COLUMNS

  • Interviews

    Viva Ruiz

    Artist and activist Viva Ruiz’s ongoing project  Thank God For Abortion, 2015–, celebrates agency in the pro-choice movement. Ruiz’s provocative exclamation “Thank God for abortion,” which is paired with a peaceful dove design, provides a message of joy and gratitude about the spiritual connection of choice to charged conversations around abortion rights. Here, Ruiz parses the relationship between abortion access and queer rights, highlighting the project’s latest and largest sculptural and performative iteration: A Thank God For Abortion parade float that will be featured in the New York City

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  • Passages

    Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building (1909–2018)

    THE NEWS THAT ONE OF SCOTLAND'S MOST TREASURED WORKS of historic architecture—Glasgow School of Art’s celebrated “Mackintosh Building”—had been gutted by fire on the evening of Friday, June 15, prompted an outpouring of collective grief on a scale rarely encountered outside the context of a state funeral. One after another, a stream of prominent local and national figures—politicians, artists, architects, academics, members of the School’s global population of distinguished alumni—stepped forward to record their sorrow, many of them describing the sense of loss they felt as having the force of

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  • Diary

    Anti-Bodies

    MY FLIGHT FROM HEATHROW TO BASEL was delayed. The pilot explained that this was due to the large number of visitors to “some art show” clogging the runway at our destination airport. His tone of voice implied an illness, an arterial disease or cancerous growth. I exchanged glances with the other person in my row, whose only baggage was a bubble-wrapped canvas.

    The idea of infection—and its counterpart, inoculation—accompanied me for the next four days of my art tour. Does an art fair have a symbiotic or parasitic relationship with a place? What ails the body of the art world, and is a fair a

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  • Film

    Girl Power

    A TERRIFIC PREVIEW of the summer’s hot independent movies and a place to make discoveries, this year’s BAMcinemaFest is one of the best in the series’s ten-year history. The films show only once, with the directors doing a Q&A after each screening. The sold-out opening night has Boots Riley presenting his debut feature, the dark, delirious Sorry to Bother You, which at Sundance seemed like Black Futurism but six months later is more like a prophecy fulfilled—maybe not today, but probably tomorrow. The visuals are as eyeball-rattling as a comic strip; the soundtrack by Tune-Yards and Riley’s

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  • Performance

    Of Goddesses and Monsters

    AT THE MOMENT OF THE SPRING EQUINOX on March 21st, I was standing in the basement coat check room of the Whitney Museum of American Art. The place was closed—it was 12:15pm on a Tuesday—so there weren’t any coats, but there was a little line of toaster-sized “dirt” clod sculptures sitting on the counter. A crowd of vernal worshippers and theater-fans had followed a team of celebrants here from the massive glass-and-concrete lobby upstairs, where a gaggle of women dressed like Russian space peasants had oriented us according to civil time, nautical time, and astronomical time. We had been admonished

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  • Interviews

    Gauri Gill

    Over the past three years, the photographer Gauri Gill has worked with a group of thirty-three artists, including mask-makers and volunteer actors, from a community of adivasis—or indigenous people—in India’s Jawhar district. The resultant and ongoing series of staged color photographs, “Acts of Appearance,” 2015–, debuted at Documenta 14 in 2017. Here, Gill talks about the work, which is on view at MoMA PS1 in New York until September 3, 2018.

    WHERE IS THE SPACE for artists outside of our city bubbles to be free to innovate and experiment? Perhaps this project has provided room to converse across

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  • Interviews

    Ishmael Houston-Jones

    From June 21 through 28, as part of its East Village Series, Performance Space New York is reviving Them, a work the choreographer and dancer Ishmael Houston-Jones made in collaboration with the musician Chris Cochrane and the writer Dennis Cooper in 1986. Below is a reprint of a 2010 interview with Houston-Jones on the occasion of the work’s twenty-fifth anniversary production at PS 122.

    THE FIRST TIME I heard about Chris Cochrane was also the first time I saw him play, at a club called 8BC in a destroyed building on Eighth Street between avenues B and C. They had liquor there, but it was more

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  • Diary

    Regional Affairs

    YINCHUAN IS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, even though the city claims itself to be the “center” of China. The Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan is also in the middle of nowhere; the meadow and man-made ponds outside its postmodern architecture bring to mind Iowa, the Netherlands, and Hokkaido. But inside, the second Yinchuan Biennale offers up images from everywhere else: South Africa, Dongting Lake in China’s Hunan Province, the Kachin Hills in Burma, the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, Chitwan in Nepal, Mexico City—the list goes on. The biennale’s invited curators and artists from across the

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  • Slant

    Festina Lente

    MY BREASTS & THE BASE OF MY ABDOMEN & THE FLESH AROUND MY KIDNEYS are filling with particles of sorrow. This is what gets disbursed into me monthly. It is my most reliable wage. The languishing weakness that presses down on my inguinal hinge. The gently eviscerating heat and dread licking up at my root from my inner thighs. Humiliating it gently, without words or situations, drawing upon it as an insect might draw from a flower, bidding me procreate.

    Welcome to my minimum monthly allotment of suffering.

    Welcome to the technology by which I feel the world, which comes through me by nothing but the

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  • Passages

    Robert Indiana (1928–2018)

    ROBERT INDIANA RODE THE WAVE of Pop art that engulfed the art world in the early 1960s. Drawing on the vernacular vocabulary of highway signs and roadside entertainments, he fashioned an art whose dazzlingly bold and visually kinetic surfaces radiated the ebullience of postwar America while simultaneously exposing the country's dark history of avarice, materialism, and racial injustice. His appropriation of the seemingly cheerful and reassuring language of mass advertising to communicate the failures of the American dream was spellbinding. By 1963, he was being heralded as one of the tastemakers

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  • Interviews

    Aliza Shvarts

    Aliza Shvarts’s writings and artworks explore the possibilities and impossibilities of performance, race, gender, and class. Her solo exhibition “Off Scene” presents works from the past ten years and is on view at Artspace in New Haven, Connecticut, through June 30, 2018.

    THIS SHOW IS ABOUT TESTIMONY—how the capacity to speak and be heard is gendered, classed, and racialized. Whose words carry weight? Whose speech precipitates action? Whose bodies bear assurances of trustworthiness, and whose incite doubt?

    The title of the show is a metaphor for different kinds of marginalization: for the kind of

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  • Film

    The Royal Treatment

    WE TAKE IT FOR GRANTED—or should, at least—that access to the motion picture apparatus at the highest levels of authority indicates a certain advantage of birthright. If feature fiction filmmakers’ publicity doesn’t make a point of mentioning that they didn’t grow up more than comfortable, it’s a pretty safe bet that they did. Hollywood nepotism and garden-variety privilege march through top-ranked film schools every year, and then there’s the case of Count don Luchino Visconti Count di Modrone. There aren’t many defectors from the ruling class coming from this high in the ranks; as such, their

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