Mark Sladen

  • Left: Georg Quander, head of the cultural department of Cologne, with Museum Ludwig founder Irene Ludwig, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts president Joel Wachs, and curator Frank Wagner. Right: Museum Ludwig director Kaspar König.
    diary August 23, 2006

    Summer Camp


    I traveled to Cologne for the opening of “The Eighth Square,” the big show—over eighty artists—now spreading its skirts at the Museum Ludwig. The exhibition, curated by Berlin-based freelancer Frank Wagner along with the Ludwig’s own Julia Friedrich and director Kasper König, looks at “gender, life and desire” in art since the '60s, and takes its title from the chess move that turns a pawn into a queen. Wagner has curated numerous exhibitions in this territory before, stretching back to late-'80s examinations of art and AIDS, so I was keen to see whether this exhibition would update the discussion.

  • Left: The writer and friends face Helsinki winter on the way to ARS 06. Right: Roi Vaara performs his Golden Handshake, 2006. (Photo: Sanna Ikäläinen/Central Art Archives)
    diary January 26, 2006

    Freeze Fair


    Touching down in Helsinki at midnight the captain smugly told us that the outside temperature was minus twenty-two degrees. Is that Centigrade or Fahrenheit, I mused wanly, as I toyed with my last packet of rice crackers. The primary reason for my trip was to attend the opening of ARS, Finland’s mega-exhibition of international art, which is staged every five years at Kiasma, Helsinki’s energetic contemporary arts center. However, I am currently cocurating another art festival in the region—Momentum, held every two years in Norway—and therefore had a few appointments lined up prior to

  • Tue Greenfort, Social Organism, 2001. Installation views, Technical University, Istanbul.

    Tue Greenfort

    LATE AT NIGHT, in an industrial wasteland on the edge of town, a camera is rigged with a trip wire attached to a sausage. Unsuspecting foxes, lured to the site by the smell of the tasty wurst, snag the bait and trigger the camera. The creatures, caught in the camera’s flash, look a little surprised in the resulting photographs. But clearly the foxes are not to be underestimated, as by the end of a week they have learned to take the sausage without being caught on film.

    A group of eight images titled Daimlerstraße 38, these autoportraits were instigated in 2001 by Danish artist Tue Greenfort while

  •  Left: Boarding the Air Iceland plane. Middle: Ragnar Kjartansson. Right: Visitors attempt to orient themselves.
    diary May 19, 2005

    Iceland Hopping


    Ever fancied having a Lawrence Weiner tattooed on your bottom? The young Roman artist Micol Assaël has done just that, and it reads “sink or swim / your ass gets wet / there is no excuse.” I know this because both Assaël and Weiner were in Iceland for the opening of the Reykjavík Arts Festival and she asked him to authenticate the work—which he duly did with a kiss. This marriage of trendy young artist and gray-bearded conceptualist reflects the festival as a whole, which contains a major exhibition of the late Swiss-German artist Dieter Roth and, complementing it, an extensive program of