Kate Sutton

  • passages June 25, 2019

    Martin Roth (1977–2019)

    I FIRST MET MARTIN ROTH five years ago, while he was helping install Pierre Huyghe’s big show at LACMA. Human the dog didn’t have the right papers to work in Hollywood, so we took her for a walk in the canyons of Griffith Park, where she promptly befriended a pug wearing a vest nearly the same shade of fuchsia as the paint on her leg.

    Martin’s work had the gentle, elusive grace of its author. Even in recent years, when his projects had stronger ties to current political events, his approach left more questions than answers. For his show last year at the former Eldridge Street gallery yours mine

  • diary June 21, 2019

    Vienna Calling

    IT WAS IN THE DAIRY AISLE I FIRST SPOTTED HIM. Warned there was a dancer on the loose in Lidl, I had quickly closed in on the likeliest suspect, a wispy blonde boy wearing cropped pants and a Fjällräven backpack. I trailed him as he inspected a bunch of bananas, delicately extracting a single one, before moseying over to peruse the canned coffee drinks. It was only when he shot a withering look at me and my expectant camera that it occurred to me he might not be there to perform. Indeed, the dancer I was looking for turned out to be a man with a sensible shirt and a silvery mane (“our Július

  • diary May 09, 2019

    Persons of Interest

    INTERESTING. Few words have such angular ambiguity, signifying both a viewer’s interpretive generosity while subtly acknowledging that the thing in question just might not be that good. Ralph Rugoff, the artistic director of the Fifty-Eighth Venice Biennale, which opened Tuesday to select press and professionals, played on the word’s double meaning in the title for his show, “May You Live in Interesting Times,” a phrase attributed as an “ancient Chinese curse” but, like the Ivanka Trump/fortune cookie variety, with no actual “ancient” or “Chinese.” The dash of Orientalism was either snarkily


    Curated by Christina Végh and Lea Altner

    Whether through sleek display cabinets, animatronic robots, or multigenerational chronicles woven into tapestries, Goshka Macuga enacts a type of séance within her exhibitions, calling forth the hosting venue’s ghosts. For this show, her installations, sculptures, textiles, and collages will face the spirits of the Bauhaus on the occasion of its centenary, drawing out the conflicts that existed within the movement as well as its relationship to the Kestnergesellschaft. In addition to supporting new commissions made in collaboration with lighting designer

  • picks April 11, 2019

    “Without Anesthesia”

    The Meštrović Pavilion has not had a good year. To residents’ outrage, the city administration uprooted the beautiful park that surrounded the modernist landmark, supposedly in tribute to architect Ivan Meštrović’s “original” concept (though more likely to benefit the mayor’s inner circle). When the call for the Fifty-Fourth Zagreb Salon went out, the application stipulated that participating artists could not publicly criticize the Artist Union or the venue it calls home—a gesture that stirred up its own protests.

    This tension made “Without Anesthesia,” the exhibition put together by


    GABRIELE BEVERIDGE’S works dip into the dream life of consumer culture to deliver a contemporary vanitas attuned to the temporality of modern commodities, on-demand objects whose promises of “forever” are only as good as the next upgrade. Rather than present a critique of commodity goods by way of simulation, Beveridge takes the cosmetic mechanisms that prop up consumer desire and carries them to their logical extreme. Her assemblages put display on display, spotlighting the modular shelves that populate the innards of high-street shops: steel pegboard panels, “slatwall” panels, chrome

  • Hélio Oiticica

    With its no-frills title, the exhibition “Spatial Relief and Drawings, 1955–59,” offset one of the suspended objects made by Hélio Oiticica (1937–1980) with two of his early series from the late 1950s. The first, “Metaesquemas,” 1957–58 (loosely translated as “Metaschemes” or “Metastructures”), comprises abstract gouache drawings on cardboard, and the second consists of works produced during his affiliation with Grupo Frente, an artist collective founded by Oiticica’s teacher Ivan Serpa and active in Rio de Janeiro from 1954 to 1956. With members including Aluísio Carvão, Lygia Clark, and Lygia

  • picks February 01, 2019

    Mithu Sen

    “Language imposes a strange and alien logic that tells us not to smell poetry, hear shadows or taste lights,” Mithu Sen warns in the introductory text to her multimedia installation I have only one language; it is not mine, commissioned for the 2014 Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The artist tried to counteract this logic by becoming stranger and more alien herself, conducting an experiment in “radical hospitality” over three days in a state-operated home for female orphans and victims of abuse in Kerala, India. Posing as Mago, an itinerant being with a camera strung around her neck, Sen attempted to

  • diary December 17, 2018

    Train Spotting

    WE HAVE A BIENNIAL, what are we to do with it? It is so indivisible and so . . . ours.

    If Osip Mandelstam rejoiced to see his body blow warm breath against “the window glass of eternity,” it still remains to be seen what kind of mark our globalized art world may leave on the Future. The millennial explosion of biennials and large-scale exhibitions has paved a global highway for the circulation of contemporary art, giving rise to an international community with its own vernacular—instead of shibboleth, we have Szymczyk. We’ve effectively achieved the “platform for international discourse”

  • passages October 07, 2018

    Geta Brătescu (1926-2018)

    IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO PICTURE Geta Brătescu and not see her in her studio (the occasional flashes of the traveling Lady Oliver aside). Not simply because the recent resurgence of interest in her work arrived at a time when her mobility was already reduced, a fact that kept her from personally presiding over the triumph of her long overdue Romanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale last year. Nor only because so much of her practice is thematically tied to the studio, with one of her most celebrated works—Atelierul (The Studio), 1978—quite literally enshrining its physical space against the

  • Irene Kopelman

    The tallest peak in Southeast Asia, Malaysia’s Mount Kinabalu, is an ecological anomaly, home to a bafflingly high concentration of endemic plant and animal species. Are these unique life forms recent links in the global evolutionary chain, or just the surviving relics of species long extinct elsewhere? In 2012, the Kinabalu/Crocker Range Expedition set out to answer this question, assembling a team of forty specialists, including Irene Kopelman, an artist who approaches ecological research from the vantage point of aesthetics. While her colleagues harvested genetic material for classification,

  • Tyler Coburn

    As surveillance and communications technologies grow ever more sophisticated, so, too, must our expectations of privacy evolve to both answer and anticipate these new forms of digitally enhanced access. And yet, long before the days of search engines and social media streams, there were drug-addled Delphic priestesses, clairvoyants gazing into crystal balls, and salon-parlor spiritualists, spewing ectoplasm or rapping away under their tables. While instances of paranormal prescience are well documented around the globe, mainstream science has kept a careful distance from the subject. Indeed,

  • diary June 04, 2018

    Georgia on My Mind

    TUCKED BETWEEN the assorted empires of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, Georgia has somehow managed to avoid the melting-pot mentality of other crossroad cultures. As mounting travel bans slowly shutter other ports in the region, the country’s distinctive capital, Tbilisi, has shot to the top of tourism lists as “the new Istanbul,” among a cavalcade of other shiny “new” epithets. But Tbilisi isn’t new. It was once an obligatory stop on the Grand Tours of the Russian and later Soviet empires, earning admiration for the depths of its cultural wells, from its unparalleled gastronomic and viticultural

  • Aslan Gaisumov

    “Truth” and “reconciliation” do not always go together. The imperative to testify—particularly in instances of collective trauma—is presumed to outweigh any costs, emotional, psychological, or even legal. But who really has the right to demand those truths? To whom do they belong? For whose benefit are they shared? And to whose detriment? In his films and objects, Aslan Gaisumov walks the line between silence and articulation. Born in the Chechen capital of Grozny, he creates work that not only revisits the devastation of the recent conflicts, but also traces them back to their roots

  • Eva LeWitt

    Commissioned in 1918 but completed only in 1950, Oslo’s stately city hall, or rådhus, showcases several decades of Norway’s achievements in art and crafts, alongside local natural resources such as the resplendent Fauske marble. Hailing from the Arctic Nordland, the stone is dubbed “Norwegian rose” for its predominantly pinkish hue, but it can also be found in variations of glacial white, warmed by creamy emerald undertones, edged in lilac. This same marble was used throughout the rådhus’s adjacent facilities, including the former welfare office, built in 1937 on what is today Tordenskiolds

  • “Wael Shawky: The Crusades and Current Stories”

    With its cast of expressive, intricately garbed marionettes animated by unseen hands, Wael Shawky’s “Cabaret Crusades” video trilogy, 2010–15, spurns the Eurocentric narrative of the campaign for the Holy Land, drawing instead on medieval Islamic accounts by Usama Ibn Munqidh and Ibn al-Qalanisi, and on Amin Maalouf’s more contemporary retelling, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1984). For this exhibition at ARoS, the three films will be accompanied by more than forty marionettes, while two new woodcuts and a hand-carved wooden relief will

  • diary April 16, 2018

    Don’t Panic!

    DUBAI—THE GREAT DESERT CAPITAL of Starchitecture-on-Speed and the distinct Khaleeji brand of Hypercapitalism-as-Luxury-Entertainment that artists Fatima Al Qadiri and Sophia Al Maria famously dubbed “Gulf Futurism”—is starting to show its age. In an era when every other province has a bargain-bin Zaha Hadid or two, the skyscraper archipelagos and man-made islands just look, well, dated. As theorist and first-time visitor Mi You so pithily put it, “This feels like a Little China.”

    Where desert sandscapes once readily lent themselves to fantasies of Life on Mars, now “the future” has taken on more

  • Sanya Kantarovsky

    Amid the public displays of penitence in the #MeToo era, the knee-jerk qualifier “as a father” has been particularly maligned for its implication that parenthood is somehow a prerequisite for possessing respect for human dignity. At the same time, there is a specific torment to being a parent in a moment when the monsters under the bed have been revealed as more than just shadows, and the helplessness of the child is openly matched by that of the parents, who can never fully shield their offspring against the abuses rampant in the world.

    Sanya Kantarovsky mined this double vulnerability in his

  • picks February 10, 2018

    Teresa Margolles

    World’s Fair pavilions are designed to create a lasting impression of monumental (though ultimately momentary) grandeur. As such, their architects rarely account for an afterlife. Take Zagreb’s French pavilion, a striking cylindrical building that alternately suggests a birdcage and a zoetrope. Designed by architect Robert Camelot for the 1936–37 fair, the structure was consigned to an ambiguous life as “storage space” up until its recent renovation. This phrasing strategically obscures the building’s brief turn in 1941 as an impromptu detention center for Croatia’s fascist-sympathizing Ustaše

  • Jasmina Cibic’s NADA trilogy

    IN HIS LEGENDARY German pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe kept his spaces bare, pairing prototypes of the celebrated Barcelona chair and matching stool he designed with Lilly Reich with one other object: Der Morgen, Georg Kolbe’s 1925 sculpture of the goddess of dawn, which was reverently stationed on a small pedestal in one of the two reflecting pools flanking the building. This juxtaposition of high-modernist design and the classical female nude would become a recurring motif within Mies’s interiors, with coquettish statuettes from colleagues