COLUMNS

  • Film

    Metafictions

    I SAW FEWER FILMS THAN USUAL at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival, or “Berlinale,” for the simple reason that there was little in the program that interested me. I suspect I’m not alone. Especially for those of us coming to Berlin from Rotterdam, which—along with Locarno—is one of the continent’s second-tier festivals that increasingly manages to upstage Berlin’s first-tier status. One can only hope that the pronounced lapse in programming quality that critics have been bemoaning in broken-record mode for years now will finally be allayed in 2020, when Carlo Chatrian will bring over

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  • Interviews

    Keren Cytter

    One feels continuously jolted by an element of disjunction in Keren Cytter’s work. In her videos, for instance, subjects interact with each other, but the potential for intersubjectivity seems simultaneously to be stripped away. Things happen, sometimes over and over, but never within the breadth of typical temporality. Bringing together a selection of her videos, children’s books, animations, and drawings, Cytter’s solo exhibition at the Museion in Bolzano, Italy, “Mature Content,” is on view through April 28, 2019.

    I MADE THREE ROOMS at the Museion in which to show my films, with the entrances

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  • Film

    Based on a True Story

    SO FAR, IT’S RAINING REALITY at this year’s Berlin International Film Festival (or “Berlinale,” for short). If only someone would invent an umbrella that protects against blades, bullets, and toxic masculinity! The world would then certainly be a better place, but then what bitter truths would be left for all these cinematic bigwigs to unpack?  

    Among the most talked-about films this year is the latest from Fatih Akin, The Golden Glove—named after the trashy Hamburg pub that Fritz Honka frequented in the early 1970s. Honka enjoyed drink and the company of middle-aged to elderly prostitutes, most

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  • Interviews

    Maia Cruz Palileo

    The fourteen paintings and drawings that comprise Maia Cruz Palileo’s debut solo exhibition in her native Chicago are, in essence, portraits of the Philippines, imagined as her family had once known it. But Palileo’s lurid, tropical scenes are equally somewhere and nowhere, bridging the continents of a real place and its memory, its histories and its myths, its hard facts and its folklore. “All The While I Thought You Had Received This” will be on view at Monique Meloche Gallery until March 30, 2019.

    THIS SHOW’S TITLE comes from a letter that my grandmother wrote to me around ten years ago. I

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  • Slant

    I Heart You

    I SIT IN THE COFFEE HOUSE AREA of The Market, a giant food court on the ground floor of the building where Twitter Headquarters lives, eating two types of hot bar curry from a paper box that reads “DISCOVERY. COMMUNITY. REAL FOOD.” I’m also sipping a rather caustic canned pinot gris, which I poured into the thermal bottle I carried my tea to work in. They have a nice wine bar in The Market where I could get something much better, in a stemmed glass, but that would destroy the feral essence of the moment, the way I’m wolfing down my food with a compostable plastic fork. Valentine’s Day—my

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  • Diary

    Unidentified Fabulous Objects

    AS WINNER OF season nine of RuPaul’s Drag Race in 2017, Sasha Velour distinguished herself as a cerebral contestant, a Vassar graduate who regards drag as an artistic expression. So when she was asked by New York’s Queer/Art/Film screening series to present a movie of her choice, she decided to boldly go where no other drag queen has gone before. On February 4, she arrived at IFC Center in green face paint and a bejeweled headpiece to pay homage to the 1991 cult favorite Vegas in Space. (The event was part of the “Winter is a Drag” program, which continues through April.)

    “I discovered Vegas in

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  • Diary

    Such Great Heights

    I HAD TWO RIDE OPTIONS to the third iteration of “Elevation 1049,” produced by Luma Foundation with the involvement of Maja Hoffmann, and again curated by local artist Olympia Scarry and Neville Wakefield (the number refers to the ski resort’s altitude): driving with artist Sylvie Fleury in her new Tesla (the brand is popular in the Alps and it’s easy to find charging stations) or flying with Hans Ulrich Obrist in an Airbus helicopter (also very popular, with many local landing areas). But an unexpected snowstorm forced me to take a regular train from the Geneva airport to Montreux, and then to

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  • Passages

    David Beitzel (1958–2019)

    I NEARLY ALWAYS SAW David Beitzel in a dark-blue suit and tie, as if he came from the world of banking or investments. But David was no stuffed shirt. A painter turned art dealer, he had just set up his first gallery in a storefront on Greene Street when I first met him, around 1989. Only three years later he moved to the second floor of 102 Prince Street and was showing a full roster of promising and established artists. His vision for the gallery clearly developed out of his early experiences as a painter at Bennington College, where he had lived and worked largely in solitude during his MFA

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  • Film

    Stalk Footage

    EARLY ON in Female Human Animal, the docufiction by Josh Appignanesi, novelist Chloe Aridjis makes an observation that will echo throughout the film. “Well, this modern life and modern art and modern love—I don’t know, it all seems a bit soulless to me,” the author laments to an off-screen interlocutor. “I was probably born in the wrong century. But one just has to keep giving the century a chance: see what happens.” Dislocation and disenchantment are central tropes in Appignanesi’s cinematic portrait, which divides its attention between Aridjis and the late artist and writer Leonora Carrington,

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  • Diary

    Sharp Critique

    THE MOST LAVISH PARTIES coinciding with India Art Fair are the midday brunches: As the sun pelts through the now characteristically hazardous air pollution, attendees reach for the Bloody Marys. At one such event, hosted at the home of Shalini Passi, founder of the Shalini Passi Art Foundation, banners shifted in the wind, declaring: Lunch is Cancelled. In a performance, artist Mithu Sen paraded out of the house, followed by a marching band, and servers were wearing anti-lick recovery cones for pets around their necks. Sen wore a cone with a special blond frill. Passi’s black pug, adorned with

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  • Interviews

    Nathaniel Dorsky

    Nathaniel Dorsky treats celluloid as a medium for ceremony—silence and light are concerns he has explored in his films since the 1960s. His latest work, <em>Colophon (for the Arboretum Cycle) (2018), will screen at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive in California on February 9, 2019.The entire </em>Arboretum Cycle, which comprises seven films shot in the San Francisco Arboretum between 2017 and 2018, will also screen there on February 15, 2019.

    THERE WAS A DROUGHT IN CALIFORNIA for five years, and then in the autumn of 2017 there was a huge amount of rain. I went to the San Francisco

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  • Film

    Good with Faces

    WITH ITS EXPANSIVE PROGRAMMING AND BOLD CURATION, the International Film Festival Rotterdam is a standout event on every European cinephile’s calendar. In that regard, this year’s edition was not an exception. Packing into twelve days everything from the latest statements from seasoned auteurs to the distilled essence of the next generation, Rotterdam was the one place this festivalgoer was eager to arrive at and sad to leave (food and weather aside).

    My journey began with a screening of Tsai Ming-liang’s new film, Your Face. Departing from the wandering, dreamlike narratives he has become known

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