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Hollow Laughter: Vanessa Place’s Rape Jokes

It would be wrong to reduce the problem of this book to “taste,” which might imply that the failure here is primarily an aesthetic one.…Read more
MAGAZINES

Critical Eye: Art in the Age of Sexual Disruption

The clash between entrenched patriarchal attitudes and the newly awakened #MeToo consciousness found some striking counterparts in New York exhibitions such as “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S."…Read more
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Your Face Tomorrow

Dragonfly Eyes (2017), the first feature film by the celebrated Chinese artist Xu Bing, grapples with China's extensive surveillance infrastructure, which is transforming not just daily life but also the filmmaking process.…Read more
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The Dubai Effect

They say that museums are where art goes to die. But it might be more apt to say that of storage facilities—from an artist’s bedroom closet to multibillion-dollar freeports found chiefly in Geneva, Zurich, Luxembourg, Monaco, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore.…Read more

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Reviews

Grappling with a flu pandemic and the aftermath of a volcanic eruption, Iceland declared independence from Denmark in December 1918. One hundred years later, the fourth edition of the annual Cycle Music and Art Festival in Kópavogur, Iceland—a town just south of Reykjavík—opened under conditions of environmental and political duress. Organized by the Stockholm-based independent curator Jonatan Habib Engqvist and Cycle’s creative director, Gu

ðný Guðmundsdóttir, this year’s festival was dedicated to the theme “Inclusive Nation,” taking up conversations around diversity and representation that are familiar to artists in the United States but relatively new to Iceland. The heart of the multi-venue event was a group exhibition at the Gerðarsafn museum, ironically titled “Exclusively Inclusive.” The curators sought to illuminate connections between Iceland’s colonial history and contemporary struggles in other parts of the world. Unlike many biennial-style exhibitions, “Exclusively Inclusive” did not note the artists’ nationalities on the wall labels. Nonetheless, some of the memorable works drew upon—or openly flouted— conventions of nationalism and site-specificity. Julius von Bismarck and Julian Charrière’s Kunst (2013) exemplified site-specificity gone wrong. For the performative project, the two...

It’s hard to imagine a more disconsolate musical pairing than the two works that Susan Philipsz took as the source materials for the pieces in this exhibition. The Turner Prize–winning artist’s film A Single Voice (2017) centers on the performance of a violin solo derived from Karl-Birger Blomdahl’s 1959 opera, Aniara. Based on Harry Martinson’s epic sci-fi poem of the same name, Aniara concerns a group of interplanetary travelers who, aft

er escaping man-made ecological disaster on Earth, are knocked off course on their way to Mars and left hurtling aimlessly through space on their ship, the Aniara. Philipsz films musician Leila Akhmetova seated in front of sheet music and a computer screen. The camera orbits her like a satellite. Between periods of silence, violin music can be heard playing from the dozen speakers installed around the perimeter of the gallery, while Akhmetova herself waits, poised, wearing headphones and holding her instrument. At certain moments, she fills in a few select notes from these musical passages. A sense of drama arises from observing her and anticipating the moment she will suddenly put bow to string. If her performance is spellbindingly self-assured, the music is filled with a sense of dread and alarm. As the press release informs us, the monotones she plays in one section of the performance...

THE LAST ESSAY by formidable film critic and artist Manny Farber (1917–2008) was published in Film Comment in 1977. Cowritten with his wife, painter Patricia Patterson, “Kitchen without Kitsch” parses Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975), which tracks with patient intensity a woman at her routine tasks of cooking, cleaning, shopping, turning tricks, and caring for her son. Farber and Patterson dubbed

the revelatory production a “still-life film.” Around the same time—after long forays into two- and three-dimensional abstraction—Farber had begun making something related on paper and board: filmic still-life paintings. These compositions portraying ordinary and personal objects often reference specific filmmakers and films. They lead the eye along paths that feel temporal as well as spatial, much the way film delivers a durational experience through the accretion of still images....

The printmaker and collagist Zarina Hashmi, who goes by her first name, is one of the foremost figures of South Asian art. She was born in the northern Indian city of Aligarh in 1937 and witnessed the communal violence of Partition firsthand. In some of her best-known pieces, such as Dividing Line (2001), she directly addresses the 1947 cleaving of India and Pakistan. Elsewhere, she deploys a minimal visual language, stressing materiality while also

alluding to diasporic themes such as loss, displacement, nostalgia, and longing for home. (After living an itinerant life for many years, Zarina settled in New York in 1976.) However, the works in this exhibition of her recent collages were quieter and more reflective, featuring no direct references to politics or identity. While it may be impossible to make a final peace with Partition or the experience of immigration, Zarina seems to have declared a temporary truce. ...

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