COLUMNS

  • Island Cure

    UP TILL NOW, Menorca has kept a relaxed profile compared to its Balearic sisters: Majorca, which has long managed to be both aristocratic and touristy, and Ibiza, mecca of die-hard partygoers and a somehow dubious and certainly ostentatious jet-set syndicate. Menorca’s natural heritage remains intact (not a highway to be found), attracting a particular breed of enlightened cosmopolitans not often seen in re-afters (that truly great Ibizan contribution to contemporary culture). Think Hockney rather than Guetta or Beckham when someone nonchalantly mentions having just seen David.

    Hauser & Wirth

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  • Starry Nights

    SHE WANTED IT to be a lighthouse for the Mediterranean and an archipelago of activities. Maja Hoffmann, the Swiss pharmaceutical heiress and art patron, achieved as much with the Luma Foundation’s Parc des Ateliers in Arles, which after thirteen years of development and construction was unveiled to the public at the end of June. For many of us, this was the first major opening after lockdown, with nearly everybody fully vaccinated and ready to start the season in the south of France.

    I arrived the day before the press opening and headed first to “Laura Owens & Vincent van Gogh,” cocurated by Bice

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  • Stolen Moments

    IN ONLY A MATTER OF YEARS, decolonization has leapt from the radical imagination, to the seminar room, to the personalized mugs and bumper stickers of Etsy. An unruly cousin of the placated “postcolonial,” decolonization has temporarily displaced the Anthropocene as the discerning institution’s lost cause of choice, launching a thousand Zoom panels in the process, but rarely does it actually breach the inner sancta of the art institution (i.e., the collections and the boards).

    There are glimmers of hope, though. While France has led the charge on repatriation for a few years now, in April, Germany

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  • Montauk Cowboy

    “I WAS LAYING STONE this morning with the guys, so it’s been a dogfight,” Max Levai said on Saturday afternoon in Montauk at the debut of The Ranch, his next act following some ugly business and back-and-forth litigiousness that saw him and Levai père Pierre part ways with Marlborough Gallery. Anyway, all that seemed to be in the past, or under gag order. The oysters were on ice and the mignonette was glistening. Levai picked up the property last summer and had been renovating until about an hour before guests arrived. Save for some exposed wiring, it was mostly ready. “It was, as you know, a

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  • Greek Revival

    THE MAD FLURRY of art openings in the wake of Greece’s six-month lockdown began with a showdown: an exhibition of sculptures by Blind Adam (Thanos Kyriakidis) in the catacombs of the Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Trinity was shut down at the last minute by the head priest, Father Synesius Victoratos. “I do not know much about art, but all the works are black and look like pagan talismans,” he reasoned. “We apologize for the inconvenience, but our patrons are conservative.” Funded by the NEON Organization, the show, titled “The End. After Before,” had already wended through a rigorous

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  • Open Season

    THE HARDEST PART of the first-ever London Gallery Weekend wasn’t attempting to visit the 130 official galleries, plus dozens of unlisted events, in a city about twice the area of Berlin or New York. The real challenge was recognizing people you’d not seen in a year only from their eyes, peering above face masks. Resocializing after a year spent cocooned in one’s tiny domestic bubble—relearning to chat with humans unable to finish your every sentence, for example—proved a newfound struggle. And is it safe to hug hello? Or must we perform that weird elbow rub, with its masonic secret-handshake

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  • Lagoon Squad

    STEPPING OUT OF A GLOBAL RAINY LOCKDOWN and straight into a sunny Architecture Biennale in Venice is no small feat: not for the locals, who are by now used to having the city to themselves; and not for the pro travelers who discover a land of 11 p.m. curfews, zero buffet lunches, and carefully slotted museum previews, where spritz is flowing but Italians have stopped hugging and kissing. The first few minutes inside any exhibition (or aperitivo) today feel like a miracle and a relief: The Biennale is actually happening! We are here again! Three air hugs (or drinks) later, a sense of bewilderment

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  • Yard Sale

    FRIEZE’S LITTLE CARNIVAL SNUCK UP ON US, much like Andrew Yang’s mayoral campaign. Fellow New Yorkers, I implore you, do not space on the primary election (June 22), and do not vote for this jovial empty suit. Perhaps his support for the recent Israeli violence in Palestine will have gotten your attention? The motherfucker will trade affordable housing for the Olympics or an Iron Dome. It will just be Bloomberg 2.0, which resulted in criminal offenses like Hudson Yards.

    Hudson Yards, coincidentally, was the site of this year’s Frieze art fair, which abandoned Randall’s Island for the first time

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  • Computer Love

    ON A WEDNESDAY NIGHT, during Berlin Gallery Weekend’s mostly digitized preview days, Hannes Schmidt of Schiefe Zähne and I were about thirtieth in the queue for chili cheese fries, which we were to bring back to the gallery where Richard Sides was putting finishing touches on “The Matrix,” an exhibition he made about being immersed in a technological world of uncertain boundaries. The show includes a crude cardboard homage to Spot, a robot dog offered by Boston Dynamics to the tune of $75,000. Killing time during the long wait for provisions—facing a 10 p.m. curfew, most of the nearby restaurants

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  • Lightning Strikes

    I COUNT EIGHT NYPD SQUAD CARS in front of the Time Warner Center and another van by the Trump Hotel. It's April 30, and two concentric circles of metal barricades lashed together with zip ties—erected during last summer’s rebellion and removed this past March—are back, surrounding the Columbus Monument. I’m half an hour early and the sky looks ready to open up into what my phone assures me will be a brief, light squall. I huddle outside a temporarily shuttered Maison Keyser to keep dry and skim the Strike MoMA Framework and Terms for Struggle, on the lookout for others attending the group’s

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  • Meet Me Halfway

    “YOU FEEL GEOLOGIC TIME IN SHARJAH,” Eungie Joo said at the March Meeting 2021, the annual three-day convening of globe-trotting art professionals hosted by the Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF) in the United Arab Emirates. This year’s program, “Unravelling the Present,” was staged as a ten-day series of virtual roundtable discussions and solo presentations as part of a thirtieth-anniversary reflection on the Sharjah Biennial. In her presentation, Joo, who curated the biennial’s twelfth edition in 2015, spoke of seeing seashells in the desert during an on-site research trip in Sharjah and realizing

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  • Cool Intentions

    LAST SEPTEMBER, when Artnet published a sweeping account of the dramatic ascent of Amoako Boafo, whose fingerpainted portraits of Black people had apparently cast a spell over the market, it read like the script of a Hollywood blockbuster. Replete with eye-popping prices, secret deals, greedy collectors and curators, and a ballsy move by Boafo himself to seize control of his own work, the profile laid bare the inner workings of a rapacious art market. It also sharply framed the increasing international hunger for contemporary African portraiture and the surge of pressure it creates for the

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