Broken Links: The Internet Show

Museums keep taking up the relationship between art and the internet as a theme for group exhibitions, while neglecting to examine it with historical rigor. …Read more

In the Studio: Cheryl Donegan

We all have that kind of ouroboros relationship with the digital, with the phone and the touch screen. …Read more

Issues and Commentary: The New Property Regime

The history of copyright shows that a technological fix is not as effective as a social or juridical one. …Read more

What Cave Art Means

It has become a truism in the study and in the public presentation of Paleolithic cave art that we will likely never know what it means.…Read more

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For André Breton, collecting les arts premiers (tribal art) was an inherently “surrealist activity” capable of displacing the rationalized relations of the modern world. “The surrealist practice,” he wrote in 1948, “is inseparable from seduction, from the fascination that these objects exercise over us.” The Surrealists desired Indigenous arts of Oceania and the Americas for the mythic and animistic characteristics they saw in totemic c

arvings and masks, including those created by Arctic peoples for winter ceremonies. In 1935, the Surrealists began acquiring Arctic material from the Galerie Charles Ratton in Paris; and the pace of their collecting accelerated when many of them moved to New York to escape the strife of World War II. There, they encountered Julius Carlebach’s Third Avenue boutique and its stock of Northwest Coast, Inuit, and Hopi objects. “Moon Dancers: Yup’ik Masks and the Surrealists,” which Di Donna Galleries organized in collaboration with Donald Ellis Gallery, paired ritual masks from Alaska with works by Surrealists who prized such masks for their ceremonial role in transforming the wearer into the embodiment of the spirit—a transfigurative power that they imagined might also affect the Euro-American psyche. Against deep blue walls, the twisted grins and feathered visages of seventeen keg...

For “Ghost Nets,” Berlin-based Mexican artist Julieta Aranda transformed Galería OMR into a sort of De Stijl-inspired videogame landscape. Black, white, and red appeared throughout, as did networks of gridded lines: Mondrian-type patterns took the form of wall paintings, large freestanding sculptures, and a video projection on a floating screen, while a more standard grid design covered a wall-mounted textile, serving as the matrix for a crossw

ord puzzle image. The videogame vibe was enhanced by massive sculptures of bones that leaned against walls, resting on colored sand piles, or that hung from the ceiling, entangled in red fishing nets. Nets are of course a flexible form of grids; the eponymous “ghost” variety are fishing nets that have been discarded or lost in the ocean, where they frequently continue to entrap animals. For Aranda, as she explained in an interview about the show, this issue points to broader problems concerning ecology, human responsibility, and the toxic structures we uphold. ...

Borna Sammak’s Not Yet Titled (Couch), 2018, suggests a sculptural reimagining of Duchamp’s painting Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912). The gigantic, snaking black-and-white-striped sofa appears to chart movement through space, evoking the sort of twists and turns that carrying a large piece of furniture up a stairwell and through a doorway requires. The domestic colossus—which looks straight out of Beetlejuice—was the centerpiece

of Sammak’s JTT exhibition, “Hey, You’re Part Of It.” The work set the scene for his alternate universe, where everything is oversize, chromatically saturated, and slightly off-kilter. Watching over the sofa was a framed cartoonlike printed image depicting Jesús Malverde, a Robin Hood–type bandit from Mexican folklore who has been adopted as a kind of patron saint by drug dealers and traffickers. Sammak has surrounded the image with a garland of chunky epoxy resin flowers, creating a ridiculously mawkish piece of kitsch....

In the 1960s, after graduating from Indiana University and moving to New York, sculptor Wendell Dayton worked as an informal studio assistant to Robert Grosvenor, a guard at the Whitney Museum of American Art, and a maintenance painter and carpenter at the Museum of Modern Art. While many artists begin their careers with such peripheral positions, Dayton remained on the sidelines. He relocated to Los Angeles in 1972, and submitted work to galleries

here but met with no success. Feeling rejected, he began displaying his sculptures in the driveway of his Silver Lake home and then on the two-acre property he moved to on the edge of San Fernando Valley horse country in 1999. Strewn about the grounds and emptied pool, his sculptures have long had a viewership mostly of neighbors and passersby. This summer, however, the octogenarian received a solo exhibition—his first—at Blum & Poe, one of LA’s largest, most long-standing blue-chip galleries. For the career-spanning survey, the sculptures took over the entire two-story, twenty-one-thousand-square-foot space, and even, recalling their display on Dayton’s property, spilled into the parking lot and garden....


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Internet Shows, Cave Art, Harald Szeemann, Cheryl Donegan