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Issue 17: February

by Stephanie Cristello

This is a Present from a Small, Distant World.

The sun is presently setting. It is grey, even-toned, and the sky is gently lit in an un-gradated hue of pale steel blue and pallid violet, faintly dimming. Light to dark. The sun is setting. There is a sunset, but this is not a sunset.

The term sunset brings to mind the image of many skies, none of which are present at this current overcast vision of dusk. A sunset is brilliant and intense, dazzling and touristic, vivid and impossibly bright. An idyllic dream vacation sunset. A honeymoon sunset. One in a million sunsets.

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by Ruslana Lichtzier


A Ballad of Wasted Time

Notes on Mathias Poledna, coupled with some peripheral questions about the meaning of art.

The Renaissance Society is currently exhibiting work by LA-based artist Mathias Poledna with a two-component exhibition: a 6:40 min color film, entitled Substance, and a spatial architectural intervention. The film portrays a Rolex watch, firstly in a series of soft close-ups, highlighting the watch’s mechanics, and later in full form, depicting the watch drifting away into a dark void. The accompanying soundtrack may sooth the agitated viewer with its slender upbeat techno—it may also, which most likely, makes it completely forgettable after leaving the space. 

by Natalie Hegert



A day of dense, low-lying fog finally succumbed to heavy rainfall over the city of Los Angeles. As we danced around the puddles, making our way up La Cienaga Boulevard to Honor Fraser, I paused to look down at the canal (which I later learned is called Ballona Creek, a relatively inconsequential waterway in the grand scheme of the Los Angeles basin). Never had I seen the water level so high; where one usually sees a bare trickle traveling down the concrete channel, there was a swift surging torrent. A storm drain became a veritable cascade, thundering steadily into the creek.

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by Anna Szöke

…I think art is a vice, like other things, a passion, a passion that becomes a vice which doesn’t primarily consider who it should satisfy, except the creator himself, who is tantalized by the guilty pleasure of passion… 

— Fritz Wotruba

The voice of the Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotruba emanates from a crackling old tape-recording in the installation Homo Faber – A Spatial Audio Play in Three Parts by Krüger&Pardeller. The Austro-Italian artist duo’s exhibition at the 21er Haus in Vienna addresses diverse questions concerning artistic production, focusing on two discrepant approaches that it places in juxtaposition: on the one hand, the idea of art as action—a social process with an inherent political component—and on the other, the idea of creating an esthetic object as the goal.

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by Catherine Lamoureux


Slapstick is characterized by exaggeration and absurdity, physicality, and broad gestures; noisy, honest comedy. Les Ramsay’s Balancing Zing, presently on view at galerie antoine ertaskiran, is a collection of fabric paintings inspired by the genre. This body of work features exclusively two-dimensional hanging works, though sculpture is also a part of Ramsay’s practice. A tangibility relatable to a more tactile process is apparent in the selected pieces, each piece effectively referring back to sculpture in their materiality while acting under the guise of paintings.

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by Kostas Prapoglou

Departing from the disturbing image of a young black boy, broadly smiling while pointing a toy gun to his head (a work by French-American street photographer Elliott Erwitt), New York-based artist Rashid Johnson presents his first solo exhibition at Hauser & Wirth gallery in London. This exhibition follows his show Three Rooms held at Kunsthalle Winterthur in Switzerland earlier this year. Named after the title of Erwitt’s image, Smile, the London show is comprised of nineteen recent and new works, spanning Savile Row’s South gallery space.

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Image up top: Installation view, ‘Rashid Johnson. Smile’, Hauser & Wirth London, 2015 | © Rashid Johnson | Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth | Photo: Alex Delfanne
 For more information about EXPO CHICAGO/2015