COLUMNS

  • Film

    The New Thing

    JOHN COLTRANE IS OFTEN HELD UP as a sui generis figure, A Love Supreme his magnum opus. Yet overemphasizing the Coltrane’s individual aura obscures the true force behind his music. The release last week of a previously lost live version of A Love Supreme, recorded at the Penthouse Club in Seattle in October 1965, provides an opportunity to redress the balance, locating the saxaphonist within a collective history still not often told.

    Throughout the history of jazz, its musicians have been subject to systematically exploitative labor conditions. At the time the Seattle recordings were made,

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  • Slant

    Up In Smoke

    GIDDY FROM SIPPING FLUTES of the de Young Museum’s prosecco, my friend Karen and I quickly realized that from the VIP section, the view of Judy Chicago’s smoke sculpture, Forever de Young, was going to suck. Since we were standing to the side of the huge pyramid-shaped scaffolding that was holding the canisters of colored pigments that would be “released” into the air, we knew we would not be able to see the whole picture. We scanned for a better vantage point but were cordoned off, and the rest of the crowd formed a dense mass that looked impossible to insert ourselves into. So we hunkered down

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  • Interviews

    Sam Roeck

    Sam Roeck’s second solo exhibition at New York’s OCDChinatown, “Sam Roeck, Sam Roeck.,” features a dozen black-and-white photographs of the artist at sixteen along with eighteen new graphite self-portraits the thirty-six-year-old completed during quarantine. The small gallery also houses two inverted sculptures of staircases replicated from Roeck’s childhood home in Chicago, emphasizing the cozy and claustrophobic work of exploring the self. The show gives an intimate look at the practice of an artist who splits his time between managing Nicole Eisenman’s studio and teaching drawing at Hunter

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  • Film

    American Hustle

    WILLIAM DOUGLAS STREET JR., a Black Michigan man with an empty wallet, a florid vocabulary, and a naturally patronizing, aristocratic air, doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. This another way of saying that he fits in just about the same everywhere, a valuable trait for a man in his line of work—namely, con artistry.

    In writer-director Wendell B. Harris Jr.’s 1990 Chameleon Street, an embellished version of the life and lies of real Detroit-based con artist Street, Harris, starring in the lead role, gives us a Black Tom Ripley, the most unforgettable underclass antihero this side of Mike Leigh’s 1993

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  • Performance

    Moving Home

    DRIVING THROUGH DOWNTOWN SEATTLE, I saw construction everywhere, luxury housing for tech employees rising up around small tent cities. I was a tourist, visiting for a week to check out the New Now Festival, which is being presented by interdisciplinary performance venue On the Boards and curated by its artistic director, Rachel Cook. This is the first time in eighteen months that On the Boards has been open for business, although the space provided residencies and support to artists during quarantine. Before a performance of Beyond this Point’s Reclaimed Timber, executive director Betsey Brock

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  • Slant

    Natural Causes

    QUESTIONS OF CARE and ecological entanglement have dominated art discourse for several years but seem to have grown in urgency of late, as the pandemic forced a renegotiation of relationships, and values, on a global scale. Using art to bridge the gulf in perception between humans and nonhuman species, the seventeenth edition of Montréal’s Momenta Biennale de l’Image—curated by Stefanie Hessler in collaboration with Camille Georgeson-Usher, Maude Johnson, and Himali Singh Soin, and on view until October 24—addresses the effects of sensing, and being sensed by, the natural world. The theme is

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  • Diary

    Swing Time

    “THAT’S WHAT ARTWORKS ARE BEST FOR, aren’t they?” said Grayson Perry, posing in front of a painting by Sarah Sze. “Backdrops for photos!” It was Monday of Frieze week, and the British artist appeared at Victoria Miro’s “intimate dinner for eighty,” hosted inside its vast Islington space, as his alter ego, Clare, in pink Mary Janes and turquoise tights. After admiring Perry’s large silver necklace—a mini version of his sculpture Chris Whitty’s Cat, 2020—I ate pink macaroons, spied Zadie Smith, and papped Isaac Julien against another of Sze’s electro-dystopic abstractions.

    I’d arrived at Miro from

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  • Interviews

    Claire Tabouret

    Claire Tabouret’s art has a feverish feel, something fervid roiling below the grave expressions of her composed subjects. Often inspired by internet deep dives, the French-born, Los Angeles–based artist’s recent paintings, drawings, and sculptures circle a sense of disquiet, be it hushed vistas or the charged group dynamics particular to youth. New work by Tabouret currently inhabits three Parisian venues. Almine Rech’s  “L'Urgence et la Patience” features self-portraits and a series of people painted “in absentia,” as floral metonyms. Paysages d’Intérieurs,” at Galerie Perrotin, ascribes

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  • Slant

    Portfolio: Arthur Tress

    ARTHUR TRESS, PRESENT. At the onset of the US lockdown in March 2020, the San Francisco–based photographer Arthur Tress began to chronicle the closed buildings, deserted playgrounds, and overgrown yards of nearby schools in Northern California. Seventeen months later, the resulting series, introduced here and titled “In Recess,” consists of more than 15,000 black-and-white photographs of 125 elementary, middle, and high schools, from Bodega Bay to Pismo Beach. Devoid of children playing hopscotch, spreading gossip, and gobbling down snacks, his eerie pictures, oscillating in affect between the

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  • Interviews

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s exhibition “The Witness-Machine Complex,” on view through November 14 at the Kunstverein Nuremberg, focuses on the system of simultaneous interpretation that facilitated the Nuremberg trials. Here, Abu Hamdan reflects on the absence of the translation from the official history of the trial and his understanding of interruptions as veracious moments.

    IN 2020, I was invited to respond to the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, which was exciting because I’ve been thinking about systems of simultaneous translation for a long time, and the very first use of such

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  • Slant

    Look, Look Again

    FOR ALMOST AS LONG as Artforum has been in circulation, its critics have wrestled with Jasper Johns’s startlingly inventive, thrillingly enigmatic body of work. This month, we have compiled a selection of those encounters—spanning generations and frames of reference—ranging from legendary curator Walter Hopps’s interview with the then-young artist coinciding with his survey at the Pasadena Art Museum in 1965 to Anne Wagner’s brilliant elucidation of the epochal Flag, 1954–55, written in the waning years of the Bush administration. Accompanying these pieces, too, is a rare text written by Johns

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  • Diary

    Significant Others

    THE AUTUMN BREEZE hit in the last days of September, filling Timișoara with a chill blowing in from its eastern European neighbors. I walked by the flaking ornate façades lining the serpentine streets of Romania’s third-largest city. A particular kick about biennials in smaller cities, besides getting to drink hot chocolate with the mayor (in this case, the newly elected, thirty-seven-year-old Dominic Samuel Fritz), is the invitation to creep into nooks and crannies that would otherwise go unnoticed.

    Luckily, the malleable premise of the fourth Art Encounters biennial—an exploration of “the act

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