“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]
Frieze Week 2015 unveils a packed and fairly new line up of fairs and exhibitions. This year three exciting newcomers enter the Frieze fold, while just as many depart from the May satellite roster (gone, relocated, rebranded, or rescheduled are Pulse, Cutlog, The Downtown Fair, and The Outsider Art Fair). Despite fewer fairs than Armory Week (which still feels like yesterday, no?), Frieze Week requires just as much planning and perhaps even more legwork: the main event is a ferry or bus ride up... [more]
Frieze Frolic: 4 Hours in a Giant Turtle Shell Listening to Hip Hop by Nadja Sayej Mathis Altmann, Martha Araújo, Anna-Sophie Berger, Than Hussein Clark, Lital Lev Cohen, Liu Ding, Cécile B. Evans, Zachary Leener, Kris Lemsalu, Dashiell Manley, Alexandra Navratil, Georgie Nettell, Walter Pfeiffer, Philomene Pirecki, Charlotte Prodger, Eric Sidner, Lucy Stein, Ken Tisa, Sergio Zevallos at Frieze New York
May 14th - May 17th
Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu is no stranger to the art of keeping things weird—which is exactly what Frieze NY needs this week. Lemsalu, who is based in Berlin, has created everything from phantom sleeping bags to skirts made of playing cards (fit for the Queen of Hearts in “Alice in Wonderland”). But her secret talent is actually ceramics, an overlooked material in contemporary art pratice. Rather than inhabiting a Do Not Touch world, Lemsalu's gives her sculptures her own fan... [more]
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]