Adam Kleinman

  • Tony Cokes, Evil.80.Empathy?, 2020, HD video, color, sound, 2 minutes 43 seconds.

    Tony Cokes

    Nearly concurrent with the scandal over anti-Semitic imagery at Documenta 15, a two-venue survey of the work of American artist Tony Cokes opened quietly in Munich. Housed, in part, in a former air-raid shelter beneath the Haus der Kunst—a museum originally built in 1937 to promote Nazi culture as the Haus der Deutschen Kunst (House of German Art)—the exhibition “Fragments, or just Moments” attempts to sit with inherited symbols of prejudice to ponder how they can be used for progressive mobilization as well as injury. Featuring the newly commissioned two-part film Some Munich Moments 1937–1972

  • Trench art by Vasya Sai, 2022, watercolor on toilet paper.
    diary August 02, 2022

    Politics by Other Means

    A FEW DAYS before his battlefield death, the French poet and World War I soldier Charles Péguy wrote that “Homer is new this morning, and perhaps nothing is as old as today’s newspaper.” Hidden within his immortal sentiment is a question I was confronted with over and over while attending the opening of two exhibitions, one nested inside the other, in an embattled Kyiv: How do representations of war in journalism and art compete as means to draw attention to conflict and the plight of citizens?

    “Russian War Crimes” and “When Faith Moves Mountains” opened in mid-July at the PinchukArtCentre, a

  • Monira Al Qadiri, OR-BIT 1–6 (detail), 2016–18, 3D-printed plastic, automotive paint, levitation modules. Installation view. From “Experi­ences of Oil.”

    “Experiences of Oil”

    “Oil is an infinite sphere, the center of which is everywhere, the circumference nowhere”—this is how a line in the Book of the 24 Philosophers, an anonymous twelfth-century text, would read, if one were to substitute oil for the word God, in accord with the omnipotence of our global fossil-fuel dependence. Curated by Anne Szefer Karlsen and Helga Nyman in Stavanger, the Norwegian capital of oil and gas, “Opplevenser av olje” (Experiences of Oil) attempted to graph this problem by presenting an international roster of sixteen artists and collaboratives that either spring from petrostates or

  • 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