Anders Petersen, From Back Home

Anders Petersen
Anders Petersen, From Back Home, 2008, image: Anders Petersen

Well-known Swedish photographer Anders Petersen has been taking photographs since he left home at eighteen, beginning in Hamburg, Germany in the ’60s with outsider figures and acquaintances at a bar called Café Lehmitz, leading up to his latest show at Stockholm’s Fotografiska Museet displaying a fine-tuned collection of 100 black and white photographs taken in Värmland, Sweden. With so many photographs displayed side by side, it is easy to overlook some, focusing more on others that more permanently find their way into the viewer’s domain of interest. More »

Catherine Wagner, My New Job

A public document and a relaxed collection of intimate poetry fusing arguments, personal writing exercises, confusions, clarifications and candid declarations, Catherine Wagner’s My New Job wears many faces: a seductive smile, a snide sideways glare, a big-toothed grin, a downward glance, an open-jawed stare:

Just in every rathole, just trying to learn everything at once
I was learning everything at once

The poet–sometimes sexual and raw, occasionally impotent and anti-social–shares her moods without regret. Feelings are recognized, made fun of, accepted and even resented. Bittersweet yet rich, this job is one that is fulfilling and yet doesn’t bring on the guilt that comes with eating too much or talking out of turn. More »

Janice Lee, Kerotakis

Janice Lee
image: Janice Lee

Much is happening on the pages of contemporary literature. Yet, it cannot be concluded that events on the page are closely inspired by those occurring in the world. Sometimes, a writer throws its readers for a loop, and it can be a pleasant sensation. Los Angeles-based writer Janice Lee introduces her literary debut Kērotakis: an offering of strangeness, constructed to allow a number of poetic voices ample stage to be heard—these creations sometimes emerge with the intention of folding in on themselves or exploding already-existing limits, reaching far from reality, hinting towards blissful escapism. More »

Lily Hoang, The Evolutionary Revolution

Micro chapters that can stand alone or be read in a linear fashion, Lily Hoang’s The Evolutionary Revolution is a book of sly stepping stones, stepping away from the world as it is now. The world as it is now is assumed by many to be out of our hands, something unstable, something that both affects us yet is not within our reach to fix or improve at moments of strife or general concern. Hoang’s chapters have grandiose names such as “The Imperial Council,” “Man Emerging” and “How the Sea Became Salty,” for the times beg for at least grounded, surefooted beginnings—even if many find themselves wading in obscurity after a story unfolds. More »

Daniel Andersson, Big Block Beauty

Daniel Andersson
Daniel Andersson, Big Block Beauty, 2009, image: Daniel Andersson

In Sweden—where public transportation is quite sufficient and considered to be superior to competing modes of mobility—it is an oddly welcome change of pace to see one’s creative focus shift towards the automobile culture. Swedish artist Daniel Andersson recently presented Big Block Beauty, 2009 alongside the work of twelve other artists in “Bilen i våra hjärtan” (i.e. “The Car in Our Hearts”) at Skövde Kulturhus. Situated in the heartland of Sweden, works in this group show expressed nostalgia towards what the car once was, appreciation for the its power and speed, as well as evaluate the environmental impact that these machines have on today’s volatile era. More »

“Runaway Train”

Jenny Lindblom
Jenny Lindblom, Untitled (Limited Ambition), 2010, image: Bonniers Konsthall

Every spring at Bonniers Konsthall, an effort is made to share the work of emerging Swedish artists  that are considered to be cutting-edge, contemporary, and altogether de rigueur. The curators this round tried a different spin; they chose to focus on the works of eleven Swedish artists who now make work and reside outside Sweden—in other words, expatriates who have chosen to produce work under the influence of other cultures. Which begs the question: what makes these artists Swedish anyway? (Though nationality as an aesthetic construct has long passed out of vogue at places such as the Whitney Museum of American Art or at the Venice Biennale where Liam Gillick last represented Germany.) When examined more closely, does an artist possess a right or responsibility to identify with one’s origin, considering morphing notions of immigration, homeland and patriotism? More »

Tony Matelli, “The Constant Now”

Tony Matelli
Tony Matelli, The Constant Now, 2010, image: Andréhn-Schiptjenko

“The Constant Now,” Tony Matelli’s fourth solo exhibition at this gallery, presents five new sculptures and three paintings that are reminiscent of his previous explorations. For example, there are obvious similarities between his sculpture Josh, 2010, and Sleepwalker, 2001: Both eerily depict displaced human figures and appear to be conspicuous mockeries. This show more fully formulates a question that his earlier work touched on: What particular value can be found in art that overstates a seemingly directionless, wasted state of being? More »

Macgregor Card, Duties of an English Foreign Secretary

New York City-based poet and bibliographer Macgregor Card is taking readers along for a ride that isn’t always comforting, but neither is reality. In Duties of an English Foreign Secretary, which is the 2009 Fence Modern Poet Series winner, we might find ourselves careening between Card’s unusual humor, his penchant for flourishing outpours and confessions, and a heavy honesty reminiscent of trying to chat with a distant relative but not really reaching them despite wholehearted attempts—a kind of honesty not always accepted or even recognized. More »

Tom Friedman, “Up In The Air”

Tom Friedman
Tom Friedman, Up In the Air, 2009, mixed media, dimensions variable, image: Christian Saltas

The first solo exhibition in Scandinavia by the Leverett, Massachusetts–based artist Tom Friedman is titled “Up in the Air,” and it asks for a heightened consideration of what consitutes a meaningful experience, in hopes of upgrading the possibilities of artistic production. Although some might find Friedman’s work inaccessible or view it as the output of someone with too much free time, such reactions perhaps bespeak a certain impatience and ingratitude toward what we have and what we are, stances that risk locking us into the predicament of feeling disconnected from current artmaking strategies. It can be difficult to appreciate an artist’s motivations when they seem unaffected by some mutually shared reality. Yet Friedman is sensitive to the gaps that inhere in subjective interpretation, leaving room for self-navigation. More »