COLUMNS

  • Regional Affairs

    YINCHUAN IS IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, even though the city claims itself to be the “center” of China. The Museum of Contemporary Art Yinchuan is also in the middle of nowhere; the meadow and man-made ponds outside its postmodern architecture bring to mind Iowa, the Netherlands, and Hokkaido. But inside, the second Yinchuan Biennale offers up images from everywhere else: South Africa, Dongting Lake in China’s Hunan Province, the Kachin Hills in Burma, the Karakum Desert in Turkmenistan, Chitwan in Nepal, Mexico City—the list goes on. The biennale’s invited curators and artists from across the

    Read more
  • Crossing the Line

    IT IS NO EXAGGERATION to say that throughout the past month, the eyes of the entire wide-awake world have been on the Korean peninsula, with history being made on a near-daily basis. Even the German capital—home to an increasingly sizable Korean expat community and a host to both North and South Korea’s embassies, positioned within walking distance of each other—has not been immune to these moves. Whispers regarding the ambassadors of said embassies suggest that pleasantries were exchanged during a chance social gathering that took place around the time of the first summit between Kim Jong Un

    Read more
  • Georgia on My Mind

    TUCKED BETWEEN the assorted empires of Russia, Iran, and Turkey, Georgia has somehow managed to avoid the melting-pot mentality of other crossroad cultures. As mounting travel bans slowly shutter other ports in the region, the country’s distinctive capital, Tbilisi, has shot to the top of tourism lists as “the new Istanbul,” among a cavalcade of other shiny “new” epithets. But Tbilisi isn’t new. It was once an obligatory stop on the Grand Tours of the Russian and later Soviet empires, earning admiration for the depths of its cultural wells, from its unparalleled gastronomic and viticultural

    Read more
  • Summit in Senegal

    THE RAP ON SOME BIENNIALS is that they don’t engage enough with the city that hosts them. There was no such problem at Dak’Art 2018, the thirteenth edition of Africa’s oldest and most prominent biennial. Jam-packed into one month—May 3rd to June 2nd—the thing was gargantuan, spreading across Senegal’s capital and beyond. Dakar’s old downtown, with its mix of colonial and postindependence buildings, was home to the main exhibition, organized by the Cameroonian scholar Simon Njami, who also directed the 2016 edition. Five exhibitions by guest curators, plus several country-focused shows (Egypt,

    Read more
  • From Bratwurst to Bulgari

    THEY SAY YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL. When it came to the fourteenth edition of Gallery Weekend Berlin and the second iteration of ArtMonte-Carlo—both of which opened on April 27 and ran until April 29—I did as much as I could. The organizers of the latter attempted a collaboration, ferrying collectors between the two sites via private jet and helicopter—not very Berlin, but very Monte Carlo. The idea was to coax the most coveted collectors from Monaco’s principality to Germany’s capital and vice versa. Not a bad idea given Berlin’s desire to entice the international elite.

    The New York Times hosted the

    Read more
  • She Brakes for Rainbows

    IT’S HARD FOR ME to feel at home at most “gala season” events. For starters, I can’t hold my alcohol. I also start to feel a serious disconnect between my roots—as the Jersey-born offspring of a family of public school teachers—and the way certain sectors of the art world court the one percent. Not to mention the fact that soigné events almost never take place in my neighborhood.

    But Wide Rainbow’s first annual gala on May 14 was the exception to the rule. The nonprofit organization, founded three years ago by Ashley Gail Harris, is a DIY female-empowerment engine providing free after-school arts

    Read more
  • Bad Madeleines

    IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (primary school to this Brit), when candy was currency, anyone who showed up with some new or unusual confection ruled the roost—at least until the prize was shared, stickily, among a dozen instant mates or wolfed down defensively by its owner. So it was particularly impressive when a classmate arrived one Monday morning with three never-before-seen treats. The brands were familiar, but the bars themselves were prototypes—experimental trial runs for yet-to-be-released products. To our sugar-addled minds, they were gold. The source of the bounty? A parent’s visit to a food

    Read more
  • Pretty Paper

    A COOL BREEZE carried the thick aroma of brick-fired pizza and the tunes of DJ Maxwell Sterling over tank-topped and shorted Angelenos as they shifted from booth to booth, tucking books into bright yellow totes under the setting sun. Here was the Acid-Free Los Angeles Art Book Market—as chill and cozy as a backyard BBQ—spread across a parking lot and two floors of Blum & Poe, the capacious commercial gallery hosting the inaugural edition, which opened May 4 and ran until May 6. With the tragic death of its organizer Shannon Michael Cane, Printed Matter postponed the 2018 edition of its wildly

    Read more
  • Some Like It Hot

    I OFTEN LAMENT how disparate visual art and music coverage can feel, save in pop-culture magazines, where the restrictive new-release plug rules, so it was an authentic pleasure to experience a four-day Coachella Valley arts journalism tour linking multiple cross-disciplinary events in this stark, gorgeous desert. With the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival as the intended centrifugal force, other excursions enlightened those wishing to visit this sand-duned, palm-treed, swimming-pooled, nine-city basin anytime of year, particularly when an extended winter tests one’s patience. Sun worship

    Read more
  • Wouldn’t You Love to Love Her?

    TRUE CONFESSION: I’ve never been a Stevie Nicks fanatic, even though I adore some of the songs she recorded as a member of the iconic rock band Fleetwood Mac. It’s been years since I’ve felt the need to attend “Night of 1,000 Stevies,” the annual NYC love fest for her devoted fan following. The last time I went was when it was at the nightclub known as Mother, located in Manhattan’s then-desolate Meatpacking District. My memories are vague (and I’m showing my age)—Mother closed in 2000 and NOTS just celebrated its twenty-eighth anniversary.

    But I rejoined the fray on May 4, at the old-fashioned

    Read more
  • The Empathy Exam

    “IT’S SO EASY TO LAUGH, it’s so easy to hate. It takes guts to be gentle and kind.” These lyrics from my earnest misspent youth dogged me the night of May 2 as I listened to a conversation between the New York Public Library’s leading interlocutor, Paul Holdengräber, and author George Saunders, whose batty 2017 novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, recently won the Man Booker Prize. The refrain bothered me: Morrissey had once been a hero of mine but is now just a walking alt-right-wing meme. The hypocrisy enraged me, though I thought I shouldn’t care.

    The idea of brave compassion, and the doubtful questions

    Read more
  • Oh Milano!

    ART FAIRS MIGHT BE A BIT like that moment before death, when your entire life flashes before your eyes. During a span of only days, everyone seems to bump into everyone they’ve ever known since, well, forever. Certainly, this was the case at the Milan Art Fair, or MiArt, which opened on April 13 and ran through April 15. Despite the bad weather, I was out and about on a Monday, several days before the fair’s official opening, to honor the artist Jimmie Durham. He is a beloved presence at the Fondazione Adolfo Pini, a refurbished nineteenth-century apartment building, where his current exhibition,

    Read more