press release


What counts as real labor? We privilege the intellectual and artistic residuum of a given society rather than the dish pans and mops that provide the support structure. We know who Guy Debord is--duh. We know about that French city in the spring of the late 60s. But who knows that he wasn’t much of a woman’s libber, his détournements and derives notwithstanding. He lived off women his entire life, and felt no shame. Likewise many radical intellectual glamour figures that we prize for their disruptions. Debord’s theoretical work, politics, and home life make for what is somewhat cloyingly characterized as cognitive dissonance—or is it just bad faith? This exhibition divagates on ideas of labor, fairness, gender, whatever bedbugs remind you that our bourgeois world is cruel.

Rachel Harrison’s Amy Winehouse drawings are devastating, savage, delirious exhumations of the late drugand- booze-addled poet of intractable refusal: No, no, no I don’t wanna go to rehab, etc. The late chanteuse’s sine qua non talent—genius--appear dazzlingly yet apparently inextricably linked to her “issues,” her questionable lifestyle choices. A diminutive Picasso-wannabe has found in the afterlife a newfangled Dora Maar. Must be commentary on Painting.

Nicolàs Guagnini renders Debord’s most famous one-liner--his graffito “Ne travaillez jamais” scrawled on a wall during Paris May ’68—as a painting at the End of the End of Painting monochrome: fade to blizzard, fade to Ryman, fade to white, the text necessarily obscured, deracinated from its material-historical origins as May 68’s most famous vandalism by its poet of sneaky revolt against the received order. Guagnini détournes Debord, takes a stroll, gets lost: dérive tout court.

Dan Colen’s stud paintings are to say the least labor intensive. Composed of a tessellation of quotidian objects of nugatory individual quality, in sum they create the effect of an Alpha-Centauri of shimmering stars. The stud paintings subsume art history since the 1960s--for instance Frank Stella’s revolutionary reductivism shot through with the of Günther Uecker’s wry sensibility of discord. Work and beauty, Fordist assembly line and Kantian sublime.

Jacqueline Humphries’s latest series of paintings present ambiguous atmospheric recessions suggestive of landscape painting from Lorrain to Turner to Whistler. At the same time, they evoke the schematized dot matrices of the digital screens that persist relentlessly throughout the devices enabling us to function in the modern world.

Friedrich Kunath represents the ironical/romantic/cynical/sentimental artist. He revels in a confluence of different painterly modes that percolate with thrilling brio. Love is still love but it’s also a ruse, an instrument of social repression. Kunath provides multifarious releases (from aesthetic protocols, good taste, right thinking, above all therapized “directed” feeling).

Charline von Heyl’s paintings remain ever challenging in their relentless inquiry into the production of painting and the germination of meaning. Hard-Edge contours and AbEx gesturalism jostle one another, generating a visually fraught yet insidiously seductive mise-en abyme.

Sean Landers: otium plus industry. His painting says it all for the dishwashers and the revolutionaries: “True artists kill themselves at their peak to prevent themselves from making bad work.”