Art galleries, like museums, are in a state of flux, determined to find ways to survive and remain relevant in an increasingly hostile environment shaped by rising rents; development; absurd auction prices and a dearth of old-school collectors — ones who think for themselves.
The few that can are shape-shifting and scaling up, becoming more like museums, mounting shows with outside curators and even opening their own bookstores. Many galleries stage not only art performances — by now routine — but also panel discussions and conversations with the artists whose work they sell. As might be expected, these can blur the line between public service and promotion.
Adrián Villar Rojas excels at site-specific works that oscillate among historical, symbolic and spatial effects. One brought him wide attention when he represented Argentina at the 2011 Venice Biennale. Since then, he has become a staple at these large international exhibitions. Working mostly in situ in cast concrete with a team of assistants, he may have single-handedly made a complement of “festivalist art,” originally a pejorative coined for the grandiose installations of such shows.
“A series of monumental works feature organic, terrestrial forms made from resin and earth. In contrast to their raw, earthly matter, a series of highly polished stainless steel sculptures reflect and refract an illusion of the world onto their mirrored surfaces and confound the viewers’ relationship to the space around them. Similarly, several monochromatic voids appear to float on the gallery walls, their concave interiors play with the viewers’ perception of surface and depth and create the illusion of infinite space reflected in their void like interiors.” (from the press release)
Tunnelling Shadow (2014), resin and earth, 313 x 330 x 130 cm.
This show presents recent drawings by the two artists, marking the first time mother and daughter have exhibited together.
“Ms. Kominsky-Crumb has been an artist since childhood…Inspiration seems to come from comics, caricature, German Expressionism, and the “Real Housewives” franchise of cable television infamy… [Ms. Crumb] copies photographs from fashion magazines with results that call to mind the slightly distorted, definitely unsettling realism of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity) artists of Weimar, Germany.”
—Roberta Smith, “Sophie Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb,”New York Times, 18 September 2014