Interviews

  • John Akomfrah

    The London-based artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah has three solo exhibitions on view in the United States this summer: “Signs of Empire,” his largest US survey to date, is at the New Museum in New York through September 2, 2018; “Sublime Seas” is on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through September 16, 2018; and “Precarity” is at the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina, until September 2, 2018. Below, Akomfrah discusses his embrace of collage and the digital, and the timely thread of migration that runs throughout his work.

    THE STRANGE THING about having three shows

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  • Keith Sonnier

    This summer (and beyond), the East End of Long Island, New York, is a prime spot to experience the sculpture, installation, film, and drawing of Keith Sonnier. An extensive but not exhaustive survey, “Keith Sonnier: Until Today” at the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill runs through January 27, 2019. Concurrently, the Dia Art Foundation’s Dan Flavin Art Institute in Bridgehampton has restaged, through May 29, 2019, Sonnier’s seminal environmental work Dis-Play II, 1970, which was first exhibited in the artist’s debut solo exhibition that year at the Leo Castelli Warehouse. Simultaneously, Tripoli

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  • Bracha L. Ettinger

    The most comprehensive museum exhibition in the United States so far of artist and theorist Bracha L. Ettinger’s work is on view at the UB Anderson Gallery in Buffalo, New York, until July 29, 2018, featuring four decades of paintings, notebooks, and drawings, as well as three video works. Additionally, “Bracha’s Notebooks,” a solo show curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev at Castello di Rivoli in Turin, will be on view in 2019. Here, Ettinger discusses the eclipse of the female subject in historical abstraction, the relationship between abstraction and compassion, trauma, and the remedial

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  • Are.na

    Are.na is an online platform for creative thinking and collaborative research. Founded in 2011 by artists Charles Broskoski, Daniel Pianetti, and Chris Sherron, today Are.na is a flourishing web-based community. Artists use it to conduct research; teachers use it to share course materials and interact with their students; and museums and galleries use it to host blogs and interactive exhibitions. Here, the Are.na team discusses the platform and the ideas that underpin its structure and development.

    WE BUILT ARE.NA INITIALLY FOR OURSELVES. A few of us were making art online, and some of our peers

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  • Viva Ruiz

    Artist and activist Viva Ruiz’s ongoing project  Thank God For Abortion, 2015–, celebrates agency in the pro-choice movement. Ruiz’s provocative exclamation “Thank God for abortion,” which is paired with a peaceful dove design, provides a message of joy and gratitude about the spiritual connection of choice to charged conversations around abortion rights. Here, Ruiz parses the relationship between abortion access and queer rights, highlighting the project’s latest and largest sculptural and performative iteration: A Thank God For Abortion parade float that will be featured in the New York City

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  • Gauri Gill

    Over the past three years, the photographer Gauri Gill has worked with a group of thirty-three artists, including mask-makers and volunteer actors, from a community of adivasis—or indigenous people—in India’s Jawhar district. The resultant and ongoing series of staged color photographs, “Acts of Appearance,” 2015–, debuted at Documenta 14 in 2017. Here, Gill talks about the work, which is on view at MoMA PS1 in New York until September 3, 2018.

    WHERE IS THE SPACE for artists outside of our city bubbles to be free to innovate and experiment? Perhaps this project has provided room to converse across

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  • Ishmael Houston-Jones

    From June 21 through 28, as part of its East Village Series, Performance Space New York is reviving Them, a work the choreographer and dancer Ishmael Houston-Jones made in collaboration with the musician Chris Cochrane and the writer Dennis Cooper in 1986. Below is a reprint of a 2010 interview with Houston-Jones on the occasion of the work’s twenty-fifth anniversary production at PS 122.

    THE FIRST TIME I heard about Chris Cochrane was also the first time I saw him play, at a club called 8BC in a destroyed building on Eighth Street between avenues B and C. They had liquor there, but it was more

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  • Aliza Shvarts

    Aliza Shvarts’s writings and artworks explore the possibilities and impossibilities of performance, race, gender, and class. Her solo exhibition “Off Scene” presents works from the past ten years and is on view at Artspace in New Haven, Connecticut, through June 30, 2018.

    THIS SHOW IS ABOUT TESTIMONY—how the capacity to speak and be heard is gendered, classed, and racialized. Whose words carry weight? Whose speech precipitates action? Whose bodies bear assurances of trustworthiness, and whose incite doubt?

    The title of the show is a metaphor for different kinds of marginalization: for the kind of

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  • Lynda Benglis

    Lynda Benglis was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1941 and arrived in New York shortly after graduating from Newcomb College in New Orleans. Then, as now, her visceral approach to viscous materials and mediums is singular and timeless. Here, Benglis shares key episodes from her life. An exhibition of her works dating from 1979 to 2017 is currently on view at Paula Cooper Gallery in New York until June 16, 2018.

    WHEN I MOVED TO NEW YORK IN 1964, there were race riots going on in Harlem. I attended the Brooklyn Museum Art School, and there I met a Scotsman named Gordon Hart. We both had arrived

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  • Heba Y. Amin

    The Egyptian artist Heba Y. Amin’s latest project, Operation Sunken Sea, 2018, is well suited for “We don’t need another hero,” the next iteration of the Berlin Biennale, which opens June 9, 2018. With a room-wide installation, Amin imagines herself as the mastermind of a bureaucratic plan to drain the Mediterranean Sea—a singular solution to the crises of terrorism and immigration in the Middle East and Africa. With an air of autocracy, her project exposes long-standing colonial convictions, as well as the inherent bias and violence of power.

    OPERATION SUNKEN SEA is an attempt to flip a historical

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  • MICHAEL PAREKŌWHAI

    FOR EXACTLY TWO DECADES, New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, has tried to map the country’s vexed bicultural history—a history that began with the first contact between Māori and Europeans and continues, to this day, in the complex relationships between Māori and Pākehā (New Zealanders of European descent). To accomplish this task, Te Papa followed a distinctly 1990s logic, doing away with the separation between the national museum and the national art collection, and—under the shamelessly hopeful slogan “Our Place”—combining the two institutions in one grand,

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  • Cleopatra’s

    The members of the creative and curatorial platform Cleopatra’s—Bridget Donahue, Bridget Finn, Colleen Grennan, and Erin Somerville (along with founding member Kate McNamara, who left the collective in 2011)—signed a ten-year lease on a narrow twenty-four-by-eight-foot street-level space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York, in 2008. From the project’s outset they were conscious of their long-term commitment to the space and of its mutability as a publishing house, a promotional structure, a means of archiving a local artistic community, and so much more. After a decade, the space closed this month.

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