Kate Sutton

  • Ralph Rugoff and Paulo Barrata.
    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

  • Nemanja Cvijanović, Jeste li za Valcer? (Drvo Guernice) (Are You for Waltz? [Guernica Wood]), 2014, ceramics, acrylic, iron, straw, fabric, 15".
    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

  • View of “Hélio Oiticica,” 2018–19.

    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

  • Mithu Sen, I have only one language; it is not mine, 2014, video, color, sound, 29 minutes.
    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

  • Curators Ana Janevski and Nomaduma Masilela. Photo: Nada Žgank for Igor Zabel Association.
    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” that

  • Geta Brătescu, Mrs Oliver in her traveling costume, 1980/2012, black-and-white photograph, 15 x 15.5". Courtesy the artist, Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin, and Ivan Gallery.
    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

  • View of “Irene Kopelman,” 2018. Walls: 77 Colors of a Volcanic Landscape A, B, C, 2016. Floor: The Levy’s Flight, Puzzle piece #2, 2012. Photo: Kristien Daem.

    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, Remote Viewer (animation), 2018, digital video, black-and-white, silent, 7 minutes 42 seconds.

    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, Keicheyuhea, 2017, HD video, color, sound, 26 minutes.

    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