COLUMNS

  • Suzanne Treister

    Since the 1980s, the British artist Suzanne Treister has blended history and speculation in ways that many are moved to call hallucinatory, if not slightly paranoid. Her paintings and pioneering digital works have drawn on her interest in systems of observation and belief, from surveillance to theoretical physics. Often diagrammatic and filled with wordplay, her early pieces anticipate the technopolitics of the twenty-first century and presage postinternet-era arcana like a future-tense Hilma af Klint. On September 19, 2019, London’s Serpentine Galleries launched Treister’s augmented reality

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  • Maren Hassinger

    Maren Hassinger very nearly became a dancer. As it happened, two fortuitous turns in her education in the 1970s led her to create sculptures hewn of fibrous metal and knotted detritus. From her early work in Los Angeles—including the 1979 installation of twelve wire rope “trees” near the Mulholland Drive exit ramp—to her recent “mandala” of repurposed pages from the New York Times, questions of ecological and spiritual consciousness have long underscored Hassinger’s practice. She is known for works in a range of media as well as for her collaborative bent. Following last year’s retrospective at

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  • Ebony G. Patterson

    Ebony G. Patterson’s slow and monumental video installation …three kings weep…, 2018, debuted in her solo exhibition at Pérez Art Museum Miami last year and is on view at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, until January 5, 2020, before it travels to the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina. For one night only, the work can also be seen in Toronto during “Nuit Blanche,” a twelve-hour event on October 5, 2019, where visitors can glimpse nearly ninety artworks set around the city. (Patterson’s work will be on view in the Scarborough Civic Centre’s rotunda as part of the group

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  • Tony Cokes

    “Capitalism is profoundly illiterate,” observed Deleuze and Guattari in Anti-Oedipus. Since the mid-1980s, Tony Cokes has been composing multimedia installations that collage pop music, archival film footage, and critical theory. While demanding close reading from viewers, his work also suggests the stakes, and even hazards, of legibility. For one of two commissions in his survey at Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art (CCA) at the University of London, Cokes quotes from filmmaker and scholar Kodwo Eshun’s 2018 Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture, which took place at the school around a year after

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  • Hamja Ahsan

    Last month, journalist Ciara O’Connor took to social media to point out the disparity between the language of “agency” and “accountability” used in Tate Modern’s exhibition “Olafur Eliasson: In Real Life” and the show itself, which was partially blocked to her as a wheelchair user. O’Connor’s account highlights how the art world’s advocacy for intersectionality rarely expands beyond social, sexual, or political ties to cover physical or neurological forms of difference as well. While the “eccentric genius” trope persists, today’s artists are expected to deliver service with a smile as they

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  • Joseph Keckler

    In constant motion between the art and opera worlds by way of popular culture, Joseph Keckler is best known for his vocal shape-shifting and his “faux arias,” which recount daily experiences with great verve. Earlier this year, he performed his Train With No Midnight at the Prototype Festival in New York. In October, he’ll offer a concert series at the Soho Theatre in London. He is also at work on a TV special to be aired at the end of this year. Here he speaks about his first ensemble piece, Let Me Die, which will premiere at FringeArts and Opera Philadelphia on September 21, 2019.

    I USED TO

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  • Mona Hatoum

    Many of Mona Hatoum’s installations employ just one or two materials (barbed wire, cement and rebar, steel, hair) to transform recognizable symbols and forms (maps, globes, spheres, cubes) into portentous iterations. The results can be seen as succinct metaphors for the world as it is—or as models of the future. In an exhibition at White Cube in London titled “Remains to be Seen,” on view from September 11 to November 3, 2019, Hatoum is debuting several pieces that move further in the latter direction, bringing together images of the world lit up by fire, a shattered map of floating continents,

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  • JoAnne Akalaitis

    An Obie-award-winner many times over, director JoAnne Akalaitis is one of the most vital forces in American theater, her productions and performances fueled by her intellectual and political ferocity, as well as her boundless curiosity. A cofounder of the trailblazing company Mabou Mines—which she formed in 1970 with Lee Breuer, Philip Glass, Ruth Maleczech, Fred Neumann, and David Warrilow—she has previously dismissed the label “avant-garde” as it has been lobbed at her work, conceiving of herself instead as a cultural worker in the classical sense. That said, her daring visions once spurred

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  • Elias Sime

    Elias Sime is best known for creating scrupulous, large-scale abstractions out of motherboards, keyboards, and circuitry. He acquires much of his material at open-air markets in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is based and where he cofounded ZOMA Contemporary Art Center in 2002 and Zoma Museum earlier this year with Meskerem Assegued, who has curated many of his exhibitions. (Assegued acted as interpreter for this interview.) “Tightrope,” Sime’s first major museum survey, was organized by Hamilton College’s Wellin Museum of Art in Clinton, New York, and will run through December 8, 2019. It

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  • Xandra Ibarra

    Kill your darlings: This perennial piece of writerly advice—as dramatic and violent in its associative logic as it is lazy in its deployment by workaday writing instructors and superstar seminar leaders—points to the challenges of revision and, by implication, the supposed hazards of attachment. The idiom implies that you wouldn’t have to kill your darlings (a certain haughtiness creeps in here) if you hadn’t let them wheedle their way into your emotional core in the first place. So: Don’t get attached.

    The work of Xandra Ibarra (AKA La Chica Boom) suggests that our darlings and s/heroes might

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  • Terry Allen

    Although Terry Allen attended the Chouinard Art Institute during the heyday of left-coast Conceptualism, his fame arose from the 1975 song cycle Juarez, a landmark album of outlaw country. Allen’s latest record, Just Like Moby Dick, is due for release early next year, and a cassette tape of rarities, Cowboy and the Stranger, has been released on the occasion of his retrospective at L.A. Louver, on view through September 28. The show skirts classification, combining fifty years of drawings, paintings, audio works, and sculptures, all with interlocking themes. In the three-channel MemWars, 2016,

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  • Juliana Cerqueira Leite

    To make her sculptures, Juliana Cerqueira Leite often crawls inside large mounds of clay, casting the imprints of her body. By prioritizing touch and spatial orientation, her research has led her across different disciplines to explore gestures both physical and psychic. In her latest show, “Orogenesis,” Leite links space travel to the archaeological remains of Pompeii though anatomical postures of vulnerability in the face of vast environmental extremes. Installed in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples through September 23, the exhibition speaks to the endless possibilities for embodiment

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