COLUMNS

  • Welcome to (ようこそ) the Jungle

    “THERE WERE SIGNS.” A small Totoro charm hanging off a mini Fjallraven just so, spotted on the Q train; the Shoto Aizawa from My Hero Academia button on a backpack moving along Thirty-Fourth Street. Clearly something was afoot.

    ’Twas an anime convention, dear reader, the inaugural edition of a gathering of weebs in New York: AnimeNYC. Held for three days last weekend at Hillary Clinton’s Waterloo (though most around these parts just call it the Javits Center), it marked a terrific opportunity for Midtown councilman Ben Kallos (D) to hail the money and tax dollars that this fan base would bring

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  • This Is Not a Test

    THE FIFTEENTH ANNIVERSARY of High Desert Test Sites in Joshua Tree, California, brought a rare mix of nostalgia and joy. The peripatetic events and venues organized annually in and around our small, sunny town, nestled in a Seussian forest of Yucca brevifolia at a median three-thousand-foot elevation, brings locals and travelers together to challenge, per the HDTS mission statement, “all to expand their definition of art to take on new areas of relevancy.”

    Here, we reset by escaping our urban feedback loops, and redefine and revise Land art that once primarily destroyed wilderness areas in

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  • Flora and Fauna

    IN COLOMBIA,everything grows. All flora seems to flourish in its environment of extremes.

    Yet the area of deforestation jumped 44 percent in 2016 from the previous year. This was, ironically, due to historic deals with the FARC rebel group. As FARC demobilized, criminal factions moved in to control rainforest areas. And though the country has largely welcomed a hard-won period of peace, the internally displaced population, a result of the decades-long conflict, is higher than Syria’s.

    Bogotá is both the capital and the center of the country’s art scene, and it is currently in a state of self-reflection.

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  • Dog Days

    IT WAS THE WEEK BEFORE FIAC and tout de Paris was calm. Without much fanfare—but in the presence of the Instagramming French president Emmanuel Macron—the Picasso Museum took the lead by opening “Picasso 1932: An Erotic Year.”

    Imagine Donald Trump showing support for a museum! (Or a museum inviting him to see pictures that he wasn’t in.)

    Macron picked the right show. Though limited to one year, and basically one subject—amour—this has to be the most resonant exhibition on view in Paris. You think you’ve seen enough Picasso?

    Trust me, you haven’t.

    “I’ve never seen a lot of this!”

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  • Volcano Lovers

    THESE DAYS, most flights from New York to Iceland’s main airport are red-eyes that land just before dawn. The benefit, until the darkness lingers longer, is that you’re forced to reckon with the rocky landscape through an astonishing sunrise. Last weekend I watched that crimson blaze lift over mountains and slowly illuminate the treeless, moss-covered terrain as my bus puttered along a winding and empty highway to Reykjavik’s eighth edition of Sequences, a ten-day biennial spread out across the city. It was shocking.

    Not so shocking: The show’s “honorary artist” was Joan Jonas, whose recent work

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  • Deep Frieze

    THE GREAT GIFT Frieze London bestowed on art aficionados this year was to propel them into galleries and museums.

    Not that Frieze itself didn’t offer benefits. Female artists were notable for their quantity and, in the case of a special section curated by Alison Gingeras, historical impact, as well as in-your-face pro-sex feminism. In the age of Trump the Aggressor, that’s risky business. It may not be entirely profitable business, but it is, at least, desirable.

    The fair also had an especially good program of talks put together by the estimable Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, who

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  • American Pie

    BREXIT OR NOT, London has thrown open its arms to American artists in what may be their biggest embrace since Pop.

    On the cusp of the current Frieze Week, the Royal Academy featured Jasper Johns, and the Serpentine Gallery had a show by the increasingly captivating Wade Guyton imported from Munich’s Museum Brandhorst. Tate Modern entered the home stretch of “Soul of a Nation,” its deeply satisfying survey of African American art. The Barbican had the spirited and atmospheric “Basquiat: Boom for Real,” while the ICA prepped for Seth Price, and Damien Hirst’s Newport Street Gallery readied a full-on

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  • Forest for the Clouds

    AS TITLES GO, “Clouds ⇄Forest,” Yuko Hasegawa’s for the Seventh Moscow Biennale, is lyrical, if a little typographically challenging. While clouds and forest may intertwine, the former will never know what it means to take root, just as the latter will never take flight. Hasegawa meant this as a metaphor for a generational shift between what she terms “Forest Tribes”—artists using more or less traditional media—and “Cloud Tribes,” the children of this recent rootless era of networked communications and digital technologies. (The CliffsNotes version might call this “89plus.”)

    Hasegawa’s brand of

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  • Liquid Dreams

    “CONGRATULATIONS! IT’S PACKED!” I shouted to Magalie Meunier, assistant curator at Lyon’s Institut d’Art Contemporain (IAC), as we squeezed through the crowd at the opening of the exhibition “Rendez-Vous.”

    The Lyon Biennial, now in its fourteenth edition, is the brainchild of Thierry Raspail, and “Rendez-Vous” is the section that he continues to cocurate. Since 2002, this part of the biennial has been a platform for promoting up-and-coming French artists and their equally dewy international counterparts, invited by the directors of ten biennials across the globe.

    In the courtyard at IAC, this

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  • Medium Cool

    WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, it’s kind of presumptuous for someone to declare that your memorial is “what you would have wanted,” when probably what you really would have wanted was to be there for it, basking in the praise and chuckling at the euphemisms.

    There are very few times when anyone could dare speak for Glenn O’Brien, but I feel confident saying he would have both approved of and attended the glamorously depressing memorial for him held earlier this month at the SVA Theater in Chelsea. For one, the evening was more akin to a greatest-hits tribute than a parade of black crêpe. This was

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  • Your Friends and Neighbors

    EVEN BEFORE TURKEY’S failed foreign policy of “precious isolation” materialized, we weren’t big on neighbors.

    Despite Turkish-language proverbs such as “Neighbors [even] need the ashes of each other,” my generation was taught to fear the neighbor (who coveted “our” land and resources) during “National Security” classes at school, and we returned to homes where thick curtains would—almost magically, of their own accord—shut tight moments after sunset. In a 2001 video simply titled Neighbor, Bülent Şangar captures this tension: Like in a first-person shooter game, the artist follows his neighbors’

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  • Running with Scissors

    ON JUNE SECOND, two weeks before the Summer Solstice, the artist Aurel Schmidt told me she’d been forced to hire a bartender for openings at her gallery Romeo to deter underage beer-stealers. (Nothing like a new crop of thirsty teens.)

    The art world’s part-time fakirs—downtown purists sating themselves with free beer and fresh art, and occasional communal-style meals from the likes of Rirkrit Tiravanija and Agathe Snow— did okay from 6 to 8 PM on Thursday. The last night of the summer! For Susan Cianciolo’s “RUN Prayer, RUN Café, RUN Library” at Bridget Donahue, self-serve lime-and-apple sangria

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