vertexlist blog is an online extension of vertexList gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The content is a collective effort of artists and curators working with vertexList. (

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Micro-review: The Gravity of Source Material

Appropriating the “And babies?” poster, as a component to another artwork, is hard to get away with. The iconic poster, designed by the Art Worker’s Coalition, is a simple, but profound juxtaposition of two historic sources: a photograph of dead bodies on the road after the My Lai massacre and four words from the 1969 “60 Minutes” interview with Paul Meadlo. As part of another artwork, the image is such a historic heavyweight that it threatens to appropriate the surrounding materials for itself. Matthew Day Jackson juggles this weight with another less historic image in his work And babies? And babies, one of eleven works on view at his Nicole Klagsbrun show Drawings from Tlön. The counterpoint to the carnage is a NASA image of two astronauts tethered to a remote manipulator arm dangling sublimely in the blackness of space. The two posters are connected to each other by a glaring fluorescent bulb that juts downward, tunnels through the black frame of the NASA poster, and then parallels the robotic arm securing the two astronauts. The NASA poster simultaneously seems to prop up the AWC poster—as if it were the picket of a protest sign—and to be swinging from it like the end of a pendulum. The juxtaposition is a fruitful non sequitur. Jackson has not successfully appropriated the AWC poster. Instead, he has demonstrated its gravity.

Matthew Day Jackson

Drawings from Tlön
Nicole Klagsbrun
Through 18 October


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Zombies in Condoland

If you find yourself in Toronto on October 4th, please come participate in Zombies in Condoland: a new performance in which anyone can star!

October 4th to 5th, 7pm to 7am (all night long)
Jillian Mcdonald for Nuit Blanche Toronto

Zombies in Condoland, a large scale performance commissioned by curator Gordon Hatt for Nuit Blanche Toronto, continues McDonald’s interest in the horror film genre, grafting it onto the phenomenon of urban gentrification. Referencing Toronto’s rich history of zombie movies, the annual Toronto Zombie Walk, and the condoization of downtown artist communities, McDonald directs a legion of zombies who will perform in various late night film scenes in Toronto's College Park. Zombies in Condoland is a series of night actions that mimic a film set for a low budget horror film such as those by director George Romero whose latest film, Diary of a Zombie, was filmed in Toronto.

Zombies achieved cult status in the past few years, with their popularity growing wildly. Enormously popular zombie walks and pub crawls occur annually in cities like Toronto, Montréal, San Francisco, Austin, Vancouver, and Liverpool. Zombies are instantly recognizable and carry a metaphoric reference to the working class. The Zombies in Condoland are responding to gentrification, moving in on an area which is rapidly changing.

The Zombies in Condoland website invites participation and provides information about the project. Zombies are encouraged to come in character - nurse zombie, business person zombie, geek zombie, sports zombie. They are encouraged also to do their makeup en route, in cafes, bars, and mass transit for more zombie fun! Zombies will also be created on site by professional makeup artists, therefore no experience is necessary. Instructional videos and a map are included on the project website.

Jillian Mcdonald is a Canadian artist, based in New York, whose work infiltrates film genres such as horror in part to tap into the fan culture that fuels them.

Very special thanks to Nuit Blanche, Gordon Hatt, and Thea Munster of The Toronto Zombie Walk.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Jillian Mcdonald Hot and Sexy

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Apocrypha @ OKOK

"Pillars", 2008

Apocrypha: New Works by Sean Higgins

September 13th - October 5th

OKOK Gallery
5107 Ballard Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107

OKOK Gallery is pleased to present Apocrypha, a new works by Los Angeles-based artist Sean Higgins. Man’s pursuit of the unknown, and the isolation inherent in such ventures, has remained a consistent theme throughout Higgins’ career as an artist. Apocrypha continues to build upon Higgins’ fascination with the indefinite, albeit with an entirely new set of imagery, the NASA photography archive.

Higgins is part of an American generation in which science fiction underwent a sort of pop culture renaissance that bled into government policy as evidenced by Reagan’s Star Wars program, a failed attempt to develop a defense system that could intercept nuclear missiles from space. Higgins is a member of the generation that witnessed the Challenger tragedy unfold on live television, which one could argue marked a collective loss of American innocence rivaled only by September 11th.. In all likelihood he was one of the millions of children enamored with E.T. and Star Wars toys. Perhaps coming of age during this period in history subconsciously led Higgins to cull source material from the NASA archive, or maybe it can be attributed to Higgins hiking and bike riding above NASA’s jet propulsion lab in Pasadena over the course of the last couple years. The source of his inspiration is debatable but the parallels and contradictions that coexisted between the historical and pop culture milestones of that era are present throughout this body of work.

"Co-conspirator", 2008

It is easy to be transfixed by the beauty of the billowing clouds that unfurl in the frozen explosions, the white glow of rockets’ trails, or the shimmering foils concealing machines that appear too foreign to be of human origin. There is a nerdy charm to the work, a comforting feeling of misplaced nostalgia and vague familiarity. But with time the aesthetic splendor and adolescent playfulness of the imagery begins to fade into a feeling of ominous threat and uncertainty. Higgins has noted that over the course of developing the work certain pseudo religious qualities began to surface in the imagery. This is a fitting observation considering the source imagery represents the documentation of man forcibly penetrating the heavens so to speak. The menacing nature of the work is compounded further by a sense of disorientation achieved through the absence of humans and the intentional removal of most reference to scale. The viewer is invited to form their own fiction, left only the occasional clue to guide the narrative, evinced in works such as Drive-In in which a staircase is illuminated by a shaft of light reminiscent of a Nuclear-cooling tower flipped inside out.

The question of authorship is also a point of interest for Higgins. The concern is reflected in the exhibit’s title. Apocrypha is derived from a Greek word meaning “those having been hidden away.” The broadest definition of the term is “writings, statements, etc., of doubtful authorship or authenticity.” When applied to a Judeo-Christian context Apocrypha is defined as “a group of 14 books, not considered canonical, included in the Septuagint and the Vulgate as part of the Old Testament, but usually omitted from the Protestant editions of the Bible.” Higgins begins his own exploration of authorship by sourcing material from a public archive, with the aim of utilizing these images as the framework for original works of art. This sort of appropriation is nothing new in the art world but Higgins manages to provide a unique perspective by purposely transforming documentary images into a disjointed fiction, a fiction that succeeds in spanning the edges of pop culture, history, science, and religion.

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.

-Carl Sagan

What are we doing here? It’s like… something out of a dream or… I don’t know. Maybe I’m just going crazy.

-Luke Skywalker to R2-D2 on Dagobah


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Micro-review: Justin Kemp at Club Internet

Justin Kemp’s Pseudo Event, an animated loop of red ribbon-cutting photo ops cobbled together in a more-or-less seamless progression, wryly mocks the notion of progress by satirizing the accompanying inauguration ceremonies. The subjects range from politicians in bad suits, and ten-scissor teams, to hapless chumps with outsize scissors. The sheer number of these images available seems to mock the inane ritual itself. But what inauguration would be complete without a ribbon cutting? Apparently, not many. More significant to Pseudo Event is the question of just what is being inaugurated. And here, the removal of each ceremony’s referent is the linchpin of the piece.

The Club Internet version of Pseudo Event, where the 13,900-pixel-long red ribbon-cutting event seems to continue ad infinitum in its jittery progression—versus the post on one of the artist’s websites that requires viewers to scroll horizontally for sixteen feet—is the more successful version. This sleight of technical wizardry transforms the piece from a string of still images into a developed and poetic work, if still only a witty one-liner.

Keep It Simple Stupid, curated by Constant Dullaart
Through 30 September 2008


New Blood Opening

Nao Bustamante perfoming Given Over To Want


The opening was very well attended with a raw and visceral performance by Nao Bustamante

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mark Napier and Kelly Richardson at Pace Digital Gallery, Sept 18

Pace Digital Gallery is pleased to host an evening lecture with new media artist Mark Napier, followed by a reception for Mark Napier and Kelly Richardson (UK), whose work is on view through Oct 8.

Thursday Sept 18, 6:00pm. Room 313, 163 William Street (between Beekman and Ann Streets), New York.
This event is free and open to the public, please join us!

inquiries: jmcdonald2 at | visit website for more info/bios/map/directions

:: Mark Napier explores the excitement and anxiety of this moment in history, as we transition from a world of physical objects to a world dominated by electricity, magnetism and light: the raw materials of digital media. In the Cyclops Series he created a "soft" Empire State Building: a 3D model of the famous skyscraper that appears to soften and melt, writhing almost organically, then struggle to return to it's original form. Inspired by Cubism -- a form that arose during another period of rapid transition -- these artworks combine aspects of painting, sculpture, photography and animation, bringing these forms together to represent an object that is immaterial, ephemeral, almost cloud-like, yet completely durable and real in it's own right.

:: Kelly Richardson's video installations adopt the use of cinematic language to investigate notions of constructed environments and the blurring of the real versus the unreal. She creates contemplative spaces which offer visual metaphors for the sensations associated with the hugely complicated world we have created for ourselves, magnificent and equally dreadful. In Exiles of the Shattered Star, Richardson presents a beautiful countryside showered with what appear to be remnants of another place. Inhabiting a place between fantasy and reality, Exiles of the Shattered Star evokes trepidation and fascination in equal measures.

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Sunday, September 07, 2008

"NEW BLOOD" opening Saturday, Sept.13th

VertexList has the pleasure to present “New Blood”, a group exhibition which "probes the empty, vacant, and vacuous nature of a world full of things where perception and the direct experience of “real-life” are blurred by the dense atmosphere of media, consumption, and entertainment."

Feturing video, new media and installations by
Nao Bustamante,
Sasha Dela, Sergio De La Torre, Double Happiness, Sujin Lee,
Jeanne Verdoux and
Lance Wakeling

Curated by Charles Beronio.

The reception will take place at vertexList on Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, 7pm - 10pm.
The exhibition will be on display until Sunday, Oct 12th 2008.

"Given to Want", a live performance by Nao Bustamante @ 8.30pm (free)

"New Blood" marks a turning point at vertexList and the beginning of a new 5-year plan of growth and development. The work in the exhibition looks back several years through the different subjective lenses of the artists and also considers our current cultural landscape. The artists of New Blood examine their experiences and surroundings to engage and embrace the world we live in to reveal its’ submerged and hidden meanings and narratives. Examining the banal, absurd, and sublime nature of the overlooked, day-to-day surface manifestations of our consumerized culture and its deeper (il)logic, inner structure, and architecture--– New Blood reveals the forces at play in the spaces and places we inhabit and reside in as well as the concealed range of emotional experiences that occur in these settings– from boredom, loneliness, and longing, to desire, love, and violence (both bodily and economic). The exhibition probes the empty, vacant, and vacuous nature of a world full of things where perception and the direct experience of “real-life” are blurred by the dense atmosphere of media, consumption, and entertainment.
Charles Beronio

Nao Bustamante

Nao Bustamante is an internationally known performance and video artist originating from the San Joaquin Valley of California. Her (often precarious) work encompasses performance art, sculpture, installation and video. Bustamante has presented in Galleries, Museums, Universities and underground sites all around the world. She has exhibited, among other locales, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Arts, and the Kiasma Museum of Helsinki. In 2001 she received the prestigious Anonymous Was a Woman fellowship and in 2007 named a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow, as well as a Lambent Fellow. Currently Bustamante holds the position of Associate Professor of New Media and Live Art at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Sasha Dela

Sasha Dela, originally from Atlanta, currently resides in Houston and has recently completed a residency at the Museum of Fine Arts’ Core Program. Dela’s work embodies her concerns regarding the intersection of ecology and the marketplace. Her sculpture, installation, digital photography and video investigate the complex issues surrounding resource use and the potentially unexpected and unforeseen outcomes of industrial production and its impact on culture, society, and its relation to ecology. She completed her Master of Fine Art in San Francisco at California College of the Arts in 2005, and her Bachelor of Fine Art at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2000, and was awarded the DeCosse Fellowship, to study at the Accademia Di Belle Arte, Florence, Italy in 2000. In 2009 Dela will be presenting a large-scale pubic project on location at the Mexican American Cultural Center in Austin for the Texas Biennial. Currently Dela has a solo exhibition, Natural Commodity, at the McKinney Avenue Contemporary. Dela’s recent exhibitions include the Texas Biennial, McKinney Avenue Contemporary, the Houston Area Exhibition at the Blaffer Gallery, the Museum of the University of Houston and the Arthouse traveling exhibition.

Sergio De La Torre

Sergio De La Torre works have focused on issues regarding immigration, tourism, surveillance technologies and transnational identities. These works have been exhibited in a variety of venues both national and international. He has received grants from the NEA, The Rockefeller Foundation, Creative Capital, the Protrero Nuevo Fund and the Creative Work Fund among others. De La Torre’s latest project MAQUILAPOLIS |city of factories|, an hour long video documentary done in collaboration with film maker Vicky Funari and the Tijuana based NGO Grupo Factot X has partivipated in more than 50 international film festivals and has received many awards, among them the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006.
De La Torre is an Assistant Professor at the University of San Francisco’s Art + Architecture Department.

Double Happiness

Double Happiness is a research institution and 4-person collective founded in 2007 and dedicated to constructing new frameworks for the artifacts of failed systems of logic. They are located online at, and at various outposts throughout the world. They are currently testing methods of merging our online and offline operations.

Sujin Lee

Born in Seoul, Korea, Sujin Lee is an interdisciplinary artist who works in a combination of video, performance and text. She currently lives and works in New York. Sock monkeys and gummy worms are comforting.

Jeanne Verdoux

Jeanne Verdoux was born in Paris. She lives and works in Brooklyn. She is a MA Graphic Design recipient from the Royal College of Art, London (1990) and a BA Visual Communication recipient from ENSAAMA, Paris (1987). In 2008, she participated in the Artist in the Marketplace program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts. She has shown her work at Galerie Magda Danysz (Paris, 2007), The Bronx Museum (How Soon is Now?, 2008); Pulse, NY (2007); ‘80+80, photo_graphisme’ (Galerie VU, Paris, 2007); Scope Miami (2006); Scope NY (2005). She received the Villa Medicis “Hors-les-Murs” prize (1999), The International Studio Residency (NY, 1999), the Rotunda Gallery/BCAT artist residency (2006) and the Centre National des Arts Plastiques Grant (Paris, 2006).

Lance Wakeling
Lance Wakeling was born in 1980 in Tacoma, Washington. He grew up working in sign shops and moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2004 where he now works in magazine publishing. He has shown work at Consolidated Works, Western Bridge, Exit Art, Dam Stuhltrager, Artists Space, Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, and Pierogi 2000.

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Austin show: some images

Reset/Play: a short video walk-through

Visitors playing Katamari Damacy at the Arthouse entrance

Cory Arcangel "Beat the Champ" and Alex Galloway "How to Play World of Warcraft"

Mike Beradino "Atari 2600 Electric Paint"

Also: check out an interview with Paul Slocum


Wednesday, September 03, 2008

RESET/PLAY in Austin

September 6 – November 2, 2008

Cory Arcangel
Beat the Champ (Sega Genesis Championship Bowling: Dana), 2008
installation with hacked Sega Genesis game controller
dimensions variable
Courtesy of the artist and Team Gallery, New York, NY

The video game as a medium and a style of life has reached its middle age along with the first generation of people who grew up playing them. The non-linear, interactive, processor based narratives, which at first mimicked Hollywood and struggled to convey their simple content with 8-bit processors, gradually became the largest entertainment industry in the history of electronic media. RESET/PLAY is an exhibition attempting a critical exploration of contemporary art inspired by video games. Questioning the history, control mechanisms, political and art-historical implications of electronic games, RESET/PLAY assembles a formidable group of international artists who made a significant impact on this growing post-game artistic sub-genre. Artists include Cory Arcangel, Michael Bell-Smith, Mike Beradino, Brody Condon, Alex Galloway, JODI, Guthrie Lonergan, Kristin Lucas, Joe McKay, Michael Smith, Eddo Stern and Keita Takahashi.

Brody Condon
Judgment Modification (After Memling), 2008
self-playing video game
Courtesy of the artist and Virgil de Voldère Gallery, New York, NY

Talking Art with RESET/PLAY guest curators Marcin Ramocki and Paul Slocum

Saturday, September 6, 3:00 pm

RESET/PLAY is organized for Arthouse by guest curators Marcin Ramocki and Paul Slocum, both of whom are practicing media artists who also run independent spaces in Brooklyn and Dallas, respectively, that focus on media art. The exhibition will be accompanied by an 8-bit music and film festival co-organized by the Austin Museum of Digital Art.

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