“Neuzeit Grotesk” plays on the questions fueling the discussions at hip dinner parties: Are we encountering a “vibe shift”? Are the youth of today more nihilistic than before? Are the times we are living in really that much worse than any others?
Over the course of three white-cube spaces and a corridor, curator Camila McHugh sets up a conversation among a trio of artists pondering these issues as they explore the “New Grotesque.” The show’s title refers to the sans serif typeface created by Bauhaus lecturer Wilhelm Pischner in 1929, but here it’s taken at face value. This grotesque factors into the tablet-size aluminum-framed canvases of Heike-Karin Föll, who reflects on the presence of screens in our everyday lives. Her paintings reference technology, offering more than a hint of how it’s letting us down. Compositions like the pointillism-charged horizontal knowledge, 2020–22, break, blur, and take on lives of their own. Meanwhile, Hannah Sophie Dunkelberg creates retro-looking enigmatic objects, from the Plexiglas sconce of THE BIG EXCUSE (Fri.), 2022, to the hilarious rescaled-sheet-metal bows of Altweiberknoten I and II, both 2022. The youngest artist in show, painter Julia Dubsky, limited her palette to red and blue in keeping with the resource scarcity afflicting the world. In a trio of nearly identical paintings (4Actors, 4Actor, and 4Acto, all 2022), the painter plays with the idea of repetition. Seen from the back, the naked, genderless figure in each does not so much gaze into the blue void as become itself an empty canvas: the aspiration of any trained actor.