As the 20th Century's most hideous episodes recede into the past, memory seems to play an increasingly important role in contemporary art. The same way the premonitions of the future inspired much of Modern Art, more and more artists turn towards the past to interpret the present. The widespread use of archives and appropriated photographs, along with sculptures and installations made with discarded furniture and clothes, public monuments and even the quiet comeback of historical painting are evidence of artists' attempts to protect past memories from our society of spectacle's amnesia. Romanian artist Victor Man, whose first solo exhibition recently closed at Barbara Gladstone gallery, is not alien to this discourse, though his obscure, subtly perverse works can hardly be considered homages.
Until somewhat recently, former journalist Marc Spiegler wrote on such diverse subjects as sports, rodeo, video games and the art market. As the co-director of Art Basel, he and Annette Schönholzer face the challenge of upholding the legacy of their charismatic predecessor, Samuel Keller. That's certainly not an easy task given how much the market has changed since he first accepted the position. Shortly before the Swiss art fair opened its doors, a confident Mr. Spiegler spoke with Art in America
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If death is central to Mexico's national identity, never has this country chosen a more appropriate representative for its pavilion at the Venice Biennale than Teresa Margolles (Culiacan, born 1963). Since the beginning of her artistic career in the early 1990's with the collective SEMEFO (Servicio Medico Forense
- Forensic Medical Services), Margolles has gained international recognition for using human body parts, fluids and residues collected in the morgue as well objects trouvés at crime scenes in her sculptures, murals, installations and urban interventions. Interested in the "political life" of dead bodies, Margolles strives to dignify the indigents -- in many cases, exploited alive, immediately forgotten as they die -- found in the morgue and nameless victims of Mexico's disturbingly quotidian violence while questioning the social and economic conditions that render them invisible (and their deaths, tolerable). Read More
Anticipating any market's performance is always a risky business. Economic predictions are based on information about past events, and despite the human tendency to search for cause-and-effect relationships, there is no guarantee that past occurrences will repeat themselves in the future. Predicting the performance of a market with so little transparency such as that of art sales is like playing Russian roulette. Yet many are betting on the results of the spring auction season which begins tonight with Sotheby’s Impressionist and Modern evening sale. Read More
In more prosperous times, the announcement of artists participating in the 53rd Venice Biennale, "Making Worlds," might generate a bigger buzz. (Recall the consternation that arose two years ago, when Documenta's curators resisted announcing their list in advance.) Curator Daniel Birnbaum and Venice Biennale President Paolo Baratta took to Rome, Berlin and London over this past week, revealing the details of their upcoming exhibition, in a series of press conferences that seemed to be slightly overshadowed by the economic crisis, whose reverberations have shaken the international art market in recent months.