Kate Sutton

  • Neil Beloufa and Dorian Gaudin

    Reveling in the near-Duchampian turn of its title (which could be translated as either “Behind, After the Falls” or “Behind, After the Remnants”), “Derrière, Après Les Chutes” transformed Clearing’s town-house interior into an assembly line of bachelor machines, with a collection of contraptions by Dorian Gaudin and Neïl Beloufa. While Duchamp’s bachelors grind under the weight of stunted desire, these contemporary devices strive toward a more perfect pointlessness—operating, perhaps, but not producing.

    The first floor featured a suite of sculptures by Gaudin, centering around Untitled,

  • Marrakech Biennale 5

    In posing the question “Where Are We Now?” the Fifth Marrakech Biennale skipped over the perennially problematized terrain of geography and its discontents to concentrate instead on being in time. Rather than accepting the present as a fixed moment, the curator of the visual- and sound-arts program, Hicham Khalidi, brought together works that explore the experience of the contemporary as what philosopher Peter Osborne calls a “disjunctive unity of times.”

    This clash of temporalities structures the narrative of Shezad Dawood’s Towards the Possible Film, 2014. A mix of HD and Super 16 transferred

  • Manifesta 10

    For its tenth edition, the Manifesta Foundation will settle its itinerant biennial at the edge of a former empire, in one of the world’s oldest museums: the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg. Once touted as a “window to Europe,” Russia’s second city has recently drawn its shades, as domestic politics—notably, the criminalization of “homosexual propaganda”—have sparked international protests. Mindful of this context,König will address questions of the body, drawing on the museum’s treasured Matisse collection (which includes The Dance, 1909–10) to develop a politically

  • picks April 21, 2014

    Wilfrid Almendra

    Wilfrid Almendra operates in the space between modernist architecture and its best intentions, the utopian promises it failed to keep in the literal no-places of suburbia. The artist sets his latest body of work in Chelles, a Parisian suburb rebuilt in the 1970s under an urbanization plan that envisioned a streamlined future (via a series of social housing projects) with room for relics of the past: namely, two adjoining chapels, ostensibly the last remnants of Notre-Dame-de-Chelles, a seventh-century abbey destroyed during the French Revolution. Having spent centuries as storefronts, barns,

  • picks April 07, 2014

    Sarah Lucas

    For her first New York solo exhibition in nearly a decade, Sarah Lucas delivers a sangfroid, Freudian slip of a show, anticipating and upending the lurid expectations of her audience with a hard-edged humor much darker than her one-liner premise. The exhibition’s title, “Nud Nob,” refers to the artist’s 2009–2010 series of “Nuds,” anthropomorphic sculptures fashioned from panty hose. She has now cast similar forms in bronze, as if to trade fetish for finish and the weight of art-historical reference points. All sloppy sausage limbs and Brancusi-bird erections, the figures still carry on their

  • “Paradise Lost”

    “I believe it was God’s will that we should come back, so that men might know the things that are in the world,” Marco Polo claims in the preface to The Description of the World, a chronicle of his journey through Persia and the Caucasus to China. Whether or not the Venetian merchant ever uttered these words—or, for that matter, even ever set foot in China—can no longer be known. His tales were first transcribed in prison by Polo’s cell mate, the romance writer Rustichello of Pisa. These original manuscripts would soon disappear, but tales of Polo’s adventures would circulate throughout

  • picks March 05, 2014

    Nina Canell

    Nina Canell’s four-piece exhibition charges this one-room gallery with the kind of ionic imbalance sensed seconds before static electricity discharges—a phenomenon often only recognized after the fact. Canell’s aim, it seems, is not in release or neutralization, but rather in the suspension within this tension. In this sense, the exhibition echoes the semantic structure of its title, “(Near Here),” which floats its core within uncertain parentheses.

    Near Here, 2014, offers a small clear acrylic cube, embedded with a cross section of a thick cable wire, the silver pearls of its innards splayed in

  • diary February 06, 2014

    Paramount Importance

    IT WAS THE WEEKEND of the Big Game and tensions were high.

    “Stoooners!”

    “Where’s the Stoned team?”

    “Seriously, guys—get on the field! It’s game time!”

    Emerald-teed Team Stoned stumbled onto the part of a dusty parking lot marked up to resemble a soccer field, as their red-shirted opponents—Team Drunk—roared cheers from a formidable-looking huddle. Less than ten seconds after the first whistle, one of Drunk’s forwards sent an impassioned kick toward the Stoned goalie, who was casually chatting with a passing stranger. The ball flew by him, easily sailing through the parking cone goalposts. Team Drunk

  • diary January 24, 2014

    Eye for an Eye

    PUSSY RIOT was stopping traffic, literally, as they dashed across Singapore’s Raffles Boulevard, a PR handler hot on their flats.

    “I’m very sorry, but all the artists need to be on the bus for the red carpet!” the assistant called out, in breathless panic. “We prefer to walk,” Maria Alyokhina assured him, motioning toward the sprawling Suntec City complex. To be fair, it was only two blocks away. Considering his options (and heeding the gleam in Alyokhina’s eye), the handler glumly consented, turning back to the bus while Alyokhina and her comrade, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, traded smiles.

    The trip

  • diary January 22, 2014

    All the World’s a Stage

    “CAN YOU BELIEVE I’ve been in this country three months and still haven’t made it up here?” curator Ute Meta Bauer marveled from the terrace atop Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. Tapped as the founding director of Center for Contemporary Art Singapore, Bauer has spent most of her time at the Gillman Barracks, a reconverted army training facility now home to CCA as well as gallery franchises Arndt, ShanghART, Michael Janssen, and Pearl Lam. With CCA’s first exhibition—“Paradise Lost,” featuring videos by Zarina Bhimji, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Fiona Tan—slated to open just days later, it was understandable

  • diary November 28, 2013

    Jogja on My Mind

    “SO, HOW WAS the Singapore Biennale?”

    “Oh, I’m doing that next! I just came from Jakarta.”

    “Oh, so you saw the Jakarta Biennale?”

    “Well, thaaat, but also the South East Asia Triennale.”

    The conversation would be enough to induce biennial fatigue in anyone. All the more so given its setting: a VIP welcome luncheon for yet another biennial, Biennale Jogja, which opened November 16 in venues across Yogyakarta, Java’s effusive second capital. Nestled amid active volcanoes and ancient temples, Yogyakarta—known affectionately as Jogja (Jhog-jha)—is experiencing a major surge in its contemporary art scene,

  • diary November 06, 2013

    Agnès in Wonderland

    “HAS ANYONE SEEN AGNÈS?”

    It was the Day of the Dead, and we had lost Agnès Varda in the procession trodding solemnly down Los Angeles’s Olvera Street, a pseudo-Pueblo tourist attraction. “She’ll come back,” her daughter, costume designer Rosalie Varda-Demy, said with a shrug, joining LACMA curator Rita Gonzalez and me for a pitcher of margaritas on the patio of La Golondrina. “She’s probably just found some new material.” Sure enough, fifteen minutes later, Varda returned, all smiles and silver-and-magenta color-blocked bowl cut. “I’ve found my next project,” the eighty-five-year-old filmmaker

  • diary September 30, 2013

    Immaculate Conceptualism

    “LOOK FORWARD and you should see a large spaceship.” Not a sentence one hears every day, but in the new urban paradise of Moscow’s Gorky Park, the Buran test shuttle is one of a few remaining anachronisms. Our crew of internationals—in town for the Moscow Biennale and banner exhibitions of Ilya Kabakov and John Baldessari—had boarded the sightseeing train and was now ambling slowly past the ping-pong courts, salsa-dancing platforms, co-working hubs, and the site of the future Garage Center for Contemporary Culture, a Rem Koolhaas/OMA venture due next year. Winds of change, indeed.

    In the current

  • picks September 22, 2013

    Işıl Eğrikavuk

    The title of Işıl Eğrikavuk’s latest project, “Reverse Corner,” denotes a football tactic in which the attacker fakes an approach, sending the goalie to one corner and the ball to another. The artist compares this to the footwork that has spun Istanbul’s recent Gezi Park demonstrations as an erratic clash of protesters and police—a dichotomy that presumes the latter is complicit in the orders they have sworn to enforce. Eğrikavuk does this by first marking out a field of play, carpeting the entire gallery in Astroturf. This field is manned by a tight cluster of police helmets hung at shoulder

  • diary September 18, 2013

    Winter Is Coming

    A FOUR-HOUR FERRY RIDE up past the Arctic Circle, Norway’s Lofoten Islands are a true anomaly, a polar archipelago with a California climate, an effect of the warm Gulf Stream waters. At 68º North, the landscape is Sublime, from the craggy, cloud-shrouded cliffs of the fjords to the white sandy beaches edging aquamarine bays. Home to Norwegian painter Gunnar Berg and muse to Edgar Allan Poe and William Carlos Williams alike, Lofoten eludes description. Almost. “It’s like my Windows 95 backdrop,” one artist marveled. “Cold Hawaii,” suggested another.

    Previously a mostly local affair, the eighth

  • diary September 08, 2013

    Weekend Warriors

    “TO BIENNIAL, OR NOT TO BIENNIAL?” That was the question back at the 2009 Bergen Assembly Conference. That gathering had been convened as a think tank for a city angling to become, as more than one public official assured me, the “most open, daring, creative, and innovative within the Nordic countries by the year 2017.” But as plans came together for a Bergen biennial, doubts starting to rise as to whether a grand-scale exhibition was really the kind of “open, daring, creative and innovative” maneuver the city needed. After all, three decades into a so-called biennial explosion, the term itself

  • picks June 12, 2013

    Grete Stern

    In 1948, a year after Eva Perón’s efforts helped secure Argentinian women the right to vote, Idilio magazine was campaigning for their right to dream. For a column titled “El psicoanálisis le ayudará” (Psychoanalysis Will Help You), the primarily female readership would submit descriptions of their dreams to editor Richard Rest (the nom de plume of philosopher and sociologist Gino Germani), who then decoded the meaning of each vision using popular psychology. Additional commentary—often more cynical than sympathetic—could be gleaned in the accompanying illustrations by Bauhaus-trained émigré

  • diary June 09, 2013

    Affirmative Action

    THE ROAD TO ATHENS is lined with empty billboards. One after another, endless and contentless, in various stages of abandon. Small irony that each is topped with a small placard, presumably the name of the parent company: REMEDY. When you enter Athens, however, there’s at least a superficial sense of a city on the mend. From Kolonaki to Kypseli, there’s a new world of design hotels and hipster bars, where cabs come when called and upstart, all-caps ventures like CAN and LIGHTROOM Projects cultivate a decidedly Athenian sensibility.

    “You in Greece should know about things falling apart,” Urs

  • Jonas Staal

    Barclays Capital’s Skyscraper Index—an annual report that traces the curious correlation between contenders for the title of “world’s tallest building” and fluctuations in the Dow Jones—holds that when markets go down, skyscrapers go up. This index serves as a fitting point of departure for “Monument to Capital,” the two-part project that anchors “Art After Democratism,” Jonas Staal’s first solo exhibition in Dubai, a city whose most improbable architecture—including the current recordholder for the highest building, the Burj Khalifa—appeared in a moment of crisis within the

  • diary May 29, 2013

    Encyclopedic Knowledge

    EVEN BEFORE THE FIRST BELLINIS could be served, this year’s Venice Biennale kicked off with a hangover. The S.S. Hangover, to be precise—a repurposed Icelandic sailing ship loaded with chamber musicians, the latest in Ragnar Kjartansson’s endurance-based performances. “When I first saw the boat, I thought it looked like something made by a set designer,” chuckled the artist. “It’s like a bastard of all the boats I could have wanted.” We stood on the lawn beside the Gaggiandre, the dock area outside the Arsenale where the work makes its rounds. At that early hour, 10 AM on Tuesday, I harbored