Lonnie Holley can find layers of history and meaning in the simplest of things, often ones that have been discarded by the rest of us. His sculptures, direct descendants of the oldest forms of African American sculpture, are constructed by combining objects into narrative artworks that commemorate places, people, and events. Most of Holley’s works are additionally given clever and sometimes long-winded titles like: Climbing to Paint Your Pane, You Forgot to Give Me Power, or Keeping It Freezing: The... [more]
Art fairs are evil—or so I’ve heard. They are not the devil incarnate come to steal your children, per se, just the dollar incarnate come to swallow your art. The criticism usually goes something like this: capitalism corrupts art by turning it into a common commodity and (more importantly) depriving it of its critical capacity as a consequence. Because if you are part of a system, you cannot objectively critique or reject that system. You become complicit by default.
Can you beli... [more]
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... [more]
Aside from artMRKT, two other art fairs happened in San Francisco this past weekend: StARTup Art Fair and Parking Lot Art Fair. Each attempted to unfold controversial aspects of what it means to gather en masse, and to expose the public to a variety of artists in one place for a concentrated amount of time. The venues missed and seized opportunities, respectively, and each presented their own set of risks surrounding the art fair model.
Parking Lot Art Fair installation view, held at the artMRKT parking lot, Saturday May 2,... [more]
Despite ceaseless, futile complaints regarding the stalking reaper of gentrification, the influence of nepotism and money, and the difficulty of making professional progress, for many artists, New York remains the supermassive black hole at the center of the artistic galaxy. The staggering density of galleries, museums, fairs, events, and personalities, all shrouded in the glamorous veil of openings and parties—dutifully fomented on social media—convey an immense sense of possibility... [more]
When Edward Snowden released classified information from the National Security Agency to mainstream media in 2013 he was globally marked as either a traitor or a patriot. The top-secret documents revealed that the NSA has been collecting data from anywhere and everywhere, including 55,000 quality images daily through social media and personal communications to use in facial recognition programs. The revelation confirmed civic anxieties that the dreaded future is here: your face can be used agains... [more]
There was a time in modern music when the role of the artist changed from being the custodian of cultural knowledge to something more of an autobiographer. We might choose that moment in the late sixties when Lou Reed abandoned the writing of pop ditties about boys and girls to focus on his own, more personal interests, like boys and girls and heroin. In other art forms this sea change was happening; in comedy, where once jokes were shared, un-authored, between performers in Vegas, the Catskills,... [more]
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]
It is an astonishing peculiarity that in New York there is just one newspaper setting the tone of cultural opinion: The New York Times. There are others, of course, but they haven’t a fraction of its influence. There is no audible counter-argument. Conversations on the street rarely begin, “Did you see that thing in the New York Observer?” Even national papers such as the Wall Street Journal and USA Today are unable to penetrate the shield that the New York Times has formed over the c... [more]
With the scope of art continually expanding to include everything from film to fashion wear, the design world is finding itself on the up and up. More art collectors are including works by iconic designers into their collections, and many major art institutions—MoMA for instance—either have departments dedicated to architecture and design, or they’ve presented major exhibitions of prominent design figures and movements (David Adjaye, for example, is currently having a huge retrospect... [more]
“Words are all we have.” —Samuel Beckett
“I cross out words so you will see them more.” —Jean-Michel Basquiat
There are some painters who are born great (Picasso), some who attained greatness due to circumstances of their time (David), and some whose work grows in importance posthumously (Kahlo); Jean-Michel Basquiat is a rare case of a painter who managed to fall into all three of these categories. He was a prodigious teenager who came out of the gate fas... [more]
“And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.'” —Acts 26:14 (King James Version)
"We have art in order not to die from the truth." —Nietzsche
The paintings of Peter Williams have, for a long time, addressed the nature of the body, specifically addressing how one might inhabit such a fragile space in such an arbi... [more]
Near the entrance of Untitled Gallery on the Lower East Side is a slab of concrete with a shovel stuck into it. Chair legs and wire sprout off the shovel, as do branches wrapped in stretched pantyhose like wings on an urban angel. The shovel’s handle fits into the mouth of a plastic bottle shaped like a fuel container, painted black to resemble an African mask. On the adjacent wall hangs an antique wooden mirror frame, which now holds a hand-drawn Confederate flag found by the artist. Two to... [more]
If there’s one thing the internet is good for, it’s cats. So when the Japan Society in New York announced its Life of Cats exhibition—featuring ukiyo-e woodblock prints depicting cats from the Edo Period (1615-1867)—the internet duly erupted with fanfare. The show, which opens today, has made the rounds not only in the usual art publications, but also in myriad pop culture blogs and magazines, attesting to the near universal appeal of feline themes. I think we can be quite as... [more]
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 photo dip... [more]
An art fair isn't the most innovative cultural event—it might even make you worry about the state of culture and raise concerns about the mental health of art industry workers. No, it's not the most relaxed way to experience art—bonus points for the most nauseating strip lighting in the world.
Important questions are raised by this year's Armory Show, such as: why shouldn't I attach a GoPro to my dog? Why should a sweater have armholes? It also reminds us that the true frisson of art... [more]