Michael Genovese (Artist) Bibliography and press
Articles and Essays
"These days no one has time to wait. Spare seconds, minutes, let alone half-hours and 45-minute sessions have become increasingly expensive in our high-speed, high-resolution, pay-per-download Wi-Fi culture. Everything must be NOW or it risks being at all. At least this is the ideology ushered in through e-commerce, mass media, and corporate capital.
But bridge time does exist. This is the in-between time that stitches together those almost imperceptible instants and forgotten thresholds of passing, segues, and crossovers. In the human world, bridge time is walking across the office, crossing the street, or waiting for someone to answer your call. In the world of computing, bridge time involves downloading, processing, saving, storing, encoding and decoding, transmission, and mass dissemination. In fact, there is a significantly grotesque amount of bridge time in the world of “high-speed” computation. Hi-tech industry may not want us to take much notice of the ubiquity of these in-between states, but they are there, and they are also the key to developing a richer understanding of ourselves and the culture we live in.
Marcel Duchamp identified the importance of such bridge time moments over a century ago, in his articulation of the “infrathin.” For Duchamp, the infrathin were states that, in the context of an artwork, invoked an immeasurable interstice between two ideas in constant transition or negotiation. Circa 2016, Los Angeles-based artist Michael Genovese has appropriated similar bridge time moments, illustrated in his recent series of paintings, Intervals.
At first glance, Genovese’s large-scale Intervals appear to have nothing to do with ambivalence, uncertainty, or the threshold of conceptual space invoked by the infrathin. Rather, his clean-cut, precisely executed, unanimously square and rectangular shaped pictures seem to belong to the straightforward genre of traditional color field paintings, rendered according to the conventions of minimalism and the pre-established dictates of modern art. And yet, while they appear to sing this same well worn “song,” as the artist puts it, they do so using “a different story.” But what story of ambivalence or indecipherable uncertainty could static color field paintings have to tell, circa 2016?..." Continue Reading →
"When the Dallas Museum of Art installs its Piet Mondrian collection, the result is illuminating. The museum has enough work, made over a long enough period of time, to allow one into the artist’s head, to see his particular form of pictorial reduction. In the world of popular Mondrian (in which his work is found on coffee cups, cupcakes and Yves Saint Laurent dresses), it is easy to forget the moody plein-air roots of the artist’s blocks of color and black lines. Mondrian painted liminal moments, when the fading sun threw dark shadows and stark contrasts across a row of trees. Analysing moments of transition or in-between spaces was how Mondrian attempted to show the structure of vision.
Michael Genovese’s new paintings recall Mondrian: they offer the grids of colour, perfect surfaces and hard-edge look that made Mondrian a force not only in art but in design. However, Genovese’s grids do not derive from the crepuscular, but instead from moments of transition found online. Specifically, he finds his abstractions through a Google Image search algorithm, which fills (only for an instant) a browser grid with blocks of colour just prior to the full loading images. The result is a momentary abstraction, a visual stand-in for whatever topic that brings a person to Google. If one’s computer has a fast connection, this intermediate Google space may be impossible to see altogether..."
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"Robert Bound: Tell us about Michael Genovese’s pieces. This one I feel in doing some preparatory note taking, I did need to be talked through it. Maybe you can fill me in.
Francesca Gavin: Genovese is great, I’ve been a fan of him for a long time. He is originally from Chicago and now he lives and works in Los Angeles. This show is an interpretation of the play on the history of abstraction and also touches in with the idea of how we use our phones. What he did is he looked up different words on his on phone, let’s take the word “guilt” and before things turn over and you’re using google image search you’re presented with these colored, cubic shapes and he’s translated that into these very finely made paintings. So, its very much about a translation of technology from one medium to another, but also at the same time, how do you reinvent our relationship to the abstract in a way that’s contemporary and interesting and has meaning, and I think he does it really well. The format of the paintings echoes the same kind of ratio of the actual format of a phone screen, so very much like, narrow and tall. Michael Genovese’s work at the moment is touching in on this heritage of Josef Albers or Ad Reinhardt, and this history from the 1960’s that’s being given new meaning in a contemporary context..." Continue Reading →
"Michael Genovese’s linear wall reliefs mimic the everyday cracks in pavement, walls and other human structures that surround us; they also serve as traces and indexes of the less tangible fractures around us. His current exhibition at Paris, London, Hong Kong (the new gallery’s second show), “Joliet,” references the city that brands itself the “crossroads of Mid-America” and has historically served as both a railway transportation hub and a site for adult and juvenile prisons. Genovese, originally from Chicago, uses these local associations to his advantage, giving the slick, nickel-plated, mirror-polished steel cracks that crawl across the gallery space more political and historical weight. But the formalisms of the cracks themselves stand alone as repositories for abstract imagery from natural and invented worlds: like stitched seams, imagined lines of constellations, and uncanny growth of strange plant life, they seem filled with forces of gravity and grace, dripping down walls or attempting to scale and branch. The overall effect recalls Charles Ray’s famous declaration about “Hinoki,” on view at the Art Institute of Chicago, that he was trying to “breathe intentionality into” the found rotting log that he copied in a wooden sculpture..." Continue Reading →
The Writing of History
Stratton, Shannon | Joliet | Exhibition Essay
"The marks that are left, the cracks, the fissures are a record whose language we are fluent with only effectively, allowing legibility only through filling the lacuna on either side of these fractures (on their left or right, before or after) with our own collisions.
Genovese’s cracks are nickel plated steel. They crawl the wall like rivulets of ore to be mined, river ways carving up the drywall and heartache, cast and preserved bijoux that gives the room character. They are copies, these cracks, that remember a history that marks another matter, but here cut from their origins, they are meditations. Pauses that are divorced from spectacle and dazzle, yet manage to pay respect or honor (in their heft and their might and subtle shine) the great events, the affairs, the phenomena whose full weight is brought to bear and registered, as fracture. A life lived is inscribed by the cracks and the fissures; the big events are permanently worn and remembered..." Continue Reading →
"Cracks are typically perceived as the break between two parts, or rather the imminent breaking into parts of what was once whole. Lines, on the other hand, stand stalwart in better graces, that which connects two points, and is often the shorter way between disparate things. While it’s been knocked about quite a bit philosophically and ideologically, linear thinking is a point of pride for many, in that it implies a clear succession of points of cause and effect culminating in a empirically supported and useful conclusion. “Cracked” as an adjective, however, is a synonym for crazy, or at least not quite right, crooked, off-kilter. Lines, good, cracks, bad.
“Lines and Cracks and Zebras and Horses”: in that grammatical setup, it seems to parallel lines with zebras, cracks with horses. Following the logic above, this would suggest that ‘lines’ are the less empirically likely to be the right theory, while ‘cracks’ the better assumption in similar situations, cracks. This seems a reversible of expectation, combining the common connotations of all these, one would expect to find the zebras in the cracks, and let the horses follow the lines. However, the parallel is not strictly correct; rather than a comma between the couplets, Genovese connects them with the same conjunction, “and,” making them technically a list of equivalent things. Perhaps lines aren’t the best or shortest ways between objects or places, perhaps they separate rather than connect parts. Perhaps cracks show richness formerly hidden, reveal depth where there was only surface, or function as a suture point that holds things together with true delicacy and vulnerability..." Continue Reading →
Spotting cracks in the system
Mizota, Sharon. | Spotting cracks in the system | Los Angeles Times
"Genovese is interested in how lines divide and connect; create distance or communication. His sculptures turn these vectors into objects in their own right, emphasizing the spaces in between rather than on either side. In our increasingly Balkanized political climate, it’s a more than welcome metaphor..." Continue Reading →