Brian Droitcour

  • Left: Singapore Biennale curators Trevor Smith and Russell Storer. Right: Artists Candice Breitz and Ming Wong. (All photos: Brian Droitcour)
    diary March 20, 2011

    Cool Factor

    MARTHA ROSLER KICKED OFF the events program of the Third Singapore Biennale by denouncing biennials. Not a novel activity, of course, but her keynote lecture at the Singapore Art Museum last Saturday was the most cogent censure I’ve heard, with a deft demonstration of the links between municipal policies of gentrification and the imperialist cultural movement of ideas from center to periphery. Rosler also spoke of the community garden she initiated this year at the Old Kallang Airport—built in the 1930s, decommissioned in the 1950s, now the main venue of the Singapore Biennale and a prospective

  • Left: “Underground Pop” curator David Pagel with Parrish Art Museum director Terrie Sultan. Right: Artist Glenn Goldberg. (Photos: Ginger Propper)
    diary August 22, 2010

    Publish or Parrish

    Long Island

    “YOUR FREE SPIRIT needs a different arena,” says my horoscope in the latest issue of Hamptons magazine. “Think Formentera, not Ibiza; Arles, not St. Tropez.” I was thinking Montauk, not Queens, as I set off for the far side of Long Island last Saturday to take in a couple of seaside exhibitions. Resort art: It’s got to be smaller than a suitcase, lighter than a Segway. Glenn Horowitz Bookseller—a purveyor of rare editions that maintains a dignified distance from the J.Crew and ice cream of downtown East Hampton—was presenting twenty modestly sized works on Peter Saville–designed plinths. Made

  • Left: MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach (right). Right: Artist Leigh Ledare, MoMA associate director Kathy Halbreich, and MoMA PS1 curator Peter Eleey. (All photos: Miriam Katz)
    diary May 24, 2010

    Party of Five

    New York

    IF THE PLANET doesn’t explode first, the Whitney Biennial, the New Museum’s triennial, and MoMA PS1’s “Greater New York” quintennial will coincide in the year 2030. This year, however, the intervals separating the three were long enough not to complicate the production logistics of artists who'd been selected for more than one, but short enough that an interested public might notice which artists were. We can congratulate Tauba Auerbach for making all three, wonder how Emily Roysdon got away with showing iterations of the same project at two, and so on. As for the curators of “Greater New York,”

  • Left: Artist William Kentridge. (Photo: Brian Droitcour) Right: Dina Rose Rivera and Stass Klassen in Dmitri Shostakovich's The Nose. (Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera)
    diary March 15, 2010

    Nose Job

    New York

    FEW HOUSES RISK staging Dmitry Shostakovich’s The Nose because of its daunting demands. With more than eighty solo roles in a prickly, jittery score without memorable arias, climactic moments, or juicy soprano roles, the opera is every bit the work of an impish young genius swatting away the limits of an art form. It premiered in 1930, when the composer was twenty-three, and had a run of sixteen performances. A few years later, Shostakovich proved he could master a genre’s conventions just as well as flout them with Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk District, a truly operatic tale of adultery across class

  • Left: Artist Jaiko Suzuki and Gelitin's Ali Janka. Right: Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector with artist Tino Sehgal. (All photos: David Velasco)
    diary February 03, 2010

    Blind Faith

    New York

    HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED that the Guggenheim’s floor is patterned with circles? It had never occurred to me to examine it, but at the preview of Tino Sehgal’s exhibition last Thursday, down was the first place I looked when prompted to fill in an empty signifier. “What is progress?” asked Kyla, the diminutive, wide-eyed interpreter of Sehgal’s This Progress who approached me as I began to ascend the ramp. Maybe I was also compelled to drop my gaze because of the puritanical embarrassment I felt over the proximity of Kyla and her peers—all born, it seemed, this century—to Kiss, the necking duet in

  • Alexander Brodsky

    Architects often aspire to build something larger than life, appreciated by multitudes. But bigness can also be banal—hulking residential developments that exemplify bare necessity in dense urban space—or even threatening, a reminder of the individual’s weakness. These side effects surface in the art of Alexander Brodsky, a practicing architect who channels critical thoughts on his trade in sculptures and installations. Night Before the Attack, 2009, co-organized by the Winzavod Center for Contemporary Art and M+J Guelman Gallery, was his most recent dramatization of the emotive associations of

  • Pablo Bronstein, First and Second Installations of Precolumbian Objects at the Metropolitan Museum, 2009, ink and gouache on paper, 61 3/8 x 98 3/4".
    picks January 15, 2010

    Pablo Bronstein

    The Metropolitan keeps a substantial part of its contemporary display in an awkward position: a horseshoe-shaped suite of galleries between the first and second floors. On the floor plan of the visitor’s guide, the area becomes a ghost hovering at the rear of the museum, and even the physical presence of the gallery hugging the south stairwell gives an impression of instability: Its ceiling is rutted with runners for moving walls and lights, underscoring the transience of the shows its hosts.

    Pablo Bronstein has used his time in that gallery to show a series of large-scale ink and gouache drawings

  • Andrei Molodkin, Project, 2009, acrylic tubes filled with crude oil and neon tubes, 133 7/8 x 102 3/8 x 9 13/16”.

    “Futurologia: Contemporary Russian Artists and the Heritage of Avant-Garde”

    The Russian historical avant-garde has become a popular brand, often drafted to raise interest in the country’s subsequent cultural phenomena.

    The Russian historical avant-garde has become a popular brand, often drafted to raise interest in the country’s subsequent cultural phenomena. Organized by visiting French curator Hervé Mikaeloff, “Futurologia” offers two paintings by Kazimir Malevich as appetizers to a survey of contemporary Russian art, with works ranging from Viktor Alimpiev’s hermetic, dance-inflected videos to Ilya Gaponov and Kirill Koteshov’s hyperrealist paintings of coal miners. Mikaeloff proposes that, like Malevich, those more recent artists aim their gaze at the future. “Utopias,” a concomitant

  • Tigran Khachatryan

    Making a gallery debut that looks like a retrospective can be a risky endeavor, especially when the artist is not yet thirty. But Tigran Khachatryan’s video remakes of great films constitute an idiosyncratic history of cinema and revolutionary thought that is best considered as a whole, while his aggressive political stance makes virtues of low production value and raw frankness—a productive foil for the monographic survey format. The opening credits for his Brother of La Chinoise, 2005, are written in dry-erase marker on the wall of a bathroom; the artist attempts to reconstruct the ideological

  • Left: Moscow Biennial cocurator Jean Hubert Martin. Right: Artist Luc Tuymans with dealer David Zwirner. (All photos: Brian Droitcour)
    diary October 04, 2009

    Open Source


    ON WEDNESDAY, September 23, the Garage Center for Contemporary Culture welcomed a select group of oligarchs, socialites, and high-ranking workers of culture for a preview of the third edition of the Moscow Biennial, titled “Against Exclusion.” At the after-party, billionaire Roman Abramovich—father of the eight-month-old fetus carried by Garage director Dasha Zhukova—danced onstage with the Virgins before withdrawing to his natural habitat, the VIP zone. I wasn’t invited, polemical inclusiveness of the title be damned, so instead I joined about a thousand other barely important people at the

  • “Headquarters”

    In 2003, Andreas Angelidakis presented “Neen World,” reconstructions of buildings that the architect had designed on the Active Worlds platform so that Internet artists belonging to the self-branded Neen group could meet there and chat. The real estate in Active Worlds—as in the newer, more popular Second Life—tends to channel users’ McMansion fantasies; Angelidakis’s pavilions, on the other hand, blatantly disregarded real-world requirements. In this, they were like the sketches of many inventive architects, but unlike their analogues on drafting tables, they actually framed a community’s

  • Jacob Ciocci, I Let My Nightmares Go, 2008, stills from a color video, 7 minutes 32 seconds.
    film August 12, 2009

    Community Collage

    “WHERE DID ALL THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?” There’s only one man on the screen with the middle-aged blonde asking the question, but as her histrionic gaze pierces the fourth wall, her wonderment seems legitimate: Where did we all come from? The snippet is from a video produced for a limited audience—for a local cable-access channel, perhaps, or a church group—but it has found a different, unintended viewership via the Final Cut Pro window of Jacob Ciocci, who took the clip from its context and inserted it into I Let My Nightmares Go, 2008. His seven-minute montage is persistently aware of the