Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva

  • picks January 09, 2018

    “Binet, Divola, & Stoerchle”

    Before he became an essential figure of the 1970s Southern California art scene and professor in the legendary Post-Studio program at CalArts, Wolfgang Stoerchle studied painting at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). There, he experimented with a series of performances and videotapes prior to receiving his MFA in 1970. Last year, Alice Dusapin, one of the founders of this cooperative space, unearthed from the artist’s effects a handful of 8-mm films he made during his time at UCSB. In one of the more notable works from this cache, Wolf’s Master of Fine Arts Show, 1970, he jumps

  • picks October 19, 2017

    Mika Tajima

    Central to Mika Tajima’s current exhibition is Force Touch (Manibus, 1) (all works 2017), a large wall facing the gallery’s street entrance and blowing air from several gold-chromed stainless-steel spa jets. Although these allude to the meridian points of the human body, it is their alternating gushes of air—irresistible to some visitors’ hands—that suggest life energy, in remarkable contrast with the sterile coldness of the white surface. Pranayama, D, a wooden bust reminiscent of a cervical collar and dotted with Jacuzzi jets, stands on a pedestal nearby. The sculpture’s tactile qualities come

  • diary September 23, 2017

    Rama Lama Ding Dong

    “MARSEILLE WAS BUILT ON A HISTORY OF FAILURES,” curator Cédric Aurelle gushed. Our friendly little group—which included Véronique Collard Bovy, the chic producer of the city’s flagship event Art-O-Rama—stood sipping white wine and philosophizing about the decline of French civilization outside M-Arc/Le Box, the space that collectors Marie-Hélène and Marc Féraud were opening with an homage exhibition to artists Pierre Bertrand et Francois Morellet. That evening, the former coastal slaughterhouse turned art hangar hosted a bizarre mix of fellow travelers from Berlin, Warsaw, Lisbon, Paris, Mexico

  • diary September 08, 2017

    Emory Memories

    THE MODICA STOP on the erratic airport bus from Catania was more rugged than I expected for an ancient UNESCO World Heritage spot. But a few hills down the road we were engulfed by the voluptuous Baroque architecture that defines this beautiful Sicilian comune: “The historical center is over there,” the driver beamed.

    Sveva D’Antonio of Laveronica Arte Contemporanea met me at the parking lot with a disarming smile and the equally disarming presence of seventy-four-year-old Emory Douglas, the graphic artist behind the Black Panther newspaper (1967–80). Douglas had wanted to go on a stroll, and

  • diary June 05, 2017

    Down the Loophole

    ON A RECENT SUNNY WEDNESDAY, I walked by the skateboarders riding in front of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and descended to the dark auditorium just in time to hear director Ferran Barenblit introduce Video Data Bank’s Abina Manning. Manning had selected works by women artists—Hermine Freed, Lynda Benglis, Barbara Aronofsky Latham, Suzanne Lacy, Linda Mary Montano, and Susan Mogul, all pioneers of video art in the 1970s—who had taken advantage of the emergence of Sony’s Portapak camera. The grainy, poignant experimental films made a couple of people flee, but mostly they

  • diary June 03, 2017

    Lisbon Rendezvous

    “WE THOUGHT ABOUT EXPANDING TO LATIN AMERICA, but it was more complicated. So we decided to open a gallery here,” Pedro Maisterra said at the inauguration of his and Belén Valbuena’s new gallery branch in Lisbon’s Alvalade barrio. “Spain and Portugal don’t usually look at each other, which is crazy when you think about it! But it’s ripe with great energy.”

    The Portuguese art scene was lush indeed, as lush as the blue jacaranda blossoming across the city. The patio in front of the new space was already lively when we arrived, straight from the opening of Carlos Garaicoa’s massive installation

  • picks May 18, 2017

    Zhou Li

    In the pitch-black two-room gallery, Zhou Li’s cream-gray paintings on the walls glow in the dark. The opening work, Reflections in the Mirror, 2017—a drawing that turns out to be a light box painted black but for a single snaking line allowing light through—could be mistaken for a twisted neon tube. At the end of the second, bigger room, two paired, grand red monochrome paintings (the only instance of the hue in the show) titled Loving No1 and Loving No2, both 2017, provide a quieting emotional release, as a contemplative form of color-field painting, to a tumultuous inner journey conjured by

  • diary March 24, 2017

    Best in Show

    “THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE in this room than there are in all of Marfa, Texas. Although—it’s just as international,” said Chinati Foundation director Jenny Moore to an agreeable Jay Jopling.

    It was Monday night, and we were at the Balinese Potato Head’s bar in Sai Ying Pun celebrating the opening of Theaster Gates’s solo show as well as the soon-to-open fifth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. And the crowds were international indeed, including patrons Ivan Pun and Alan Lo, artists Carlos García de la Nuez and Eddi Prabandono, collector Serge Tiroche, RA’s Tim Marlow, and Taipei-based model and designer

  • diary March 09, 2017

    Good Humor

    I HAVE YET TO FIND a taxi driver who thinks wrong of president Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte since his election last May. His approval ratings regularly exceed 80 percent, despite the controversial hero’s burial he organized for former dictator Ferdinand Marcos last November, or the indiscriminate slaughtering of suspected drug dealers and users—including children. His war on drugs amounts to more than seven thousand shot dead so far (more than during the martial-law period, artists tell me), reinforcing the “doing what it takes” attitude gaining popularity worldwide. And yet the economy seems pleased,

  • diary January 17, 2017

    Attitude Adjustment

    “FINALLY!” was all anyone could think last Tuesday when Myanmar-based artist Aye Ko received the 2017 Joseph Balestier Award for the Freedom of Art. He’d been nominated for the prestigious prize three years running.

    Ko immediately promised to “share it with the community, with the children, and for their education.” Kirk Wagar, US ambassador to Singapore, and Art Stage director Lorenzo Rudolf presented the elated artist-activist with an oversize check for $15,000. “His work is a good investment too,” said Rudolf, who apparently gets asked about this a lot. The other nominees, Indonesia’s Arahmaiani

  • diary January 04, 2017

    The Lucie Show

    THE INDONESIAN ISLAND OF BALI isn’t (yet) an art-world hotspot. “It’s like you are coming to the forest with us before all the trees are cut,” joked Esti Dewi, the wife of artist Filippo Sciascia, hinting at the promise for industry scouts. Nested in a vacant joglo (a traditional Javanese house) containing intricate folk treasures, Kayu, the Balinese branch of conceptual “art employer” Lucie Fontaine, was launching its fifth project. “Ritiro” (retreat) opened at the beginning of last month and then moved on to Java’s Gereja Ayam, or Chicken Church—the weirdest of the anti-white-cube spaces on

  • diary November 15, 2016

    The Wild Bund

    LAST WEEK I SPENT THE SHOCKING, watershed days around the dawn of Trump’s America in Shanghai. While the events resonated here, it was less a shake than a quiver. After all, China and its overheating art world are far from the center of that particular storm—even if “Shyna,” as Trump so dismissively puts it, is in his crosshairs.

    It wasn’t that long ago that Beijing, with its massive network of artist studios, underground movements, and exhibition spaces, was the center of the Chinese art establishment. But the past seven days confirmed a shift east toward Shanghai, with the business of exhibiting

  • diary November 04, 2016

    Fall Forward

    “AREN’T YOU HOT IN THAT?” I asked Frog King, swathed in his usual animistic garb dangling with sculptures and talismans, as he stood in the courtyard at PMQ, the “creative industries” hub in a former government school and quarters for married police officers.

    “It’s my summer outfit!” he rejoiced, upbeat as ever, as he strolled onstage to unveil a Le Mans race car that he had covered in graffiti. The ceremony honored the launch of Hong Kong Art Week—autumn edition. The artist had all the officials wear frog glasses as they shook rattles made of plastic bottles and buttons, summoning for someone

  • picks October 10, 2016

    Danh Vō

    Danh Vō excels in arranging striking presentations from improbable associations between autobiographical innuendos and artifacts. On the ground floor, Lick Me, Lick Me, 2016, a fridge cooling a sixteenth-century wooden Jesus head, acts as a pedestal for a lump from a Roman Empire marble support. Or is it the marble, like an oversize paperweight, keeping the fridge grounded? The stairway holds 2.2.1861, 2009, one of the laborious transcriptions the artist’s father, Phùng Vō, has made of Théophane Vénard’s last correspondence to his father in 1861. In it, the French missionary compares his soon-to-be

  • diary August 20, 2016

    Night Fever

    “I PREFER SEEING PRIVATE COLLECTIONS TO MUSEUMS,” said collector Wiyu Wahono. “They are like an enigma to decipher.” We were at a dinner at the home of another collector, Prasodjo Winarko, on the eve of the opening of Art Stage Jakarta, and Wahono’s opinion didn’t seem entirely unpopular, if only for the reason that visitors to his collection earlier that day were still in awe. The inaugural edition of the export of the Singaporean fair promised to be cheerful despite the city’s crippling traffic. “Hands down, they win!” muttered Singapore-based Filipino collector Lourdes Samson, comparing the

  • picks June 14, 2016

    Günther Förg

    In Günther Förg’s lifelong relationship with abstract painting, he embraced colors even if it included limiting his use of them. He played unwaveringly with the sense of proportion on his canvases. The paintings on exhibit here were made after 2007 and after he had established a reputation for lead paintings and monochromes. But unlike his earlier Minimalist works, these varicolored renditions are abundantly expressive. For instance, Untitled, 2008—a large, white-primed canvas on which the artist energetically scribbled blocks of pink and ocher amid occasional incidents of blue, yellow, and

  • diary May 31, 2016

    Formosa and Function

    “THAT’S HOW YOU DO BUSINESS,” cheered Wei-Wei Wang, director of the inaugural Formosa 101 art fair. Dealer Tong Walton had managed, within a minute of our encounter, to add me on WeChat and send along a PDF of Liu Xia’s dark-humored paintings while talking up a storm. Although business—or at least the VIP itinerary—wasn’t quite on par with other fairs of its size, Formosa generated some remarkable solo presentations from its thirty-two invited galleries. “With Art Taipei’s quality declining, we wanted to create a competitive fair in Taiwan,” explained Formosa 101 founder Richard Chang. But

  • picks May 10, 2016

    Yeh Shih-Chiang

    Yeh Shih-Chiang’s brushstrokes are arresting despite the deliberate simplicity of their compositions. The exhibition features twenty-eight of the artist’s large, tranquil landscapes painted in the last two decades of his life. Yeh used both ink and oil on paper and canvas, and many works are painted to the extreme edge of their surfaces, acting as windows into his world. He traveled to Taipei from Southern China in 1949 but never made it back. Estranged from the city, he learned to play the zither and created a Chan Buddhism–influenced body of work that resonated with his antiestablishment

  • diary March 26, 2016

    Fantastic Four

    “LAST TIME I CAME TO HONG KONG I was sixteen, and that was in 1961,” recalled the Indian artist Nalini Malani last Sunday. “I had just finished high school, so my mother wanted to reward me with a trip, but nowhere too far. She said: Here is a ticket, I have friends there you can stay with.” It took fifty-five years for another auspicious occasion to return. But what an occasion it was. Three hundred of us were about to be seated in the Grand Ballroom of the Conrad Hotel for Asia Society’s gala honoring Malani as well as Cai Guo-Qiang and Yoshitomo Nara—also celebrating the august and essential

  • diary March 19, 2016

    More or Less

    “IT’S A GREAT IDEA to repurpose a parking lot,” said one of the guests filling the lifts that serviced the Link Carpark in Makati, where the fourth edition of Art Fair Philippines opened last month. “But couldn’t they have invested in a grander entrance?”

    On the sixth floor, we were greeted by nascent VIP queues and air-kisses from those who had already snatched their passes and made it inside. On the seventh floor, Nick Buckley Wood from Pearl Lam Hong Kong was running late for the airport and swiftly scanning the more than forty galleries and project spaces. “I came for that opera thing last