Adam Kleinman

  • Anne Duk Hee Jordan, The Worm­: Terrestrial, Fantastic and Wet, 2021, sculptures, black light, video (color, sound, 12 minutes 51 seconds). Installation view. From “Sex Ecologies.” Photo: Daniel Vincent Hansen.

    “Sex Ecologies”

    Humans reproduce like the birds and the bees, or so the adage goes. And when it comes to that sanitized euphemism, what gets lost is not only the queen, but a much wilder story: how bees, and their fetching flower friends, are part of a vast sensual network of multispecies polyamory in which plants use bees to mate and, in exchange, the insects get drunk on nectar. The group exhibition “Sex Ecologies,” spawned by a diverse transdisciplinary team—combining the kunsthall curators with the Seed Box (an environmental humanities program at Linköping University in Sweden), Senegalese art center RAW

  • Dora García, If I Could Wish for Something, 2021, 4K video, color, sound, 67 minutes.

    Dora García

    As a justification for incrementalism, President Barack Obama leaned on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s sentiment that while the moral arc of the universe is long, it bends toward justice; the quotation was even stitched into an Oval Office carpet. Said another way, our leaders have made us a promise: If we place our confidence in them, and in the system of liberal democracy, progress is inevitable. But what should those who have waited so long do, and what is the effect when such pledges remain unfulfilled? Such is the crux of Dora García’s If I Could Wish for Something, 2021, the film that lent

  • Antonio Jose Guzman and Iva Jankovic, Electric Dub Station (Orbital Ignition), 2018–, indigo ajrakh block print, recycled wood, sound. Installation view. From Sonsbeek 20➝24.

    Sonsbeek 20➝24

    To tell the story of “Force Times Distance: On Labour and its Sonic Ecologies”—the twelfth iteration of Sonsbeek, an exhibition that has recurred at irregular intervals since 1949—you’d have to begin with a doctor’s bill in the archives of the Dutch province of Gelderland. The receipt notes the treatment of a patient named “Zwarte Anna,” or “Black Anna.” No last name is given because she was a (broken) piece of property; her owners, the Brantsen family, who built the estate in which Anna was pressed, paid the expenditure. There is little else we know, save that she was imported to the Netherlands

  • Isak Hall, Isenheim, 2019, tempera on panel, 77 1⁄8 × 63 3⁄4". From the series “Tempelserien” (Temple Series), 2019. From “The Trees, Light Green: Landscape Painting—Past and Present.”

    “The Trees, Light Green: Landscape Painting—Past and Present”

    Amid our ever-increasing worry about climate change, the clear-cutting of forests, fracking, and the extractionist economic imperium that threatens our survival, it was a pleasure to encounter the beguiling exhibition “The Trees, Light Green: Landscape Painting—Past and Present,” curated by Theodor Ringborg, which paired contemporary Swedish nature painting with the genre’s development in Sweden at the time of the second Industrial Revolution; that is, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    The exhibition implicitly proposed that Swedish landscape painting in this crucial

  • View of “Jill Johnston: The Disintegration of a Critic,” 2019.

    “Jill Johnston: The Disintegration of a Critic”

    The word metamorphosis usually conjures the image of a caterpillar in its cocoon, converting itself into a moth or a butterfly. But a different image came to me when I visited this exhibition on the writer Jill Johnston’s transfiguration from an analytic dance critic into a radical, lyrical, mostly autobiographical essayist covering the avant-garde performance scene of the 1960s and ’70s, with a focus on lesbian separatism and its role in women’s liberation. Strange as it may seem, I pictured a childhood science experiment in which I immersed an egg in vinegar, which melted its shell, leaving

  • Navine G. Khan-Dossos, The Spies Are Intercepted, 2016, gouache on panel, 13 3/4 × 9 7/8". From the thirty-six-part suite Remaining and Expanding, 2016.

    Navine G. Khan-Dossos

    “Soft power,” or the co-opting of personal desire through cultural persuasion, is a tactic employed by governments, terrorist organizations, and trolls alike. One could take ISIS and its media machine as a case in point, which is what Athens-based British artist Navine G. Khan-Dossos did through her exhibition “Command: Print.” Its centerpiece was Remaining and Expanding, 2016, a suite of thirty-six gouache-on-panel paintings sourced from the fifth issue (November 2014) of Dabiq, the online propaganda magazine of ISIS. Khan-Dossos reproduced pages from the issue and mounted the results together

  • Carlos Motta, Patriots, Citizens, Lovers . . . , 2015, ten-channel video installation, plywood platform. Installation view. Photo: Sergey Illin.

    Carlos Motta

    At the time of writing, the chilling echo of “Kill! Kill! Kill!” can still be heard. The cry came from right-wing Ukrainian nationalists as they disrupted and ultimately shut down a LGBTI festival in the city of L’viv, Ukraine, on March 19. The event is but one example of the social discord that has been raging across the country since it was splintered by a revolution in 2014. Responding to this context, at Kiev’s PinchukArtCentre, Colombian artist Carlos Motta exhibited Patriots, Citizens, Lovers . . . , 2015, a multimedia installation on the theme of Ukrainian LGBTI visibility, or lack thereof.

  • Sven Augustijnen, L’histoire est simple et édifiante: Une sélection d’articles parus dans Paris Match, première partie 1960–1972 (The Story Is Simple and Edifying: A Selection of Articles Published in Paris Match, Part One 1960–1972) (detail), 2014, eighty Paris Match magazines, dimensions variable.

    Sven Augustijnen

    As D. W. Griffith said, all audiences want to see is “a girl and a gun.” Sven Augustijnen has perverted this crowd-pleasing formula by throwing a topless male centerfold smack in the middle of his documentary-esque L’histoire est simple et édifiante: Une sélection d’articles parus dans Paris Match, première partie 1960–1972 (The Story Is Simple and Edifying: A Selection of Articles Published in Paris Match, Part One 1960–1972), 2014. The ever-photogenic Ernesto “Che” Guevara is the model in question, and here he is sprawled over a white bed while suggestively sipping yerba mate. The spread, shot

  • View of “Emily Sundblad,” 2014. From left: Rugido del Leopardo de Amur (Roar of the Amur Leopard), 2014; Vestido para mi Boda/Funeral (Dress for My Wedding/Funeral), 2014.

    Emily Sundblad

    A plastic-wrapped rib-eye steak lay in the center of House of Gaga’s tile floor. Surrounding it were fifteen small illustrations hung on the gallery’s walls depicting captive beasts—big cats, apes, snakes, and so on—that artist (and cofounder of New York’s Reena Spaulings Fine Art) Emily Sundblad sketched from life on the grounds of the Santa Barbara Zoo. The drawings, each rendered in Yves Saint Laurent eyeliner on paper and mounted on leather, pleather, or mat board, were all protectively framed; a few were adorned with a piece of lace, a double reference to femininity—and animal

  • View of Eyal Weizman, Roundabout Revolution, 2013, mixed media. From Gwangju Folly II.

    “Gwangju Folly II”

    What lasting, tangible benefits do large-scale recurrent exhibitions offer their host communities besides display halls and tourist dollars? Such questions lie at the heart of Gwangju Folly, which commissions permanent pavilions for public use. The project was initiated as part of the 2011 Gwangju Design Biennale, but, as of its second installment last year, has become independent while its “pavilions” seem to have radically expanded to include significant political and cultural engagement. Artistic director Nikolaus Hirsch (with curators Philipp Misselwitz and Eui Young Chun) asked eight

  • Glasgow International 2014

    With the referendum vote for Scottish independence scheduled for September, it is significant that this year’s Glasgow International is operating in partnership with Homecoming Scotland—an initiative of Visit Scotland aimed at “welcoming the world” while bolstering national identity and, no doubt, state revenue. Though such entrepreneurial liberalism might leave some with a sour taste, it is precisely the region’s growing cosmopolitanism and financial solvency that may have the greatest bearing on the country’s forthcoming bid for autonomy. Harnessing these tensions,

  • Left: Artist and SITAC director Eduardo Abaroa. Right: Artist Francis Alÿs and Pablo Vargas Lugo. (All photos: Adam Kleinman)
    diary February 11, 2011

    Flirting with Disaster


    With a touch of dramatic irony, this year’s installment of the annual SITAC conference, at the Teatro Julio Castillo in Mexico City, centered on the “Theory and Practice of Catastrophe” and began with the circulation of two competing, contradictory program schedules. The resulting bafflement, however, was quickly forgotten as the bone-chilling coldness of the poorly designed lecture hall lulled guests into a state of torpor that would come to characterize the next three days of the conference.

    On Thursday, day one of the colloquium, the first speaker was the hotly