Since the early 1980s, Jennifer Bolande has been making smart, witty, and fresh work that is as inspiring to younger artists as it is difficult to force into the convenient categories the marketplace prefers. Her idiosyncratic sculptures and photographs (photographic sculptures and sculptural photographs) often make use of overlooked aspects of everyday life. They employ an associative strategy that at first seems effortless, but that on closer examination spirals outward from object to medium to other artworks to the culture at large.
1000 Words: introduction by Sharon Lockhart
Artforum (November, 2010): 210-213
While Bolande’s diptychs in the 2009-10 series “Space Photography” contribute to her longstanding interests in light patterns, and sound equipment, there is a continuity to these works that carries across the street to her survey as well. Through juxtapositions of sound transmission and reception, light sources and reflections, automated and haptic scenes, Bolande’s diptychs present a richly differentiated and mediated sensorium. Rather than collapsing into the unified body of the spectator or deferring to that of the artist, these works demonstrate a distributed corporeality carried out through a multimedia network of production and consumption. What is more, the artist layers this model of a virtual body-in-formation still further by casting her photographs in the (quite literally) warm red and yellow light of her four-tier Tower of Movie Marquees, 2010, itself displayed within a former movie theater turned art gallery. In its range and import, Bolande’s will be a defining exhibition of the fall season.
Nisbet, James. “Critics’ Picks.”
Artforum Critics’ Picks (October, 2010)
Koons’ String of Puppies was produced in the same year that spawned a similar but much more interesting photo sculpture, Jennifer Bolande’s Milk Crown (1987-88,) A.D. Coleman has described this piece, a porcelain reproduction of Harold Edgerton’s famous 1956 photo of a milk splash, as “essentially a one-liner.” But there is a lot at stake in this singular line, even when we leave aside the copyright issue. Edgerton’s photograph, which he titled Milk Drop Coronet, gives us an image made visible only by the high-speed workings of the camera apparatus. ... Of course, his photograph still hovers somewhere between us and this sculpture, an apparition at once present and absent. And yet there is a profound difference between Bolande’s sculpture and Edgerton’s photograph. This difference has little to do with appearance and everything to do with space and time. Edgerton’s Milk Drop Coronet resonates with the catastrophe of the future anterior. Bolande’s Milk Crown stolidly occupies the eternal horizon of the present. We look into the photograph to witness the past and imagine the future. We circle around the ceramic object that occupies the same space-time coordinates as we do. The photograph speaks of death. The sculpture speaks of life. Where the photograph insists on a diachronic notion of time, Bolande’s post-photography posits a perpetual stasis, the presence of the present.
Batchen, Geoffrey, Each Wild Idea,
MIT Press, 2001
Bolande’s work owes much to the self-conscious, conceptually based photo work associated with her Metro Pictures pedigree (she exhibited at the gallery for several years beginning in the late 80s), but her humor has a sweetness that sets it apart from the cool criticality associated with the generation immediately preceding hers. She wins you over not with the clever play on Minimalist forms (well-worn territory) but with her idiosyncratic, even obsessive attachment to her subject matter.
Siegel, Katy. “Jennifer Bolande: Appliance House.”
Artforum (January 2000): 88-89
Bolande is a new breed of artistic cross-trainer. Not only is she unafraid to explore diverse media, she also insists that those media flex muscles they didn’t know they had. Photos function sculpturally; sculptural elements take on the same compositional weight as the flat, pictorial concerns of the photographs. … Bolande makes us see the photos as “plastic” and blurs the distinction between object and image. The irony is that Bolande is telling us about obsolescence while demanding something more–of her materials and her audience. Secondhand goods, in her hands, are full of promise.
Schmerler, Sarah. “Art Reviews: Fluid Flow.”
Time Out New York (July 27-August 3, 2000): 58
I’m not sure whether anyone would want the title Most Underrated Artist in New York, but Jennifer Bolande is certainly a leading contender. Bolande has shown actively since the early ‘80s, including a run at the formidable Metro Pictures Gallery; one of her pieces even made the cover of Artforum in 1987. Yet her work has always suffered from misinterpretation. In the ‘80s it was lumped under such rubrics as Meyer Vaisman-style irony, for example, or commodity fetishism—neither of which was true. In fact, as her first show at Alexander and Bonin makes clear, Bolande pioneered a type of emotional, or intuitive, conceptual art that has become a staple of such current stars as Jim Hodges, Tony Feher and Rachel Harrison. … In our millennial moment, the time seems ripe for her unique brand of elegiac conceptualism.
Arning, Bill. “Art Reviews: Jennifer Bolande.”
Time Out New York (October 7-14, 1999): 84
Jennifer Bolande has built a career from slippery, almost ephemeral visual statements. Though she has always enjoyed spinning out image-puns alongside the vast majority of her more attention grabbing contemporaries, it’s never been in the service of an easily paraphraseable message about identity or politics or both. In fact, it isn’t until you “get” her pieces that the peculiarities of her investigation begins to sink in. Bolande probes the kind of slippages that take place in everyday life: the moment when one thing momentarily overlaps with another and the distinctions between objects, between the real and the imagined become suddenly and irretrievably suspect.
Cameron, Dan. “Jennifer Bolande.” Artforum (summer, 1995)
Although, Jennifer Bolande’s sculpture of the 1980’s incorporated neon signs and stereo speakers, it seemed little concerned with the consumerist issues of Neo-conceptualism. The objects inner assemblages often looked as if they had been taken straight from the street and stacked, in a kind of controlled recycling characterized by low key wit, lively inventiveness and a subtle eye for metaphor.
Cotter, Holland. “Jennifer Bolande.”
The New York Times (June 5, 1992)
Jennifer Bolande’s highly individualized amalgam of sculpture and photography proceeds obliquely but precisely toward an accumulation of possible meanings. She is a connoisseur of unlikely but evocative details, of subliminally perceived, fragmentary images and events of a kind that would loiter on the periphery of vision had she not delivered them to the ring of attention. Much has been made of the idiosyncratic iconography of Bolande’s objects, but though her works may be initially reticent, and thwart conclusive explanations, they are far from incommunicative, resonating amply in the connotative realm.
Marincola, Paula. “Something to Do with Jennifer Bolande.”
Artforum (January 1989): 70-73
and cover illustration
Her small sculptures and unusual photographs are often situated by means of willful juxtapositions that touch off meaning like alchemical reactions. Her art immediately commands respect for things which are out of character, unique. It will take patience to come to terms with her art, slowly realizing the complexities of the way it conveys meaning.Bolande has deliberately slowed our reception; she has delivered comprehension out of the relentless pace of media culture. She demands our time, and attention by inventing a syntax for her art rather than relying on some code lifted from art history or the media because it seemed expedient or culturally in step.
Jones, Ronald. “Jennifer Bolande: Robbin Lockett.”
Artscribe (March-April 1988): 89