COLUMNS

  • Film

    Isolation Tank

    IN CONFINEMENT, the captive mind cycles like a broken karaoke machine. Little Caesar’s last words bleed out over vintage Doors: “Mother of mercy, is this the end?” Is this perilous moment the inevitable fulfillment of our dystopian fantasies, nihilist reveries, catastrophist theories, jaundiced forecasts, and intellectual doomsday-prepping? Oh, mama, has the Groundhog Day of reckoning come round at last—only with charnel nursing homes and fatal equipment shortages in place of SFX hordes and burning cities?

    But let’s not get ahead of our civilizational demise. Instead of doubling down on rote

    Read more
  • Slant

    Letter from Paris

    THE LOUVRE was the first to go. On March 1, the world’s most-attended art museum (averaging 15,000 visitors per day) went dark after some three hundred staff members walked out over concerns about the transmission of Covid-19. Although this initial closure lasted only three days, by March 14, the museum had announced it was shuttering again—this time indefinitely, in accordance with the government-ordered nationwide shutdown of all nonessential businesses in France.

    After more than eight weeks of lockdown, France is poised to begin loosening its strict stay-at-home orders. Starting Monday May

    Read more
  • Interviews

    Patrisse Cullors

    Best-known as one of the three women who founded Black Lives Matter, and the powerhouse behind the grassroots movement that’s now transforming the Los Angeles County prison system, Patrisse Cullors is also a formidable artist. Fresh on the heels of major victories in both arenas—her Reform LA Jail’s initiative, Measure R, passed by a landslide 71 percent in the February election, and recent performances at LTD, Frieze LA, and The Broad have won her the attention of the Los Angeles art scene—Cullors talks here about the intersection of activism and creative expression.

    THE THROUGH LINE between my

    Read more
  • Slant

    Pirate Care

    IN LATE 2019, we organized a writing retreat at the Croatian cultural center Drugo More, in Rijeka, to create an online syllabus with activists who practice what we call “pirate care.” These practices represent an emergent form of militancy and civil disobedience—helping migrants survive at sea and on land, providing pregnancy terminations where they are illegal, offering health support where institutions fail, and liberating knowledge where access is denied. 

    Despite the recent “care” emoji launched by Facebook, pirate care dismisses the idea that caring is simply an emotion. Caring is not

    Read more
  • Film

    Good Measure

    PLEASE BELIEVE THESE DAYS WILL PASS. Amid a massive collective reckoning with sickness and death, these words are emblazoned on billboards across ten UK cities, oblivious to anger and grief. Carolyn Lazard’s work offers a markedly different perspective on temporality, putting store in indeterminacy. How will disparate feelings around what could have been, and what is now, affect what happens in the future? The Philadelphia-based artist’s first UK solo show, “Safe Space,” originally scheduled to open on April 2 at Cell Project Space in London, is indefinitely postponed. An April screening of

    Read more
  • Slant

    Daily Drawings: Week Three

    As people around the world stay indoors to curb the spread of Covid-19, Artforum has invited artists to share a drawing—however they would like to define the word—made in self-isolation. Check back each day this week for a new work by a different artist.

    Read more
  • Slant

    Letter from Athens

    IN ATHENS, heavy silence oppresses while spring blossoms. On the roofs of apartment complexes, panels absorb energy and antennae extend like the branches of heavily populated transmission forests. All of them are built on top of histories on top of archaeologies, ancestries, and forgotten myths. How many times can you excavate a city whose name remains the same for hundreds of centuries? What do you expect to find? The scent of the city’s flowers—jasmine, bougainvillea, hyacinth—find some of us quarantined in the safety of our homes, others fighting the virus in hospitals. Nearly everyone is

    Read more
  • Slant

    The Impossible Dedication

    DURING CONFINEMENT, in the time of the coronavirus, between the disorder of time and the reorganization of daily tasks caused by the general shutdown, I acquired a new habit. Every day at 8:30 PM, after going out on the balcony to applaud or shout, I answer the videoconference call from my parents. They are in a city in the north of Castile in Spain, and I am in a district of Paris. Before the coronavirus, we talked once every two months, at important events, parties, birthdays. But now the daily call is like a blast of oxygen. This is what my mother, who has always had a talent for melodrama,

    Read more
  • Diary

    Hello Again

    IT’S BERLIN GALLERY WEEKEND, or week seven of corona quarantine, which means face masks are obligatory on public transport and in shops, and I’m busy with the third volume of Proust and how-tos for making schnitzel zu Hause. Meanwhile, leaving the house is the new Instagram: potentially bad for your health, but a great source of affirmation, where sanitary salutations—foot and elbow pumps—accumulate like Likes. “We are walking on thin ice,” reminded Mutti Merkel as galleries started reopening last week. But everyone is so happy to see you. At Galerie Barbara Weiss, Bärbel Trautwein and Daniel

    Read more
  • Books

    Red Score

    STOCKHAUSEN SERVES IMPERIALISM, BY CORNELIUS CARDEW. New York: Primary Information, 2020. 126 pages. 

    CORNELIUS CARDEW’S SOLO PIANO INTERPRETATION of the Chinese Cultural Revolution anthem “Sailing the Seas Depends on the Helmsman,” from his 1974 record Four Principles on Ireland and Other Pieces, is spry and cheery, a toe-tapping minute-and-a-half frolic across the ivories. Though its folky character shines, Cardew’s featherweight playing belies the song’s heavy ideological underpinnings. Its lyrics: “The revolutionary masses cannot do without the Communist Party / Mao Zedong Thought is the sun

    Read more
  • Slant

    The Real Real

    In this unprecedenteed global crisis, and in the wake of a total caesura of normal life, many of us are looking to mental health workers—or discursive systems such as psychoanalysis—for individual therapeutic guidance and collective societal answers. I sat down with Jamieson Webster, a writer and practicing psychoanalyst in New York, to discuss the limits of her profession, states of separateness, resisting normalization, Covid dreams, and how virality has broken through to the Real.

    __

    Alison Gingeras: Years ago, you gave me Élisabeth Roudinesco’s book Why Psychoanalysis? (1999). Today, the

    Read more
  • Slant

    Daily Drawings: Week Two

    As people around the world stay indoors to curb the spread of Covid-19, Artforum has invited artists to share a drawing—however they would like to define the word—made in self-isolation. Check back each day this week for a new work by a different artist.

    Read more