1 “BLUES FOR SMOKE” (THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MoCA, LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY BENNETT SIMPSON) By all accounts, LA MoCA had a truly woeful year, so it’s fitting that Simpson (one of the institution’s two remaining curators) would lay his stake on the blues. An essay as much as an exhibition, “Blues for Smoke” was noisy (the warehouse space of the Geffen Contemporary was haunted by an Albert Ayler–inspired squall in Stan Douglas’s terrific Hors-champs, 1992), mournful (a gallery of Mark Morrisroe’s photos), mordantly funny (Dave McKenzie’s Yesterday’s Newspaper, 2012–13; Glenn Ligon’s Richard Pryor paintings), practically indigestible (sixty episodes of HBO’s The Wire), and nothing if not provocative. One could keep adding adjectives, and that, perhaps, was the point.
2 “MANET: RETURN TO VENICE” (PALAZZO DUCALE, VENICE; CURATED BY STÉPHANE GUÉGAN WITH GUY COGEVAL AND GABRIELLA BELLI)
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