Nuit Banai

  • École(S) de Nice

    IN 1961, Yves Klein, one of Nice’s most famous sons, heralded the coastal metropolis’s significance in a global art landscape. Delivering a prescient conjecture about our present moment, the artist who had notoriously “signed” the azure sky of Nice as his first artwork announced: “I see a new art axis: Nice–Los Angeles–Tokyo; we will be joined by China.”

    More than fifty years after this pronouncement, and only a year and a half after the Bastille Day terrorist attack on the city’s iconic Promenade des Anglais, Klein’s hometown staged an ambitious series of exhibitions across four separate venues,

  • Judith Hopf

    Judith Hopf is the first to note that her art emerges from a particular historical constellation: Nurtured in the Berlin scene of the early 1990s, she is invested in an expanded field of “post-painting” practices, collective production, and social engagement, which she infuses with a blend of comedy and critique. It is no accident that her brick and laptop sculptures, prime examples of such idiosyncratic combinations, will be central to the KW exhibition. This former margarine factory in the Mitte district became the city’s pioneering institution of

  • “Arieh Sharon: The State’s Architect”

    Born in Poland in 1900 as Ludwig Kurzmann, Arieh Sharon immigrated to Palestine in his teens, and then moved to Germany to study architecture at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926. After working in the Berlin office of Hannes Meyer, Sharon went on to design more than six hundred projects before his death in 1984. Appointed by David Ben-Gurion to head the Department of Planning in 1948, the architect spearheaded the “Physical Plan for Israel,” commonly known as the Sharon Plan, which assimilated the thousands of Jewish immigrants arriving in the Middle East and contributed to

  • “Kader Attia: The field of emotion”

    For more than two decades, French-Algerian artist Kader Attia has used different media—including sculpture, installation, photography, and video—to develop the concept of repair as an “endless process of intellectual, cultural, and political adjustments.” At the crux of Attia’s investigation is the strategy of reappropriation, a tactic illuminated in a wide constellation of historical references, such as the writings of Frantz Fanon. Attia’s far-reaching, intersectional practice transverses historical and cultural axes, pointing to the

  • BORDER AS FORM

    INAUGURATED BY ARNOLD BODE in 1955 in the bombed-out ruins of Kassel, a formerly industrial city that ended up on the eastern fringes of what had newly become West Germany, Documenta was famously intended to heal the wounds of recent European history by affirming the continuity of (Western) modernism. At the core of this civilizing mission was abstraction, whose formal language became a symbol of individualism and artistic freedom, and a means to differentiate West from East in the early years of the Cold War. Kassel thus became the stage for the construction of the contemporary in relation to

  • Sharon Ya’ari

    In the exhibition “Officers’ Pool,” Sharon Ya’ari continued his long-standing consideration of photography’s double capacity to function as both a documentary mechanism and an intervention in reality. Building on this paradoxical multivalence, the show investigated the complex relationship between image production and nation building by juxtaposing two distinct bodies of work featuring landscapes of Israel from different historical periods and geographical locations.

    In the main space, the artist exhibited a series of photographs that originated as slides taken by anonymous amateur photographers,

  • Yto Barrada

    Yto Barrada’s video Faux départ (False Start), 2015—an investigation of the artisanal production of fake fossils—served as something like an establishing shot for her recent exhibition “The Sample Book.” The film follows the exacting methods used to fabricate historical specimens in a location somewhere “between the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara desert,” and considers why specific modes of labor have cropped up to meet the needs of particular capitalist markets. Though we do not witness a single transaction—the camera is closely focused on the physical strain and remarkable skill

  • “Conditions of Political Choreography”

    Mining the current intensification of nationalism in Germany and Israel, this collaboration between Tel Aviv’s CCA and the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein explores the political and formal limits of belonging, artistic disciplines, and imposed structures through performative interventions. Each iteration of this show will include an arena (built by architect Markus Miessen for the CCA and by artist Ohad Meromi for the NBK) delineating the spatial parameters in which a multigenerational cast of artists, theorists, dancers, and

  • “Ragnar Kjartansson: Architecture and Morality”

    For this solo exhibition, Ragnar Kjartansson will take up plein air painting, producing one work each day as he did at the 2009 Venice Biennale. Depicting Israeli homes in the West Bank, Kjartansson inserts a methodology inscribed with nineteenth-century European male privilege into the context of the contemporary Middle East. His intervention raises the question of whether a historic practice that entangles landscape and subjectivity might help clarify a political situation in which the pictured territory is the contested site of national identification for both Israelis

  • Anna Jermolaewa

    Is it possible to preserve the collective memories of Communism in Russia after its transition to turbocapitalism? And what about in a conflict-ridden Ukraine caught between allegiances to East and West? While Anna Jermolaewa is not alone in posing such questions about the former Soviet Union and its satellite states, her most compelling work brings to the fore the role that monuments—both heroic and commonplace—play in constructing and safeguarding a sociohistorical and cultural public sphere that has been rapidly disappearing since the 1990s.

    Jermolaewa’s recent installation Leninopad

  • Natalia Załuska

    Some populist North American critics have used the moniker “zombie formalism” to describe recent abstract painting. This begs the question: Does that venerable modernist mode still have critical potential in a moment of extreme financialization of art production? Natalia Załuska’s response is an attempt to reclaim abstraction’s historical mandate as a material intervention into collectively organized perceptual processes and techniques. The works in her recent exhibition, all Untitled, 2015, are constructed from pieces of cardboard of various thickness and dimensions affixed to canvases or

  • Carola Dertnig

    In Vienna, the ghost of Actionism appears at regular intervals—whether in the form of pride in this homegrown avant-garde or disdain for its phallocentric ways. The iconic films and photographs of bodily aggressions and transgressions—both real and fictive—that defined this movement are vividly inscribed into the collective artistic unconscious in a country still contending with its wartime complicity with National Socialism and its deeply entrenched patriarchal structures. Carola Dertnig’s recent exhibition “. . . at least I did not rob a bank . . .” tried to move away from this

  • Wilfredo Prieto and Ariel Schlesinger

    Wilfredo Prieto and Ariel Schlesinger’s double billing of new sculptures and installations marked a fascinating development in the articulation of Conceptual art. Reframing the conversation surrounding the so-called dematerialization of the art object within contemporary debates on labor, the exhibition “Hiding Wood in Trees” presented works by two artists of the same generation, showing together for the first time, who strategically harness humor to decontextualize common objects or estrange an audience’s perceptions of quotidian acts.

    Ascension (all works 2014) was the first work to greet the

  • Cosima von Bonin

    Was there a critical entry point into Cosima von Bonin’s reference-laden retrospective, or have we reached a historical condition in which the “handmade readymade”—a couture item especially manufactured for the museological context that also refers to the stream of mass-produced commodities—is all we have at our disposal? The exhibition’s title, “Hippies Use the Side Door. The Year 2014 Has Lost the Plot,” offered a heavy-handed hint. Since, for a time, only the side doors to the museum were open, anyone who accessed the building during this period was automatically branded a

  • Suara Welitoff

    Since the visual devices in Suara Welitoff’s photographs and video—subtle shades of gray and muddled focal points—are often employed to signal nostalgia, the artist’s recent exhibition “Sometimes Time Trembles” can all too hastily be reduced to an “elegy” for time passed. And while the dreaminess of Welitoff’s images may inspire a meditation on the elusiveness of duration, we should be wary of pigeonholing them as operating in the register of melancholy. Instead, imbricating incompatible data systems that code, capture, and transmit tenuous sensory experience, her images reveal points

  • Carlos Jiménez Cahua

    In his witty Boston solo debut, Carlos Jiménez Cahua added a new twist to a long-standing philosophical quandary: Can art capture and communicate sensations, images, and systems that are normally imperceptible? That the artist answered in the affirmative is perhaps less remarkable than the way in which his compendium of simple gestures was wedded to some of the building blocks of globalization to produce surprising visual effects.

    Identified by the gallery as a digital video, Untitled #102 (all works cited, 2013) might be better described as a three-and-a-half-hour durational performance by a

  • “and Materials and Money and Crisis”

    As T. J. Clark and other Marxist critics have argued, the thorny entwinement of modernity and aesthetic praxis has, since the late-nineteenth century, preoccupied some of history’s most inventive artists and intellectuals as they have sought ways to engage this nexus through their given craft. Particularly urgent for curator Richard Birkett, who together with artist Sam Lewitt conceived of this show, was the dematerialization of the art object beyond the physical specificity of its medium in an era characterized by intensified economic abstraction and a growing separation between capital and

  • Marrakech Biennale 5: “Where are We Now?”

    Like many biennials today, the fifth installment of Marrakech’s bid aims to upend the political and artistic hierarchies of center and periphery and redefine relations between local and global. To assert the thousand-year-old city’s cultural import as a contemporary hub—rather than a hippie mecca of the 1960s and ’70s—the curators have invited thirty-two artists from sixteen different countries to produce (in five disciplines) commissioned and site-specific pieces that respond to the titular

  • “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World”

    In the current sociopolitical climate, it is difficult to address aesthetic production emerging from the Arab world without incurring an often polarized response of benediction or ire. Formerly neglected and emerging voices from the region are now circulating in the international art market thanks to both a surge of private galleries, art fairs, biennials, and museums opening in the Middle East and a swell of interest in the West, as evidenced by exhibitions (albeit problematically titled ones) such as “Unveiled: New Art from the Middle East” at Saatchi Gallery in 2009; “Light from the Middle

  • Barry McGee

    His myth looms large: Barry McGee, tag name “Twist,” San Francisco–based art-school graduate, graffiti artist, and vital player in the emergence of the Mission School aesthetic. Following its breathless tributes to Shepard Fairey in 2009 and Os Gemeos in 2012, the ICA Boston is hosting McGee’s traveling survey, which originated at the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, where it was organized by Lawrence Rinder and Dena Beard. While the show offers a tempting occasion to rehearse the problematics of populist curatorial programming, those critical arguments