COLUMNS

  • Diary

    Like a Virgin

    Andrew Berardini at Frieze Los Angeles

    I FELT LIKE I was artfairing for the very first time. Was it always this distracting, so disorienting? The return of FOMO is particularly weird. Between the Super Bowl and the Oscars, Los Angeles had its first major art week since February 2020. Though centered around the Frieze Art Fair in Beverly Hills, the pageantry also included the Felix Art Fair at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, Spring Break (an artist-directed fairish thing) in Culver City, and about a million parties and openings, dinners, launches, screenings, and talks.

    For some, the week began at the beloved artist Kaari Upson’s

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  • Books

    SMALL PRESS

    Domenick Ammirati on Isolarii

    IN THE FUTURE, there will be no writing; we will communicate solely like bees through TikTok dances. In the interim, during the slow/fast glide toward the desuetude of the written word, attention spans dwindle, readers seem to cathect increasingly onto texts the length of a caption, and people like myself pen mournful eulogies that may reasonably be labeled “tl;dr.”

    The new subscription-based press Isolarii is experimenting with a cunning strategy for attracting readers to medium-length reading: It makes books with pages the size of the display on a second-generation iPhone SE. The design is a

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  • Slant

    SIGNATURE WORK

    Jeffrey Weiss on Bruce Nauman’s His Mark

    THE IMAGE IN HIS MARK, 2021, should be familiar to observers of Bruce Nauman’s work: the artist’s disembodied hands performing a mechanical task. We have encountered it in several multichannel-video installations over the past twelve years, including For Beginners (all the combinations of thumb and fingers), 2010, in which each hand individually demonstrates finger positions for the performance of a series of piano exercises by Béla Bartók, and Thumb Start, 2013, with fingers, now on both hands at once, extended in combinations that represent a set of basic counting procedures. In turn, these

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  • Top Ten

    JORDAN STRAFER

    Jordan Strafer shares her top ten

    Jordan Strafer is a Brooklyn-based artist who works primarily in video. Her art has been featured in galleries and museums throughout the United States and Europe, including Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Red Tracy, Copenhagen; and Housing, New Museum, and SculptureCenter, all in New York. Between 2020 and 2021, she presented the web-based project No Bag for Participant Inc, New York. This year, Strafer staged her first solo exhibition, “PUNCHLINE,” at Participant Inc, centering on her 2022 film PEAK HEAVEN LOVE FOREVER.

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  • Film

    To the Wunder

    Nicolas Rapold on the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival

    AFTER SUNDANCE CALLED OFF its physical edition just two weeks before opening, it was a comfort and a joy that the Berlinale had the good fortune to take place on a streamlined schedule. When the festival’s Golden Bear went to Carla Simón’s Alcarràs—a handsome, serviceable portrayal of a Catalonian farm’s fade-out—I couldn’t help but sense a “just happy to be here” feeling in the air. The Competition jury’s lineup—which put M. Night Shyamalan and Ryusuke Hamaguchi in the same room—was arguably more exciting than the stubbornly even-keeled Alcarràs. But good films at the 2022 edition were where

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  • Interviews

    Aline Kominsky-Crumb

    Aline Kominsky-Crumb on her life and work in comics

    A family affair, “Sauve qui peut ! (Run for Your Life),” on view at David Zwirner in Paris through March 26, brings together the work of Aline Kominsky-Crumb; her husband, cartoonist Robert Crumb; and their daughter, artist Sophie Crumb. The ensemble includes spontaneous scribbles on paper placemats, dense excerpts of comics scarred with whiteout, photobooth snapshots of the then-young couple, as well as new work—such as a commission in which Aline and Sophie recount their respective abortions (profits from the show will go toward a women’s health organization). An unabashed over-sharer whose

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  • Passages

    Lynn Umlauf (1942–2022)

    Thierry de Duve remembers Lynn Umlauf

    IT TOOK A FRACTION of a second for the smile of happiness on my face to freeze and an icy chill to seize me when, beginning of February, I opened an email from the Zürcher Gallery announcing an exhibition by Lynn Umlauf. Under her name were the dates 1942–2022. Lynn had passed on February 2 in her New York home/studio on the Bowery, and I had not seen her since the damned pandemic began. Almost two years! The pang of regret is acute, still.

    Rendered all the more poignant by her absence, the exhibition brings together paintings from the ’70s and a number of small, incredibly intense, at once tender

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  • Music

    Immortal Homosexual Poets

    Michael Finnissy reimagines Beethoven’s Hammerklavier

    COMPOSER MICHAEL FINNISSY’S CAREER has been a lifelong rejection of the divisions drawn up in and around the world of classical music. Growing up in London in the 1960s, Finnissy did not pursue academic training in composition until the age of eighteen, and was influenced as much by Hockney, Rauschenberg, Ginsberg, Genet, and Godard as by the wide range of music that he absorbed from public libraries, from family and friends, and from the radio. In the years since, his large body of compositions has referenced folk, jazzspirituals, and the European avant-garde, his approach to music at once

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  • Diary

    Roma Holiday

    Evan Moffitt around Zona Maco

    BODIES SURGED toward the front doors of LAGO, whose opening bash had just reached capacity. The crowd pleaded desperately to security guards for entry. Someone began pushing and faces flattened against glass. Everyone was on the list, but no one could get in. The more intrepid guests circled around the back of the pavilion, toward the dark, brackish lake. Security guards rushed to pull us off planters. Through the windows, a golden pendulum by Artur Lescher and a James Turrell window, radiating neon pink, seemed unperturbed by the invading horde—or, for that matter, the steady throb of Tulum

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  • Film

    Hurt Locker

    The sublime stupidity of Jackass Forever

    TEN YEARS AGO, I got thrown through a wall in a shopping cart at an artist-run space in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was a histrionic (and injurious) opener to a half-hour set wherein I restaged stunts from Jackass—the slapstick media franchise that debuted in 2000 as a television series on MTV—alongside visually similar works of early performance art by Yoko Ono, Chris Burden, Marina Abramović, and Vito Acconci. Between such actions as permitting alarmingly zealous attendees to wax my chest and getting shot with a toy gun, I quoted from Julia Kristeva’s foundational 1980 treatise on grossness,

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  • Slant

    Drawing Blood

    Notes on Maus

    THE GHOULISH URGE to pile on more content, more inanity, more everything all at once, now! came from an unusual subject recently: Maus, by Art Spiegelman. For those of you tuned out to the outrage cycle or just wisely ignoring all news until a blinding flash of light makes equals of us all, in January the McMinn County, Tennessee, Board of Education voted unanimously to remove from the eighth-grade curriculum Spiegelman’s comic book memoir of his parents’ life before, during, and after Auschwitz. The principal objections: a few damns and one naked corpse. The subtext: fear, a dash of anti-Semitism,

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  • Performance

    Bar None

    Sadie Barnette’s bacchanal shrine to queer Black love

    WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES! Or—in the case of my recent two-part trek to the Kitchen to experience multidisciplinary artist Sadie Barnette’s installation-as-performance-site The New Eagle Creek—a couple of weeks. Presented in collaboration with the Studio Museum in Harlem, Barnette’s work (or the beginning of it) is a shimmering recreation of her father Rodney Barnette’s now-shuttered San Francisco watering hole, The New Eagle Creek Saloon (1990–1993). The establishment held special significance as the first Black-owned gay bar in the area, a response to the urgent need for a non-discriminatory

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