• Stranger Than Fiction

    Agnieszka Gratza at LIAF and the 2022 Bergen Assembly

    LYING JUST NORTH of the Arctic Circle, Bodø is the gateway to the Lofoten peninsula. A regional hub, the town is gearing up for its stint as the European Capital of Culture in 2024. A two-and-a-half-hour layover at Bodø airport en route to Svolvær—the headquarters of the Lofoten International Art Festival (LIAF)—left me with enough time to take in the opening ofBodø Biennale, coinciding with LIAF’s. The airport is, after all, only a fifteen-minute walk from the city center.

    Curated by Elise Cosme Hoedemakers and Hilde Methi, who was the chief curator of LIAF’s last edition, the inaugural Bodø

    Read more
  • Open City

    Rejection and rebirth in New York

    A LOT WAS GOING ON LAST WEEK. The opening of the season sloughed off the last couple years’ tentativeness for something that verged on overcompensation. Wednesday, for example, was VIP day at the Armory Show and Independent 20th Century. Thursday saw the Wolfgang Tillmans opening at MoMA; a reception for Nan Goldin at the Swedish Consulate in honor of her exhibition at Stockholm’s Moderna Museet; various downtown gallery openings and fêtes by and for places like Company, Essex Street/Maxwell Graham, Derosia, and Housing, the last at newly designated hotspot Skinos; and a rave, loosely defined,

    Read more
  • Politics by Other Means

    On the front lines of Ukraine’s art world

    A FEW DAYS before his battlefield death, the French poet and World War I soldier Charles Péguy wrote that “Homer is new this morning, and perhaps nothing is as old as today’s newspaper.” Hidden within his immortal sentiment is a question I was confronted with over and over while attending the opening of two exhibitions, one nested inside the other, in an embattled Kyiv: How do representations of war in journalism and art compete as means to draw attention to conflict and the plight of citizens?

    “Russian War Crimes” and “When Faith Moves Mountains” opened in mid-July at the PinchukArtCentre, a

    Read more
  • Spoor de Force

    Eva Díaz at the World Perfumery Congress

    A FEW WEEKS AGO, I mentioned I’d be attending the World Perfumery Congress—WPC—to a colleague.

    How very David Foster Wallace of you, he said, teasingly.

    It’s not a cruise! And I’m taking O Chem!

    I was WPC-bound to investigate an often-implicit presupposition in the history of aesthetics and reinforced nearly every day in the “fine” arts: that the authority of visual judgment ranks above all in a hierarchy of the senses, with sound as runner-up. I was there to explore how studying a nonvisual experience such as olfaction could help explain the overvaluation of certain experiences in culture (vision

    Read more
  • Sun Worshippers

    Linda Yablonsky around Athens and Hydra

    WHAT A RUSH to arrive in Athens and find it in the throes of a cultural renaissance! What else to make of the June 16 opening of the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST), where the number of first-nighters topped five thousand? Of the new gallery district near the port of Piraeus, where Rodeo, Balice Hertling, and The Intermission were cohosting a show by Camille Blatrix, while such proudly post-crisis spaces as artist Angelo Plessas’s P.E.T. Projects are standing up for the local avant-garde?

    Then there was “Brice Marden and Antiquity” at the Museum of Cycladic Art. This compact survey of

    Read more
  • Bah Lumbung

    Kristian Vistrup Madsen at Documenta 15

    DURING THE PREVIEW DAYS, riders on the international art circuit seemed excited about Documenta 15, mostly on the grounds that it was not the Berlin Biennale (“too depressing”) or because they were relieved to no longer be paying ten francs for water at Art Basel. Having gone to neither, I remained unenthused. “But it’s fun!” people said, in reference to the “relational” food offerings, generous beanbagged chill-out zones, and never-ending jam sessions. There were even “quiet rooms” where the fatigued could go and collect themselves, though the only occupied one I saw was being used by a

    Read more
  • Reborn this Way

    Andrew Berardini at the RenBen 2022


    On a banner trailing an airplane circling the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, this message read mysteriously to all who spied it in the soporific sunset heat, including those like me coming to the Renaissance Society’s first benefit under its new director Myriam Ben Salah and orchestrated under an impresario, the grandly sly Italian artist Piero Golia.

    After too many buses and trains from the airport, I walked through the deepening dusk under rounded terracotta arches alongside the long drive leading up to the front doors of the 1909 Mediterranean Revival former

    Read more
  • Italian Job

    Laura McLean-Ferris at the reopening of the Pinacoteca Agnelli

    I WATCHED as a battered gray car sailed off the Umberto I Bridge and into the hot spring air before landing with a terrific crash in the Po river below. Last Saturday in Turin, a large American and Italian crew had closed off part of the city to film Fast X, the tenth and finale installment in the Fast and Furious series, featuring a suite of muscular A-listers including Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Charlize Theron, Cardi B, Brie Larson, and Jason Momoa, among others. These are, for readers unfamiliar, lucrative and patently idiotic movies which celebrate fuel, family, and franchise with technically

    Read more
  • Normal People

    Kristian Vistrup Madsen at Berlin Gallery Weekend

    PEACHES SERENADED HEATHCLIFF from atop a table at the Julia Stoschek Collection last Wednesday after Caique Tizzi’s “singing dinner,” where, in the name of art, I ate a raw leek and was triggered by a live rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine.” Next door at Sweetwater, Luzie Meyer read her Lacanian poetry to hundreds of Städelschule alumni, and across town at CFA, Francesca Facciola distilled all the sex and kitsch of Catholicism into a deranged painting of Jesus certain to appear in my nightmares. As for celebrities, in lieu of Kanye or Keanu, over the weekend someone somewhere spotted Wolfgang

    Read more
  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Andrew Berardini at the 59th Venice Biennale


    The traditional death notices along the passages and vaporetto stops around Venice have more faces than usual. The blue and yellow flag of Ukraine flaps in the cold breeze blowing off the lagoon. The carnival masks stare from shop windows at the face masks of those on the other side of the glass. Mingling with the throngs of holiday tourists, an art world sweeps in on boats and trains, buses and planes into the Most Serene Republic for the professional days of the fifty-ninth Biennale di Venezia after a long pandemicked wait of three years, and amid a war of aggression in

    Read more
  • Floating Feasts

    Linda Yablonsky around the 59th Venice Biennale

    WHEN IT COMES TO ART, there is no such thing as a glutton. Not in Venice, where one can never get enough, certainly not during the VIP preview of a Biennale. The current edition, the fifty-ninth, has brought such a cornucopia of material from so many parts of the world to so many places around the lagoon that one might think every appetite would be sated. Alas, no! The social deprivations of the pandemic created a hunger for the IRL company of others in numbers that Covid protocols continued to repress. As Pinault Foundation curator Caroline Bourgeois told me, “Monsieur Pinault did not feel that

    Read more
  • Sweet Dreaming

    Kate Sutton at the 59th Venice Biennale

    THERE ARE TWO KINDS OF PEOPLE in this world: those who really listen when they hold a seashell to their ear and those who don’t. Cecilia Alemani’s exhibition “The Milk of Dreams,” the main project of the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale, is for the former. Titled after a whimsical children’s book by Leonora Carrington, the show harbors a dark-kerneled exuberance, embracing sensuality, sentimentality, and spirituality to yield a surprising light, even joy.

    Alemani’s biennale was delayed due to Covid, and she clearly spent the extra time wisely. You can feel the research saturating the rooms. Of the

    Read more