Despite the fact that Jackson Pollock called it home, the Hamptons have always been more about relaxing and networking than art. Nevertheless, it’s where Adam Stennett is exhibiting his look at the shadier parts of America’s recent past in “Off the Grid,” currently on display at the Glenn Horowitz Bookseller in East Hampton. Showing in the relatively bucolic environs of the eastern tip of Long Island is somewhat out of the ordinary for Stennett, who made his reputation as the Sir Edward Landseer of urban wildlife by painting mice and rats in a masterfully photorealist way—his 2003 “Underwater Mouse 1,” a painting of a rodent swimming to the surface of a dirty brown pool, was widely admired for its uncanny beauty. In “Off the Grid,” Stennett again takes on unsettling subjects. “There aren’t many places where you can do an exhibition exploring ideas about conspiracy, self-medication, and paranoia in which the work will be so richly contextualized, for example, next to a first-edition copy of ‘Masters of Deceit’ by J. Edgar Hoover inscribed to J.F.K,” he says. “The only place I know of like this is Glenn Horowitz Bookseller.”
Most tourists plan to see the sights and locations that create a place’s reputation. But San Francisco-based photographer Airyka Rockefeller has a different way of familiarizing herself with a new locale. Instead of looking at the major monuments or the more esoteric local haunts, she seeks out overlooked and neglected sites and objects for her personal artistic investigations. In “Crooked Meadow,” her first solo show at San Francisco’s Jack Fischer Gallery, she presents a series of photographs—the lonely rooms of derelict houses, an empty Communist-era stadium—taken in a small Czech town that she visited during an artist-in-residency program organized by Milkwood International. “My artistic material derives from my belief that what is to be found, between the infamous and the forgotten, between intention and chance, is more mysterious, more significant, than any gesture I could propose, any individual I could imagine, or any place I could premeditate,” she explains.
The eight seconds that it takes for a rider mounted on a bull to officially start clocking in a rodeo score might seem like an insignificant sliver of time. But as Suky Best and Rory Hamilton demonstrate in “Rodeo,” their show of three animated videos and five screen-prints that opens at London’s Danielle Arnaud contemporary art gallery this weekend, the endurance and grace the rider needs to hang on are nothing compared to the enduring power of the rodeo-rider image over the American cultural imagination. At Tate Britain and elsewhere, the London-based duo have exhibited videos and prints created through the technique of rotoscoping, transforming stills from classic cowboy films into sharp silhouettes that they then animate. In their previous work, Best and Hamilton used mostly black figures against a white background, a way of highlighting the presumably stark morality of the manifest-destiny mentality. But anyone who’s actually watched movies from the golden age of the cowboy genre knows that moral ambiguity was as ever present as spurs and six-shooters. These red, blue, and yellow riders and bulls bucking against black backgrounds are part of a long tradition—albeit one that takes only eight seconds to join.
When readers look through the latest issue of Jalouse, which hits U.S. newsstands in the next couple of days, they’ll find several pages of work by the London-based artist Kate Gibbs. “We had wanted to work with Kate for a long time, so it was natural that we chose her for this art-themed issue,” says the publication’s creative director, Eric Pillault, who submitted a series of photos to Gibb with the request that she transform them into silk-screen images (like this one of a Miu Miu dress, above). The result is a look-twice alternative to the Photoshop treatments that photos more typically receive. “The shoot involved lots of geometric shapes, so there was a lot to play with by adding hand-painted areas and switching things around,” says Gibb, who has also worked with Stüssy, Dries Van Noten, Adidas, and the Chemical Brothers. “Some days I felt like there were only 20 colors in the world and I didn’t like any of them,” she added. “At which point I realized if I could just get the base color right, then the rest would evolve from there.” And so it did.
Since “The Stepford Wives,” “Peyton Place,” and the work of David Lynch and Gregory Crewdson unearthed the sinister subtexts lurking beneath suburbia’s sanitized surfaces, it’s been hard to look at a beaming housewife or her spotless kitchen without expecting the worst. Erwin Olaf’s new series of photographs, “Grief,” on view from this week at Galerie Magda Danysz in Paris, articulates a mature, chilling portrait of quiet misery. The Amsterdam-based former fashion photographer presents his perfectly polished models in icy interiors decorated with a muted palette and soft lighting intended to evoke the velvety sensuality of glossy lifestyle spreads. But despite the artificial comfort and their own impeccable feminine poise and beauty, each of the women seems desolate and deserted. They gracefully weep into glasses of Scotch, look yearningly out from gauzy white curtains, or sit, with perfect posture but vacant expressions, in their stark, modernist living rooms. Their unhappiness is beautiful, but it’s clear that a little mess would be welcome in these pristine and passionless lives.