COLUMNS

  • Film

    Amy Taubin

    Amy Taubin is a contributing editor of Artforum.

    1

    THE HANDY, AFFORDABLE-TO-EVERYONE, MOVING-IMAGE CAMERA

    Dziga Vertov’s idea that the motion-picture camera could speak truth to power and therefore was essential to democratic social and cultural aspiration found ample traction in the 1960s, when an army of filmmakers waged resistance with 16-mm and analog video newsreels. This tradition today manifests in the countless nonfiction works largely shot with small video and cellphone cameras, among them two of the great movies of the year, Garrett Bradley’s Time, which focuses on activist Fox Rich

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  • Film

    James Quandt

    James Quandt, Senior Programmer at TIFF Cinematheque in Toronto, is the editor of Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Austrian Film Museum, 2009) and Robert Bresson (Revised) (Indiana University Press, 2012).

    Of the hundreds of films I have watched during the coronavirus lockdown, most were classics on the Criterion Channel or Kanopy, so my pandemic Top Ten is culled exclusively from the superbly curated 2020 New York Film Festival.

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    1

    THE WOMAN WHO RAN (Hong Sang-soo)

    Hong’s brisk, bucolic social comedy comprises a series of seemingly equable conversations that are inevitably invaded by neighborly dispute,

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  • Film

    Erika Balsom

    Erika Balsom is a reader in film studies at King’s College London. Most recently, she is the coeditor of Artists’ Moving Image in Britain Since 1989 (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art/Yale University Press, 2019).

    1

    “DEFIANT MUSES: DELPHINE SEYRIG AND THE FEMINIST VIDEO COLLECTIVES IN FRANCE IN THE 1970S AND 1980S” (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez and Giovanna Zapperi) and “OUT OF THE SHADOWS: THE PIONEERING WORK OF ATTEYAT AL-ABNOUDY, ASSIA DJEBAR, JOCELYNE SAAB, HEINY SROUR” (Courtisane Festival, Ghent, Belgium)

    In this strange

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  • Film

    Cassie da Costa

    Cassie da Costa is a staff writer for Vanity Fair and a commissioning editor for the queer and feminist film journal Another Gaze.

    1

    SHAKEDOWN (Leilah Weinraub)

    Finally available to stream (on Pornhub.com) after years of distribution roadblocks due to the documentary’s nudity, Weinraub’s film develops a new theory of entertainment and economics in its portrait of the eponymous Los Angeles lesbian strip club.

    2

    BEAU TRAVAIL RERELEASE (Claire Denis)

    It’s not really a title you can satisfyingly translate to English, and the film feels like that too. Janus’s restoration, supervised by cinematographer

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  • Books

    Ciaran Carson's Still Life

    The poet Ciaran Carson, who died of lung cancer in October 2019, was master of the long line, and chronicler of his hometown’s civil war. Books like Belfast Confetti (1989) will survive. Still Life, whose title is similarly painful, was published in Ireland in the month of Carson’s death, and in the US this past February (Wake Forest). It bids farewell to life in a sequence of seventeen poems about paintings and prints, all of them treasured, one or two of them—a still life of a bowl by Jeffrey Morgan, a print by James Allen—in the poet’s possession.

    Many poets write poems about paintings; few,

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  • Books

    Gene Youngblood's Expanded Cinema

    Stan VanDerBeek coined the phrase “expanded cinema.” But it was Gene Youngblood who put it on the cover of a book, filled it with rocket fuel, and sent it buzzing through the late-1960s art world like a heat-seeking missile. For its fiftieth anniversary, Expanded Cinema has been lovingly reissued by Fordham University Press with a substantial new memoir-ish introduction by the author. The volume reminds us to locate the techno-anarchic edge of what became “new media” on the left coast, where filmmakers, psychedelic engineers, and intermedia practitioners wrested cybernetics from its military

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  • Books

    Suzanne Preston Blier's Picasso’s Demoiselles: The Untold Origins of a Modern Masterpiece

    In Picasso’s Demoiselles: The Untold Origins of a Modern Masterpiece (Duke), Suzanne Preston Blier presents a deeply nuanced investigation into the mysteries of the links between Pablo Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, and African art and the African presence in Europe. Weaving together an intricate tapestry (genealogy?) composed of the works of other artists (André Derain, Henri Matisse) and writers (Gertrude Stein) in Picasso’s circle; the scene at his studio, Le Bateau-Lavoir, in Montmartre; then-extant collections of ethnographic photographs of nude women of color; and the African

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  • Books

    Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

    A well-aimed spear of a book, Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning (Penguin Random House) has as much to say about artistic interpretation as it does about the exhausting arithmetic faced by every human raced as Asian in America. Touching on topics such as credential accumulation, racial divides, and the complexities of ethnicity and transnational movement, this collection of essays quickly, if sometimes unevenly, articulates the pursuit of credibility whose stakes are nothing less than survival. Evoking the just barely suppressed exasperation Adrian Piper displays in

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  • Slant

    BAD EDUCATION

    “If I saw it

    I felt it

    If I felt it

    I learned from it.”

    —Peter Gizzi, “EVERYDAY I WANT TO FLY MY KITE,” from Now It’s Dark

    “Generalizing is part of what causes depression. The more we generalize, the more separate we become. The more we get specific with each other, and actually hang out, and actually try to solve the problems, the better life is.”

    —Taylor Mac

     

    In The Changing Light at Sandover

    The hierarchies of heaven

    Are revealed to James Merrill

    And his partner David Jackson

    By their familiar, a handsome

    Young Jew from 4th Century

    Greece named Ephraim, whom

    They contact via a Ouija

    Board, their fingers

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  • Interviews

    Beatriz González

    Organized by the Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, “Beatriz González: A Retrospective”—the most comprehensive US display of the Colombian artist’s output to date—makes its final stop at the Museo de Arte Miguel Urrutia (MAMU) in Bogotá, the city where the groundbreaking painter has long lived and worked. Spanning the early 1960s to the present, the exhibition’s more than one hundred paintings, drawings, and furniture pieces center on González’s trenchant, often playful commentary on life during Colombia’s five-decade war while tracing an aesthetic associated with Pop

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  • Film

    Short Circuit

    THE SHARJAH FILM PLATFORM—the third edition of Sharjah Art Foundation’s film festival—opened earlier this month, in a country whose low coronavirus cases have allowed it to resume regular, though masked operation. But the weeklong platform seemed like a telegram from another time—or a harbinger of what’s to come. Whenever life returns to normal, and whatever that normal is, our viewing habits will have changed significantly from the cinematic paradigm, with its collective, focused, and non-serial engagement with singular subjects. The festival’s focus on shorts gestured toward the freedom in

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  • Diary

    Gloves Off

    BACK IN JULY, after the pandemic in China eased due to draconian border control and contact tracing measures, the Chinese Super League was able to resume matches. People had been joking about how torturous it would be for the rest of the world to have only Chinese soccer games to watch—a running gag here on the mediocrity of the sport in this country. Earlier this month, Shanghai Art Week’s two main offerings, ART021 and West Bund Art & Design, seemed to be the only art fairs opening offline in the world. Unlike football games, they were not televised to the rest of the world.

    From November 9 to

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