Monday, December 20, 2010

Reviews and Links for Final Week : Christopher K. Ho's "Regional Painting": an Critics' Pick

This is the last week for the two great exhibitions we have up at the moment: Christopher K. Ho's "Regional Painting" and "What is left," the Curatorial Research Lab exhibition organized by Rachel Gugelberger and featuring work by Nina Lola Bachhuber, Elissa Levy and Nick Herman.

Both shows have stirred up a fair bit of discussion in the gallery, as well as online. The openings for these shows were back in November, so unless you have a time machine, you're not able to join in that discussion. You can, however, get a feel for how packed it was from Amir Shoucri and Julia Halperin's wonderful video of the opening for the New York Observer:

Christopher K. Ho @ Winkleman Gallery from The New York Observer on Vimeo.

More importantly, you still have time to stop by and see the exhibitions and join in the conversation yourself. Here's a taste of what how critics are responding:'s Critics' Pick by Nuit Banai:
Judging from the caliber of the paintings and the memoir’s sophisticated register of discourse, Ho’s/Rothko’s conclusion is every “insider’s” escape fantasy. Yet, as Paul Gauguin, Marcel Duchamp, and Claude Lévi-Strauss have aptly shown us, the fabrication of such cultural myths and artistic personae has been crucial to the regeneration of intellectual and aesthetic production during modernism’s constitution and critique. Rather than assessing the truth status of such constructs, we need to ask why they appear at specific historical junctures and what artistic and institutional possibilities they might engender.
Hyperallergic's review by Stephen Truax:
If Ho is seriously proposing regionalism as the next and only logical step forward for artistic production, why then does he reinforce his paintings with performance, philosophy, and fictional narrative? Much of the show’s conceptual apparatus occurs in the press release, the price list, the book, and subsequent interviews with the artist and Ed Winkleman; it demands much investment and thought and work from the viewer.
And regarding the Curatorial Research Lab show, Bradley Rubenstein notes in Culture Catch:
The premise that the traces of the changing exhibition (nail holes, plaster, etc.) is as good a metaphor for the curatorial process as we are likely to get -- the materiality of moving works of art around is, in the end, what curating is, all money and politics aside.
And, there are still copies available of Christopher's brilliant book (the memoir of Hirsch E.P. Rothko). They make great stocking-stuffers for those art world lovers on your list. And, they're FREE!

Labels: gallery artists exhibitions, press


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a non-New Yorka how would I go about receiving one of these free books?

12/20/2010 03:03:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'm afraid we don't have the bandwidth to mail out the books (we've had tons of requests and it's just not feasible). You can, however, download it as a PDF file. It's the same text, just in a handy digital format. :-)

Download from here.

12/20/2010 03:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any connection between Amanda Ross Ho and Christopher K. Ho? The work seems fairly similar in its conceptual and analytical approach. It seems like this kind of work generates a lot of press these days....By the way did you see that Franco will be having a show in Berlin!!!

12/20/2010 10:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Stephen Truax said...

Thanks for the shout out, Ed!

Oh I love that idea! Two-person show: Amanda Ross-Ho and Christopher K. Ho. It plays in perfectly to Ho's sense of absurdism when it comes to press releases and accidental racism; also, their work seems to somehow fit together in the absolute devolution of the art process. Chris Ho by breaking it down to essentials (see Happy Birthday's five ways a work of art is valued) to Ross-Ho's enormous kitty litter tray (magnified source of her artist studio energy: her cats.)

12/21/2010 01:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, your really tall

12/21/2010 09:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think some people may not be posting negative comments on your own site regardigng the K.Ho exhibit...but it is being torn to shreds elsewgwhere.
I do like the paintinigs, but the book seems a bit over the top. I don't see any aspect of teh show as an escape from criticality at all and it doesn't seem earnest in the least. A building covered in license plates also seems a little heavy handed. In other words...I think the paintings are stronger on their own without the conceptual & contextual baggage... it actually comes across as a desparate ploy for attention. I don't mind being enlightened ofr hearing otherwise, but this is how I and many others currently view teh work. Feel free to disagrre, because I certainly do!

12/22/2010 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

hmmm...the Two Coats of Paint review and comments didn't strike me as "being torn to shreds." Just the kind of response we knew would be one part of the feedback. No one who's attempting something as complex as Chris is here does so without expecting that type of feedback. Moreover, he's more than got the mettle for it.

By the way, there have been artists with highly acclaimed work and paintings of their own, with no social connections to Chris, come in and rave about the paintings in this show. One is even planning to purchase some. That's as much peer validation as any artist could ask for in response to a show, if you ask me.

I'm intrigued that you like the paintings but find the book over the top. It is intentionally hyperbolic, but the building with license plates is actually true. Chris lived there.

This is a show Chris has been calmly working through for years. He is the most rigorous breed of conceptual artist. Each decision (and I do mean each and every decision) has been very carefully considered. There's been nothing "desperate" at all about it.

What I'd like you to consider, if you're genuinely interested in the idea, is that this show is a response to this conclusion that there are three options for artists in today's scene:

1) you can blithely forge ahead, either as an academic or an ‘outsider’ artist; 2) you can cynically choose to be complicit, accepting your work’s future assimilation and nonetheless performing critique, either ironically or exploitatively; or 3) you can acknowledge your fate (assimilation) and your work as redundant because all it does is demonstrate what’s already been established.

Chris was determined to see if he could find yet another path forward. The performance, book, and paintings were his attempt to explore that. He took on very big risks (in terms of what his market and critical audience expect of him), and I personally feel he knocked it out of the park.

I'm biased of course. But then so is everyone, really.

12/22/2010 10:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see where you are coming from and I really appreciate your comments,so I suppose that I am simply jealous.

Everyone is looking for an angle these days and I haven't found mine. This whole paintng is dead thing has carried forward in time and now we have a whole new breed of hybrid painting practice (conceptual, performative, critique based etc)

All I want to do is paint, but without context it all exists in a vacuum. Sometimes it seems like the only way ahead is to be sensationalistic or calculateing. I know that painting isn't dead, but somoetimes it feels like it is.
In the end painting just seems so empty, there are more imporant things to do than wrestle with this old corpse. All painting is performed by necrophiliacs these days.

12/22/2010 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I have seen more artists who simply kept painting, unconcerned with the pressure to find an "angle" or whether painting was "dead," eventually get their attention...their day...than the other way around. What the art viewing public is looking for keeps shifting. If you keep shifting, you increase the odds you'll never be in sync. If you stay true to what honestly interests you, the likelihood is greater their interest will come around to where you are.

12/22/2010 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sound commentary as always ED!

It never ceases to amaze me how you open yourself up to all kinds of praise / criticism and you seem so balanced through all of it. I wish there were more gallerists like you.

Have a wonderful Christmas Season and keep doing what you're doing, your value to the New York Art World and beyond is incalculable.

12/22/2010 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Jedd Haas said...

I found the last few pages in the PDF (scans of hand-written notes) a bit small, fuzzy and difficult to read. Was this deliberate or perhaps just a technical error?

12/23/2010 07:14:00 PM  
Blogger max said...

Dear Ed,
I would love to hear your thoughts on Chris Ho's use of the term "regional", or to my comment from December 11, particularly the excerpt that I'm re-posting here:

"Regional painting? Improbable.

... doesn’t truly regional cultural production come out of a community of shared (i.e. “exclusive”) values, like Abstract Expressionism [in its nascent stage]... If anything, regional art seems anything but possible in the 21st century."

12/24/2010 11:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Jedd Haas said...


The three choices you mention above seem to be a bit of a “straw man” argument, in suggesting that they are all-encompassing of the possible choices, and hence the uncertainty of there being a way forward. There are two objections: first, it seems entirely possible that one could embrace more than one point on this trichotomy at the same time; additionally, I believe there are in fact many possible ways forward, rather than just “regionalism.”

I put this term in quotations due to a question Truax notes in the Hyperallergic article ( “Ho’s answer to the major question of how one makes art in the contemporary moment is “regional” or “real” painting (the show went through many titular iterations before “regional” was finally settled on) — painting for the sake of painting.”

So is it regional, or is it real? It strikes me that these are two different things, two different ways forward; a minimum of two different ways of thinking about it. As I noted, one might find many more; and additionally, one might combine the different ways of going forward with the old guard factions of the trichotomy; and then permutate and combine as needed.

In some lengthier comments ( I address the question of regionalism further; and for me, one pressing unanswered question in those remarks is whether Ho continues from this day forward as a “regional painter” forever more; or is it a “one and done” performance? If the latter, was it truly “real” (or regional, as the case may be) or was this “way forward” simply a project to be recorded for posterity? If the latter, was it truly a way forward?

12/26/2010 09:51:00 PM  

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