes only ever help themselves.”

Bean Gilsdorf, “Help Desk: Group Crit,” Daily Serving, July 21, 2014

Bean Gilsdorf on Meanies


See: Bay Area Now 7, opens Friday

Very excited for dear friends presenting new works.

July 18–October 5, 2014
Bay Area Now 7
ybca, San Francisco

There’s a lot of reasons to be excited for BAN7, but I’d like to personally cheer these folks:

Susan O’Malley and Leah Rosenberg (by invitation of Montalvo Arts Center). Find your center and then get a little de-centered at their event-specific cocktails on July 24, from 6-8pm.

Susan O'Malley and Leah Rosenberg, Find Your Center, Montalvo Arts Center at ybca.

Susan O’Malley and Leah Rosenberg, installation of Find Your Center, Montalvo Arts Center at ybca. Source: Susan and Leah.

This, unbelievably, is happening at ybca:

Bay Area Art Workers’ Alliance

Bay Area Art Workers Alliance presents an exhibition of works by preparators addressing the invisible labor, aesthetic vocabulary, and materials that art workers use when they install and care for the precious objects that give value to institutions like YBCA. …

Each of these 50 new art works are constructed using on-the-job materials informed by vantages of the preparator — behind the painting, during the paperwork, inside the crate, from truck to office to gallery — that happen between, in proximity to, and in spite of the finished exhibition.

In the collaborative spirit of the profession, BAAWA will present works generated by preparators with a strategic focus on the collective work of a community rather than one single author.

BAAWA’s site:

I really wished that I could have attended the Tate Modern’s No Soul For Sale fair of alternative and artist-run spaces, so when I heard that BAN7′s distributed curatorial model was inspired by NSFS, I was intrigued. The featured organizations cut a broad cross-section of the Bay Area art scene. In fact, I’m not familiar with some of them—either they’d begun around or after I left SF for NYC, or they were in entirely different networks. For a scene as small and tightly-knit as the Bay Area, this chance for BAN to present new spaces, artists and ideas is really exciting. It’s easy to knock bi- and triennials, but when the curatorial authorship reflects smaller art organizations, I hope audiences attend with a more open mindset.


“‘It’s very common for small business owners and artists to avoid expressly writing the terms of their agreement down, because they don’t want to think about their partnerships ending on bad terms,’ [intellectual property attorney Emily Danchuk of the Copyright Collaborative] says. This leads them to tiptoe around the terms of the agreement that they find onerous, ugly, tedious, or otherwise painful.

But ironing out these details is incredibly important, as the case of Hoefler & Frere-Jones amply proves. Danchuk says such agreements help put parties on the same page, making it less likely that an agreement will be breached in the future.”

John Brownlee, “4 Lessons Designers Could Learn From The Hoefler & Frere-Jones Split,” Fast Company Design, February 10, 2014

Get It In Writing


See: Ohad Meromi at Nathalie Karg, and The Bigger Picture at Tanya Bonakdar

A highly recommended solo show, and some interesting individual works.

Ohad Meromi, Worker! Smoker! Actor!, July 10th - August 15th, 2014 Opening Reception: Thursday, July 10th 6-8 PM, Nathalie Karg Gallery, 41 Great Jones Street, NYC, Tues-Sat 11-6, 212-563-7821,

Through August 15
Ohad Meromi: Worker! Smoker! Actor!
Nathalie Karg Gallery
41 Great Jones Street, NYC

Familiarity doesn’t diminish my enthusiasm for Ohad’s work—I’ve been a huge fan of it since 2010 and assisted him last summer—and I was super impressed with his 23-minute video on view at Karg. The beautifully-photographed video includes footage of ridiculously labor-intensive, moving machinery made of plywood, movement/dance/actor/performers, and hand-painted signs in Futura bearing texts on Socialism. Its blend of child-friendly aesthetics and adult detachment is affecting. It’s in a really cool, raw space, the kind you’re afraid NYC might have lost. Go see it.

Through August 1
The Bigger Picture: Work from the 1990s
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
521 West 21st Street, NYC

There two works in this show that made my day:

The Bigger Picture (installation view). Left: Olafur Eliasson. Right: Mark Manders. // Source:

The Bigger Picture (installation view). Left: Olafur Eliasson. Right: Mark Manders. // Source:

In Olafur Eliasson’s Convex/concave, a simple Mylar tondo looks basically like a mirror. However, an air tube connects it with a vitrine-encased pump, which is audibly emitting “breathing” noises. By sucking or pumping the air from the tondo, the Mylar becomes concave or convex in quick bursts. When you encounter the mirror and see your reflection, it’s hard to notice what’s going on. But if you shift your gaze to the reflection of the background, you’ll see the effect is like a dolly zoom shot—it looks like your environment is closing in on you. Like Eliasson’s best work, it’s simple, subtle and super cool.


The Bigger Picture (installation view). Left: Haim Steinbach. Center: Martin Boyce. Right: Mark Dion. // Source:

The Bigger Picture (installation view). Left: Haim Steinbach. Center: Martin Boyce. Right: Mark Dion. // Source:

Haim Steinbach’s work—multiples of mass manufactured goods arranged on storage shelves—can be puzzling. But if you give it a few minutes, Backyard Story, on view upstairs, is a great little poem that unfolds in a satisfying way.

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil, 2013, installation view, Mass MoCA. // Source:

Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil, 2013, installation view, Mass MoCA. // Source: MassMoCA.orgs


Izhar Patkin: The Wandering Veil @ Mass MoCA


Alexander Dumbadze’s Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere

Read in three days. Wishing more art books were this well-written. 

Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere by Alexander Dumbadze

Alexander Dumbadze’s Bas Jan Ader: Death Is Elsewhere is a biography that balances concision and fluidity with topical depth and breadth. It’s rich in engaging critical writing on the Dutch-born artist’s oeuvre and exhibitions, as well as the actors, concerns, and flaws of the 1970s Los Angeles conceptual art scene. Along the way, Dumbadze writes cogently on philosophy (Camus, Derrida) and religion (Calvinism). Ader’s final adventure acts as a captivating climax.

Dumbadze’s thorough research and clear writing style is excellent. Even knotty paradoxes—such as Ader’s quest to represent the unrepresentable, or the contradictions of merging art and life—are conveyed with ease. Highly recommended.