“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]
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]
Gentrification is the big bad wolf in the modern day urban party. Never formally invited, it heard of the gathering by word of mouth and will restlessly attempt to enter even if it has to blow the entire structure down. No one likes it—neither the apologetic gentrifier nor the displaced community who lack enough financial clout or power to resist or keep up with the shift. It barrels forward as if it has no memory of itself, all history lessons completely erased. After it passes, the area h... [more]
Lying somewhere on the spectrum between an amusement park and seaside resort, Coney Island attracts tourists with its boardwalk, rides, and more. But the visiting spectator might not know so much about the residential community of nearly 60,000 people who live within this area.
Hoping to add a cultural currency to the historic tourist spot, this summer Coney Art Walls presents more than 20 temporary walls painted by artists like Miss Van, Lady Pink, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Futura, and artist-in-residence Marie R... [more]
In celebration of Pride week, Christie's ran a special Warhol auction this week, making some 100 photographs and drawings available to purchase. Beyond the price tags, the works, many in the public eye for the first time, draw a passionate portrait of the underground LGBT scene of the '70s and '80s that was so much a part of the artist's life. They are a historical archive, charting a defining era of sexuality and social politics in American cities like San Francisco and New York City. Though t... [more]
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 se... [more]
“You’re going to get me started on a rant,” Kameelah Janan Rasheed says in between laughs as I begin to ask her about America’s obsession with neat and tidy histories. “America loves a linear history and a linear history wants us to think about things as discrete events. We should instead be thinking about history as sets of logic and systems that preserve power.” It is a week before the opening of Rasheed’s latest solo exhibition, Future Perfect/indices & marginali... [more]
I think of myself as a kind of reporter; I report on the nature of certain events. I think of art as a report on civilization at a certain time.
Leon Golub: Riot at Hauser & Wirth, in New York, presents a long overdue opportunity to see Golub’s paintings gathered together from several different bodies of work spanning a four-decade period. Showing Napalm I (1969) and Riot V (1987), Vietnam-era paintings, and several fine examples from his late Mercenaries series, this exhi... [more]
One of the most startling impressions that one takes away from seeing the reunited Migration Series at the Museum of Modern Art is how current the paintings still feel—in a way that Céline still does, or Christopher Isherwood, or John Steinbeck, documentors of a very specific moment of transition, faithfully recording sensitive observations. Jacob Lawrence’s cycle of 60 paintings on the subject of the Great Migration, during which 6 million African Americans ultimately left t... [more]
In Jon Rafman’s 2013 film, Still Life (Betamale), we watch furries and hentai sourced from the deep web while a flat voiceover delivers a speech about leaving one world to enter another. It’s the promise virtual realities offer us: escapism. This idea is at the center of Grand Tour, the inaugural two-person show featuring new works from Rafman and Keren Cytter at Feuer/Mesler, one of two new Lower East Side galleries founded this year by Zach Feuer and Untitled director Joel Mesler (the sec... [more]
Famed for her portrayal of the upper class in New York, New England, and Long Island, Tina Barney’s work is an ethnographic study of the bourgeoisie. The eleven works on view in this retrospective are snapshots from a play where if one stares long enough, one might hear the muffled dialogue of Barney’s subjects travel through time. With shots capturing characters in mid-motion, such as The Reception (1985), the viewer is pulled into the scene right before a significant event is about to o... [more]
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.
It deserves attention that with Frieze Week underway in New York, Essex Street would open an exhibition of an anonymous artist. Late Work by Vern Blosum—a pseudonymous painter associated with the Pop Art movement, though never officially canonized—features the only work produced by the artist since his appearance in exhibitions from 1961–64. This work, which was shown again to the public in 2013 after being rediscovered by gallerist Maxwell Graham, among a few others, is familia... [more]
Opening Friday, May 15, 1:54 is the latest addition to New York's Frieze Week satellite circuit. Dedicated to contemporary African Art, 1:54 (the name references the number of countries that constitute the African continent) has already run two editions in London.
By bringing together 16 galleries engaged in the field the fair takes a cultural stand within the art market, an important way to redress the balance of previously neglected and underrepresented regions. Of 16 galleries to present at the... [more]
We all like to be a bitch once in a while. After all, gossip, as many historians will tell you, is one of the things that binds our society together and ensures our survival... plus, the art world just makes it a little too easy for us to make fun. If you're fed up with reading about the fair, here's our visual round-up of what's been going down on Randall's Island: from fashion misadventures to absurd aspirational art, here are the 2015 Instagrammies, selected from what you've all been posting... [more]