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.

Meta-Practice, Values

How to be everywhere at once, or not

Inspired by a walk around Chelsea and CAA, here are a few thoughts about how artists of a certain level are able to sustain multiple galleries and fairs…

Variations and editions

At Doug Aitken’s show at 303 Gallery, the list of works stated that all artworks, except for the site-specific installation, were multiples. Text works that could have been fabricated by sign shops were editions of four, plus two artist’s proofs. Other text works that might involve more chance, such as a piece with broken mirrors and another foam piece that was partly carved by hand, were variations, plus artist’s proofs.

The way Aiken and many contemporary other artists edition sculptures seems  pragmatic—there is so much research and development that goes into each work, and so many venues for international artists, that being able to exhibit and sell the same work is advantageous. Yet, these editioned sculptures would never be displayed next to each other, or heavens forbid, in the same fair at different booths—like the earliest fine art print editions, the whole concept of an edition is to create scarcity and value. I’m curious if collectors feel like they’re buying originals, are concerned with the fidelity to exhibition copies, or are simply less concerned with purchasing copies, especially of industrially-fabricated works.

(The show itself was dazzling in the video as well as in person, but not especially affective. I believe a critic for the New Yorker found the show to be resemble window displays, and I got the same feeling. There were intimations of destruction, but no danger. In the large hole drilled out of the concrete gallery floor, the milky water was lit from beneath, as if a hot tub. One text work was set behind a faux wall with a cartoonish circular hole cut away; the drywall was filled with pebbly rubble painted white as if on a theatrical set made of Plasticine.)

A few rules make disparate drawings a series

Of particular interest at Mark Dion at Tanya Bonokdar:

1. The vitrines with marine encrustations that were on view in International Orange in San Francisco are now highly salable objects in a Chelsea gallery. (Also, I believe  those were clearly indicated as collaborations in San Francisco, a fact not obvious in NYC.) The settings are so different I found it humorously ironic. Fort Point was bitterly cold, practically in the Pacific Ocean than abutting it. The vitrines were lit in a theatrically dim light, which minimized Fort Point’s peeling walls. At Bonokdar, the pristine gallery housed a number of vitrines and installations, all of which were perfectly installed and maintained. The change of context from the edge of the continent to the center of a commercial art world demonstrates a fluidity that contrasts greatly with so many artists I know who exhibit in odd places in the Bay Area.

2. Dion makes preliminary sketches for his various public projects and commissions—from the UK to San Francisco’s Balboa Park—in red and blue colored pencil. Who knows why, but the effect is that a room with dozens of such drawings hung salon-style looks fantastic. A simple set of rules increases the volume of exhibition-ready work.

Conflicts of Interest Vs. Conflicts of Self-Interest

At the College Art Association conference a few weeks ago, I attended a session called “The Future of Art Magazines” (see’s write-up). A comment that has stuck with me is that people play so many roles in the art strata, that it can pose dilemmas to critics. For example, critics who are also curators may worry that they can’t negatively review certain institutions that they might work with, or risk offending artists that they might curate or be asked to curate. I wondered if this was an actual conflict of interest, when the potential of a partnership is merely a potential. Perhaps it would better be phrased as a conflict of self-interest?

Of course people do this all the time. Yet the frequency of self-interested behavior doesn’t make it right—call it Darwinian, hustlin’, or playing the game, it’s also selfish, opportunistic, and small.

To be big, one must imagine that other people are big, too. That artists or administrators won’t be offended if you write a negative review with honesty and integrity. Whether others are in a position of power or not relative to yourself, people should be able to handle direct, open communication with judiciousness and discretion. In my recent correspondence with commenters on Temporary Art Review, I have been trying to encourage artists to give feedback directly to residency administrators. It seems a reasonable thing to do, except for a fear of retaliation that is not a part of the art world that I would like to participate in.