Where Consumption Meets Belief: Pat Flynn Exploits Our Desire to Be Fooled

by Char Jansen
I recently spent some time visiting galleries in some of the UK’s northern cities: Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle. The UK is a reverse of most other countries, because the people are nicer in the north. It’s richer in the south, and by “south” I mean London, so people aren’t as friendly. There’s also not as much money for artists outside of London, creating a dire skewing of culture towards the capital. During this time, I made a point of visiting Pat Flynn’s solo exhibition at the... [more]
Posted by Char Jansen on 2/16/16

Digging into Architecture and Design, Kasper Akhøj Uncovers Filters for History

by Edo Dijksterhuis
They’ve popped up at different occasions, ranging from Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels to the Abstract Myths show at Nest in The Hague, and they are now on display at Ellen de Bruijne Projects in Amsterdam: Kasper Akhøj’s photographs of the villa Irish architect Eileen Gray built in Roquebrune Cap Martin in 1929. They appear timeless: elegant black and white photographs shot in medium format showing the interior of a modernist icon. We see the dining room in a dismal state, the result... [more]
Posted by Edo Dijksterhuis on 2/8/16

Jen Ray: “Beware of people who think women are goddesses. That's bullshit.”

by Josie Thaddeus-Johns
American artist Jen Ray’s work focuses on depictions of women in all their majesty: her intricately apocalyptic paintings portray landscapes filled with fierce, glamorous warrior commanders, motorcycle-helmeted bodyguards, and rock-climbing adventuresses in feathered neckpieces. Equally dramatic, fantastical, and fairytale, they show women in a variety of guises, from powerful commander to obedient foot soldier, from tenderly nursing the wounded to plotting Machiavellian destruction. Ray’s... [more]
Posted by Josie Thaddeus-Johns on 1/12/16

Zina Saro-Wiwa on Art and Authentic Storytelling in the Niger Delta

by Sharon Obuobi
Zina Saro-Wiwa is a British-Nigerian artist and filmmaker whose body of work includes video installations, experimental films, and documentaries, including the widely acclaimed (2009). Prior to developing her artistic practice, she was known for her work as a BBC journalist and a presenter for BBC Two's flagship arts magazine program, The Culture Show. She is the founder of the alt-Nollywood movement—kicked off with her films Phyllis and The Deliverance of Comfort (both 2010)—which uses the... [more]
Posted by Sharon Obuobi on 12/14/15

Shame, Narcissism, and Online Empathy: Ann Hirsch's Multiple Selves

by Char Jansen
I recently saw a rare screening in London of Chick Strands' 1979 film , considered the seminal work of the experimental Californian filmaker. It's an incredible piece, prescient in its style and approach to female representation. It mixes documentary, poetry, truth, and reality, never presenting either victims or victors, but instead the stories told by these female subjects give the idea that "ecstasy is knowing exactly who you are and still not caring." Though Ann Hirsch, who is also based... [more]
Posted by Char Jansen on 11/24/15

Ed Fornieles: Postcapitalism, Networks, and Tenderness

by Char Jansen
Since 2010, when I first met Ed Fornieles, I've watched the artist somewhat like a private eye sitting in a greasy spoon cafe with eye holes cut out of a newspaper—at a safe hermetic distance. I went to my first ever performance night in London that he had curated at Paradise Row, and watched a man pour cornflakes and milk all over the floor. I read all the online tabloid furore over his debauched project and his former relationship with a British film star.  From afar, he often seems to be... [more]
Posted by Char Jansen on 11/10/15

Citing Decolonial Theory, Moffat Takadiwa Transforms Debris into Art

by Natalie Hegert
In Moffat Takadiwa’s work, the remnants of consumer goods—bright colored bits of plastic and metal, fragmented, emptied of their promise and their contents—make their way into shapes, shrouds, and clusters, into mandala-like patterns of consumption and waste. Spray tops, bottle caps, plastic lids, laptop keys: the detritus of late capitalism accumulated into strands, shapes, and forms, now hang from gallery walls. There’s a neat logic to this transformation of debris into art. The Zimbabwean... [more]
Posted by Natalie Hegert on 11/2/15

Cecily Brown Discusses Style, Insecurities, and Knowing When a Painting Is Finished

by Nicole Rodríguez Woods
The boisterous commotion of a packed opening dimmed to a murmur as the door to the back office slid closed, leaving Cecily Brown and me a brief escape from her current Berlin solo exhibition at Contemporary Fine Arts. Both jetlagged, having departed JFK only 24 hours earlier, we were grateful for the momentary calm. Often pigeonholed as what the artist herself facetiously refers to as some type of “fifth generation Abstract Expressionist,” London-born New York-based painter Cecily Brown’s... [more]
Posted by Nicole Rodríguez Woods on 9/29/15

Innovating Tradition: Faig Ahmed Talks Carpets and Community from His Baku Studio

by Danna Lorch
Faig Ahmed shares his Baku studio with what he refers to as his “Tribe,” a group of young artists who split materials, bookshelves, and even food, in a communal setting. In 2011, the painter Aida Mahmudova and a group of local artists including Ahmed, founded YARAT as a platform for contemporary art in Azerbaijan. Along with a 2,000-square-meter flagship space neighboring the recently built European Games stadium, and the social enterprise space YAY Gallery, YARAT offers both established and... [more]
Posted by Danna Lorch on 8/17/15

The Conceptual Entrepreneur: Martine Syms in Conversation

by Rachel Elizabeth Jones
Officially, Martine Syms is an LA-based conceptual entrepreneur, and one whose concepts have already proliferated quite far given her young career. Perhaps her participation in the Walker Art Center's pop-up shop offers the most literal evidence to back this title: customers can purchase a voicemail recording by Syms's fictional band Maya Angelou for $10.  In many ways, though, Syms defies categorization and moves fluidly among formats and mediums in the service of examining, and giving shape... [more]
Posted by Rachel Elizabeth Jones on 8/3/15