Nuit Banai

  • Video study for Yael Bartana’s forthcoming installation Tashlikh (Cast off). From “Conditions of Political Choreography.”

    “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, Song, 2011, video, color, sound, 360 minutes.

    “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

  • View of “Anna Jermolaewa,” 2016. Foreground: Leninopad, 2015–16. Background: Five Year Plan, 1996–. Photo: Stefan Lux.

    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, Untitled, 2015, mixed media on canvas, 11 3/4 × 9 1/2".

    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, . . VANILLA FUDGE . . , 2015, photo on primed canvas, 57 × 55".

    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, Safe Box, 2014, mixed media, 29 1/2 × 20 1/2 × 28 3/4".

    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, DER ITALIENER (THE ITALIAN), 2014, Styrofoam, fiberglass, laminate, galvanized steel, lacquer. Installation view.

    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, Untitled, 2013, ink-jet print, 40 x 30".

    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, Untitled #104, 2013, ink-jet print, steamer, water, 81 x 32 1/4 x 16 1/2".

    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

  • Pratchaya Phinthong, Give More Than You Take, 2010–13, mixed media, dimensions variable. From “and Materials and Money and Crisis.”

    “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

  • Newsha Tavakolian, Ghazal Shakari, 2010, C-print, 23 5/8 x 31 1/2". From the series “Listen,” 2010. From “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World.”

    “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