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Joel Kuennen

20151001022055-screen_shot_2015-09-30_at_10 The Dangers of the Political Icon: An Endorsement of Lawrence Lessig   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 9/30/15

The progressive narrative sells. The vision of an outsider is what is most appealing to both left and right. The fact that most Americans distrust their government—75 percent according to a 2014 Pew Poll—places us in a very precarious position. Rhetorical devices become exaggerated and people begin to grasp for emotional bonds rather that rational motives. This explains why people who distrust government can rationalize either extreme of political discourse: Trump on one hand and Sanders on t... [more]

20150918152952-screen_shot_2015-09-17_at_2 Naomi Beckwith in Conversation with Solange and Mickalene Thomas   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 9/18/15

On Wednesday evening, EXPO, in partnership with Kavi Gupta and Saint Heron sponsored a panel discussion at the artsy clubhouse, Soho House, Chicago. The panel, moderated by MCA curator Naomi Beckwith, consisted of Mickalene Thomas and Solange. (Full disclosure: ArtSlant’s Stephanie Cristello works for EXPO Chicago and helped organize the panel.) The names on the panel were enough of a draw but the discussion between these three creative world heavyweights was a fascinating and timely conversa... [more]

20150910145018-birds_1_stand_in Installation Can Be Felt Underfoot   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Martin Roth at Louis B. James September 9th - October 18th
Posted 9/10/15

Rubble and rock crushed under foot. Dead twigs, rebar, and shoots pocked the boulder field like tiny flag poles, stripped of their sigils. Chirps from the ceiling revealed a nestled group of parakeets dropping white ordnance on a hill of grey concrete. The smell of dirt and dissolution hung in the stale air. Down some stairs, into a darkened basement, the first thing that greets is the smell of a bog, that slow but sweet smell of rot. Leaves float on three or four inches of murky water lit by a... [more]

20150902125211-9781784781453-3c43f56110e45fe20ec30f98d3e269bd Interview: Hal Foster on Bad New Days   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 9/1/15

Hal Foster's new book, Bad New Days: Art, Criticism, Emergency, is set for release on Tuesday, September, 8. In it, Foster, Townsend Martin Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, works through art's recent history to find what is and isn't working within the arts. Considering recent paradigms of art ranging from "abject" to "post-critical," Foster uses his plain, incisive style to help locate the failures of contemporary art in hopes that more novel and critical art can come... [more]

20150827120407-screen_shot_2015-08-27_at_1 Knock-Off Art and Tales of Artistic Production in Advanced Capitalism   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 8/27/15

I was recently at an art fair where one gallery—that shall remain nameless—presented the work of a young artist in a solo booth. The work, while distinct in some ways, was at the very least derivative of Anish Kapoor’s wall mounted discs. Enameled aluminum panels in sweeping gradients, they were perfectly suited to the market of the fair: take it home, put it on a wall. They were robust, large works that shouted “wealth.” Sold for $800-$2000 apiece. By the third da... [more]

20150817200511-o39a01944 AICAD Announces New Residency for Non-Students   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 8/17/15

The Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD), purveyors of the prestigious New York Studio Residency Program (NYSRP) have announced a new initiative for non-student artists called the Studio Practice Residency. The Studio Practice Residency, currently accepting applications, is lead by William Powhida, Artistic Co-Director of NYSRP, and is comprised of six, four-month residencies in the AICAD facility in DUMBO. The Studio Practice program will include visits with prominent New York critics and artists in... [more]

Random International: Art & Technology's Magical Realists  

Random International is an arts collective founded by Florian Ortkrass, Hannes Koch, and Stuart Wood currently based in London. They exploded onto the international art stage in 2012 with their extremely popular Rain Room, a work that was supremely Instagrammable, but also illucidated the magical realism that the marriage of art and technology can produce. After extremely successful installations at the Barbican in London and MoMA PS1, Rain Room is set to occupy LACMA in November 2015. We got the chan... [more]

20150708192731-06-jerry-facebook-2 Jerry Saltz: The Conscience of the Critic   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 7/8/15

What does the conscience of a profession look like? Physicians and futurists have ethics councils. This or that Board or Agency marks the boundaries of most fields and enterprises to better direct cooperative human energy in mutually agreed upon trajectories. Sometimes it doesn’t matter, but overall, it’s a system that has worked well for the past century. Arts writers don’t have a sanctioned conscience as such. Instead, we have a much more free-market approach, a loose band o... [more]

20150619105848-ookie_canvas_i_detail Faith Holland's Cum "Paintings" Aren't Your Usual Cum Paintings   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Faith Holland at TRANSFER June 13th - July 11th
Posted 6/19/15

First, apologies for the puns to come. It’s difficult to talk about sexuality and eroticism without making a bad pun or two. Sexuality has seemingly always been a site of discomfort in our culture: through it, we are laid naked and bare, both literally and via the fetishes that express the darkest sublimations of gendered relations. The advent of a communication tool and platform for largely consequence-free expression—the internet—has greatly affected the role pornography and sexu... [more]

20150611133047-screen_shot_2015-06-10_at_3 Systems: Issue 4 of Editions   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 6/11/15

Table of Contents: Arte de Sistemas | Ionit Behar Map Art: Systems Unite | Gillian Dykeman Activating the Archive | Jessica Lynne Living Images, Digital Decay | Taylor Dafoe Systems for a Downer: on Artistic Failure | Philippa Snow Ed Fornieles, installing pole for ami, 2015. Part of a new body of work that documents the artist's apartment using a live webcam. At the same time, a cartoon dimension will be layered over the top, unfolding its own narrative. All Systems Are Go It could be said that c... [more]

20150515160947-20150514222113-img_2778web Dreaming in Daylight: Creative Time in Central Park   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Spencer Finch, Alicia Framis, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Nina Katchadourian, Ragnar Kjartansson, David Levine, Karyn Olivier, Lauri Stallings at Central Park's North End May 15th - June 20th
Posted 5/15/15

If you happen upon a couple in 1920s garb having a heated discussion about love on a park bench in Central Park, don’t worry, you didn’t fall asleep watching Netflix. If you spot a pastel solar-powered ice cream truck handing out soft-serves that tastes like sunshine, you’re not hallucinating. If you happen upon an Icelandic sailboat revolving around an island on the Harlem Meer while a brass band plays a haunting melody, no, you haven’t died and gone to Valhalla. Creative Time, a 40-year-old organization based in... [more]

20150507142404-60-1024x682 The Place of the Museum: Jacob Lawrence at MoMA   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 5/7/15

You see, there are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood. In fact, I guarantee you that right now, there are kids living less than a mile from here who would never in a million years dream that they would be welcome in this museum. That was Michelle Obama at the opening of the new Whitney Mu... [more]

20150423183825-blogdaliartist A New Definition of Art in the Age of Celebrity   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 4/23/15

The last two months have seen two great celebrity-become-artist scandals. Björk’s retrospective and Kanye’s doctorate. Two years prior, Abramovic's The Artist is Present paired with a performance by Jay-Z stoked the same flame that threatens to consume our conceptions of aesthetics and Artist—with a capital A. Because that exists, still. Art, it seems, may need a new definition. One that fits with current conceptions and usage. $$$$$$$$$$ @zoeschlanger Can't stop watc... [more]

20150318124817-kanye-west It’s Official: Kanye West to Receive Honorary Doctorate from SAIC   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 3/18/15

As an SAIC alum, my newsfeed has been abuzz the past week with artists and writers decrying the honorary doctorate Kanye West told France’s Clique TV that he would be receiving this coming May. Last night, it was made official with a statement released by SAIC. Other honorees include legendary Chicago gallerist, Rhona Hoffman, artist/donor Janet Neiman, and German painter Albert Oehlen who will be the commencement speaker. Walter E. Massey, President of the School of the Art Institute of C... [more]

20150306152025-10982082_10203121760198641_8903736113105361187_n Playful? Or Childish? The Art We Deserve   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 3/6/15

Hopping around the fairs you start to notice some trends in material and content. We’ve noticed a healthy use of floral foam at Independent and Armory, rock-climbing grips as wall plinths, new-media on canvas, and a whole bunch of animated icons making their way into the pictorial plane. There is a lot of playfulness this year… but it’s all rather childish. Per Fhager at Stene, exhibiting at Volta NY On a far wall in the upper reaches of Independent, there’s a phot... [more]

20150305114038-screen_shot_2015-03-05_at_11 No Need to Be Anxious, Neil Patrick Harris—the Paintings Are All Right   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
at The Armory Show March 5th - March 8th
Posted 3/5/15

As I was walking around the Armory Show preview on a slushy Wednesday afternoon, I overheard Neil Patrick Harris say, like a self-assuring mantra, “This is not going to make me anxious” as he walked into the fair. I empathized, ridden already with the anxiety of two hours' worth of art-gazing and glad-handing behind me. Fairs are bound in anxiety for a lot of reasons. They are sheer feats of organization, for one, but it’s the clash of cash and creation that makes them uneasy terri... [more]

20150103152323-pl049_qf_wiley_kw-pa12-033-shantavia-beale-ii-crop_428w Kehinde Wiley's Empire of Vulnerability   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Kehinde Wiley at Brooklyn Museum of Art February 20th - May 24th
Posted 2/20/15

“Kehinde Wiley is everywhere right now,” said Eugenie Tsai, John and Barbara Vogelstein Curator of Contemporary Art, Brooklyn Museum, as the small press tour began. This was not an exaggeration by any means; Wiley garnered recent attention when his paintings appeared as backdrops in Fox's Empire, a highly stylized melodrama from Lee Daniels and Danny Strong that collages black stereotypes while positioning black bodies into a King Lear-like drama, and for his fashion week photoshoot wit... [more]

20150119221007-img_2186 Smack Mellon's RESPOND and the New Imaginary   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 1/19/15

There is no better point in time to enact change than during a cultural rupture. Popular culture—the expressions that bind a collective group—is a smooth stream of images and ideologies that flows at an overwhelming and indomitable rate. This is part of the mandate of contemporary culture: to express with as many images and words as experienced time will allow. Smack Mellon, a New York venue in DUMBO that supports emerging and underrepresented artists put its exhibition schedule on hold t... [more]

20141205162436-drawings_grid Adam Douglas Thompson: Dialogical Particulars   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 12/5/14

A word forms a concept of its own object in a dialogic way. —Mikhail Bakhtin, Discourse in the Novel, 1941 Adam Douglas Thompson’s drawings are words. His installed formations are sentences. His words, however, are not defined. His sentences are not linear. They are dialogic imaginations, each image acts a concept which through their relational grouping gains meaning. The groupings can and should be read multidirectionally. This approach is how Thompson believes thought works, a concept trail... [more]

20141205155154-oren_pinhassi A Play on Material: Oren Pinhassi   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 12/5/14

Material can be transcendent. Postmodernism is failing. History is a spiral. These three assumptions underlie Oren Pinhassi’s work. Beginning with the familiar—towels, a backpack, a dwelling—objects are transformed through the addition of another common material, plaster. Through this addition, he transubstantiates the everyday into thematic sculptural and architectural forms, an act that Pinhassi describes as transcendent. There is a key definition being explored throug... [more]

20141118200334-growth-1234__1_ Arts and Banking: Umpqua's Foray into the Arts   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/18/14

Corporatism pervades the art world: BMWs are wrapped in Jeff Koons vinyl, museum exhibitions and art fairs are sponsored by global financial institutions, one mega luxury conglomerate even has an entire museum. It's a simple fact now: money and art go hand-in-hand. Usually, the issue taken up is the cooption of art for financial/political purposes and the impure state in which this leaves art but, frankly, it’s hard to believe this argument is still around let alone received as valid. Not since t... [more]

20141103150439-img_0172 Hallowqueen! At MoMA PS1: A Costume Recap   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/3/14

MoMA PS1 threw their annual Halloween Ball last Friday - the theme this year: Hallowqueens! The galleries remained open during the costume ball making for some interesting juxtapositions. First, four dumpsters sat in the courtyard marked with "THROW YOUR ART AWAY", a project from Bob and Roberta Smith (actually one person) that asks gallery goers to bring in their old art and treat it as the commodity it is. If your art is lucky (read: good enough), MoMA will display it on the second floor for a... [more]

The DIS collective Appointed Curatorial Team of the 9th Berlin Biennale  

Office Planter by Lizzie Fitch, $200 on disown DIS, the collective behind a variety of interruptive enterprises such as dismagazine, disown, and disimages has been appointed the curatorial panel of the 9th Berlin Biennale. While the 8th Biennale was curated by Juan A. Gaitán and focused on themes of post-colonialism, the selection of DIS for the next iteration marks a commitment by the KW Institute for Contemporary Art to keep the Berlin Biennale an exciting and semi-unpredictable exhibi... [more]

Practicing Wellness: An (Art) Therapy Session with Zachary Cahill  

Chicago, Aug. 2014: Zachary Cahill is an interdisciplinary artist working in Chicago. He is a lecturer at the University of Chicago Department of Visual Arts and Coordinator of the Open Practice Committee. His work was recently included in the 8th Berlin Biennale, curated by Juan A. Gaitán; USSA 2012 Wellness Center: Snow, curated by Abigail Winograd at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and the Smart Museum of Art in a project curated by Sarah Mendelsohn. The Wellness Center is the third... [more]

20140320130240-aiyr5_for_joel 12 Residencies in 5 Months: One artist's attempt to redefine patronage   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 3/20/14

Liliya Lifanova received her MFA from SAIC in 2010. Following that, she found herself asking a familiar question to many young artists: what next? Nurtured by the inclusive, critical and supportive, art-centered environment of graduate school, her first post-graduation initiative was a take on the practice of residencies. Called Artist in YOUR Residence, the purpose of the project was to explore concepts of modern patronage and bypass the traditional models for a direct relationship between Artist and... [more]

20140307151612-leonard_photo In Conversation: First Impressions of the 2014 Whitney Biennial   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Terry Adkins, Etel Adnan, Alma Allen, Ei Arakawa, Uri Aran, Robert Ashley, Michel Auder, Lisa Anne Auerbach, Julie Ault, Darren Bader, Kevin Beasley, Gretchen Bender, Stephen Berens, Dawoud Bey, Jennifer Bornstein, Andrew Bujalski, Elijah Burgher, Triple Canopy, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Sarah Charlesworth, Yve Laris Cohen, Public Collectors, Matthew Deleget, David Diao, Zackary Drucker, Paul Druecke, Jimmie Durham, Rhys Ernst, Rochelle Feinstein, Radamés “Juni” Figueroa, Morgan Fisher, Louise Fishman, Victoria Fu, Malik Gaines, Gaylen Gerber, Jeff Gibson, Jade Gordon, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Tony Greene, Joseph Grigely, Miguel Gutierrez, Karl Haendel, David Hammons, Matt Hanner, Philip Hanson, Jonn Herschend, Sheila Hicks, Channa Horwitz, HOWDOYOUSAYYAMINAFRICAN?, susan howe, Jacqueline Humphries, Critical Practices Inc., Gary Indiana, Doug Ischar, Carol Jackson, Travis Jeppesen, Alex Jovanovich, Angie Keefer, Ben Kinmont, Shio Kusaka, Sensory Ethnography Lab, Chris Larson, Diego Leclery, Zoe Leonard, Sherrie Levine, Tony Lewis, Pam Lins, Fred Lonidier, Ken Lum, Shana Lutker, Dashiell Manley, John Mason, Keith Mayerson, Suzanne McClelland, Dave McKenzie, Bjarne Melgaard, Rebecca Morris, Joshua Mosley, Dona Nelson, Ken Okiishi, Pauline Oliveros, Joel Otterson, Laura Owens, Paul P., Taisha Paggett, Charlemagne Palestine, Véréna Paravel, Jessie Mott & Steve Reinke, David Robbins, Carissa Rodriguez, Sterling Ruby, Miljohn Ruperto, Jacolby Satterwhite, Peter Schuyff, Alexandro Segade, Allan Sekula, semiotext(e), Trevor Shimizu, Amy Sillman, Valerie Snobeck, A.L. Steiner, Catherine Sullivan, Emily Sundblad, Ricky Swallow, Tony Tasset, Sergei Tcherepnin, Philip Vanderhyden, Pedro Vélez, Charline von Heyl, David Foster Wallace, Dan Walsh, Alex Waterman, Donelle Woolford, Molly Zuckerman-Hartung at Whitney Museum of American Art March 7th, 2014 1:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Posted 3/7/14

ArtSlant editors Natalie Hegert, Joel Kuennen, and Charlie Schultz met up at Agra, an Indian restaurant on Lexington Avenue, to discuss the opening of the 2014 Whitney Biennial, its surprises, best in show, and disappointments. They touch on trends and themes of scale, archives, lists, dongs, and objectness—parsing the line between artwork and artifact. Charlie Schultz: I guess I’ll start by saying I found this year’s iteration of the [Whitney] Biennial to be far less crowded than in... [more]

20140214102048-img_6269 Deep Systems at Public Works   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Theodore Darst, Peter Jellitsch at Public Works February 7th, 2014 - April 4th, 2014
Posted 2/14/14

In writing this review, Dear Reader, it has been difficult to retain a narrative thread. Each work at ONLY REAL, Public Works latest exhibition, seems to reference another work in the exhibition while simultaneously opening up further implications and complications in a seemingly endless cascade of elusive meaning, contributing to a feeling that each explication is about to collapse in on itself. This feeling of anxiety of collapse is an apt affect for a series of visual explorations of the invi... [more]

20131203210000-rodolfo-diaz-cervantes UNTITLED. Needs No Title: A Talk with Omar Lopez-Chahoud   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
at UNTITLED. December 4th, 2013 - December 8th, 2013
Posted 12/3/13

Call him Omar. A bundle of kind energy dedicated to his curatorial craft, Omar Lopez-Chahoud guided UNTITLED. through its first iteration last year during Miami Art Week to a very successful conclusion. Much more than a white whale beached on the sands off Ocean Drive, the great white tent designed by Keenen/Riley Architects (K/R Architects), and redesigned this year by the same, promises to be as exhilarating as last year, a welcome respite amidst the floundering chaos of Miami Art Week. The ma... [more]

20131124212909-20121004183631-4kang_corememory ArtSlant Prize 2013: Robin Kang - Playing with Machines   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
Posted 11/23/13

Robin Kang - First Place, ArtSlant Prize 2013 Robin Kang interrogates machinery. From her roots as a photographer (BFA) and through her MFA in printmaking at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, it’s always been about how the machine affects the artwork produced and what exactly can be done within that process of translation: idea to object. Her latest projects involve two very different explorations. Using digital jacquard looms, she recreates patterns taken both from ancient weav... [more]

20131023223025-2934 Canadian Content   Pick-button-0f29c6c075c514ef3a12253f1d60018e
at Art Toronto (Toronto International Art Fair) October 25th, 2013 - October 28th, 2013
Posted 10/23/13

In 1968, the idea of Canadian Content was set down as law in the Broadcasting Act of Canada. It ensures that “each broadcasting undertaking shall make maximum use, and in no case less than predominant use, of Canadian creative and other resources in the creation and presentation of programming.” As Ryan Edwardson aptly points out in his book Canadian Content: Culture and the Quest for Nationhood (2008), Canadian Content is a cultural response to a very determined approach to country-b... [more]

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