Blake Stimson

  • “A Revolutionary Project: Cuba From Walker Evans to Now”

    Above all, this exhibition of 138 photographs is timely.

    Above all, this exhibition of 138 photographs is timely. Against the tempered rage of Walker Evans’s photographs of Cuba under Machado’s dictatorship (commissioned for Carleton Beals’s 1933 exposé The Crime of Cuba), the curators have highlighted two contrasting historical affects: the exultation of the revolution, particularly in photographs of Castro, Guevara, and their comrades-in-arms rising, with heroic futurity, above the cameras of Perfecto Romero, Osvaldo Salas, and Alberto Korda; and the melancholy of geopolitical containment in the post-1991 “

  • “Universal Code”

    “Universal Code” makes its case for this renewed promise with works by some 15 artists, including Angela Bulloch, Mircea Cantor, Cerith Wyn Evans, Gabriel Orozco, and Michael Snow.

    Universalism is back—at least in social-democratic redoubts like Barcelona (where MACBA’s “Universal Archive” opened last winter) and now Toronto. No longer conjured from the imagined ubiquity of the commodity form and its reflexive overcoming in distributed human reason, universalism is now being drawn from that same centerlessness of raw data and blind code that once seemed fated to the dark netherworld of the postmodern. “Universal Code” makes its case for this renewed promise with works by some 15 artists, including Angela Bulloch, Mircea Cantor, Cerith Wyn Evans,

  • “Universal Archive”

    THE OLD DREAM OF DOCUMENTARY—namely, that its socially enabled and technologically fortified realism would change the world—has been out of reach for some time now. In place of such a starry-eyed promise, pledged in Progressive-era photojournalistic muckraking and exposés, for example, and in most any run-of-the-mill image of machines from the 1920s and of workers from the ’30s, or in the humanistic gush of the camera-toting one-worlders of the ’40s and the UN crusaders of the ’50s, documentary has lately been given an alternative function, one equally freighted with longing and equally tied to

  • Bernd Becher

    BLAKE STIMSON

    IT IS TEMPTING TO SAY that with the sad news of Bernd Becher’s death in June at age seventy-five we have seen the passing of an era. Curator Emma Dexter, writing in The Independent, memorialized the artist’s contribution by describing the photographic project Bernd and his wife and partner, Hilla, began a half century ago as a “portrait of a lost world, using a lost technology—the gelatin silver prints, the large format plate cameras are now a thing of the past,” so distant from our own glimmering postindustrial world and its snazzy new media that it “can never be repeated.”

    Indeed,

  • Edward Krasiński

    Polish Conceptualist Edward Krasiński is known primarily for his signature 19-mm-wide blue tape that runs along walls and over anything else it might find along the way, at a standard height of 130 cm. His tape has crossed mirrors, windows, and works by other artists; on occasion it has also traversed his young daughter or run out the gallery door into the street. Yet the simplicity of Krasiński’s Buren-like proposition—to run the tape “everywhere and onto everything in a horizontal direction”—belies a grander ambition: to figure the connection between people and

  • I AM THE SOCIAL: THE LINE OF EDWARD KRASINSKI

    The seduction of Conceptual art—its promise of beauty or truth, its appeal to human meaning and consequence, its lure of aesthetic delight—has never really been a function of the concept. The form of this or that banal idea, like the shape of this or that clunky sculpture or the color of this or that homogeneous field of paint, can never effect such a seduction on its own and thus has to be supplemented if it wants to make any reasonable claim on its beholders as art qua art. After the novelty wears off, who cares if a canvas is all black or all blue or all white, or if a sculpture’s medium—its