Alena J. Williams

  • “The World of Charles and Ray Eames”

    BEGINNING WITH the acclaimed 1999–2002 traveling exhibition “The Work of Charles and Ray Eames: A Legacy of Invention,” organized by the US Library of Congress in collaboration with the Vitra Design Museum in Germany, the twenty-first century has seen a renewed academic and institutional interest in the Eameses’ work, even as the public’s intellectual curiosity in the couple has only continued to grow. Yet the Barbican Art Gallery’s current retrospective, “The World of Charles and Ray Eames,” curated by Catherine Ince, has still managed to present an unusually rich grouping of firsts: unexpected

  • interviews September 23, 2014

    Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz

    Pauline Boudry and Renate Lorenz, a Berlin-based duo, reinvent historical narratives in film, photography, and performance through queer discourses. Aftershow, a new book published this month by Sternberg Press, will be available at the New York Art Book Fair from September 26 to 28, 2014, and focuses on three “filmed performances”: No Future / No Past, 2011; Toxic, 2012; and To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation, 2013.

    WE LIKE TO DESCRIBE OUR FILMS AS “FILMED PERFORMANCES” because they don’t actually document performance. Instead, performance and film are

  • picks August 06, 2014

    Otto Piene

    This retrospective of works by the late Otto Piene, titled “More Sky,” spans two institutions and includes his early drawings and paintings from the 1950s as well as an assembly of rotating light sculptures from the ’60s and ’70s at the Deutsche Bank KunstHalle. On July 19, three air sculptures, including Berlin Superstar, 1984, were also launched for one night atop Mies van der Rohe’s austere Neue Nationalgalerie. However, the most impressive of these restagings was Piene’s immersive, twenty-five-minute slide performance, Die Sonne kommt näher (The Proliferation of the Sun),1966–67. Now housed

  • passages May 16, 2014

    Nancy Holt (1938–2014)

    SEVERAL YEARS AGO while making a research trip to New Mexico, I visited one of Nancy Holt’s meditation sessions in Santa Fe. Meditation for her was not merely idle contemplation, but an alertness to the smallest details in a single “granule of time.” The sound of silence was deafening to me, but she could shut it all out. I think the periods Holt spent on her own, building her work, photographing it, are what prepared her to ignore the world and burrow down into her life in the nearby village of Galisteo. She had a talent for closing things down in order to open perception. Her “Locators,”

  • picks January 27, 2014

    Ingrid Furre

    At first blush, “Restaurant,” the title of Swedish artist Ingrid Furre’s current solo exhibition, is misleading. Rather than summoning the conviviality of collective dining, Furre’s makeshift cabinets and plates (all works Untitled, 2013) reinvent the “restorative” effect of consumption (taking cues from the French verb restaurer [to restore]) as an archaeology of modern things. Skillfully crafted from repurposed wood, which Furre has treated alternately with varnish or gloss paint, these objects—inhabiting a converted residential space in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district—draw us in by keeping their