COLUMNS

  • Mónica Mayer

    Mónica Mayer talks about her collected writings

    A pioneer of feminist art in Mexico, Mónica Mayer uses humor and satire to address gender-related topics largely absent from public discourse. Intimidades . . . o no. Arte, vida y feminismo (Intimate Matters . . . or Not. Art, Life, and Feminism, Editorial Diecisiete) surveys her prolific writing practice, a vital extension of her artistic output for more than four decades. At a time when gender-based violence is surging throughout Mexico, Mayer’s writing reminds us that the feminist struggle—in the art world and beyond—is always waged on the battleground of language.

    I AM AN ARTIST WHO WRITES

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  • Elise Rasmussen

    Elise Rasmussen on Mary Shelley and the “Year Without a Summer”

    Elise Rasmussen’s “Year Without a Summer” took her to multiple continents and into the creation of one of Western literature’s best-known books—Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818). The artist’s research-based project joins personal experience, cultural history, and scientific discovery into a surprising, layered narrative. Speaking from Los Angeles, Rasmussen shares how she weaves disparate artistic and ecological threads together with a perspective afforded by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Year Without a Summer” will be on view at Toronto’s G44 Centre for Contemporary Photography from July 21 to August

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  • Julien Nguyen

    Julien Nguyen on the Renaissance, conjury, and painting himself

    At the end of our conversation, Julien Nguyen read from a poem by the eighth-century Chinese poet Tu Fu that supplied the title for one of his new paintings: “In ten warrior years and more, how / could I avoid all honor? Everyone // treasures heroes, but how shameful / to talk myself up like all the others. // War smolders across our heartland / and rages on the frontiers: all those // lords chasing ambition everywhere, / who can elude resolute in privation?” It may seem grandiose to tie yourself to history this way—and it is—but this is exactly what makes Nguyen’s art contemporary. He achieves

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  • Alan Ruiz

    Alan Ruiz reimagines the boundaries between artist and institution

    Premier among the fabled artist-run institutions of the 1970s, the Kitchen stands today on New York’s West Nineteenth Street, its home since 1986, now hemmed in by blue-chip galleries, luxury boutiques, a starchitect office tower, and outrageous pieds-à-terre for the jet-setting elite. On a recent visit, Alan Ruiz’s elegant but spartan installation there—uncharacteristically sited in the building’s ground level theater space, rather than its second-floor gallery—suddenly erupted in sound and reflected light as a composition by Philip Glass, a veteran affiliate of the Kitchen who now serves on

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  • Yael Bartana

    Yael Bartana on messianic myth, redemption, and the “Jewish question”

    Since the early 2000s, Yael Bartana has brought the remnants of the “Jewish question” into sharp relief. “Redemption Now,” a survey at Berlin’s Jewish Museum on through October 10, includes early videos that simultaneously detail and estrange the rituals of Israeli Orthodox Jewish and settler communities. In recent years, her work has grown more formally elaborate—and provocative—in its choreographies and “pre-enactments.” Her trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, 2007–11, staged the dramatic genesis of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, while the Philadelphia-set The Undertaker, 2019,

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  • Maya Lin

    Maya Lin on planting a ghost forest in Manhattan

    On Earth Day, Maya Lin and I stood in Manhattan’s Madison Square Park surrounded by dead trees. The artist and architect had just completed Ghost Forest, an installation of fifty lifeless cedars cleared from New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, where rising sea levels and salt-water infiltration now threaten the woodland ecosystem, slowly rotting trees from the inside. Tragic figures, the cedars remain standing as they perish. A soundscape composed by Lin and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology activates their stillness with the vocalizations. of cougars, wolves, beavers, and whales once native to Manhattan

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  • Time Regained

    María Belén Correa and Cecilia Estalles speak with Devan Díaz and Thora Siemsen about El Archivo de la Memoria Trans Argentina

    Founded by activist archivist María Belén Correa in 2013, El Archivo de la Memoria Trans Argentina is a historical-memory project devoted to lost friends and forebears. This growing collection of more than ten thousand documents—photos, videos, and mementos––gives flesh to trans lives in Argentina. The archive originated as a private Facebook group, a forum for research and discussion sustained by the dedication of its members. With the help of Carolina Figueredo, Luciano Goldin, Car Ibarra, Luis Juárez, Magalí Muñiz, and Cecilia Saurí, the community has retrieved treasures that have survived

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  • TELL THE WORLD

    Hanan Toukan and Adila Laïdi-Hanieh on the Palestinian Museum

    The Palestinian Museum sits nestled among the fertile hills of the West Bank in the university town of Birzeit, several miles north of Ramallah. Its $24 million, LEED-certified campus—designed by Dublin-based architecture firm Heneghan Peng—was inaugurated on May 18, 2016, days after the sixty-eighth anniversary of the Nakba, the events that led to the forced displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Five years on, the museum has a robust programming schedule and a string of successful exhibitions under its belt. To further explore the role museums can play in reclaiming narratives

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  • TAKING CARE

    Huey Copeland and Allison Glenn on “Promise, Witness, Remembrance”

    Over the past year, American museums have been forced to consider how they might address anti-Black violence and center marginalized voices, especially when their collecting, exhibitionary, and outreach practices have historically abetted rather than challenged the social reproduction of white supremacy. While any number of institutions have made statements or proposed changes, the exhibition “Promise, Witness, Remembrance” at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky—organized in honor of Breonna Taylor, whose murder at the hands of Louisville police on March 13, 2020 eventually spurred

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  • Loie Hollowell

    Loie Hollowell on painting, pain, and her second birth

    Loie Hollowell delivered her second child a year ago—and her new paintings at König Galerie’s nave of St. Agnes, an imposing former Catholic church in West Berlin, reflect on the experience of her three-hour home birth. Built in 1967 by architect and painter Werner Düttmann, St. Agnes was named after the patron saint of virginity and is arrayed in Brutalism’s austere, rectilinear geometry. Hollowell’s so-called Split orbs, by contrast, are carnal, wet, and radiant. Suggestive of vaginal openings and cosmological symbols, the nine large canvases on view in “Sacred Contract” visually abstract the

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  • Words Unspoken

    Grace M. Cho on anti-Asian violence, mental health, and the livingness of trauma

    Grace M. Cho is the author of Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War (University of Minnesota Press, 2008). Inscribed within its history of Korean women’s sexual labor for US servicemen during the Korean War are cracks between social, personal, and political memory that shed light on how the repeated disavowal of unprocessed material leaves traumatic residues. Published this month with Feminist Press, Cho’s second book, Tastes Like War, recounts the breakdown of her mother’s mental health and its roots in war, immigration, and racial, gendered abuse. Below, we discuss

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  • Christopher K. Ho and Daisy Nam

    Christopher K. Ho and Daisy Nam discuss Best! Letters from Asian Americans in the arts

    In January 2020, shortly before they went into lockdown, artist Christopher K. Ho and curator Daisy Nam realized that they were both independently pursuing projects related to letters: Ho a letter of apology to his former RISD students, whom he felt he had failed as an Asian American mentor, and Nam a program of live readings of existing letters of redress, including ones penned by Sylvia Wynter, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Angela Davis. The pair had met through a leadership group at Asia Art Archive in America focused on the model-minority myth and ways of dismantling it and were now turning to

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