Birna wanders YouTube as she does the world, gathering strange and compelling objects....Read more
In one of her films, the artist reflects on the lack of tenderness in her life that compelled her to cultivate it through images of herself and others.…Read more
Three remarkable exhibitions showcase heterogeneous tactics for aesthetic and political organizing through dialogical exchange, pedagogical intervention, and embodied acts of resistance. …Read more
Rigo 23’s work about activist communities is produced through collaborative processes inspired by the communities themselves.…Read more
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by Richard Vine
Sampling China's post-Tiananmen avant-garde, the Guggenheim Museum evokes both fading one-world hopes and rising ethical divisiveness. …Read more
"Items: Is Fashion Modern?," now at MoMA, offers a new, broader sense of good design, from couture to the discount rack. …Read more
RACHEL WHITEREAD CAME to prominence—was catapulted to prominence, actually—with her 1993 work House, a concrete cast of the inside of an entire house in the East End of London. For the three months of its existence, the giant, site-specific sculpture created a public furor, attracting praise (it won the thirty-year-old the Turner Prize) and vitriol in equal measure, until the work was eventually demolished by the local council. A grid of photographs and a rather dated-looking “making of” documentary are its sole representations in her Tate Britain retrospective. And yet, the work casts a long shadow over her subsequent career. In the UK, it’s far and away her most famous piece—indeed, it’s a key historical work for shaping the discourse around contemporary art in this country—and it served to ma...Read more
The first and largest piece in Storme Webber's "Casino: A Palimpsest" was a photograph that covered an entire wall. The Venice of America (1891), taken by Frank La Roche and captioned "Indian dugout canoes in the harbor," shows a formation of passenger-carrying canoes at the foot of Washington Street in Seattle. Above them, a shadowed crowd peers down from the docks. The scene seems tense—the aftermath of conflict, or a presage of trouble to come.
If history is a palimpsest, Webber's act of displaying this photograph seemed meant to expose a lower layer. Native Americans flourished for over fifty thousand years in the Pacific Northwest before white settlements spread rapidly in the 1850s. The ensuing barrage of treaties, exclusion acts, bans, and settler laws destroyed the tribes' trade systems, soci...Read more
The Spanglish title "How to Read El Pato Pascual" encapsulates the dynamic cross-border cultural exchanges highlighted in this two-venue exhibition. Part of the Getty Center's Pacific Standard Time LA/LA initiative, the show explores links between Los Angeles and Latin America by focusing on how Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck have been reinvented in various Latin American contexts. Disney's playful anthropomorphic animals functioned as imperialist icons, as Chilean scholars Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart detail in their seminal 1971 semiotic analysis How to Read Donald Duck. Yet far from being passive recipients of imperial culture, the forty-eight Latinx and Latin American artists in this show deploy Disney trademarks in films, videos, paintings, and sculptures that illustrate the hemisphere's syncretic culture.
The "Pato...Read more
Desperate times call for desperate measures. That seems to be the animating principle behind Stephanie Syjuco's recent work, as presented in her exhibition at Ryan Lee, "Citizens." In the past year, many artists have offered responses to the dystopian rightward lurch of the United States (one thinks, perhaps, of Rachel Harrison's bitterly satirical Trump piñatas). For most of them, explicit protest art is a side project. They continue their work as before, albeit with trouble in mind.
For Syjuco, by contrast, the situation seems to have engendered a thoroughly new direction. She has long been a politically engaged artist, perhaps best known for organizing events in which teams of volunteers manufacture knockoffs of luxury products and artworks. These performances dissect fashion and art alike as elitist commodity systems in which the realities of production ...Read more
On no account must the suspicion arise that the fresco, culpable in so many details, might be heterodox in essentials. Michelangelo's well-wishing friends, who saw in the Last Judgment the ultimate triumph of art, must bend every effort to ward off suspicions.…Read more