Kate Sutton

  • Tala Madani, Mr. Time, 2018, video animation, color, sound, 7 minutes 9 seconds. From the 5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art.

    5th Ural Industrial Biennial of Contemporary Art

    Originally published in 1912, Alexander Bogdanov’s short story “Immortality Day” was written in the shadow of Cosmism, a late-nineteenth- to early-twentieth-century school of thought that hailed scientific advances such as blood transfusions and the evolving understanding of genetic inheritance as stepping-stones to eternal life. Bogdanov’s wry narrative follows the interplanetary chemist Fride as he hits a midlife (early-eternity?) crisis, spurred on by the realization that, having dedicated centuries to the intellectual pursuits of astronomy, literature, and art, he had exhausted his brain’s

  • Hana Miletić, Materials, 2019, handwoven raw wool and metal yarn, 9 × 7 1⁄2”. From the series “Materials,” 2015–.


    IN 1804, French weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard unveiled an invention that would revolutionize the textile industry: an apparatus that automatically controlled which threads were pulled on a loom, based on information stored on a looping series of punch cards. Intricate fabric patterns previously requiring hours of tedious manual labor could now be produced quickly, efficiently, and at scales capable of meeting the demands of the burgeoning global market. But the Jacquard loom would affect more than just brocade. Famously, the invention also inspired the Analytical Engine, a nineteenth-century

  • Anna Witt, Unboxing the Future, 2019, three-channel HD video, color, sound, 29 minutes 9 seconds.
    picks December 03, 2019

    Anna Witt

    Speculation around the Singularity maintains that as man makes machines, soon, machines will unmake man, stripping humanity of the functions that have bolstered class structures and social standing: that is, our jobs. This fantasy of forced obsolescence is one part Matrix, one part Jetsons, and, increasingly, one part reality. Of course, machines aren’t coming for our jobs so much as for our tasks, relegating humans to the role of assistant, the stopgap between automated operations. (Yes, George Jetson may have outsourced childcare to a sentient vacuum, but he still had to put in time mindlessly

  • Draft of the second section of the “Exhibition of the Highway Brotherhood and Unity,” 1950. Courtesy: Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb.
    books November 18, 2019

    Socialist Media

    AGENTS OF ABSTRACTION, BY ANA OFAK. Sternberg Press, 2019. 389 pages.

    BLAME IT ON THE SPOMENIKS. All asymmetrical concrete stems, rippling aluminium wings, and bold swooping bodies, these massive monuments read more like Starfleet spaceships, crash-landed amid the forests of former Yugoslavia. Often sited in remote rural areas, these abstract memorials were commissioned primarily in the 1960s and ’70s as part of a nationwide push—yes, one fronted by charismatic president Josip Broz Tito (who tends to get the sole credit for “Tito’s monuments”), but, in keeping with Yugoslavia’s signature emphasis

  • Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, North Macedonia, ca. early 1970s.


    ON JULY 26, 1963, a 6.1-magnitude earthquake leveled roughly 80 percent of Skopje, now the capital of the recently christened country of North Macedonia, but then known as the third-largest city in Yugoslavia. An unprecedented international outpouring of support in the disaster’s wake allowed the city to rebuild at the edge of the architectural vanguard, with an ultramodern aesthetic and an urban layout partially developed by Kenzō Tange, the elder statesman of the Metabolism movement. A half century later, Skopje’s Museum of Contemporary Art, an institution forged during the reconstruction,

  • Hew Locke, Souvenir 8 (Albert Edward, Prince of Wales), 2019, mixed media on antique Parian ware, 21 x 12 x 12 1/2".
    picks October 24, 2019

    Hew Locke

    Empire manifests itself in myriad ways, from the statues populating public squares to how many sugars a culture takes in its tea. During the Victorian age, technological advances enabled the mass-production of busts of British royals in Parian, a slip-cast porcelain substitute for marble. Developed in the early 1840s, the material made a splash at the Crystal Palace Exhibition, where the affordable statuettes were snapped up as aspirational décor by the burgeoning middle class. Still others circled the globe as “souvenirs” from the exhibition, traveling to the outer reaches of the commonwealth.

  • Alex Ayed, Untitled (Beit El Hmam) (Pigeon House), 2019, steel, plaster, and pigeons, 12' 1⁄8“ ×  3' 3 3⁄8” × 4' 3 1⁄8".

    Alex Ayed

    In 1991, Judit Polgár, a fifteen-year-old Hungarian chess prodigy known for her unflinching stare and imaginative approach to the game, broke Bobby Fischer’s record by becoming the youngest player ever to receive the title of grand master. Defying convention, her playing style was marked by flamboyant risk-taking and a near-reckless fervor that kept her opponents constantly off-balance.

    Polgár’s inventive strategy provided one catalyst for Alex Ayed’s exhibition “Soap Opera,” but it is safe to say the two play fundamentally different games. If, as the artist believes, chess is predicated on

  • Flag of the Shy People’s Republic of Aspergistan. Photo: Hamja Ahsan.
    interviews September 24, 2019

    Hamja Ahsan

    Last month, journalist Ciara O’Connor took to social media to point out the disparity between the language of “agency” and “accountability” used in Tate Modern’s exhibition “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” and the show itself, which was partially blocked to her as a wheelchair user. O’Connor’s account highlights how the art world’s advocacy for intersectionality rarely expands beyond social, sexual, or political ties to cover physical or neurological forms of difference as well. While the “eccentric genius” trope persists, today’s artists are expected to deliver service with a smile as they

  • Hanne Lippard, Cunt, 2018, draped silk-curtains, dimensions variable.
    picks September 03, 2019

    “Concetto spaziale”

    This three-artist exhibition tackles one of the most accessible but, simultaneously, most elusive and insufficiently understood phenomena in Western society: the human vagina. The show’s title—“Concetto spaziale”—repurposes the nomenclature Lucio Fontana used for his slashed canvases, drawing a direct line from the Italian master to Edona Vatoci’s installation Plan B, 2015–19, a shiny, cotton-candy-colored silk cube, two meters tall with a narrow slit on one side. Entrance requires not only some physical maneuvering on the part of the visitor, but also consent, by way of a pre-signed mutual


    Curated by Amy Smith-Stewart

    Eva LeWitt’s vibrant, wall-spanning compositions quite literally hang in the balance. Each piece must be assembled on-site, as the artist deploys the properties of her primarily synthetic materials in an intricate calculus that leverages the weight of one element against the pliancy of another. LeWitt offsets the industrial accents of her materials with manual interventions, whether she’s hand-cutting swaths of latex or vinyl or pigmenting and polishing the polyurethane foam “pellets” she uses for ballast. The artist tends toward an eclectic, electric palette with

  • Martin Roth, In July 2015 I shipped debris from the Syrian border to use as bird litter (IV), 2015.
    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