Marek Bartelik

  • Gülsün Karamustafa

    Gülsün Karamustafa is a chronicler of Istanbul, a crossroads between continents whose multiple—and often conflicting—heritages are visibly and spectacularly piled on one another. For over thirty years, this “Queen Mother of the Istanbul art scene” (in critic and curator Erden Kosova’s words) has been examining her nation’s shifting identity, asking what constitutes its essence and questioning the way it has been perceived and represented by others.

    In her new installation, Galata–Genoa (Excavating small windows), 2004, curated by Teresa Macri, Karamustafa turned her attention to the distant

  • Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings

    Under Communist rule the Polish government encouraged amateur filmmaking as a leisure activity for workers, though these nonprofessionals were, naturally, viewed with skepticism by their professional brethren, who labored under the watchful eye of the government censor and were hardly eager to share their few privileges. Nonetheless, as London-based artists Marysia Lewandowska and Neil Cummings demonstrated in this exhibition, amateur filmmakers in Communist Poland produced an amazing array of 16 mm films that range from witty, short animations and documentaries to engaging mini-epics—along

  • Mira Schendel

    Because of her use of simplified geometric forms to evoke poetic feelings and sensuality, the Brazilian artist Mira Schendel (1919–88; born Myrrha Dagmar Dub in Switzerland) has often been linked to the Neo-concrete art developed in Brazil as an offspring of and reaction to international Constructivism, placing her on an equal footing with such pioneers as Lygia Clark, Hélio Oiticica, and Lygia Pape. With remarkable consistency, Schendel strove to reach a point where her works verged on sameness without being arid or repetitive. As she once stated in a letter to a critic, she was interested in

  • “Carne Viva”

    There are instances when life manages to imitate art without recycling clichés, and this exhibition was a fine example. Last August, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its report on the tragic results of two decades of political violence in Peru, which, it is now known, claimed twice as many lives than the original highest estimate. “Carne viva: Partes de guerra 1980–2003” (Raw Flesh: Fragments of War 1980–2003), which opened before the report was published, provided artistic evidence for this violence by showing work with overt and covert political content by fourteen

  • Anna Bella Geiger

    This exhibition, “Obras em Arquipélago” (Works in Archipelago), addressed how the language of maps and cosmological charts with which Anna Bella Geiger has been preoccupied since the ’60s could be extended to the “geography” of the human body. The artist has called that confluence “anthropomorphic cartography.” Juxtaposed with “camouflage” prints from the ’70s and paintings from the ’80s and ’90s loosely inspired by Mondrian’s “Pier and Ocean” series, 1914–15, was the recent “Fronteiriços” (Borderlines), 1995–, a series that takes the form of a sort of fantastic archive. Setting the tone for

  • Bhupen Khakhar

    Indian artist and writer Bhupen Khakhar’s career began in the ’60s, but some of his works might seem to be from an earlier time. An oil on canvas titled Royal Circus, 1974, looks like something Henri Rousseau, that classic “primitivist” of Western art, could have painted nearly a century ago. In Khakhar’s painting, a man accompanied by an odd-looking animal of enormous proportions plays a strap-on keyboard. He appears to sing as the beast stares at us with its tongue hanging out of its mouth. Neither funny nor sad, the two companions stand in the middle of a round arena; no audience is seen.

  • Cai Guo-Qiang

    In his art Cai Guo-Qiang creates a system of poetic analogies by mixing ancient and modern while injecting social commentary and, occasionally, art-historical references. In Dream, 2002, he spread an enormous piece of diaphanous red silk on the floor and deployed four industrial fans to blow air underneath the cloth and set it in motion. The ceiling was festooned with red lanterns evocative of funerary paper forms from Quanzhou (the city in Fujian province where Cai was born), traditionally used in ritualistic cremations to guarantee smooth passage of the deceased to the afterlife. These typically

  • Izabella Gustowska

    Since the ’70s, Izabella Gustowska has played a leading role in the conceptually inclined Polish art concerned with the body and the feminist critique of representation. Comprising eight multimedia installations (she calls them “self-operating audio-visual objects”) from 1998-2001, her recent exhibition “Passions and Other Cases” blurred the boundaries between visible and invisible, solid and fragile, opaque and transparent, sensual and sexual. With video projections displayed orispecifically fabricated objects, with video monitors incorporated into elaborate constructions. several of them

  • “Paris Stopover”

    Paris pour escale” (Paris stopover) was presented as a companion to “L’École de Paris, 1904–1929, la part de l’autre” (The School of Paris, 1904-1929, the role of the other), a survey of foreign-born artists active in Paris in the early decades of the twentieth century. Reflecting the current obsession with the globalization of contemporary culture and arts, “The School of Paris” presented its artists as assimilated (although not without difficulties) outsiders who enriched French-read universal culture during the renowned années folles. Both exhibitions emphasized that Paris has been a magnet

  • Jan Zakrzewski

    FOLLOWING JAN ZAKRZEWSKI'S recent return to Poland after nearly twenty years abroad, this retrospective, titled “Punkty odniesienia” (Points of reference), reexamined the artist's career, attempting to show the consistency in his development over the last thirty years. Zakrzewski is known both in Europe and the United States for his lyrical paintings and drawings that fuse geometry with expressive gesture while engaging snippets of memory as sources of imagery for his evocative art. With more than forty large paintings and drawings the show demonstrated that, as much as Zakrzewski has departed

  • Tadeusz Kantor

    Tadeusz Kantor always insisted that he was uninterested in inventing new forms of expression. “Everything I do,” he claimed in an interview, “I do from known elements, from known reality, from real objects, saturated with certain conventions [and] essences.” The artist’s role, he thought, was not to invent but to question and destroy conventions and systems. To bring art into life, the artist should challenge established values, regardless of their aesthetic prominence or political cast.

    A seminar figure in twentieth-century Polish art, Kantor (1915–90) was always controversial. His admirers saw