COLUMNS

  • Slant

    Selling Point

    EARLIER THIS MONTH, France’s National Assembly took a step toward the restitution of colonial plunder promised by President Emmanuel Macron three years ago, voting unanimously to return twenty-six objects to Senegal and one to Benin. That same week, the Dutch government published an official report that strongly recommends the return of looted cultural objects, and even suggests that important artifacts legally purchased from former colonies be considered for repatriation. Though the scope of the French legislation is narrow—Beninese President Patrice Talon expressed disappointment that France

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  • Passages

    Aldo Tambellini (1930–2020)

    THE BEST ART I SAW on my “Grand Tour” of 2017 wasn’t in Venice, or Münster, or Kassel. It was in Karlsruhe, at ZKM’s major retrospective of Aldo Tambellini—the media artist whose seven-decade career celebrated the sensuous power of darkness, and who passed away last week at the age of ninety. My detour to the show was a kind of pilgrimage: Although not yet a household name in the art world, he has long been a cult figure for those devoted to experimental film and video. (I myself was introduced to him around twenty years ago by both Gene Youngblood’s classic 1970 book Expanded Cinema and the

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  • Passages

    Enzo Mari and Lea Vergine (1937–2020, 1932–2020)

    I SAW THEM FOR THE LAST TIME a few months before the lockdown. I went over to give Lea a copy of my book on Mario Merz, which she wanted as a gift, and with a dedication. They weren’t well. Enzo was still suffering the aftereffects of an operation on his head necessitated by a fall from a ladder on which he was trying to prune some wisteria on the terrace; Lea, by contrast, had “blundered,” resulting in a nasty sunburn on her legs. Daily life had betrayed them, in short. I left their beautiful Milanese home in a state of sadness at the fact that such two strong personalities, two leaders in

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  • Slant

    Aftershock: Marlene McCarty

    Artforum has invited artists to share a text, image, or video in the immediate wake of the United States presidential election and will be posting their contributions throughout the next week.

    (ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM) Reputedly, simply holding the energetic achillea millefolium grants psychic protection. Pressing it to the forehead cleanses the third eye and brings chakras into balance. Yarrow’s effects on blood are evidenced even in its name—achillea, for Achilles who carried it to Troy to treat his troops. Soldiers used it through the First World War to stop blood loss. It’s also known as woundwort

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  • Slant

    Aftershock: Michael Rakowitz

    Artforum has invited artists to share a text, image, or video in the immediate wake of the United States presidential election and will be posting their contributions throughout the week.

    I AWOKE ON THE MORNING of Wednesday, November 4, to the news of a still-too-close-to-call election. I went for a run in my neighborhood of Edgewater, on the north side of Chicago, and on my way home, I passed by the site of the former Edgewater Hospital. Closed since the 1990s, the hospital was the birthplace of John Wayne Gacy and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Demolition of the site began in early 2017, shortly after

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  • Slant

    Aftershock: Vaginal Davis

    Artforum has invited artists to share a text, image, or video in the immediate wake of the United States presidential election and will be posting their contributions throughout the week.

    LORD LOVE the Hot Humpy Dork Party!

    When the weather is warm in Berlin there is nothing I adore more than riding on my trusty Dutch girl’s bicycle around the city, art-stalking that rarest of rare breeds, the species affectionately known as the hotus humpyus dorkus. Humpy dorks are generally young men slightly on the diminutive side but not always, who aren't fully aware of their sexual attractiveness and innate

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  • Books

    Body Meets World

    SARA HENDREN IS A HUMANIST IN TECH—an artist, design researcher, writer, and professor at Olin College of Engineering. Her work has been widely exhibited and is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York; her writing and design have been featured on NPR, in Fast Company, and in the New York Times. Below, she discusses her new book What Can A Body Do? How We Meet the Built World (Penguin Random House, 2020) and the unexpected places disability can be found at the heart of everyday design: household objects, architecture,

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  • Film

    Dance Dance Revelation

    I TRAVELED TO SEE Jeremy Shaw’s Phase Shifting Index, 2020, at the Frankfurter Kunstverein after I’d had my “mind blown”—I keep describing it that way—by his Quantification Trilogy, 2014–18, currently on view at the Julia Stoschek Collection in Berlin, where Shaw is based. For nearly two decades, the Vancouver-born artist has made work that very much sets out to blow your mind while also thematizing mind-blowing as such. His 2004 video DMT shows close-ups of people’s faces as they come up on the psychedelic drug and try to describe what it feels like. This Transition Will Never End, 2008–, also

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  • Passages

    Frederick Weston (1946–2020)

    BEFORE I CAN PEN ANY TRIBUTE, or remembrance, for and to my friend and artistic colleague, the visual artist, fashion designer, and poet Frederick Weston, I have to say I did not expect him to die. I was unprepared to receive the news of his demise from a private battle he fought with cancer. I was shocked in ways and still am. Just days before his death, he was on Instagram and had viewed a story I posted, so I imagined him as my all-seeing brother, always there. He was a tall, brown-skinned, handsome, and distinguished Black gay man with a personality and soul that was larger than life. If

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  • Slant

    Aftershock: Lorraine O’Grady

    Artforum has invited artists to share a text, image, or video in the immediate wake of the United States presidential election and will be posting their contributions throughout the next week.

     

    OPTIMISM? PESSIMISM?

     

    Exhibit A

    **

    THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN contacted me in early August, to ask my blessings for their project. And now they have blessed me. It’s overwhelming to be part of Biden’s first post as president-elect, the one in which he announces victory—to be part of its celebration. I still break out in sobs of joy and relief. I can’t help myself.

     



    Exhibit B

    DID WE EVER have a democracy here? When

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  • Slant

    Aftershock: Paul Chan

    Artforum has invited artists to share a text, image, or video in the immediate wake of the United States presidential election and will be posting their contributions throughout the next week.

    FOR A FEW NIGHTS AND DAYS AFTER NOVEMBER 3, I lost my appetite. Nothing tasted appealing. It was during then that I realized the coronavirus and the political plague that is the current administration share a striking similarity: They both deprive us of our senses.

    Losing our senses of taste and smell are two defining symptoms of Covid. Social distancing has also deprived our sense of touch and of proximity

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  • Slant

    Aftershock: Martha Rosler

    Artforum has invited artists to share a text, image, or video in the immediate wake of the United States presidential election and will be posting their contributions throughout the next week.

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