Dawn Chan

  • Left: Pompidou curator Christine Macel. (Photo: Dawn Chan) Right: Artist Anri Sala.
    diary September 24, 2011

    Getting Real

    DRUNKEN ELK SAVED FROM APPLE TREE, read a recent Swedish newspaper headline. The elk, as it turned out, had gotten sloshed on fermented apples. Meanwhile, it was on account of vodka that I headed to Stockholm, where several dozen curators, artists, and journalists converged this past Friday to attend Absolut’s award ceremony and gala dinner honoring artist Anri Sala. The passengers on my flight to Arlanda airport, on disembarking, found themselves face to face with a group of screaming girls who’d gathered (as one explained to me) to greet Eurovision-winning pop duo Jedward, rumored to be arriving

  • Left: Cover of Kellie Jones’s EyeMinded (2011). Right: Kellie Jones (foreground) and Lisa Jones in an exhibition by Ed Ruda at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, 1969.
    interviews August 18, 2011

    Kellie Jones

    Kellie Jones is an associate professor in the art history department at Columbia University. Her book EyeMinded: Living And Writing Contemporary Art, was recently published by Duke University Press and offers a selection of her essays and art writing from 1985–2006. In addition to an introduction in which Jones recounts growing up around artists and art on the Lower East Side, EyeMinded includes commissioned texts from Jones’s parents—poets Amiri Baraka and Hettie Jones—her sister, Lisa Jones, and her husband, Guthrie Ramsey. Kellie Jones is also the curator of “Now Dig This! Art and Black Los

  • View of “Rehearsal Sculpture,” 2010.
    interviews December 18, 2010

    Ohad Meromi

    The Israeli-born, New York–based artist Ohad Meromi was recently commissioned by Art in General to create an installation in its sixth-floor galleries. In response, he has constructed an evolving rehearsal or workshop space in which participants can gather to create what he terms “ad-hoc group sculpture.” The show is on view until March 5, 2011.

    IN THE PAST, I’ve worked a lot with architecture and based my installations on all sorts of dystopian sites: a border crossing, a classroom, a clinic. Eventually, a particular place began to stick with me: the stage—the place that can shift into all those

  • “Make Yourself at Home”

    “Make Yourself at Home” set out to explore notions of hospitality in a world marked by globalization, mass displacement, and growing xenophobia. Curators Charlotte Bagger Brandt and Koyo Kouoh invoked everything from the writings of Jacques Derrida to the Danish term hygge, a word akin to “coziness,” in the text accompanying their exhibition of ten artists’ work, which included painting, video, photography, installation, and performance. Unexpectedly, the most incisive works on view often included aspects of either monumentality or social experiment. One of the more imposing pieces, Pascale

  • Views of “New Life Residency,” 2010.
    interviews October 08, 2010


    Known for “New Life Copenhagen,” an initiative that paired international visitors with host families during the city’s climate summit last year, the collective Wooloo is currently operating “New Life Residency” as part of Manifesta 8 in Murica, Spain. For this project, the group has invited five artists to live and work entirely in the dark. In addition, each artist has been paired with a visually impaired assistant. Here, cofounders Sixten Kai Nielsen and Martin Rosengaard describe their latest project.

    WHEN WE WERE PRESENTED WITH the curatorial investigation by Manifesta and the Chamber of

  • Left: Bless, workoutcomputer, 2010, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view. Right: View of “Bless,” 2010.
    interviews July 28, 2010


    The conceptual fashion and design collaborative Bless was founded by Desiree Heiss and Ines Kaag in 1997. Their current exhibition at the Kunsthaus Graz, “N°41,” is an immersive installation that reprises a number of their previous “products.” Here, they talk about transforming the exhibition setting into an intimate and user-friendly environment for their interactive items. The show closes on August 29.

    THE KUNSTHAUS GRAZ is an amorphous, gray space lit by massive neon-light spirals that demand a lot of attention. It’s quite different from the sort of venue we tend to like—yet it was tempting

  • Alison Saar, Snake Man, 1994, woodcut and lithograph on paper, 33 1/2 x 42 1/2".
    picks December 23, 2009

    “Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions and Conundrums in Contemporary Art”

    By including numerous works from the 1960s through the ’90s—and by omitting performance and video—the curators of “Telling Secrets: Codes, Captions, and Conundrums in Contemporary Art” imbue the show with a strangely old-school feel, seeming to insist that the pieces on view, and more traditional media in general, haven’t fallen from the limelight through any fault of their own. The featured artists, doyennes like Ann Hamilton and Niki de Saint Phalle, are all female, and given the museum’s mission of promoting women in the arts, an unavoidable question arises: Ought questions of gender inform

  • View of “Martin Flemming,” 2009.
    picks November 08, 2009

    Martin Flemming

    In Martin Flemming’s solo show, twelve individually titled spherical lamps hang from the ceiling at different heights, forming a tilted ring that recalls the seats of an amusement park’s octopus ride in full swing. Clumps and streaks of sandy sediment create patterns along the interior surfaces of the orbs, each of which is tinted a different hue from Bauhaus master Johannes Itten’s color wheel. The lamps themselves are Bauhaus designs. The residue is salt from the Dead Sea, which the exhibition’s press release links to Israel’s concentration of gradually eroding buildings created by the many

  • Left and right: MOS, Afterparty (work in progress), 2009. Installation view. (Photos: Aaron Orenstein)
    interviews June 26, 2009


    MOS is a self-described “collective of designers, architects, thinkers, and state-of-the-art weirdos.” As the 2009 winners of MoMA/P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center’s Young Architects’ Program, they were invited to construct a landscape to adorn P.S. 1’s outdoor courtyard, which will also serve as the environment for the museum’s Warm Up summer music series. Here, Michael Meredith, cofounder of MOS with Hilary Sample, speaks about their winning proposal, Afterparty.

    ABJECTION RUNS THROUGHOUT AFTERPARTY, especially in its use of materials. There are two nearly monolithic materials at play: the

  • Left: Carlson/Strom, Meadowlark, 2008, still from a six-channel color video, 7 minutes 30 seconds. Right: Carlson/Strom, Sloss, Kerr, Rosenberg, and Moore, 2007, still from a single-channel color video, 4 minutes 30 seconds.
    interviews March 18, 2009

    Ann Carlson and Mary Ellen Strom

    Choreographer Ann Carlson and video artist Mary Ellen Strom, frequent collaborators, recently created a six-channel video installation, Meadowlark, for their exhibition at the DeCordova Museum, in Lincoln, Massachusetts, on view until May 17. Here, Strom discusses their new work, as well as their use of spectacle and humor to provide spaces of reflection.

    MEADOWLARK BEGAN, AS MOST WORK DOES, as a research project. The project involved the painter and illustrator Frederic Remington and his method of circulating imagery. In his painting Indians Simulating Buffalo [1908], Remington depicts a pair

  • Left: Adrian Piper, The Mythic Being, Cycle I.10, 1974, advertisement in the Village Voice, 14 x 17“. Right: Adrian Piper, Book Cover Template for Rationality and the Structure of the Self, 2004, pencil on paper, 8 1/2 x 11”. Both images: © Adrian Piper Research Archive.
    interviews February 19, 2009

    Adrian Piper

    Adrian Piper recently finished the second volume of Rationality and the Structure of the Self, the philosophical treatise she has developed for over three decades. Though both volumes were accepted by Cambridge University Press, the publishing house’s marketing department demanded cuts. Piper decided instead to self-publish the manuscripts, offering them to readers on her personal website. Here she discusses the evolution of Rationality and the Structure of the Self, and how her decisions to self-publish and advertise—as well as her long careers in art and philosophy—might shape the audience of

  • Zach Harris, Sunrises '88, 2007–2008, acrylic and wood, 21 1/2 x 18 1/4 x 1 3/8".
    picks February 03, 2009

    Zach Harris

    Zach Harris seems spellbound by the push and pull of paintings and frames—his woodcut-relief borders often dwarf the images they contain. While both elements remain largely abstract, the center panels’ acrylic renderings occasionally betray landscapes and other scenes: In one work, a Chinese fret motif encloses two dragons rearing toward each other. A floral filigree resembles a book’s marbled endpapers in another piece; elsewhere, a city flourishes in an hourglass-shaped biosphere. Sensitive decisions appear throughout the exhibition: A downward-facing beveled edge, cast in shadow, is tinted