A week from my deadline, I was regretting the assignment I’d asked for: an article about street art in Bushwick. The source of my slowly developing dread about the piece, apart from the challenge of avoiding the issue of gentrification as a central consideration, was my sense of inadequacy as a journalist. I tend to get distracted and lose sight of the angle, and I hate conducting ad hoc interviews. So instead of scheduling meetings and striking up convos with local residents, and with pl... [more]
“Icon” and its derivatives are some of the most overused words in arts writing today. We’re all guilty of bumping an artist up to “iconic” status with a little rhetorical flourish. Sure, some artists really embody the word—Warhol comes to mind—but we typically deploy “iconic” as a hyperbolic substitute for “famous,” “memorable,” “influential,” or—at worst—shorthand for “What do you mean you a... [more]
Tree of Codes is the collaborative production of three artists practicing at the forefront of the performing and visual arts today: choreographer Wayne McGregor, artist Olafur Eliasson, and producer/DJ Jamie xx. The full-length ballet, which completed its US premiere run at the Park Avenue Armory this week, was inspired by Jonathan Safran Foer’s conceptual novel of the same name.
The label “writer” attributed to Foer for this work is somewhat imperfect. At once a sculptural object and work of l... [more]
Political "photograffeur" artist JR has revealed the movie poster for his forthcoming short film, The Ghosts of Ellis Island, to his 661k Instagram followers. The artist’s third feature film–written by Oscar-winning writer Eric Roth—is to star Hollywood veteran actor Robert De Niro.
The story centers on New York’s Ellis Island, a crucial entryway to the U.S. for immigrants seeking refuge between 1892 and 1954. In the film, JR will uncover a new layer of the New York monumen... [more]
As fresh and lively as ever, Mexico City’s art scene is heating up in time for Gallery Weekend with long-awaited exhibitions: from Mark Powell’s real estate slash photography project to acclaimed Brazilian artist Lucas Arruda’s first presentation in Mexico, the flavor of exhibitions presented shows a pointed social conscience, with both Mexican and international artists on show. Here's the best among them opening this weekend.
Ceiling, 2015, Mark Powell, Courtesy the Artist
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 si... [more]
The International Center of Photography (ICP) announced yesterday that the founder of Documentary Arts, Alan Govenar, has donated an archive of more than 100,000 works including photographs, films, audio recordings, and new media, with 60,000 works of African American vernacular photography from the Texas African American Photography Archive (TAAP).
The photographs in the TAAP Archive are images of African American life in both urban and rural 20th century Texas. Candid and formal portraits de... [more]
“I don’t know what truth is. Truth is something unattainable. We can’t think we’re creating truth with a camera. But what we can do, is reveal something to the viewer that allows them to discover their own truth.” —Marcel Brault
It’s a pretty grand quote with which to start an article, I know. Its relevance will become clear.
In Issue 2 of Unseen magazine (the magazine that accompanies the upcoming Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam, September 18–2... [more]
Painter Joe Fig's new book, Inside the Artist's Studio, comes out tomorrow. Fig is well-known for his portraits of artists' studios. In this follow-up to his Inside the Painter's Studio, he asks 24 painters, video and mixed-media artists, sculptors, and photographers the personal questions that matter most to artists looking for guidance and commiseration in their search to exist as an artist.
In Inside, we are given a glimpse into the everyday studio practices of some of the most engaging contempo... [more]
Art or Not? Visitors to the museum or fine art institution are often concerned about being the butt of an artist's joke, not privy to some marketing ploy, where they are statiscial cogs in a machine churning out money for ideas. But wouldn't it be a fine thing if we could make artworks out of experience—removing the need for product, structure, and market, altogether?
This week: Awkward mishaps happen. But which of the images described below is a clandestine capture of a situation staged by a very ra... [more]
Like other industries, the art world should come under the scrunity of fair and equitable business practices. With so much privatization in the gallery and museum world, it's as good a time as any for consumers of culture to question where funds come from—and where profits are going. This summer, we're seeking out the best not-for-profit and community conscious art spaces in the most commercial cities on the global art circuit. As part of our mission to give art a social slant, the second s... [more]
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 including... [more]
For five days New York-based saxophonist and multimedia artist Matana Roberts took over the Whitney’s third-floor theater for the latest installment of i call america, her “extended research residency”-cum-performance, situated as a response to the Whitney’s inaugural exhibition, America Is Hard to See. “America is hard to see” compels us to look, to try to understand the complexities of America’s visual history; “I call America,” meanwhile, establishes an agent, compelling us to act. Understan... [more]
“Ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.” —Walter Benjamin 
Brooklyn-based publisher and curator Blonde Art Books recently organized its third annual Bushwick Art Book and Zine Fair (BABZ). A three-day event, BABZ featured a few dozen independent publishers hawking their goods, plus workshops and performances throughout the weekend. The presence of something like BABZ is no... [more]
Within the first few minutes of David Cronenberg’s 1999 movie eXistenZ, video game designer Allegra Geller is referred to as both “goddess” and “demoness.” The polarizing reaction to Geller’s games sets the stakes for the ensuing narrative—one in which “realists” fight against gamers, who, according to the realists, “deform” reality. Indeed, in immersive games like eXistenZ, players are never sure if they are themselves or their c... [more]