TANEY RONIGER is an artist, writer, and frequent Rail contributor.
MAR 2018 | ArtSeen
When it comes to that distinctly human sensation we call awe, little can rival the complexity of our own brains to elicit it. Indeed, so staggering are the numbers— current estimates have it that each contains 100 billion neurons with 100 trillion connections between them—that the organ seems to founder before its own immensity. No less astonishing, though fortunately more comprehensible, are its structures—the cells’ elaborate shapes and the byzantine networks by which they communicate— and this is exactly what we get to see in the exquisite drawings of Santiago Ramón y Cajal.
OCT 2018 | Books
Both an academic and a professional dancer, Rohman is among a growing number of scholars working in the emerging field of bioaesthetics, an interdisciplinary undertaking that looks at art and aesthetics as biological phenomena.
JUL-AUG 2017 | ArtSeen
In his new show at Pacehis first with the galleryVillareal delivers a tour de force that transcends the work’s optical appeal, offering a poetic meditation on the inner workings of nature.
MAR 2016 | ArtSeen
“These trees are magnificent,” Rilke famously observed, “but even more magnificent is the sublime and moving space between them, as though with their growth it too increased.” Especially in the West, so scant is our awareness of negative spaceof the gaps, pauses, and silences between thingsthat it often takes a great poet to bring it to our attention.
MAY 2016 | ArtSeen
In physics, a system is said to be symmetric when its essential features remain unchanged under various transformations. Judith Braun, the ever-mutating, contradiction-embracing, Bad-Girl feminist and high priestess of monastic discipline, is just such a system.
JUL-AUG 2016 | ArtSeen
While new materialist philosophies are slowly tipping the scale on its side by exploring the subtle vitality inherent in matter, many artists are engaging with materials in ways that render this cultural shift concrete and experiential. Yoshiaki Mochizuki, who before coming to art worked as a buyer of loose diamonds, is one of themand one whose intimate knowledge of that formidable crystal endows his work with singular power.
NOV 2016 | Books
With admirable concision and a prose style as delightful as it is rigorous, Keats critically examines six of Fuller’s most important ideas, ending each section with a “proposition” of his own that builds on—and often goes far beyond—his predecessor’s original.
MAR 2015 | ArtSeen
If the power of contemporary art lies in its propensity to both reflect and give shape to the consciousness of our times, one might expect to find it laden with signs of cultural transformation.
JUL-AUG 2015 | ArtSeen
What do the likes of Sir Edmund Hillary, the famed mountaineer credited with the first conquest of Everest, and the scribal mystics of medieval Judaism have in common? Nothing,
NOV 2015 | ArtSeen
Artists, someone once astutely noted, are the great observers of society; their job, above all else, is to notice the world the rest of us inhabit but largely fail to perceive. By this criterion, Marco Maggi is the consummate artist, having made a career out of attending to the small and insignificant, the overlooked and ignored, the humble details of the phenomenal world that hover beneath the radar of ordinary perception.
FEB 2014 | ArtSeen
In order to invent, one must think aside. This observation, made by the French philosopher Etienne Souriau, might have served as the inspiration for this refreshingly exploratory group show.
APR 2014 | ArtSeen
Aside from prayer and its secular variants, few experiences can shift consciousness as powerfully as a transformative aesthetic encounter. The quiet, all-white work of Norio Imai achieves this with such deceptively simple means that the intensification of awareness it occasions is all the more profound.
OCT 2014 | ArtSeen
Those unpracticed at the art of “negative capability”Keats’s celebrated term for the capacity to embrace uncertainty, ambiguity, and doubt “without any irritable reaching after fact and reason”would do well to steer clear of Zipora Fried.
DEC 14-JAN 15 | ArtSeen
Since last winter, a formidable presence has resounded across the cavernous interior of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Upper Manhattan. It is not that of the divine, although that too is surely there.
JUL-AUG 2013 | ArtSeen
Occasionally one finds works whose internal demands extend beyond the confines of the frame or pedestal to encompass their entire context.
OCT 2013 | Critics Page
Years ago I read a book by the philosopher Alan Watts titled The Wisdom of Insecurity, and although its contents have largely faded from memory, I often recall its title. The phrase seems particularly apt when it comes to those rare occasions of deep transformation produced by an encounter with a work of art.
JUNE 2018 | ArtSeen
It begins with a looming black screen. Inside a small room that has been fashioned into a theater, a crowd has gathered to immerse itself in a subject we spend most of our lives denying. For the first minute and a half of the film, we stare into the gaping abyss while a male voice tells a Groucho Marx joke, speculates about the metaphysics of card tricks, and recounts the persistence of the black hole motif in the Roadrunner cartoon.
APR 2017 | Books
This perennial problem of the rift between artist and audience is what laid the seeds for Odyssey Works, both the title of this wonderfully original and deeply affecting book and the name of the interdisciplinary performance group whose work it presents.
DEC 17-JAN 18 | Editor's Message
Somewhat improbably, in the thick of a political climate that has both art and science under threat of irrelevance, something of a renaissance seems to be happening at their intersection.
APR 2016 | Books
Art and science: terminally uneasy bedfellows, or powerful partners in a new era of synergistic alliances? It’s a question that nags at anyone following the groundswell of enthusiasm for the convergence of these two fields.
JUNE 2016 | ArtSeen
When it comes to the poetry of intimate spaces, Gaston Bachelard remains unrivalled in the probity of his insights and the wonderful lyricism of his analyses. In his oft-cited Poetics of Space, the French philosopher examines the housethat most intimate of human spacesas a potent metaphor for our humanness, sheltering not just our bodies but also our deepest dreams, memories, thoughts, and imaginings.
SEPT 2016 | ArtSeen
In the great chain of being, brute matter has never fared well. Cast as cold, lifeless, and dumb, denizens of the rock, earth, and mineral worlds have long occupied the bottommost rung on the ontological laddera ladder that, having been fashioned by us, naturally has human beings somewhere at the top.
DEC 16-JAN 17 | ArtSeen
Considering those shimmering fields of human handprints that cover the walls of prehistoric caves, the human impulse to make a mark on the world is not a recent mutation
APR 2015 | ArtSeen
Writing at the tail end of the Machine Age, Lewis Mumford, that most incisive critic of culture, noted an emerging irony: the more human-like our machines were becoming, the more lifeless and mechanical were the human agents they were created to serve.
OCT 2015 | Books
As its title suggests, the subject of Charlene Spretnak’s most recent book is the long history of artists’ engagement with the spiritual dimension throughout the trajectory of modern art.
DEC 15-JAN 16 | ArtSeen
In a show largely as soulless as the institution its venue once housed, the exquisitely engaging work of Yoshiaki Mochizuki comes as a welcome surprise. Nestled in a hallway on the museum’s third floor, the six small paintings on view are easy to miss.
MAR 2014 | ArtSeen
If poetry is the art of condensed expression, Lori Ellisons drawings and paintings are the consummate example of verse made visual.
JUL-AUG 2014 | ArtSeen
The human compulsion for mark-making, so pronounced in many visual artists, contains an element of the territorial imperative. Both impulses, it seems, arise from a fundamental need to extend into and lay claim to space, to ceaselessly reshape the world in ones own image.
NOV 2014 | ArtSeen
Our postmodern sensibilities notwithstanding, there remains in this culture a deep and pervasive undercurrent of Platonic idealism, of belief in the possibility of purity, perfection, and permanence in a world that so emphatically suggests otherwise.
JUNE 2013 | ArtSeen
Maya Lin has long been known both for her protean practice, which spans the fields of architecture, memorial design, environmental earthworks, and studio art, and for the eloquence of her understated aesthetic.
SEPT 2013 | ArtSeen
Insouciantly titled A Hole in the Wall is Nothing to Worry About, this is the artists first U.S. exhibition, and with its playful boundary-crossing between seemingly fixed categories and impish reversals of conventional hierarchies we are goaded into a kind of awareness that transcends dualistic thinking.