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Muse Reviews: 18 May

18 May 2014

A round-up of the week’s reviews…

(detail; 1962), Lucio Fontana

Concetto spaziale (detail; 1962), Lucio Fontana © Fondazione Lucio Fontana, Milano / by SIAE / Adagp, Paris 2014. Courtesy Tornabuoni Art, Paris

Lucio Fontana at the Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (Emma Crichton-Miller)

How, I wondered, could everyone take these art works so seriously? Once you have punctured one canvas, what can you gain, conceptually, from puncturing another? For today it seems they have become no more than a multi million pound must-have for every aspiring modern and post-war collector…The exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne however (his first major retrospective in France since 1987), is a bracing antidote to such art-world fatigue…what we see is an artist trying out new ideas, new materials, new techniques, all the time.

Wi-Fi sculptures by Davide Balula on Galerie Rodolphe Janssen's stand.

Wi-Fi sculptures by Davide Balula on Galerie Rodolphe Janssen’s stand. Courtesy of Galerie Rodolphe Janssen

Beneath the bling: a few highlights from Frieze New York (Michael Pepi)

One can’t help but imagine what residents of the upper east side of Manhattan think every year in May when the massive white tent assembles on Randall’s Island. Surely thousands can see it from their apartments. And a veritable circus takes place under its temporary roof. This week’s fair (the third in New York) saw top galleries from around the world show off their finest artists and artworks. Here are a few notable selections from the event that flew under the radar, beneath the bling…

(installation view, 'Emotional Paintings' at Peres Projects; 2014), David Ostrowski.

F (The best part of the story) (installation view, ‘Emotional Paintings’ at Peres Projects; 2014), David Ostrowski. Courtesy Peres Projects, Berlin Photo: Hans-Georg Gaul, Berlin

David Ostrowski’s ‘Emotional Paintings’ at Peres Projects (Stephen Truax)

Owstrowski’s gestures – the touch of spray paint, the woman’s footprint – are studied, and intentional. They are not failures, but rather, cultivate the appearance of failure. They are calculated outcomes, and the real work of them begins during their presentation. Ostrowski insists that he is a ‘romantic’ painter – the show is titled ‘Emotional Paintings’ – rather than a cynical critic. But here, all of the emotion is drained out of the works. They are not minimal, which would at least be something, like a Robert Ryman perhaps. But no, these are emphatically nothing.

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Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, ‘The Strange City’ (Monumenta 2014) (Matilda Bathurst) 

Pas de « Selfies », states a sign on the white wall of Ilya and Emilia Kabakov’s ‘L’Étrange Cité’ (‘The Strange City’), coyly confirming this year’s Monumenta commission at the Grand Palais as an ideal breeding ground for that inevitable stamp of self-expression.

William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin.

Untitled (scrapbook 3) William S. Burroughs & Brion Gysin. Image courtesy of the ICA

Artists’ Scrapbooks at the ICA, London (Catherine Spencer) 

It was fascinating…to consider how an early scrapbook kept by Johnson, while he was still a teenager, might have helped lay the ground for his later development of a mail-art network attuned to gifting and exchange. Equally, a scrapbook belonging to Burroughs and his collaborator Brion Gysin offered a fascinating, tangible insight into their joint development of cut-up poetry techniques.

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