Art & Development, Community

A place you should be: Stephen Wirtz Gallery

A quick jaunt around commercial galleries in downtown San Francisco left me feeling a bit “meh.” Maybe because it’s August and galleries aren’t too bothered about mounting statement-making shows, maybe because my nerves were frazzled by high-tourist-season traffic, or maybe my critical eye has become a cynical eye, informed too much by thinking about art as artifactual production, parallel to other forms of industrial and cultural production. My taste for commercial art is nearly nil; like commercial radio, its near-ubiquity ensures that the odds aren’t in my favor — I’ll have to tolerate it far more often than I will be happily drawn towards it.

castneda reiman
Image Source: Stephen Wirtz Gallery Website, Castaneda/Reiman’s Places We Have Never Been Exhibition page.
Image Caption: left: Three Tree Lake (drawing #2), 2009, laser etched paper, pigment print. middle: Rocky Seascape (paper 2 x 4), 2009. pigment print, found 2 x 4, oak veneer, 28 1/2 x 96 x 3 1/2 inches. right: Painting Stack with Rocks, 2009, pigment prints, oak, sheetrock, paint, cast porcelain rocks, 53 x 79 x 70 inches

One show, though, stood head-and-shoulders above the rest. It was Castaneda/Reiman’s “Places We Have Never Been” at Stephen Wirtz Gallery. The Bay Area duo has installed reproductions of landscape paintings — complete with frames and odd slices of textured drywall — a tad too close to adjacent shelves, so the prints sag or drape abjectly. The gallery walls are painted with mismatched roll-outs, and areas of sanded joint compound are visible. Cross-sections of stacked gypsum boards are housed in beautiful stained oak; the effect is a framed geometric minimalist abstraction, contrasting sharply with the unframed reproductions. Impossibly uniform opaque white rocks cluster near the gypsum board, missing any glints of quartz, or the rough scale of granite. You can tell the rocks were man-made, but you can’t tell from what. A small landscape print or hand-drawn transfer sits in a corner, heavy rag paper with deckled edge unnervingly out in the open, unframed. An expressionistic landscape — really, not unlike the kind of commercial schlock you find in rural membership galleries — uses some slate blues and greens that appear almost municipal, echoing the industrial hues of manufactured building materials.

The whole effect creates a tense contradiction: provisionality, finely tuned to point one’s attention to multiple illusions.

To ask “Where is the art?” begets affirmative answers without clear resolution. Yes, the framed painting in the reproduction is art. Yes, the print of the painting is art. Yes, the white rocks are art. And yes, the mismatched latex paint is art.

Casteneda/Reiman successfully disperses the location of the art throughout the site — the artists’ installation is theatrical, staged — while simultaneously saying that the gallery is always a staged installation. In this way, Casteneda/Reimen highlight the artifice inherent in all art. I have no qualms with using the word “artifice,” which does not in itself posses negative connotations (though you may be of the Romantic/Modernist persuasion and your value system only allows for art that is expressive/authentic/autonomous/evidence of genius or some kind of moralistic humanism).

I realize that my description of the work — abject, quoting, dispersed — makes it sound like an exercise in endgames, and the artists like over-theorized malcontents. And I can’t say that all viewers will appreciate the work in the show; in fact, many will do a walk-by, feeling put off (rather than attracted, like me) to the exhibition’s absence of grand gestures, obvious attempts at spectacle and feats of craftsmanship. But I really enjoyed the work, and found the illusions and forms to be quite humorous. There was wit, and yes, ironic distance, and yet, there were so many ideas and connotations that unfolded in my viewing experience.

Places We Have Never Been closes August 22. Concurrently on view at Wirtz, Kathryn Spence’s Cloudless White, another assembly of abject parts, slightly more expressive and endearing but also with moments of humor.

Standard
Community

Art reviews: Steven Barich, Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott, Pae White

After knocking out a new screenprinted edition (see it at the Headlands Open House July 12, or at The Kiss of A Lifetime in Newcastle and London) and attending the artists’ talks at the Headlands yesterday, I decided to knock off and go enjoy some galleries this Friday afternoon.

Steven Barich: The Logic Stone and other new work
Rowan Morrison Gallery
Oakland, CA

steven barich the logic stone rowan morrison gallery
Image source: Rowan Morrison Gallery.

Steven Barich‘s show at Rowan Morrison is comprised of a series of mostly-compact graphite drawings of logic stones, in which the stones themselves are rendered in a pixelated greyscale grid. The images in reproduction look flat, but the drawings have a lot of “hand” in them; the teeny scale of the pixels seems to point your attention to the tooth of the paper, the grains of graphite. “Technology v. Nature” seems to be an overworked thread in contemporary art, but Barichs’ drawings depict as well as enact this dichotomy. The labor of representing a machinelike perfection in pixels is contrasted with the labor in representing the baroque carvings of the stands. It’s also interesting to notice that so much pixel-based hand-made contemporary art uses full color spectra, whereas Barich’s work is limited to shades of grey. I imagine it’s not an easy task to create random patterns with only value contrast to work with. While the premise behind The Logic Stone may seem straightforward, these deliberate reductions reveal a tight conceptual and technical approach.

re:con-figure
Kala Art Institute
Berkeley, CA

no matter scott kildall victoria scott
Scott Kildall and Victoria Scott, Pot of Gold. Image source: No Matter website

Kala’s new gallery space on San Pablo Avenue is spacious, with high ceilings, a nice balance between open space and smaller nooks, and great walls and good lighting. The current exhibition, re:con-figure, features the work of several past Fellows or AIRs, who exemplify a certain Bay Area contemporary art diversity. On view were video-papercut-installations, mixed media collages, photo-sculptures, performance-installations and kinetics-installations (and noticibly, not a whole lot of traditional printmaking per se. re:con-figure seems to announce that Kala is a contemporary art presenter, in case you still thought of it as a intaglio-oriented printmaking atelier.)

I really enjoyed Scott Kildall‘s and Victoria Scott‘s No Matter project of humorous cut-and-fold assemblies. The objects appear to be inspired by Kildall’s ongoing interest in virtual reality; the planar, crappily-colored objects bring Second Life hokeyness into “first life” materialization. This project is similar to eTeam‘s (Hajoe Moderegger & Franziska Lamprecht) Second Life Dumpster , but No Matter embodies the cheap crappiness I found lacking.

The renderings in 3D animation can be woefully inadequate, so to create 2D prints that cut and fold into truly 3D counterparts is a brilliant rhetorical gesture. Even when the wood-grained Contact paper-wrapped shelves and chalky inkjet paper announce their media a bit too obviously, it works with the spirit of the piece, which seems to saying that Second Life is Camp, and the artists intend to honor to the spirit of the Camp with its own oblivious pretensions. The ridiculousness is appreciated, since by acknowledging the artifice of virtual reality, the artists might be acknowledging the artifice of artmaking itself.

Pae White: In Between the Outside-In
New Langton Arts
San Francisco, CA

pae white in between the outside-in
Image source: New Langton Arts website

Pae White’s show at New Langton Arts may be one of the most surprising art experiences I’ve had in the Bay Area in the past two months. It’s killer. So killer, I’m shocked and dismayed how little press I’ve seen on it, and how no one has told me that I have to see the show. So I’m telling you now: You have to see the show. Especially if you like how the self is brought to the fore in installation art, have any interest in digital animation, or, like me, you find disorienting perceptual experiences and your resulting hyper-awareness to epitomize the best that contemporary art can offer. It’s Earth Art, yes, but unconventionally so, and it seems to be fully Romantic in nature, in the sense of presenting a techno-digital-Sublime that’s otherworldy and quite possibly terrifying.

I’ll add that the show ends July 18th, and say no more.

Standard
Community

art art art weekend part one

Installation by Sam Lopes, Joy Fritz and Friends at Blankspace Gallery.

Installation by Sam Lopes, Joy Fritz and Friends at Blankspace Gallery.

Nipped in Sam Lopes’ opening at Blankspace Gallery in Oakland, CA. To be more specific, the exhibition, “Just because there are questions doesn’t mean there are answers,” is a show of “new collaborative work by Sam Lopes, Joy Fritz and Friends.” The works were what JC (not that JC) might have called craptastic, where craftsmanship seems deliberately hobbled, so that naive drawing styles in odd materials (crayons and oil pastels) take precedence. The show is really colorful and sweet, and compellingly nostalgic for the 1970s. It turns out the depiction of of handicrafts from the shag carpet era might be inspired by nostalgia for a gay heyday.

lopes

Drawing by Sam Lopes, Joy Fritz and/or Friends

There were some passages that reminded me, in a good way, of Ben Shahn’s work, where the line seems so unfettered you can’t tell when it’s good or bad, but you just know that it’s exuberant.

In contemporary art, “decorative” is usually used derisively, but I’m starting to re-think this prejudice. Certainly, I’m more interested in work that has interesting and rigorous conceptual intents, but I’m also beginning to suspect that decoration and conceptual rigor are not as oppositional as presumed. In a way, decoration is not entirely free of function—people seem to have an innate decorating impulse, tied maybe to creativity and expression as well as aspirations and the need to see themselves reflected in the world. At a basic level, it seems to fill a desire to find a voice or secure a space in the material world.

lopes

Drawing by Sam Lopes, Joy Fritz and/or Friends

There’s a lot of decoration in “Just because.” It’s in the selection of subjects that lend themselves to high-spirited colors and patterns, like bedspreads with fringes, wallpaper, bolero jackets and hand-knit rugs. And while I’m sure this decorative impulse was driven partly by pleasure and the unadulterated love of drawing, I also suspect that the choices were not entirely formal, and the use of pattern and decoration suggests something about art being, fundamentally, a craft, and craft being more akin to hobby-like forms of self-expression, rather than a selling point of marketable art objects.

It’s East Bay Open Studios this weekend, where everyone and their purse-making sister, graf-merging cousin, and urban-artifact-re-arranging uncle open their studios to the public. I think that membership-based art organizations are critical to building and sustaining a vibrant local art community, of course, but the experience of seeing so many different kinds and qualities of art can have low returns when taken all together. It’s like going to an international buffet, and you end up getting hummus on your sushi and chow mein in your bread pudding.

I stopped by a few different studios in Oakland today. I found it strange that only half of the studios in a certain complex were open. I realize that registration for Open Studios requires a hefty membership fee, but still, it seems like a missed opportunity to not be in your studio if the public is going to be wandering through your building anyway.

terry furry

Works on mounted Kraft paper by Terry Furry at Swarm Studios.

Terry Furry’s a genuine, nice guy, so it’s hard for me to be objective about his work, but I really enjoyed his latest batch of paintings on mounted Kraft paper. I know that some of their appeal stems from a certain graphic design or illustration-y cleanness. Still, these still-lifes of a boy’s or man’s personal effects are more ambiguous than his previous figurative paintings, and hence, more open-ended and compelling. The empty spaces seem less like formal devices, and a little more affective.

Standard
Research

Recent writing on art

Clear. Consistent. Coherent. Concise.
—A note seen taped to a journalist’s computer

As a writer, I’m more journalistic than academic. I’m drawn to elegant brevity. I believe that criticism can be both intellectually engaging and beautifully written. See examples below.

Excellent writing on art, culled from recent mainstream publications:

Malcolm Gladwell, “Late Bloomers” (NewYorker.com) October 20, 2008.
Why do we equate genius with precocity? Gladwell asks. He examines two case studies — Picasso (young genius) and Cezanne (late bloomer), and the writers Jonathan Safran Foer (young genius) and Ben Fountain (late bloomer) — and suggests the conventional wisdom that artistic talent is innate is a disservice to late bloomers, who require more time to mature and create their greatest work.

This is the vexing lesson of Fountain’s long attempt to get noticed by the literary world. On the road to great achievement, the late bloomer will resemble a failure: while the late bloomer is revising and despairing and changing course and slashing canvases to ribbons after months or years, what he or she produces will look like the kind of thing produced by the artist who will never bloom at all. Prodigies are easy. They advertise their genius from the get-go. Late bloomers are hard. They require forbearance and blind faith. (Let’s just be thankful that Cézanne didn’t have a guidance counselor in high school who looked at his primitive sketches and told him to try accounting.) Whenever we find a late bloomer, we can’t but wonder how many others like him or her we have thwarted because we prematurely judged their talents. But we also have to accept that there’s nothing we can do about it. How can we ever know which of the failures will end up blooming?

Impressively, Gladwell arrived at a conclusion that no one likes to talk about, but is a difficult real-world lesson artists often learn along the way: Not only must late bloomers persevere for decades on end, so must their patrons — or, in the case of Ben Fountain, and many artists I know (ahem!) — their spouses and families.

Sharie was Ben’s wife. But she was also—to borrow a term from long ago—his patron. That word has a condescending edge to it today, because we think it far more appropriate for artists (and everyone else for that matter) to be supported by the marketplace. But the marketplace works only for people like Jonathan Safran Foer, whose art emerges, fully realized, at the beginning of their career, or Picasso, whose talent was so blindingly obvious that an art dealer offered him a hundred-and-fifty-franc-a-month stipend the minute he got to Paris, at age twenty. If you are the type of creative mind that starts without a plan, and has to experiment and learn by doing, you need someone to see you through the long and difficult time it takes for your art to reach its true level.

…This is the final lesson of the late bloomer: his or her success is highly contingent on the efforts of others. … We’d like to think that mundane matters like loyalty, steadfastness, and the willingness to keep writing checks to support what looks like failure have nothing to do with something as rarefied as genius. But sometimes genius is anything but rarefied; sometimes it’s just the thing that emerges after twenty years of working at your kitchen table.

Special Galleries issue, New York Times, November 14, 2008
Roberta Smith takes on Chelsea; Holland Cotter peruses the LowaEside; Karen Rosenberg pads around the Upper East Side; and Ken Johnson spanks Soho. OK, that last part isn’t true…. (or is it?)

I’d love to get this kind of expansive overview of New York galleries once a month, but I take what I can get. What I don’t understand is, why aren’t there more surveys of other cities’ art galleries, of comparable clarity, consistency, coherence and concision? Well, it’s New York, you argue. Exactly my point: There’s so many more galleries in New York, that reviewing a city like San Francisco should be a piece of cake.

Standard
Community

First Impressions of the fall art season

A quick jaunt around Geary Street galleries today resulted in some decent impressions:

Andrew Schoultz at Marz and Zavaterro
A reluctant but resounding WOW. Reluctant, because I’d like to chalk up this dude as a one-trick pony (OK, the tree, the brush strokes, the symbols of capitalism recurrent in graf culture—I get it), but resounding, because he’s intensely prolific, evolving, and confident, and he pulled off a spectacular installation. There are a ton of students in the Mission School, but Schoultz is one of the deans. A lot of people enjoy art where they can discover new things every time they look at it, which tends to favor complex, layered, representational/figurative work. I’m not necessarily of that camp. Still, Schoultz’ paintings have gotten so layered they resist reading, but the density of brush strokes and mixed media (like dollar bills and glitzy stickers slashed like daggers) creates a manic, paranoid hurricane. Combined with a ridiculous, oversized sculpture of a scale on pyramids that spans the gallery, his critical position moves beyond mere painting subject to a convincing investigation.

Chuck Fahlen at Steven Wolf Fine Arts
I’m completely beguiled by Darkside, Fahlen’s wire and wood-bead sculpture that hangs from small hooks at a disconcertingly subtle downward angle on the wall. In the gallery, the yellow and black beads become doubled with shadows, and it looked to me like a messed-up, collapsed molecular model. Actually, I was off, by magnitudes—the sculpture is essentially a ball pressing down on a net, like a physics model of the universe. Of course! Endearing.

Mysteries at Stephen Wirtz
Despite a strong history of conceptual art in SF, most commercial galleries seem bent on showing paintings or photos. So this show, which features 12 “conceptually-oriented” artists curated by Melissa E. Feldman, is welcome. Thanks to Feldman for bringing the work of Jamie Isenstein to the area. I also really liked Janice Kerbel‘s contribution—an oversized playbill for a mysterious sideshow attraction. Just reading the text gave me such a strong visual impression, it was a wholly effective art experience.

Xuchi Naungayan Eggleton at Togonon Gallery
Since I first encountered Xuchi’s strange graphite- and crystal-like sculptures at the Oakland Art Gallery, I’ve been really impressed with her formal approach and execution. To me, her work is especially about materials, tactility and luminosity, hence the contrast in material properties, and the use of semi-transparent resins. Unfortunately, the space and lighting didn’t display the work to its best. (Side note: she’s exhibiting a pyramid of bricks painted pitch-black, an unexpected synchronism with Anti-Campfire, my sculpture of charcoal bricks in Galleon Trade at YBCA.)

Standard
Art & Development, Travelogue

Art Highlights: Los Angeles

Santa Monica • Chinatown • Culver City • Fairfax

Click on the images to see a larger file.
gallery_la_art_p1_sm.jpg

gallery_la_art_p2_sm.jpg

Two days, 50+ galleries, 4 museums. Here’s what stood out:

Won Ju Lim at Patrick Painter
Maximum effect with minimum trickery: digital projectors, colored plexi vitrines, poured paint sculptures, and some fake plants with gooseneck clamp lamps. The effect is truly astounding, and somehow very pertinent after the Southland fires. Lim may be my new favorite artist.

Lauren Bonn at Ace
Bonn’s Not a Cornfield cornfield was massive in scope and social programming, and she fills Ace with massive and terrifying psychic spaces which are somehow related to the cornfield and her study of bees. The scale is stupefying. I don’t know how Bonn orchestrates it, or Ace sustains it. But it’s amazing.
A side note: Bonn is also exhibiting the residue of a conceptual drawing piece involving an object recording the marks of a cross-Pacific passage. Sounds very similar to my Regalos project, doesn’t it?

Glenn Ligon at Regen Projects
A perfect example of why object-based conceptual practice is great: there’s so little mass in Ligon’s show, but there’s so much to think about. Thirty-six near-identical gold and black text paintings and one black-out neon text sculpture. Joke paintings invoke Richard Prince, but the racial content begs more conflicted social terrain. The neon text sculpture, of course, resonates with other (White) Conceptualists’ work, but again, Ligon’s content diverges into a realm of his own determination. My next stop was to look up Ligon’s article, “Black Light: David Hammons and The Poetics of Emptiness” (Artforum, Sept. 2004), a really beautiful artist’s writing/critical essay/statement about making art, resistance, the artist’s refusal, the “emptying out the self as a critical strategy,” and light as a material.

Kim Rugg at Mark Moore
Twenty-six re-assembled newspaper covers comprise Rugg’s “Don’t Mention the War,” in which she’s sliced and diced single letters and alphabetized them. I think she’s set a record; she’s broken an OCD-Art barrier. I’m impressed with the artist’s commitment to this massive project in an non-archival, unstable material. Furthermore, the craftsmanship is amazing, with hardly any relief in the collage.
Also at Mark Moore was Kenichi Yokono. I’m including this because I would have liked to explore this medium about ten years ago, when I was really into carving woodcuts, but not only interested in making prints. Yokono carves wood as if for printing, then displays the blocks as paintings, screens or skateboard decks. The content is punk-skate-pop culture, and the cut-out forms seem a little all over the place to me, veering towards hand-carved souvenir shop variety.

Group show at Marc Foxx
Lots of text-based work floated my boat here, including Jim Hodges‘ gold-leaf “Mother” on vellum. Francis Stark exhibited more good-bad-ugly work, which was awkward but intriguing nonetheless with its Alhambra delivery truck sized hanging sequins. While some artists cultivate the artistic persona of a naif through the use of odd materials, you get the sense that she isn’t faking her intuitive process.

Wild Women group show at Kontainer
This quietly installed group show was very smart. Tessa Farmer has assigned herself the dreadful task of creating minature (think: convert to microns) skeletons and attaching them to insects, and then hanging the dead bugs from monofilament. It’s a mind-blowing artistic practice. Tami Ichino‘s ceramic faux geodes are beautiful objects that manifested her paintings’ spacey psychedelia into three dimensions.

Eric Beltz’ “HISTROY!” at Acuna-Hansen
I resisted these drawings. They’re too slick: the gothic calligraphy and cursive script is too cool, the dead presidents theme seems so trendy, the literary references are very pop-goth. But these drawings have to be seen in the flesh, and I have to admit, Beltz’ self-described “high definition drawing” provides a truly enjoyable, memorable experience. Bonus: the title is wickedly funny, yet fitting.

A Great Delicacy group show at Taylor de Cordoba
Clearly I don’t connect often with paintings these days, but Greg Parma Smith‘s painting of a Swiss Army knife with a fabric pattern that escapes the still-life’s margins surprised me. It didn’t seem to take itself so seriously, which is hard to find among photo realist works. Rebecca Veit‘s and Kathryn Hillier‘s tense food-porn photos were convincingly reminiscent of Sunset Magazine, and Danica Phelp‘s charts were pleasingly ‘drawing-ly,’ if one could make up a graphite corollary to ‘painterly.’ McKendree Key‘s color photocopy stop-motion animation had a nice storm-at-sea rhythm while man-made garbage tumbled by as if on a watery freeway.

I had the pleasure of crossing paths with some Halloween- and Thanksgiving-themed sponge painting on the tinted windows of a dim sum shop in Chinatown. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen sio mai rendered in florescent sponge paint.

No photos, just strong impressions:

Slater Bradley‘s CGI rain cloud and singin’ in the rain dandy at Blum and Poe.

William Pope.L‘s show at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, “Art After White People.” Think about it.

Jamie Isenstein‘s deliciously restrained and curious “Welcome to the Egress” at Hammer Projects.

Francis Alÿs‘ “When Faith Moves Mountains,” also at the Hammer (whose exhibition title, “Politics of Rehearsal” could also be “Poetics of Reversals”).

Standard
Art & Development, Research

Ephemera

Making ephemera has become an important part of my art practice. I began by making small batches of laser-printed posters, which fold to become brochures. They supply additional texts outside of the work and the wall texts, yet within the gallery space. They draw attention to the concepts behind the works without literalizing them in an artist’s statement.

I think making collateral and multiples is related to my background as a printmaker. But though I know how, I don’t print this collateral by hand, because they are free for anyone to take, because I can easily make more at any time.

This is one example of the glacial change my work seems to be undergoing. Like my other work, the brochures de-emphasize visuality, so the word “visual” in “visual art” seems too finite to describe what do.

I suppose that I’ve always been interested in ephemera, but had previous notions about graphic design, printmaking and zines. Thankfully, Ted Purves and Steven Leiber helped me to embrace ephemera as a legitimate form in itself.

Ted, by the way, also contributed an essay to Extra Art: A Survey of Artists’ Ephemera, 1960-1999, a beautiful catalog of thousands of inventive invitations, posters, buttons and wacky one-off objects in a show curated by Steven Lieber…

You might find Extra Art in the stacks at 871 Fine Arts at 49 Geary Street, Suite 513 in San Francisco. Unlike the boutique-like museum stores I’ve visited lately, this book seller and gallery has a drool-worthy selection of art books and catalogs. Their gallery seems to show only works on paper or ephemera, focusing on minimalism, concrete poetry and fluxism, with a few contemporary artists like writer/designer/book artist Emily McVarish. During First Thursday gallery openings (No! More! Paintings!), 871’s idiosyncratic shows can be quite refreshing.

In September, I was delighted to see an exhibition of art posters at 871. What follows are my awful photos of some of my favorite posters. Sorry I didn’t get information about the designers.

duchamp
This is my favorite by far. It’s of Marcel Duchamp with a piece from “The Bride Stripped Bare.” Like Duchamp, the poster designer selected materials minimally and purposefully, using foil stamping to represent the metalwork, and a high-gloss spot varnish only where the sheet glass appears. The rest of the poster is printed in economical evergreen and carmine red inks.

paik
A really handsome Naim June Paik poster. It’s just a black and white portrait of the artist with text set in Helvetica: two sizes, two weights. And while the photography and typography are perfect, the whole thing is restrained but somehow avant garde.

weiner
I’m not a big Lawrence Weiner fan (the unblinking monotone!) but the use of selectively-placed die cuts are satisfyingly conceptually-sound.

sandback
I was really happy to see this Fred Sandback poster, because it’s an elegant conveyence of the ideas in minimal work. Also, many artists find gridded paper attractive, but in Sandback’s case, it seems to be an entirely appropriate usage.

What I really love about these posters is that the designers understand that it’s not possible or desirable to represent conceptual art in purely visual terms. All the posters do is suggest or supplement.

Standard
Research, Travelogue

Art I Saw and Really Liked in England

Sao Paolo-based Carla Zaccagnini at Blow de la Barra, London
A restrained show of a selection of curious objects — which were slightly reminiscent of Surrealism and Fluxism, in very good ways — united by heady concepts. From the press release: “‘Wish’… is mainly based on works that deal with desire and its necessary insatisfaction.”

Travel Guide by Matei Bejenaru, which was part of The Irresistable Force at the Tate Modern, London
A fold-out map with detailed instructions for a successful border-crossing into Great Britain or Ireland from Romania. It documents the physical and legal dangers. This content was an eye-opener for me — I have only a vague understanding of immigration in the European Union, as membership frees up the movement of people, to dramatic effects. I also liked the restrained form of display, limited to one floor graphic and take-away brochures.

I enjoyed Outside the Box at Cornerhouse very much. Almost every work in the show was a thought-provoking contribution. Gallery 2 (there are three) was my favorite, because it included Jim Campbells’s low-res screens of LED lights, Daniel Canogar’s fantastic fiber-optic projector and projections and Christopher Thomas Allen’s Dialogue, a theatrical replica of two adjoining office desks, whose computer monitors appeared to engage in a debate, flashing Google-image-searched pictures based on the words in an audio track.

Standard