Magazine article Artforum International

Nikolas Gambaroff

Magazine article Artforum International

Nikolas Gambaroff

Article excerpt

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Nikolas Gambaroff is an artist based in New York and Los Angeles. A show of his collaborative work with El Arakawa will open this November at Galerie Meyer Kainer in Vienna.

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1 "MARCEL BROODTHAERS: A RETROSPECTIVE" (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK, 2016) Broodthaers has become a reference for legions of young artists working within a self-reflexive practice, trying to update an approach to institutional critique without falling prey to an overly academic outlook. The long-overdue New York retrospective offered varied possibilities for understanding and experiencing his work in person. His legendary (and completely misunderstood) idea of "inventing something insincere" proves to be a catalyst to reinvent what art could be--in objects and in thought.

2 PETER SLOTERDIJK, CRITIQUE OF CYNICAL REASON (UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA PRESS, 1988) Sloterdijk's treatise investigates cynicism as the central mind-set of contemporary society and traces its history from the Kynics of Greek antiquity to modern-day philosophy and literature. In Sloterdijk's terms, the contemporary cynic is attempting to cope with the pressures of modern society, to maintain participation within a system that is already understood as being wrong. Cynicism becomes an easy out, a position from which any practice can morph into an endless stream of participation for participation's sake, imbued with the false consciousness that one is actually assuming a radical position of critique.

3 PHILIP MIROWSKI, MACHINE DREAMS: ECONOMICS BECOMES A CYBORG SCIENCE (CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2001) Mirowski investigates one of the pivotal moments of the twentieth century. He traces the radical reformulation of neoclassical economics in the aftermath of World War II--and its restructuring via the military-industrial complex--with in-depth discussions of the Cowles Commission and rand Corporation. The digital computer and "cyborg sciences" (fields such as cybernetics and artificial intelligence) softened the boundary between organisms and machines to create the Homo economicus--the dominant economic construction of the individual--privileging, and so producing, a mindless, selfish subject. The immense connectivity, quantification, and economization of social life through likes, swipes, and followers deepen this dark outlook on the fabric of our realities.

4 "DAVID HAMMONS: FIVE DECADES" (MNUCHIN GALLERY, NEW YORK, 2016) Hammons's last three shows at 45 East Seventy-Eighth Street triangulate into a sort of chamber play of his more than fifty-year career. Posited against the backdrop of the posh surroundings (and financier pedigree) of Mnuchin, the first two exhibitions ? were received as epitomes of the successful art show--bangers, so to say. Critics, artists, and the market seemed to embrace them equally. The third, a self- organized retrospective, was a perverse double entendre. In mounting his overview at this haven for blue-chip work, instead of at a museum, Hammons questioned the idea of freedom within an institutional framework that evades its relationship to market forces, while enjoying the coveted freedom to structure one's own rhythm of creation and curation.

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5 CHRIS KRAUS, I LOVE DICK (SEMIOTEXTfE], 1997) In light of an upcoming Amazon adaptation (directed by Jill Soloway), I thought Chris Kraus's book needed to appear here, though probably not for the first time. I Love Dick remains a touchstone for me and for uncountable peers. Kraus combined rigorous thought with an angstless yet vulnerable display of intimacy and emotion, all laid bare for dissection, a particularly daunting task within the critical milieu of academic-know- it-all post-1968 New York. …

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