COLUMNS

  • 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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  • History Again

    THE WEEK BEFORE LAST, fifty miles east of Downtown Chicago, on the bank of the Fox River in Kendall County, where Trump beat Clinton by a hair, a young woman in a neon-green getup and white volleyball kneepads stood on the deck of Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and made a small request: “Welcome. Please take off your shoes or put shoe covers on.”

    We’d stepped, a gaggle of globalists, into a rehearsal for Modern Living, a new performance by artists Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly commissioned for “Make New History,” the Second Chicago Architecture Biennial, directed by Sharon Johnston and Mark

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  • Rama Lama Ding Dong

    “MARSEILLE WAS BUILT ON A HISTORY OF FAILURES,” curator Cédric Aurelle gushed. Our friendly little group—which included Véronique Collard Bovy, the chic producer of the city’s flagship event Art-O-Rama—stood sipping white wine and philosophizing about the decline of French civilization outside M-Arc/Le Box, the space that collectors Marie-Hélène and Marc Féraud were opening with an homage exhibition to artists Pierre Bertrand et Francois Morellet. That evening, the former coastal slaughterhouse turned art hangar hosted a bizarre mix of fellow travelers from Berlin, Warsaw, Lisbon, Paris, Mexico

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  • Take Me to the Other Side

    WHILE YOU-KNOW-WHO attempts to separate us with walls and reversals, Los Angeles is locating protest and empowerment in inclusivity, and rewriting art history through a grand rejection of borders, thanks to the Getty Foundation’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA. This colossally inspiring five-month initiative, featuring exhibitions, performances, and programming at more than seventy institutions, extends the post–World War II art-historical conversation launched with “PST: Art in LA 1945–1980” (2011–12) into the shared history between the region and Latin cultures, not only within Los Angeles, but

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  • First Time’s a Charm

    BERLIN IS IN THE MIDST OF CHANGE, both seasonal and structural. Seasonal because a summer of torrential rain has finally given way to the blue skies and orange hues of autumn, and structural because, as Forbes said earlier this year, Berlin has “turned into a thriving global capital that draws investors.”

    One of said investors is the respected fair Art Cologne, which has now merged with art berlin contemporary (abc) to create Art Berlin. This event was inaugurated last week and, as most of Berlin’s art world succumbed to the flu, sales soared for art and Ibuprofen alike.

    The city’s exponential

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  • Now I Know How Joan of Arc Felt

    JOANS, GET OUT HERE with your skills . . . UP!

    The call-to-arms at the core of Adam Linder’s To Gear a Joan came from a pert, partially armored performer following a slow parade around the attic space of the Trevarefabrikken, an old cod-liver oil factory lately serving as a “social shelter.” Conceived as a “wearable libretto,” “activated” by the Stavanger-born vocalist Stine Janvin Motland, Linder’s performance will recur throughout the September run of this year’s Lofoten International Arts Festival, which kicked off the Friday before last in Henningsvær, a comely little fishing village roughly

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  • Emory Memories

    THE MODICA STOP on the erratic airport bus from Catania was more rugged than I expected for an ancient UNESCO World Heritage spot. But a few hills down the road we were engulfed by the voluptuous Baroque architecture that defines this beautiful Sicilian comune: “The historical center is over there,” the driver beamed.

    Sveva D’Antonio of Laveronica Arte Contemporanea met me at the parking lot with a disarming smile and the equally disarming presence of seventy-four-year-old Emory Douglas, the graphic artist behind the Black Panther newspaper (1967–80). Douglas had wanted to go on a stroll, and

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  • Missing Pieces

    LAWRENCE ABU HAMDAN’S BIRDWATCHING was supposed to kick off the opening days of the Sharjah Biennial 13 Off-Site Project in Ramallah.

    It was not possible.

    I had seen him deliver a version of this lecture-performance in March in Sharjah. Abu Hamdan wove a beautifully multilayered yet distressing narrative around the political implications of hearing and suggested that sonic forensics could help reconstruct otherwise incommunicable episodes of horror—from the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, to the Syrian military–administered Saydnaya Prison near Damascus—in the service of justice.

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  • W.I.T.C.H. Way

    WHEN I TOUCHED DOWN IN WASHINGTON on a recent Thursday for the third edition of the Seattle Art Fair, the city was uncharacteristically hot and hazy, enveloped in smoke from forest fires raging nearby in Canada.

    But even the miasma couldn’t dampen my excitement about visiting the metropolis that loomed so large in my 1990s teen imagination. Seeking some classic Seattle vibes, I quickly made my way to Pike Place Market for a strong coffee and zine browsing at the radical Left Bank Books. The atmospheric conditions rivaled LA at its worst, obscuring the Puget Sound and Jeff Bezos’s Amazon biodomes

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  • Scottish Rites

    BETWEEN THE OPENING OF THE EDINBURGH FRINGE FESTIVAL AND THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL, ALONG WITH THE EDINBURGH ART FESTIVAL KICKING UP DUST OF ITS OWN, traffic of both the foot and the vehicular variety converged spiritedly on the efforts of a wide range of art institutions. When the opening of the Art Festival came around on Thursday, July 27, many of the affiliated exhibitions had already been open for days or weeks. Two days prior to kickoff, between bursts of sunshine and rain, I made my way through the street performers and commercial hurrah of the city center to see Jac Leirner’s

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