Kate Sutton

  • Jasmina Cibic, The Gift, 2021,4K three-channel video, color, sound, 23 minutes 43 seconds.
    interviews May 20, 2022

    Jasmina Cibic

    Through her films, images, installations, and objects, Jasmina Cibic pulls back the curtain on hegemonic powers, exposing the formulations and ideologies that create and maintain political authority. Cibic’s latest exhibition, “Most Favoured Nation,” on view from March 5 until June 12 at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, features, among other recent work, a major new installation for which the artist surveys the crumbling state of Europe.

    IN 1920, in the wake of the First World War, the city of Salzburg resolved to return humanity to a Europe that had been completely desecrated: socially,

  • Katharina Fritsch, Elephant, 1987. Installation view in the Central Pavilion. All photos, unless noted: Kate Sutton.
    diary April 22, 2022

    Sweet Dreaming

    THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE in this world: those who really listen when they hold a seashell to their ear and those who don’t. Cecilia Alemani’s exhibition “The Milk of Dreams,” the main project of the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale, is for the former. Titled after a whimsical children’s book by Leonora Carrington, the show harbors a dark-kerneled exuberance, embracing sensuality, sentimentality, and spirituality to yield a surprising light, even joy.

    Alemani’s biennale was delayed due to Covid, and she clearly spent the extra time wisely. You can feel the research saturating the rooms. Of the

  • Artefacts from S. Raoul’s final dig, 2013. From Shubigi Rao’s History’s Malcontents: The Life and Times of S. Raoul (Institute of Contemporary Arts Singapore, 2013).

    PULP FICTION

    THIS IS A BANNER YEAR for Shubigi Rao. Born in Mumbai but based in Singapore, the artist is representing her adopted country at the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale and participating in the Asia Pacific Triennial. Rao is also the curator of the Fifth Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which will open in December after a delay of two years. Yet for someone wielding such clout, Rao has a prickly relationship with authority and the vectors of power and knowledge. She has rarely bowed to the pressures of the art market, bucking convention with back-to-back multiyear projects that defy the churn of the commercial

  • View of “Latifa Echakhch: The Concert,” 2022, Swiss pavilion, Venice. Photo: Annik Wetter.

    LATIFA ECHAKHCH

    IN DEVELOPING THE PROJECT for the Swiss pavilion, I knew I wanted to make a radical break from what I had been doing before. The Venice proposal was an opportunity for me to unlearn my way of working as a visual artist and approach the exhibition as a musician. To help me, I recruited the curator Francesco Stocchi, who, in his former life, was a DJ of dub music. I also invited the musician and composer Alexandre Babel. I know how I project visual art in space, but I wondered what happens in his brain when he’s projecting music.

    I read all this fantastic history of sound and composition. I took

  • Fulterer & Scherrer, untitled (from the series “Studs #2”), 2021, acrylic and pleather on stretcher, 27 1/2 x 19 1/2".
    picks March 09, 2022

    Fulterer & Scherrer

    Fulterer & Scherrer’s exhibition “Studs” revels in the multiple meanings of its title, electrifying the gallery with an erotic charge that never takes itself seriously. While increasingly complicated in composition, the three series on display—“Studs #1,” 2019–20, “Studs #2,” 2021, and “Studs #3,” 2022—all share a similar structure. To start, artists Gabriele Fulterer and Christine Scherrer (a duo since 2007) have applied a blocked-out palette of black and DayGlo to bare wooden frames. Spanning the void of the pictorial space are scraps of soft, silver-studded pleather stretched taut, à la H&M

  • View of “Kristian Kožul: Intercisus,” 2021.
    picks October 21, 2021

    Kristian Kožul

    In a 2017 essay on Croatian artist Kristian Kozul, critic Klaudio Štefančić ties the sculptor’s biomorphic objects to his interest in forensics and its recognition of the human body as the ultimate unimpeachable witness. In more recent presentations, it has seemed like Kozul is experimenting with the possibility of perjury. Staged under the dome of the Meštrović Pavilion at Bačva Gallery, his 2018 solo show “Forensic Folklore: The Archipelago” offered an atmosphere somewhere between that of a space-age fitness center, a locker room, and an abandoned laboratory. Would-be protheses—almost-arms

  • Young bike riders carry Michelle Lopez’s 2020 Keep Their Heads Ringin’ sound installation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, August 29, 2020.

    THERE, THERE

    COINED BY THE ENVIRONMENTALIST David Foreman in 1990, rewilding describes a preservation strategy that allows ecosystems to strike a new equilibrium after long periods of abuse and reckless overextraction. While certainly contentious in conservation circles, the promise of a clean slate at a moment when all other options seem exhausted has gained traction in the popular imagination (just think of how many “nature is healing” memes have floated around in the past year and a half). In their essay “Cur(at)ing for a Broken World: The Case for Collective Rewilding,” the curatorial group Collective

  • Carey Baraka, Aleya Kassam, bethuel muthee, Neo Musangi, and Keguro Macharia.
    diary July 02, 2021

    Stolen Moments

    IN ONLY A MATTER OF YEARS, decolonization has leapt from the radical imagination, to the seminar room, to the personalized mugs and bumper stickers of Etsy. An unruly cousin of the placated “postcolonial,” decolonization has temporarily displaced the Anthropocene as the discerning institution’s lost cause of choice, launching a thousand Zoom panels in the process, but rarely does it actually breach the inner sancta of the art institution (i.e., the collections and the boards).

    There are glimmers of hope, though. While France has led the charge on repatriation for a few years now, in April, Germany

  • Ken Lum, Melly Shum Hates Her Job, 1989, billboard. Installation view, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (now Kunstinstituut Melly), Rotterdam, 2013.

    WHAT’S IN A NAME?

    In 2017, numerous signatories of an open letter called for the name of the Rotterdam institution formerly known as the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art to be changed. The art space was named after the street on which it was located—which itself was named after a seventeenth-century Dutch naval officer—and activists raised concerns over the title’s connection to that officer, who was an infamous agent of colonization. The questions emerged during director Defne Ayas’s tenure, as part of a community discussion around Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Lucy Cotter’s project Cinema Olanda, 2017,

  • Renata Poljak, Porvenir, 2020, DCP, color, sound, 12 minutes 10 seconds.
    picks October 07, 2020

    Renata Poljak

    In the late nineteenth century, the discovery of gold in Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago extending from the tip of South America, curiously spurred a mass emigration from the Dalmatian island of Brač, more than 8,000 miles away. Many of these sailors would settle in the town of Porvenir—the Spanish word for “future”—effectively creating a Croatian ethnic colony at the very edge of the inhabited world.  

    The Split-born artist and filmmaker Renata Poljak’s great-great-grandfather was one of those sailors. For her twelve-minute video Porvenir (all works 2020), Poljak retraces her ancestor’s journey

  • Andro Eradze, All Hands Bury the Dead, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 13 minutes 41 seconds.
    picks May 06, 2020

    Andro Eradze

    As an origin myth, the tale of Prometheus suggests that staring into flames is no new pastime for human civilization. And yet the opening frames of Andro Eradze’s nearly fourteen-minute HD video All Hands Bury the Dead, 2019, remind us how otherworldly a fire can seem, as branches bloat into ash, then buckle into the low light of the embers. Later, similar footage is played in reverse, bringing the gnarled limbs writhing back to life.

    A commission for the Kunsthalle Tbilisi, the video was originally timed to coincide with the now-postponed Tbilisi Art Fair, which tends to be a showcase for the

  • Collective Actions Group, Action 16: Ten Appearances, February 1, 1981, 1981, gelatin silver print on paper mounted on cardboard, 38 1/16 × 38 1/4". Collection Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers University, Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union. Photo: Peter Jacobs.
    books April 28, 2020

    Nothing Happens

    ELEMENTARY POETRY, BY ANDREI MONASTYRSKI, translated by Brian Droitcour and Yelena Kalinsky. Preface by Boris Groys. Ugly Duckling Presse and Soberscove Press, 2019. 328 pages.

    ON FEBRUARY 1, 1981, a group of ten artists trekked off into the snowy woods outside Moscow. When they reached a clearing, they huddled around a wooden board studded with ten spools of white thread. Each participant—Ilya Kabakov, Oleg Vassiliev, and Yuri Albert among them—was instructed to take up the loose end of his or her thread and walk two hundred to three hundred meters into the forest, until they could no longer