T. J. Demos

  • Rosalind Nashashibi

    Known for her elegant filmic investigations into visual gestalts, voyeurism, and perceptual memory, as well as her creative engagement with cinematic history, Rosalind Nashashibi presents several of her experimental 16-mm productions from the past four years.

    Known for her elegant filmic investigations into visual gestalts, voyeurism, and perceptual memory, as well as her creative engagement with cinematic history, Rosalind Nashashibi presents several of her experimental 16-mm productions from the past four years, including Bachelor Machines Part 2 (2007), which borrows footage and dialogue from Alexander Kluge’s 1968 film Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed; and The Prisoner (2008), a nod to Chantal Akerman’s 2000 film La Captive. Co-organized by the ICA and Bergen Kunsthall, Nashashibi’s first major survey also features a

  • Modernologies

    Curator Sabine Breitwieser hopes to reveal new ways of comprehending modernism’s parallel valences, its perceived failures and unfulfilled promises.

    The dual condition of modernity—at once enlightenment project (secular democracy, social equality, and universal human rights) and catastrophe (totalitarianism, imperialism, exile, and world war)—provides a notoriously fraught heritage for our present. Assembling about one hundred works made over the past half century by thirty-one artists and collectives, from older generations (Gustav Metzger, Dan Graham, Gordon Matta-Clark) to midcareer and emerging figures (Runa Islam, Paulina Olowska, Marine Hugonnier), curator Sabine Breitwieser (along with fellow catalogue

  • Brussels Biennial 1

    “BRUSSELS BIENNIAL 1: RE-USED MODERNITY” faces a high bar: One inevitably wonders what justifies its creation now, given the surfeit, apparent exhaustion, and perceived homogeneity of such exhibitions around the world today. The Brussels Biennial must confront both the skepticism of jaded audiences and the impressive sophistication that the best of these megaexhibitions have achieved. In fact, its inaugural version is precisely about this worldliness and its history. While the exhibition gets off to an uneven start, its rutted beginning sets the stage for a broader look at the irregularity and

  • Dara Birnbaum

    With this eagerly awaited retrospective, international audiences will finally have the opportunity to consider Dara Birnbaum’s impressive development over the past thirty years.

    With this eagerly awaited retrospective, international audiences will finally have the opportunity to consider Dara Birnbaum’s impressive development over the past thirty years. SMAK’s Giel Vandecaveye here gathers approximately thirty works by the creator of the now-classic feminist appropriationist video Technology/Transformation: Wonder Woman, 1978–79, including multichannel installations, videos, posters, and other ephemera made between 1975 and 2006. Featuring essays by Johanna Burton, Diedrich Diederichsen, and Michael Newman, the exhibition’s comprehensive

  • TRAVELING IMAGES: THE ART OF HITO STEYERL

    IT IS THE SHEER VERSATILITY and multiplicity of global media—the circulatory flux of images, their supple and instantaneous distribution networks—that render the task of documentary filmmaking today more fraught than ever. Or so argues the Berlin-based Hito Steyerl in her 2007 essay “Documentary Uncertainty,” where the artist discusses how contemporary works in the genre bespeak a kind of paradox: Some rely “on authoritative truth procedures [that intensify] the aura of the court room, the penitentiary or the laboratory,” while others end in a postmodern relativism unable “to distinguish

  • T. J. Demos

    IT’S NOT WHEN WILL it happen? but Where will you be when the bubble bursts? That is the question on everyone’s lips in London. For in 2007 the city’s gravity-defying art market continued to spiral upward to vertiginous heights. Its most obvious signs: the reportedly “stronger than ever” success of the recent Frieze Art Fair; the ceiling-shattering revenues of auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s, which exuberantly if nervously have raised price guarantees for sales of contemporary art to record highs; and, not least, the unveiling of beautifully refurbished white-cube commercial galleries,

  • “Recognise”

    ON THE WEBSITE for “Recognise,” a groundbreaking exhibition of art from and about the Middle East on view in London this past summer, its title is cast in the imperative: “Challenge your preconceptions. Unpick your presumptions. Dismantle your delusions. RECOGNISE!” If this was intended as a provocative entreaty to the art world, curator Predrag Pajdic succeeded in more nuanced ways in the exhibition itself, which presented conceptually challenging art by some forty artists, almost all Middle Eastern. For although increasing attention is paid to art from this region on the international level—with

  • The 10th International Istanbul Biennial

    Dispensing with strict thematic organization, curator Hou Hanru instead seeks to exploit Turkey’s geopolitical position as a sensitive border zone between Europe and the Middle East.

    Poised to expand on the last Istanbul Biennial’s ambitious exploration of globalization, this tenth installment will stress artistic process by creating an “immense laboratory” for some one hundred Turkish and international artists, including Paul Chan, Nasan Tur, and Xu Zhen. Dispensing with strict thematic organization, curator Hou Hanru instead seeks to exploit Turkey’s geopolitical position as a sensitive border zone between Europe and the Middle East. Beyond the main exhibition venues, specially commissioned “situ-actions” (dialogues in nonhistoric urban spaces) and

  • OPENINGS: GERARD BYRNE

    “EVERYBODY’S FIRST ORGY is mind-boggling. I remember mine. Half of me was thrilled, the other half terrified. I didn’t know what the social rules were. What should I wear? How should I get out of what I wear?” So confessed radical feminist Betty Dodson during a 1973 Playboy roundtable that gathered several notorious personalities of the day, such as Screw magazine editor Al Goldstein and porn star Linda Lovelace, for a “symposium on emerging behavior patterns, from open marriage to group sex.” In thirty-eight-year-old artist Gerard Byrne’s three-channel video New Sexual Lifestyles, 2002, amateur

  • Vivienne Koorland

    House Sutra: From Cape Town to Kathmandu, 2006, presents a schematic image of a house, filled with white lines in a childlike scrawl. A repeated motif in Vivienne Koorland’s paintings, the house floats against a tar-black background, suggesting spatial insecurity and disorientation. That fragmented effect is emphasized by the canvas’s stitched-together surface, atop which are glued scintillating pieces of colored canvas, evenly distributed, evoking flowers or falling snowflakes. As a comforting image of a home built from ruins, it appears to salve an ache; but the reality of dislocation that

  • Black Audio Film Collective

    IS IT REALLY A MYSTERY why Black Audio Film Collective have had to wait nearly ten years since their dissolution for their first retrospective? Founded in London in 1982, the group operated in a context far removed from Britain’s burgeoning fascination with Turner Prizes and blockbuster YBA shows. Rather, their formation took place against the background of the country’s tumultuous 1970s: a period of postindustrial recession and increasing racial and class division during which violent unrest was both cause and consequence of policing tactics seen by urban groups—and by African-Caribbean and

  • the 2nd International Biennial of Contemporary Art of Seville

    “HOW MIGHT ART take measure of the multiple mutinies and upheavals that currently beset global society? . . . How might art become integral rather than peripheral to the widespread challenge that affects not only the production of art but its reception as well, particularly in light of the deleterious effects of reactionary, conservative and fundamentalist politics on all world social formations today?” It is with these weighty and pressing questions that curator Okwui Enwezor begins his catalogue essay introducing the second Seville Biennial, titled “The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global

  • Richard Wilson

    Entering the Barbican’s unusually shaped project space, aptly called The Curve—essentially a narrow, curved hallway—one encountered a large screen showing a projected video: In a dark, extremely cramped environment with a dangling utility light, a supine Richard Wilson disassembles his surroundings, cutting and drilling through greasy metal with electric saws and pneumatic drills. Sparks fly, accompanied by a sound track of clanks and bangs. The shakiness of the camera and the staccato editing add to the sense of disorientation.

    Behind the screen, initially hidden from view, a classic London

  • T. J. Demos

    THE EXHIBITION “OUT OF BEIRUT” opened innocently enough last spring. Organized by Modern Art Oxford curator Suzanne Cotter in collaboration with Christine Tohme, director of Ashkal Alwan, the Beirut-based arts organization, the survey promised an exciting profile of contemporary Lebanese art and another chapter in the story of its growing international reputation. The work of fifteen artists and the anonymous collective Heartland would be on view for two months, accompanied by a program of seven films and symposia featuring prominent speakers such as curator Catherine David and architect Bernard

  • OPENINGS: THE OTOLITH GROUP

    IN THE YEAR 2103, Usha Adebaran-Sagar, off-world paleoanthropologist, will imagine our conflicted present through the journal of her ancestor Anjalika Sagar, focusing in particular on entries dating from the fraught spring of 2003. Musing on the protests against the American invasion of Iraq, Anjalika writes that it is as if “the unprecedented nature” of the massive global demonstration “could through its very unlikeliness turn the inevitable into the possible”—that is, into the merely possible, as opposed to the foreordained—“long enough to alter our fate.” Rather than resignedly

  • “Super Vision”

    With nearly forty works from Chantal Akerman, Harun Farocki, Andreas Gursky, and twenty-four other international artists, the show highlights the intersections of vision, representation, and technology within various socio-political fields.

    Proceeding from the now-accepted premise that vision is historical and constructed, rather than natural, this exhibition explores changing models of optical perception in art since 1964. With nearly forty works from Chantal Akerman, Harun Farocki, Andreas Gursky, and twenty-four other international artists, the show highlights the intersections of vision, representation, and technology within various socio-political fields. Inaugurating the ICA’s eagerly awaited designer building by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the exhibition considers the psychic effects of and motivations

  • “The Studio”

    Work by sixteen artists will focus on this space of creative production (with Andrew Grassie using the museum as a workplace during the show), offering insights into the changing meaning of the studio over the past forty years—fittingly at an institution that preserves Francis Bacon’s own.

    Interfacing with the computer’s virtual platform and its postproduction procedures and migrating into the social laboratory of relational aesthetics, the contemporary artist’s studio is only the most recent variation in a long and ongoing process of evolution. The Hugh Lane seeks to excavate the studio’s historical variables, mythical associations, and paradigm-shifting benchmarks, including its industrialization by Andy Warhol’s Factory, the uncoding of its gendered signification by Martha Rosler, and its transformation into a set for disposable

  • Bienal Internacional de Arte Contemporáneo de Sevilla 2

    Organized at various venues under the banner “The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global Society,” the second installment of Seville’s biennial (to be joined by a film festival and “cultural biennial” of critical discourse) ambitiously intends to tackle questions of how art can actively engage the social and political conflicts of the day.

    Organized at various venues under the banner “The Unhomely: Phantom Scenes in Global Society,” the second installment of Seville’s biennial (to be joined by a film festival and “cultural biennial” of critical discourse) ambitiously intends to tackle questions of how art can actively engage the social and political conflicts of the day. Posed against the ever-accelerating commodification of the art market and in opposition to fundamentalist politics, the show promises to work within a “problem-space”—quoting anthropologist David Scott—of argument and intervention. There,

  • Charles Ray

    Exploiting Charles Ray’s sailing experience as a metaphor for his art may seem bizarre, but that’s how this show’s curators have chosen to chart the Los Angeles–based artist’s path between 1971 and 2006.

    Exploiting Charles Ray’s sailing experience as a metaphor for his art may seem bizarre, but that’s how this show’s curators have chosen to chart the Los Angeles–based artist’s path between 1971 and 2006. Apparently the mastery of gravity, weight, and balance is required both for practicing art and for navigating the seas. The exhibition highlights related themes such as the transience of life and the enigma of being through twelve sculptures and photographs, including Plank Piece I–II, 1973, in which the artist famously pinned his

  • Walid Raad/The Atlas Group

    We Can Make Rain But No One Came to Ask, 2005, a fifteen-minute-long DVD, is fully situated within documentary’s framework of truthfulness, the subtle and often humorous deconstruction of which is the by now well-known art of Walid Raad. Preceding the video is wall text, laden with signs of authority, explaining the piece’s provenance as a “possible collaboration” between Yussef Bitar, “the Lebanese state’s leading ammunitions expert and chief investigator of all car bomb detonations,” and Georges Semerdjian, “a respected and fearless photojournalist and videographer who, until his violent death