“In Life Review, Ben Murray’s solo show at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, continues the artist’s reconnaissance of the maddeningly amorphous landscape of memory, here pinned to the walls in its most dramatic form. The “life review” is the classic, quasi-paranormal event wherein one’s life flashes before one’s eyes—in totality, crystal-clear—during a near death experience. A fictional trope and indelible fact to those who have experienced them, the life review is memory armed with the exigency of death, its celerity contrary to every little thing we imagine about ourselves—that we are some grand elegy in our total, that we are incapable of reduction to a series of scenes—when in fact we are, of course, nothing but scenes, none ever seen from the same perspective twice, singular in both our mind and the minds of others.”
In the hall outside the main space, an array of paint cans—actually wood, and liable to tip right over if one bumps them—sit on nightstands, surreal vignettes within and around them (a Hockney scene post-summer, leaves and furniture in a tiny empty pool in a drawer; a potato which wanders the wall like the world’s starchiest spider) suggesting the kind of sleep-deprivation-derived trompe l’oeil one gets in a dawn-lit bedroom after a prolonged coke binge, something just beyond the playfulness of his material alchemy and with the slightest soupçon of strange menace, the uncanny power of trompe l’esprit.
Conversations with artist and ACT UP videographer Rudy Lemcke—who has work in Art AIDS America—while living in the Bay Area first got [show curator Danny] Orendorff thinking about the intergenerational divide with the epidemic. For some, it was a war lived on the front lines, with the casualties to match; for others, a terrible but foggy memory of a tragic past. And for populations underserved by institutional efforts to treat HIV/AIDS, the epidemic has never really left, hanging on their eaves and haunting their communities.
” … perfect save a pox, the red of dried blood—it’s the brightest color in the whole room, really, this dried-deoxygenated-but-still-too-fresh blood, each splock with its own idiosyncratic hair style, pili radiating as if from the weakest sun, clumping into constellations, gentle parabolic forms like arched eyebrows, carrying in them a sense of ad-hoc exigency, the kinetic beautiful violence requisite for their application demonstrated in their forms, an abstract take on a passage from a Bret Easton Ellis novel—The bathroom reeks of bleach and disinfectant and the floor is wet and gleaming even though the maid hasn’t started cleaning in here yet; Glamorama, pg. 256—a form of silent violence, an echo of a moment captured in all of its chaos atop a bone white grid, gleaming with gold, surrounded by marble, a porthole into God’s own bathroom…”
“In the second room one finds the fruits of these captured sparks, from sandcastle-makers begotten by Parsons’ great grandfather, beautiful wooden blades with teeth like synthesizer waves and mantis raptorial forelegs, to a golden-ratio finder which teases out the god’s math in anything—a divination device!—to a wooden puzzle of dopamine, which causes the very chemical itself to release via its manipulation.”
“Anna Bogatin had lived in numerous parts of the Soviet Union before moving to America in 1992, a cultural shift reflected in her practice’s blending of the high and low tech. Picture of nature are subjected to digital studies, before being painted painstakingly by hand. The end result is a prismatic abstraction, an infographic of the natural.”
“The sculptures’ apparent fluency is belied by their time-consuming construction; these are chimerical pieces composed of pattern and repetition, made from a product that—while it carries connotations of excitement and escape, the survivalist and scuba diver, the parachutist and hiker—is indeed the workhorse of these pursuits, its primary purpose to bind and hold. The tension between paracord’s wont and Morical’s empyrean execution provides the invisible arrestment.”
“The [MCA's] design team of course does more than implement the new identity; they also create the labels for exhibitions, the layout of the member magazine and some of the museum’s catalogues, the website and press materials, including releases and the exhibition-specific, often gorgeous folders they come in. The David Bowie Is design, created by Wilner, is particularly wonderful, brilliant red with an iconic blue thunderbolt crashing across its front, screaming down from glam empyrean; think Hephaestus sloshed on Sherwin-Williams.”