Kevin McGarry

  • Still from Matt Wolf’s Recorder: The Marion Stokes Project, 2019, HD video, color, sound, 87 minutes. Marion Stokes.

    1000 WORDS: MATT WOLF

    IT’S DIFFICULT FOR ME not to think of Matt Wolf as a queer filmmaker, because he’s the first one I ever knew personally. He is also the first openly gay man I ever met. When I arrived in Manhattan from northern New Hampshire in 2001 at the age of eighteen, any notions I possessed of urbanity or sexual identity I had imagined in a bucolic vacuum. A chance introduction to Wolf, then a sagacious nineteen-year-old from San Jose, California, not only initiated my kinship with other flesh-and-blood homosexuals, but also affirmed the importance of an intellectualized communal identity. While Matt has

  • Left: Artist Alex Israel with Sharon Stone. Right: Artist Lizzie Fitch with collector Maurice Marciano and artists Ryan Trecartin and Jeff Koons. (Photos: Sansho Scott/BFA.com)
    diary May 28, 2017

    Guest of a GUESS

    IT HAPPENED IN LA’S AFTERLIFE, last Saturday. After the opening of the Broad, after Sprüth Magers and Hauser & Wirth, and even after some kickback to the fantasy of Los Angeles as art paradise (in small waves of transplanted New Yorkers and others returning east), another seismic contemporary art institution touched down on a heretofore native stretch of Wilshire Boulevard just below the tony flats of Hancock Park.

    Following a three-year renovation, the Marciano Art Foundation opened its doors in the former Scottish Rite Masonic Temple, designed by Millard Sheets, to immediately become one of

  • Left: Collectors Bob Fisher and Randi Fisher with SF MoMA director Neal Benezra. Right: Artist John Waters with collector Norah Stone. (Photos: Drew Altizer)
    diary January 31, 2017

    Shadows and FOG

    BEFORE LAST WEEK’S POLITICAL STORM, one of the first art fairs to blow into 2017 was FOG Design + Art Fair in San Francisco. In theme with its atmospherically obstructive name, gale-force winds and torrential rain grounded a spate of incoming flights, among them my own. But as I touched down early the next morning, my phone perked up with tidings of prefair goings-on among local galleries. At my request, I received a pic of artist Nicole Wermers and dealer Jessica Silverman, framed by the clean red lines of a Shiro Kuramata unit whose shelves were loaded with sand in a work by Wermers included

  • Frans Krajcberg, Untitled (Bailarinas), n.d., burned wood, natural pigments. Installation view. Photo: Leo Eloy.

    the 32nd São Paulo Bienal

    INCERTEZA VIVA means “live uncertainty” in Portuguese. As the title for Jochen Volz’s São Paulo Bienal, this phrase positions the show as the latest in a series of recent, loosely like-minded international exhibitions—from Nicolas Bourriaud’s 2014 Taipei Biennial, “The Great Acceleration,” to Okwui Enwezor’s 2015 Venice Biennale, “All The World’s Futures”—that have variously engaged the topics of eschatology and the Anthropocene. Although the most significant art-historical story of the past decade is the market’s supremacy over all aspects of contemporary art, the urge to intellectualize

  • Left: Outside the Museu Arte Arquitetura Tecnologia. Right: Architect Amanda Levete and artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster. (Photos: Kevin McGarry)
    diary October 18, 2016

    Taking It to the MAAT

    AS THE ECONOMY of the European Union’s arguably mellowest nation falters there are murmurs of a “Departugal” on the horizon. Nevertheless, 2016 seems to be the year that Portugal sashayed onto the runway of contemporary art. In March, a pilot edition of the ArcoLisboa art fair took place at the Fábrica Nacional da Cordoaria in the capital’s Belém neighborhood, and last week the Museu Arte Arquitetura Tecnologia (MAAT) opened just a few meters up the Tagus river. Helmed by Portuguese curator Pedro Gadanho, who left a post at MoMA for this homecoming, the museum is housed in a pair of buildings:

  • View of “What People Do for Money,” 2016, dental office of Danielle Heller Fontana, Zurich. From left: Torbjørn Rødland, Crossed Confections, 2015–16; Torbjørn Rødland, Portrait, 2015–16.

    Manifesta 11

    I REMEMBER WANDERING DOWN Zurich’s Bahnhofstraße late at night some years ago and thinking that if this was one of the most secure streets I’d ever been on, it was also possibly the most sinister. The flagship private banks interspersed among the avenue’s luxury boutiques looked like Olympian mausoleums. They were groomed, still, and fortified, better rooted into the foundations of neoliberal society than the governments that purportedly regulated them.

    Zurich, the site of this year’s Manifesta, is something of a departure from the exhibition’s previous farther-flung host cities, whose hybridity

  • Left: DIS's David Toro, Lauren Boyle, and Solomon Chase. Right: DIS's Marco Roso. (Except where noted, all photos: Jen DeNike)
    diary June 12, 2016

    Drag Race

    STEPPING OFF MY FLIGHT from Los Angeles and into Tegel airport, my eyes serendipitously met the Aviator shades of artist-comedienne and fellow Angeleno Casey Jane Ellison. She was delighted to light a cigarette only feet from the arrivals hall. Extinguished, we got a taxi to Mitte while she explained the “Google Roast” she was in town to do, which was Not in the Berlin Biennale. That’s a proper designation for a series of acutely tangential performances and activities planned throughout Berlin this summer, which in fact are organized under the auspices of the DIS-curated ninth edition, #BB9,

  • Michael Joo, This beautiful striped wreckage (which we interrogate) . . . , 2016, video projection, mixed media, found objects. Installation view, Sailor’s Home. Photo: Miriam O’Connor.

    the EVA International

    LIMERICK’S EVA INTERNATIONAL dates back to 1977, when it began as an annual exhibition of contemporary works from Ireland and abroad. The show’s curatorial roster would eventually include such luminaries as the Italian art historian Germano Celant (in 1991), the Spanish curator Rosa Martínez (in 2000), and the Chinese curator Hou Hanru (in 2008). In 2012, EVA commenced a schedule of alternating years and rebranded itself with the subtitle “Ireland’s Biennial.” This most recent iteration, EVA’s third as a biyearly event, was curated by Koyo Kouoh, the Basel- and Dakar-based founding director of

  • Left: Artist Francesco Vezzoli and Barbara Sukowa. Right: Artist Erika Landström, Fiorucci Art Trust founder Nicoletta Fiorucci, and artist Riccardo Paratore. (All photos: Kevin McGarry)
    diary May 12, 2016

    Gold Standards

    ARRIVING IN NICE, I boarded a Tesla driven by a chauffeur who looked like a young Isabelle Huppert wearing a silk pantsuit and a five-hundred-dollar Hermès Kelly bracelet, named for Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco. This principality, the second smallest (after the Vatican) and second most densely populated (after Macau) sovereign state in the world—3/4 square mile holding forty thousand people—was our destination. After thirty minutes of whipping past palm trees lining an immaculate coast road, we finally reached a snarl of Italian sports cars, scaffoldings, and high-rises, upon which my driver

  • Digital rendering of Shawn Maximo’s installation #3 (penthouse), 2016. From the 9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art: “The Present in Drag.”

    9th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art: “The Present in Drag”

    A stated theme of the Ninth Berlin Biennale is paradox, and paradoxically, the curators—four Americans collectively called DIS—are much better known for founding an online magazine, a stock images service, and a pop-up artist store hosted by a $6.5-billion-per-annum energy drink corporation than for helming institutionally sanctioned international exhibitions. With more than forty artists, including Ei Arakawa, GCC, Isa Genzken, Camille Henrot, Josh Kline, and Hito Steyerl, we can assume that what unfolds across a menagerie of venues chosen for their “paradessence” (

  • Left: Artist Sheila Hicks and Pier Luigi Loro Piana. Right: MiArt deputy director Alessandro Rabottini with MiArt artistic director and Walker Art Center curator Vincenzo de Bellis.
    diary April 14, 2016

    Mi Oh Mi

    LANDING IN MILAN LAST WEEK for the twenty-first edition of MiArt, the city seemed lit by a new fire. Had last spring’s opening of the gilded new Fondazione Prada ignited a fresh fervor? Or had the influential galleries enlivening Italy’s financial center simply struck a golden mean between the historic and the contemporary?

    The excitement was more than evident among the crowd at Wednesday’s opening for Carsten Höller’s survey at HangarBicocca, the massive exhibition space in a former Pirelli plant on the far north side of town. I was practically swallowed up by the scores of locals queuing up to

  • Left: Martin Craciun and Este Arte director Laura Bardier. Right: Artist Leandro Erlich.
    diary January 19, 2016

    The Simple Life

    THE SUN NEVER SETS on the international art-fair circuit. In fact, in the southern hemisphere, it blazed down on the first such event of 2016: Este Arte, whose second edition opened a fortnight ago in an abandoned disco a mile or so inland from La Barra, a trendy village thirty minutes up the shore from Punta del Este. 

    Known as the Saint-Tropez of Uruguay, Buenos Aires’s Hamptons, and other glossy—I must say, accurate—blue-blooded superlatives, Punta del Este would seem to have the bare materials for sustaining a small fair: far-flung mystique, perfect weather, and, most important, a seasonal