Monday, February 21, 2011


Klaus Auderer, Shark Attack...,Tel Aviv @ Galerie Dana Charkasi

I am listening to two art-world people talk about the Luisa Kasalicky exhibition at the BAWAG. The one says “But what does it mean? It means nothing!” And the other person describes it as “looking like it was made out of all the building materials that can kill you from the 70’s.” I’ll call it Asbestos Aesthetic.

The show does feel cold and dated much like those building materials they spoke of. In the sprawling space the work is indistinguishable from its materiality. In the press release Richard Tuttle is referred to vis √† vis Kasalicky’s artworks. It seems to me that this body of work is the opposite of everything Tuttle except perhaps in its self-awareness. From the poetic license of material manipulation to scale there is a brutishness that I can’t associate with Tuttle and a lack of humor and material irony that one associates with Richard Artschwager. Kasalicky's walls of roofing material with punched out holes shows some of her greatest sensitivity to the the space.

A curious suite of small pencil drawings made me interested enough reconsider the sculptural work. It is too bad, looking through the book that accompanies the show and reading the interview, text and source material it feels like the artist completely lost course somewhere between those charming drawings and BauMax or Home Depot.

When Klaus Auderer applied a Nazi swastika to the German flag and attached it to a life-size naked mannequin with a boney skull for a head he essentially sucker punched his entire exhibition up at Galerie Dana Charkasi. What else can we talk about when we have this elephant in the room? Perhaps that is the point of the show: to force tangential topics into this same urgent realm.

Unfortunately the work and the show suffer for this. And the stronger works, like the dancing mobile of guns and Shark Attack…,Tel Aviv, are left in the shadow both politically and artistically. It is difficult work to make, to aestheticize or to entertain not to mention beauty. Hans Haacke works in this realm, as does the Irish artist Malachi Farrell who is a genius at this. Auderer’s exhibition reminds us how rare and hard it is to make this work and his efforts seem deeply and thoroughly entrenched.

One high point this week was the opportunity to hear Wayne Koestenbaum speak as part of the 6 Conversation Pieces and a Didactic Poem series curated by Christian Kobald at COCO. It reminded me of an interesting interview he did for index magazine back in 1999. How great for Vienna to have this brilliant cultural force speak here.

Wayne Koestenbaum @ COCO

Kasalicky @ BAWAG

Kasalicky @ BAWAG

Kasalicky @ BAWAG

Auderer @ Galerie Dana Charkasi

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