Stockholder in Utrecht

Jessica Stockholder | Tablet Magazine | By Jeremy Sigler

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To marvel at a work by Jessica Stockholder is not only to examine her unorthodox assembly of the world’s kit, but to wonder where on earth she shops—where she gets such good deals? Her unconventional art supplies seem to either descend from outer space, or crawl up out of dumpsters. It’s as if junk—be it new or used—has no other purpose than to animate her dystopian sculptural choreography.

One imagines Stockholder stocking up, as it were. Like a chef instinctively sniffing out the freshest ingredients (the tackiest kitschiest artifacts), she’s confident that in time the right idea for their incorporation will come.

I imagine her throwing back a shot of absinthe and embarking on an epic trip to the 99-cent store, in the same 1970s, American-made station wagon (boat) my mom used to drive—a postmodern suburban flâneur, experiencing what Walter Benjamin experienced in Paris (albeit by foot): a fetishistic fix. When the world goes on sale, it’s Stockholder who will have all the coupons.

Indeed, at its root, her process is as decadent as a department store. Picture Rooney Mara seduced by Cate Blanchett in the opening scene of Todd Haynes’ Carol. Or conversely the subtle pathos of a scene in Frederick Wiseman’s The Store (1983) where an average working man, out to please his wife, gets up-sold by a very cunning mink dealer in a Neiman Marcus in Dallas.

And while I’m a less-is-more kind of guy, when it comes to Stockholder, I make an exception. Notwithstanding, when I received a press release in my inbox for her upcoming exhibition all the way across the Atlantic Ocean—that massive ditch filled with salt water, a few fish, and a wad of plastic bags about the size of Brazil—in the old Dutch province of Utrecht, I was a tinge skeptical.

The world has changed since the last time I checked in with Stockholder. And even though I have always admired her “giant steps,” my mood has sobered, and I’d say I’ve lost my stride and swagger. When I read her show’s title, Stuff Matters, and skimmed the Centraal Museum’s PR material, I felt growing anxiety about the deeply contaminated world we now live in.

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Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press

Libby Leshgold Gallery

Vancouver, BC

27 June - 25 August 2019

The Libby Leshgold Gallery and READ Books are pleased to present Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press.

Fiona Banner’s alias “The Vanity Press” stems from The Vanity Press, an imprint she established in 1997 with the publication of her artist book The Nam. Since then her work with publishing—straightforward as well as experimental and performative publishing—has become the mainstay of her practice, and is highly influential in the field of artists’ publishing.

This exhibition focuses on Banner’s Heart of Darkness, published in 2015 by The Vanity Press in collaboration with Four Corners Press. Banner’s remake of Joseph Conrad’s 1899 novella takes the form of a glossy luxury magazine. It began to take shape when she accepted an invitation by the Archive of Modern Conflict to conduct research in the archive. Noting a lack of contemporary images, Banner commissioned Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin, who is well known for covering global conflicts, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo where Conrad’s narrator Marlow sets his story, to turn his lens on the financial district of London. These images form the illustrations that accompany the text. Alongside the publication itself, the exhibition includes related work such as Breathing Bag (2016), a small kinetic sculpture made up of a plastic bag printed with a misquote from the novella that reads “Mistah Kurtz—He Not Dead” and the film Phantom (2015) in which a drone Phantom camera attempts to read Heart of Darkness as the down draft from its blades continually blows the magazine out of reach, eventually destroying it.

Further, the exhibition reflects on earlier works such as The Namand Trance (1997), including Banner’s verbal remake of Apocalypse Now, which in turn translates Francis Ford Coppola’s redeployment of Conrad’s narrative framework from Heart of Darkness. Other works on display include a selection of Full Stop Inflatables (2018) and Full Stop Bean Bags (2015), which take the form of massive 3D period marks from various fonts. Also featured are the artists’ books Scroll Down and Keep Scrolling (2015), Font Book (2016), and select artworks related to them. 

Fiona Banner aka The Vanity Press is an English artist, who lives and works in London. In 2002 she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and in 2010, she was selected to create the 10th Duveen Hall commission at Tate Britain. Other recent exhibitions include: Runway AW17, De Pont Museum, Tilburg, Netherlands (2017), Buoys Boys, De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill, UK (2016), Scroll Down And Keep Scrolling, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2015) and Kunsthalle Nuremberg, Germany (2016), Wp Wp Wp, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (2014).

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Ana Prvacki: Detour

De Young Museum

San Francisco, CA

11 June - 29 September 2019

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The Fine Arts Museums invited artist Ana Prvački, known for her participatory projects that use humor as a means to disarm traditional museum activities and behaviors, to visit and imagine a project that uses the museum experientially, rather than as an exhibition venue. In the resulting project, Detour, Prvački leads visitors around the museum to look anew at the building, grounds, and collections, and imagine different ways of viewing, connecting, and behaving.

In a special collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, short videos will be accessible on mobile devices, triggered at various spots throughout the museum to guide visitors through this alternative tour. With wit and playfulness at their core, each video addresses a different idea, relating the de Young’s context to topics ranging from ancient myth to personal intimacies, environmental matters to vision exercises. In addition to creating dialogues with collection objects and immediate surroundings, two sculptures will be installed in connection with the project.

Prvački is a cross-disciplinary artist whose works take the form of diverse projects that draw on performance, daily practices, consumer aesthetics, and popular concerns. Her projects foreground experimentation in content and form, their ephemeral nature both a strategy for creating unique experiences and a nod to an environmentally conscious artistic practice. She has realized solo exhibitions and projects at the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; and the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin. Her work has also been included in many international exhibitions, including the 14th Istanbul Biennial and dOCUMENTA 13. Her performances have been commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, among others.

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KCRW Art Talk: Kirsten Everberg at 1301 PE

Kirsten Everberg | KCRW Art Talk | by Hunter Drohojowska-Philp

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Every day we learn — and experience — more about climate change with 300 animal and many more plant species now considered endangered just in California. Overwhelming realizations such as this are increasingly taken on by artists. The ideas are addressed in a quite personal way in a show of new paintings by Kirsten Everberg at 1301 PE in the mid-Wilshire district. The glossy pictures are so lush, their message might take a few moments to absorb. Birds and snakes, insects and flowers are painted in her trademark oil and enamel on panel, a medium that is shiny and vibrant.

The title of the show, Life Still, offers more than one meaning. This is life at this moment, life that is holding still but also still here. La Graciosa (2019) is an arrangement of lavender thistles and blooms is set before a yellow wall and window to the outdoors, where a ferret looks in. Grasshoppers are coupling under a blossom. A winning hand of cards lays on the table to emphasize the role of chance. (Very appealing cards of the artist’s unique design.)

This and other still lives were arranged by the L.A.-based artist who received her undergraduate and graduate degress in art from UCLA. They are set up in her architectural home, designed by Barbara Bestor, in Silverlake. They are intimately observed but they come from a lengthy lineage of art, especially the Golden Age of Dutch painting in 17th century. Artists chose flowers from different seasons of the year to symbolize the brevity and beauty of existance. Such paintings are called vanitas because they symbolize transcience and transcendence, the vanity of looking for internal, spiritual sustenance in the temporal assets of wealth or fame.

In the past, this referred to the lives of people, encouraging the search for faith in their time. Everberg’s asks us to consider our impact on the lives of animals and plants, whose survival as species is dependent on our behavior.

Rather than linger on that depressing thought, we can look to the painting themselves with their carefully integrated areas of color that puddle and swirl like liquified jewels yet coalesce as studies of nature within the context of daily life.

In this and other paintings, the animals are not portrayed in their actual proportions. Bugs are big, animals small. The effect is a bit jarring but accomplishes the desired result, making us look more closely for other clues to meaning.

Everberg brings us vanitas paintings for our times with a broken glass as fragility, a butterfly perched on a split pomegranite as a token of sundered faith. She is hardly the only contemporary painter to be returning to the still life traditions. Known for her past paintings that integrated memory and present reality, often within in architectural interiors, she now asks us to look at the present before it becomes our irretrievable history. The show continues through June 29.

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