COLUMNS

  • Interviews

    Olivia Mole

    Making mischief and mascots for the Hammer Museum’s “Lifes”

    At “Lifes,” a sundry and symphonic group show at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, a string of performances, readings, songs, and a “tuning meditation”—by the great Pauline Oliveros—ebb and flow throughout two galleries as part of an hourly cycle, shifting the vibe as if for the sake of it. The quicksilver approach of the exhibition, which numbers more than fifty participants and runs through May 8, puckishly defies the expectations of a museum to fossilize and dignify its objects on view, to bestow a certain, sacred seriousness. Nothing could be less grave, and more puzzling to pin down, than

    Read more
  • Music

    Pearl Jam

    The immersive music of the Gulf’s pearl divers

    BEGINNING IN THE FIRST CENTURY BCE, natural pearl diving was the economic, social, and cultural backbone of the Persian Gulf. Well into the 1930s, over 100,000 men—enslaved Africans, indentured workers, and career divers from Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar—still took to the sea each season, diving hundreds of times a day to the oyster beds, only 1 percent of which would produce a pearl. It was exhausting and perilous work descending twenty fathoms down to the seafloor, and music lifted their spirits. Nahma: A Gulf Polyphony, the latest transmedia compilation from FLEE, explores the histories that

    Read more
  • Interviews

    Faith Ringgold

    On the making of her retrospective

    For over six decades, the artist, activist, educator, and writer Faith Ringgold has drawn from both her own life and collective histories in the pursuit of racial justice and equity. From protesting museums with the Ad Hoc Women’s Art Committee in the 1970s to publishing and illustrating seventeen children’s books to her paintings, soft sculpture, and story quilts, her invincible spirit is fully apparent in “Faith Ringgold: American People,” the most comprehensive exhibition to date of her farsighted work. The show remains on view at the New Museum in New York through June 5, 2022.

    IN 1988, I

    Read more
  • Interviews

    Lauren O’Neill-Butler

    On the art of the interview

    As a writer, critic, and erstwhile senior editor at Artforum, Lauren O’Neill-Butler has made an art of the interview format, having conducted well over one hundred and fifty over the past thirteen years. Her latest book, Let’s Have a Talk: Conversations with Women on Art and Culture (Karma), collects many of them, in effect putting a disparate group of artists, writers, and thinkers including Adrian Piper, Alex Bag, Sturtevant, Lorraine O’Grady and others into a kind of dialogue with one another. Here the interviewee, O’Neill-Butler talks about the value of public speech, the formidable craft

    Read more
  • Slant

    On the Hook

    Trauma, transference, and the art of Bracha L. Ettinger

    AT A CERTAIN POINT in one’s career as a psychoanalyst, transference becomes a rare and longed for feeling. Constantly in the position of negotiating the transference of others, one struggles to muster that great and passionate illusion for oneself. Bracha L. Ettinger is one of my last teachers. I’ve had a sense for some time that she knows something very precious and particular about the most obscure and complicated aspects of psychoanalytic work, which she investigates not only in her self-analysis and work with patients, but in her art. She is the only psychoanalyst I know who is also an artist

    Read more
  • Film

    French Dispatch

    Tony Pipolo on “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema”

    THE LINEUP of this year’s “Rendez-Vous with French Cinema,” presented by New York’s Film at Lincoln Center, may be the strongest in years. In addition to new work by seasoned auteurs Jacques Audiard, Claire Denis, Arnaud Desplechin, Cedric Klapisch, and Francois Ozon, several directorial debut features merit particular note. One of these is Constance Meyer’s Robust, an unpretentious sketch of the relationship between an aging, temperamental actor struggling with health problems (the ever-resilient Gerard Depardieu) and his temporary guardian-cum-female-wrestler (Deborah Lukumuena). The rapport

    Read more
  • Slant

    Disney Plus

    Revolt and Rococo at the Met

    BEWARE THE DECORATIVE EXCESS that leads to violent revolution. At once aesthetic and political, this cautionary tale provides the standard explanation for the relationship between the exuberant usable arts of the Rococo and the stern history paintings of classicism, as well as between monarchy and modern democracy. It is now on persuasive display at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, in two exhibitions: “Inspiring Walt Disney: the Animation of French Decorative Arts,” and “Jacques Louis David: Radical Draftsman.”  

    As I entered the “Disney” exhibition, I overheard a caretaker ask a tiny girl

    Read more
  • 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

    Read more
  • 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

    Read more
  • 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

    Read more
  • 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.

    Read more
  • 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

    Read more