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.

Art & Development

Eliasson on spectatorship and perceptual experiences in galleries

One of the predominant tropes of the artists in Il Tempo del Postino is their assertion of the socialising and empowering agency of art, which has long been an aim of theatre of the left, from Brecht to Invisible Theatre, developed by Augusto Boal in the 1970s, when social-issue plays were staged in public places, such as shopping centres, often drawing nonperformers, or ‘spect-actors’, into the debate….

The efforts of a number of these artists to orchestrate socialising contexts have been criticised in recent years for being patronising or for actually stultifying exchange.

[Stultifying? See Ranciere.]

A distinguishing factor of Eliasson’s work, though, is that he doesn’t consider language the primary socialising agent. His installations and events operate on the audience’s sensory perception, prompting not a conversational exchange but a subjective psychophysical experience. Although, as Eliasson points out, there is no unmediated neutral state of perception in a gallery, as by definition any aesthetic proposition demands sensory manipulation, he tends to expand effect beyond optical or linguistic cognition. Utopian claims for art creating solidarity through authentic communal discourse become redundant when the subjectivity of perception becomes the means as well as the subject of an artwork. Collectivity, suggests Eliasson, is more about the production of difference, and yet there remains a misperception that representation in the form of language creates a productive space, when in fact it simply describes a space that remains uninhabited. As it was for eighteenth-century romantic ironists, such as August Wilhelm and Friedrich Schlegel, for Eliasson it is the employment of the gap between representation and the actual world, between the sun and the evocation of a sun or an audience and their reconstruction, that generates poetic effect.

Sally O’Reilly, “Olafur Eliasson: Time is on his side,” Art Review, September 14, 2007


style points

Random items from the bitstream floating my boat right now:

olafur eliasson skateboard for mekanism
Olafur Eliasson’s deck design for Mekanism Skateboards. So pretty and unusual. A feat of boardmaking technique.
(Image source: Mekanism Skateboards)

design nurd bow-tie necklace
These bow-tie necklaces on DesignNurd.

augusten burroghs, nytimes
Augusten Burrogh’s typographic ornament tattoos.
(From, photo by Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times)