Kang Seung Lee’s two part exhibition at Commonwealth & Council reflects in part on photography’s documentary capacity by re-examining and reproducing photographs. Lee’s project grapples with the indexical nature of photography, but moves beyond merely exploring concerns surrounding what Roland Barthes called photography’s “evidential force.” [Read more…]
It is obvious from the map, an exhibition at REDCAT organized by Thomas Keenan and Sohrab Mohebbi, showcases a variety of maps, videos, archival material, and other multimedia ephemera that highlight migration, migrant rights, and social justice in both the twenty first century and the age of surveillance. This timely exhibit juxtaposes a variety of maps, ranging from hand-drawn maps passed and exchanged by migrants, to governmental maps used for tracking and surveillance purposes, to artistic renderings that visualize various migrants’ stories, to geospatial mappings. [Read more…]
A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Edo-Period Prints and Paintings (1600–1868)
at the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto
excerpted from a review by Ian Buruma
Read the full review in the May 11, 2017 issue of New York Review of Books, or read it on site at nybooks.com
Lusting after pretty teenage boys was not considered shameful in premodern Japan. Experienced older women did it. Young women did too. Older men indulged in it (as long as the boys were passive sexual partners). Adultery was not permitted, on the other hand, and it was unseemly for grown men to love other grown men. But the love of older men for young boys, a practice called shudo, literally “the way of boy love,” was considered, especially during the eighteenth century, and notably among samurai, to be a mark of erotic discernment. [Read more…]
The group exhibition, Undercover Boss, opens a conversation on the ubiquity of surveillance, insofar as the ability to view another’s intimate affairs without their knowledge through social media outlets, the multiplicity of images that dilutes their meaning, and how this information can be mishandled. The inaugural show at metro Detroit-based gallery Reyes Projects features artists Tony Cox, Greg Fadell, Sadie Laska, Jane Moseley, Jonathan Rajewski, Scott Reeder, Tyson Reeder, and Joe Roberts. [Read more…]
There was no way it was ever not going to be a mess: eleven years of one of the most influential American art galleries, condensed into a 100,000 square foot section of LACMA’s Resnick Pavilion. Consider the fact that many of the artworks in the 134 exhibitions held over those eleven years turned out to be canonical Modernist masterpieces, and were acquired by museums or major private collections around the globe, many now unwilling or unable to lend them. Others were destroyed, or lost, or are too delicate to go on public display. Some – not all of them masterpieces – entered LACMA’s own collection, so of course they wound up in this show, whether they fully deserved to be there or not. [Read more…]
US Vice President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sat in white and gold upholstered chairs in the Presidential Palace in Ankara. It was August 24, 2016, over one month past the July 15th failed coup attempt in Turkey.
Biden began by thanking Erdoğan for his friendship and for Erdoğan’s condolences when Biden lost his son. He leaned across the gap between chairs, placed his hand atop Erdoğan’s, and said it was hard to fathom that the coup attacked the hotel where he and his family had been staying just 15 minutes after they had left. [Read more…]
Point Blank is the title of the exhibition of four new paintings by Berlin based German painter Marcel Eichner (b. 1977, Siegburg, Germany) at James Fuentes Gallery, New York. In this show, Eichner works in acrylic and ink, with vigorous ink drawing and marks on broad washes of acrylic ground in pastel pinks and blues, and areas of white. These paintings mark the fulfillment of a new phase in Eichner’s approach to painting, since he has now moved away from his earlier idiom derived from the style of his mentor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Jörg Immendorff. In his earlier work, Eichner emulated the piecework integration of figure and ground that is characteristic of Immendorff, an almost claustrophobic “interior-view” aesthetic so often found in the German Expressionist tradition. [Read more…]
“The voices of dust, the soul of dust: these things interest me many times more than flowers, trees, or horses because I sense they’re so much stranger.” — Jean Dubuffet
The Hammer Museum’s exhibit entitled Dubuffet Drawings 1935-62 is, according to their literature, the “first in-depth exhibition of Dubuffet’s drawings.”
I’m not sure if they mean in the United States or perhaps even world -wide. No matter. It is an extraordinary grouping of almost 100 works on paper – many borrowed from France – and the sheer volume is not only a treat for the viewer but provides important insights into Dubuffet’s idiosyncratic technique. His “backstory” – as we say here in California – is quite unusual. Apparently, he showed early artistic talent and had many significant artist friends, but for twenty years was a wine merchant. Not until 1942, at the ripe old age of 41, did he finally commit to being a full time artist. He had his first solo show in Paris two years later. [Read more…]
“I am poor and I am naked, but I am the chief of the nation”
Red Cloud, Oglala Lakota Sioux
The Hammer Museum has mounted a massive, sprawling and entertaining retrospective (the first in North America) of the multi-faceted sculptor, poet and activist Jimmie Durham. He is little known in the United States since moving abroad 30 years ago. In 1990 the United States government passed the Indian Arts and Craft Act requiring Indian artists to register in order to protect the consumer. Durham refused to register and wrote the following tongue in cheek statement:
I am a full – blooded contemporary artist, of the subgroup (or clan) called sculptors. I am not American Indian, nor have I ever seen or sworn loyalty to India. I am not a Native ‘American’, nor do I feel that ‘America’ has any right [Read more…]
It would be easy to say that the alternative histories portrayed in the works of Umar Rashid are perfectly timed to reflect the era of “alternative facts” taking place in this historical moment. But the truth is, if you are going to make art intended to talk, both directly and indirectly, about the oppression of people of color and the suppression of their history, there is no time in the modern era when the work would not seem timely.
As Frohawk Two Feathers, and now Umar Rashid, the artist re-imagines 18th century history in images that recall traditional portraiture, folk art and Native American art but updated with details from the contemporary world. The mash-up allows him to speak simultaneously about the past and the present, accompanied by a complicated written narrative that must be read to fully understand the work. [Read more…]
I was on the phone with my father and I can’t remember exactly how we got to the part of the conversation we were destined to get to—the part of the conversation everyone was destined to get to—as we watched the unfathomable unfold on that morning of September 11, 2001. Two flights out of Boston bound, on paper anyway, for the city I was calling my father from on an otherwise normal Tuesday morning.
George W. Bush had been president for all of eight months. [Read more…]
Silent Voices at LewAllen Galleries, Santa Fe NM Reviewed by John Biscello
During a recent visit to Santa Fe, I chanced upon the artwork of Linda Stojak. Her show, Silent Voices, was being featured at LewAllen Galleries, and entering the shrine-like atmosphere of the nine-painting exhibition, I immediately felt as if I were holding sacred vigil or bearing witness to metamorphic elegies.
The female subjects comprising Silent Voices seem to exist in a haunted chrysalis state, or embryonic purgatory. Their faces, ashen swabs which are kin to Di Chirico’s faceless enigmas, suggest not only the tragic obliteration of identity but also the potential for rebirth, i.e., a Bardo makeover. [Read more…]
Though New York for years has had an inspiringly lively and progressive jazz scene, Kamasi Washington, approaching the American cultural front, is singlehandedly making the form relevant once more. His forthcoming EP, Harmony of Difference, currently (and exclusively heard) in its own room at the Whitney, will surely set the stage for the long in coming Jazz Renaissance.
Hands down the best collaborative work at this year’s Biennial, and in fact the single best piece in the exhibition (no diss on an otherwise excellent affair, particularly floor 6), is Washington’s stellar “Truth” and the equally affecting film in accompaniment, Harmony of Difference, written and directed by AG Rojas.
— the video, as you can see below, has been scrubbed from the internet, so below is the actual track —
Kamasi Washington, “Truth”
According to the Whitney press release, “Harmony of Difference is an original six-movement suite that explores the philosophical possibilities of the musical technique known as counterpoint, which Washington defines as ‘the art of balancing similarity and difference to create harmony between separate melodies.’
at The Harwood Museum of Art, Taos NM
Reviewed by Erin Currier
Not unlike tin scraps gathered, then painstakingly crafted and painted into ex-voto offerings under the dim flicker of propane lamps in the outer rings of Mexico City, Antigua, or Salvador, and not unlike the mid-century Beat “cut-ups” of William S. Burroughs scattered like lotus petals on a mosaic tiled floor in the junk-sick dawn of Tangiers, and not unlike the embroidered Ayahuasca-dreamt songlines of the Amazonian Shipibo, Anthony Hassett’s pen, ink and glaze drawings in Japanese Moleskin albums are rhythms of a history at once autobiographical and universal: poetic calling cards shuffled and laid bare in a line by an adept renderer’s hand that has the strength and fury of a fighter’s fist combined with the mystical empathy of a Stigmata. [Read more…]
On Saturday, January 21st of this year, Tony welcomed me into he and Erin’s warm home. Greeting me at the door with a big hug and smile, Tony, despite his ongoing lengthy battle with cancer, was his usual self: cracking gallows humour jokes about his health, about the newly inaugurated President Trump, the cop-rotten planet, and so much more. [Read more…]
Francisco Goya’s magnificent image, The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (1797-99), is emblematic of the Enlightenment’s faith in rationality–and its fear of what occurs when Reason falters through negligence or ignorance. Goya had good evidence on which to fear those lapses, as documented in his powerful depictions of the Disasters of War. Monstrosity comes in many forms, but in the 18th century it was understood as an aberration of nature, including human nature. [Read more…]
I have a vested interest in finding whether essential differences exist between the art of women and that of men. A woman, I’ve been doing, appreciating, thinking about art all my life. Questions assail me as I approach the MOMA exhibition Making Space: Women Artists and Postwar Abstraction. Is their work different from their male counterparts? If it is different, in what way? Is their art worse, justifying the relative obscurity they have been left in? Is there a unifying quality to the work, or is the collection of individualities more defining than the elusive gender? [Read more…]
at LA LOUVER, Los Angeles
Reviewed by Nancy Kay Turner
Charles Garabedian and His Contemporaries brings together a veritable Who’s Who of Southern California art stars, including Ed Moses, John Altoon, William Brice, John Mc Cracken, Tony Berlant, Robert Heinecken, John Chamberlain, Robert Irwin, Richard Diebenkorn, John McLaughlin, Vija Celmins, Don Suggs, Larry Bell, Sam Francis and Tom Wudl. It’s the dizzying equivalent of an art world “Greatest Hits” album, with the “A” side all Charles Garabedian (who died in 2016). A dozen of his paintings on paper and canvas, all looking as fresh as the day they were painted, range from 1966-2012. Garabedian’s work, though often playful, is beguiling and challenging with its dense literary and mythological allusions. [Read more…]
Matthew Marks Gallery, NYC
Reviewed by Donald Lindeman
A confusion about media is at the heart of Vija Celmins‘ artmaking. In her new show at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York, are paintings, prints and sculptures, but we soon learn that things are seldom what they seem in Celmins’ art. The paintings and prints are based on photographs made by her, and some of the sculptures are ‘real’ found objects, e.g. stones, writing tablets, that are juxtaposed to mind-boggling “doubles” crafted by the artist. [Read more…]