COLUMNS

  • Jasmina Cibic

    The hard lessons of Europe’s soft power

    Through her films, images, installations, and objects, Jasmina Cibic pulls back the curtain on hegemonic powers, exposing the formulations and ideologies that create and maintain political authority. Cibic’s latest exhibition, “Most Favoured Nation,” on view from March 5 until June 12 at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg, features, among other recent work, a major new installation for which the artist surveys the crumbling state of Europe.

    IN 1920, in the wake of the First World War, the city of Salzburg resolved to return humanity to a Europe that had been completely desecrated: socially,

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  • Annette Messager

    Messages from a burning world

    Throughout a formidable career that spans six decades, Annette Messager has reconceived everything things—down puffers, bras, stuffed animals—into ambivalent emblems of collective dysfunction and desire. In her atelier in Malakoff, just south of the Paris perimeter, she toils between the playful and the macabre, between parody and critique, mining personal obsessions and slyly veering into social transgression. Below, the artist—whose latest show, “Comme si” (As If), runs from May 11 to August 21 at the Lille Métropole Musée d'Art Moderne (LaM) in France—discusses coping with angst, the pitfalls

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  • Luce Irigaray

    Shifting the world through breath

    Luce Irigaray is one of the most renowned and polemical philosophers of our time. The author of more than thirty books, she is well known for her critical engagements with canonical figures of psychoanalytic and philosophical traditions through her landmark feminist texts such as Speculum of the Other Woman (1974), which prompted her expulsion from the Lacanian École Freudienne de Paris (EFP) because of its searing depiction of Platonic and Freudian representations of women; This Sex Which Is Not One (1977); Elemental Passions (1982); Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche (1991); and The Forgetting

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  • Mounira Al Solh

    Embroidering a monument to women’s stories and sorrow

    Growing up in Beirut during the Lebanese civil war, Mounira Al Solh witnessed firsthand the ways in which war and conflict upend all aspects of life and wrench a region’s sense of history from its own hands. For “A day is as long as a year,” on view from April 9 to October 2 at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, England, the Beirut and Netherlands–based artist invited over thirty women to plumb their own personal heritages in order to collaborate on a prismatic display of their own traditions and contemporary realities. History may be written by the victors, but its most powerful

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  • Oraib Toukan

    “Cruel images” and the blind spots of hypervisibility

    Like the rest of us, Oraib Toukan receives images of war on her phone as a series of disjunctive, shaky video clips bracketed by sponcon. Distinctly attuned to the feelings of despair, powerlessness, and ethical compulsion these representations of abject cruelty might evoke among viewers, Toukan is not content to simply look. Instead, she meditates at length, using writing, photography, and film to respond to these granular artifacts of suffering and loss. This inquiry takes her deep into the materiality of film itself. She often enlists the help of interlocutors—in this case, deceased Palestinian

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  • Julia Wachtel

    Julia Wachtel on visual pleasure and the dumb image

    Since the late 1970s, Julia Wachtel has sifted through the dregs of the image world. From greeting cards and magazines to the plenum of digital imagery online, Wachtel silkscreens her source materials onto canvases alongside painted panels to construct her rhythmic montages. Her paintings—sardonic, boisterous, biting—will soon be on view in two solo exhibitions: “Believing” runs from April 27 to June 4 at Super Dakota in Brussels; “Fulfillment” opens on April 16 and will be the first show at Helena Anrather’s new, Büro Koray Duman–designed space on the Bowery in New York City.

    WHEN I FIRST STARTED

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  • True Colors

    Richard J. Powell’s prismatic and personal art history

    Richard J. Powell, a leading scholar in African American art history and the John Spencer Bassett Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History at Duke University, is currently delivering the seventy-first A. W. Mellon Lectures, the storied public series hosted by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Titled “Colorstruck! Painting, Pigment, Affect,” the six-part lecture spans social history, personal experience, color theory, music, art, and design. Taking a thematic rather than specifically historical approach, Powell engages art historical questions from a somewhat heterodox vantage,

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  • Margaux Williamson

    Margaux Williamson’s unruly works from home

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    Taking in the fifteen years of work in “Interiors,” the first career-spanning survey of the Toronto-based painter Margaux Williamson, one senses an uncanny presentiment of pandemic life and its rhythms. Glowing laptop screens, half-drunk glasses of water, ornate rugs, rumpled bedsheets, handwritten notes, and the occasional dog seem to appear and recede from focus, evoking the displacements of memory and the alternately comforting and claustrophobic weight of extended time spent at home. These upended domestic tableaux display, as Ben Lerner says in an accompanying text, the “unstable relations

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  • Emma Stern

    Emma Stern on pirates, pinups, and the virtual self

    The Jolly Roger flies in the East Village—or some pastel fantasy of it, the skull and crossbones glazed with sunset pinks above a rippling, mirrored sea, flapping in the breeze over the entrance of Half Gallery. This is piracy, Emma Stern style. The artist is known for shapely, shaded tableaux in oil on canvas that, merging then and now, draw on images from her ever-expanding cast of comely gray 3-D avatars. This time, a trio of glassy-eyed babes don swashbuckling skirts and boots, grip pistols and cutlasses, and maraud shores inundated with high camp and high water. Scourged by the promise of

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  • Thomas Demand

    Thomas Demand on photographing Azzedine Alaïa’s archive

    Having previously considered architects including Hans Hollein and John Lautner, Thomas Demand now turns to the work of the late fashion designer Azzedine Alaïa for “Model Studies,” on view at Matthew Marks Gallery in Los Angeles through April 9, 2022. The exhibition consists of four large photographs taken in Alaïa’s archive: patterns used by the French couturier and his studio to make and remake his garments known for their tight, exacting forms. Our conversation spanned questions of craft, translation, and models both physical and conceptual. We spoke over sandwiches in Santa Monica.

    AFTER

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  • Olivia Mole

    Making mischief and mascots for the Hammer Museum’s “Lifes”

    At “Lifes,” a sundry and symphonic group show at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, a string of performances, readings, songs, and a “tuning meditation”—by the great Pauline Oliveros—ebb and flow throughout two galleries as part of an hourly cycle, shifting the vibe as if for the sake of it. The quicksilver approach of the exhibition, which numbers more than fifty participants and runs through May 8, puckishly defies the expectations of a museum to fossilize and dignify its objects on view, to bestow a certain, sacred seriousness. Nothing could be less grave, and more puzzling to pin down, than

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  • Faith Ringgold

    On the making of her retrospective

    For over six decades, the artist, activist, educator, and writer Faith Ringgold has drawn from both her own life and collective histories in the pursuit of racial justice and equity. From protesting museums with the Ad Hoc Women’s Art Committee in the 1970s to publishing and illustrating seventeen children’s books to her paintings, soft sculpture, and story quilts, her invincible spirit is fully apparent in “Faith Ringgold: American People,” the most comprehensive exhibition to date of her farsighted work. The show remains on view at the New Museum in New York through June 5, 2022.

    IN 1988, I

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