PRINT December 2018

Eungie Joo

Kara Walker with Jason Moran, The Katastwóf Karavan, 2018, mixed media. Installation view, Algiers Point, New Orleans. Photo: Ari Marcopoulos.

1 KARA WALKER WITH JASON MORAN, THE KATASTWÓF KARAVAN (PROSPECT.4, “THE LOTUS IN SPITE OF THE SWAMP,” NEW ORLEANS) At Algiers Point in New Orleans, you may find a weirdly factual plaque in the ground that reads, “enslaved africans. In the 1720s, at a spot of land now eroded by the river, stood the barracks where enslaved Africans from the Senegal-Gambia region were held before being ferried across the river to the Slave Auctions. Early Algiers Point was also the home of the slaughterhouse and the powder magazine for New Orleans.” That paltry memorial cannot express the brutal suffering, defiant resilience, and pain still lingering in the air. For the closing of Prospect.4, Moran caressed spectral wailings from Walker’s steam calliope that shook the skies to tears and left behind a double rainbow over the Mississippi.

Haegue Yang, Medicine Man—Indiscreet Other World, 2010, clothing rack, casters, lightbulbs, cable, zip ties, terminal strips, nylon cord, knitting yarn, wigs, papier-mâché, watercolor, varnish, metal rings, metal chains, Mylar tinsel, aluminum reflector, fringe, 70 7⁄8 × 47 1⁄4 × 30 3⁄8".

2 HAEGUE YANG (MUSEUM LUDWIG, COLOGNE; CURATED BY YILMAZ DZIEWIOR WITH LEONIE RADINE) Awarded the Wolfgang Hahn Prize (its first Korean recipient, as well as the first Asian woman), Yang was once again teamed with Dziewior, the Museum Ludwig’s director, who seven years earlier had organized a stunning exhibition of Yang’s work at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria. The Ludwig’s remarkable presentation featured more than 120 works, from her early lacquer paintings to the sensorial environment Series of Vulnerable Arrangements—Version Utrecht, 2006, and a stunning pairing of Mountains of Encounter, 2008, with Sol LeWitt Upside Down—K123456, Expanded 1078 Times, Doubled and Mirrored, 2015, in which the searching spotlight of her hanging red labyrinth disrupted the perfect symmetry of her recent interpretation of the Minimalist master.

Tony Cokes, Evil.16 (Torture Musik), 2011, digital video, color, sound, 16 minutes 27 seconds. From the 10th Berlin Biennial.

3 10TH BERLIN BIENNALE: “WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HERO” (CURATED BY GABI NGCOBO WITH NOMADUMA ROSA MASILELA, SERUBIRI MOSES, THIAGO DE PAULA SOUZA, AND YVETTE MUTUMBA) The tenth edition of the Berlin Biennale began in July 2017 with “I’m Not Who You Think I’m Not,” a yearlong public program that traversed Berlin, Johannesburg, and Nairobi. It continued with a series of new commissions and dynamic installations by Firelei Báez, Tony Cokes, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Oscar Murillo, Okwui Okpokwasili, and Simone Leigh; a striking, well-considered exhibition; and publications, time-based performances, and various other events. All of this was only one part of the magic sense of community and meaningful presence Ngcobo cultivated in the middle of Berlin.

View of “Nairy Baghramian: Déformation Professionnelle,” 2017–18, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Photo: Gene Pittman.

4 NAIRY BAGHRAMIAN (WALKER ART CENTER, MINNEAPOLIS; CURATED BY VINCENZO DE BELLIS WITH VICTORIA SUNG) For her site-responsive, nonretrospective midcareer survey, Baghramian reflected on two decades of production with a new body of work that broadens, transforms, and cannibalizes earlier artworks. With her ability to articulate the sensuousness and promise of materials and structures that are hidden from view—or valued for their function rather than for aesthetic reasons—Baghramian attacked the museum with precise vision. Each gesture was in perfect synchronicity with the Edward Larrabee Barnes–designed galleries, slipping gently into the odd nooks and crannies of the Herzog & de Meuron expansion, and landing decisively with new commissions from her current “Privileged Points” series on the lawn above the new-old entrance.
Co-organized with the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Ghent, Belgium.

Etel Adnan, Untitled, ca. 1960s, oil on canvas, 18 × 15 1⁄8".

5 ETEL ADNAN (ZENTRUM PAUL KLEE, BERN, SWITZERLAND; CURATED BY SÉBASTIEN DELOT AND FABIENNE EGGELHÖFER) The Diaries of Paul Klee, 1898–1918 (1964) was an important inspiration for Adnan when she was a young professor of French and philosophy at Dominican College in San Rafael, California, embarking on her own painting and drawing practice. With a sensitive understanding of their shared spiritual search through multiple artistic forms, the curators juxtaposed Klee’s hand puppets and a few paintings with a superb selection of Adnan’s early abstractions, leporellos, watercolors, and tapestries. Next stop: Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Luxembourg, this spring.

Deana Lawson, Mickey and Friends, 2013, ink-jet print, 56 × 40".

6 DEANA LAWSON: AN APERTURE MONOGRAPH (APERTURE) This girl is on fire. Since I never feel I have enough time to linger on the completeness of Lawson’s compositions, I was beyond thrilled to see this book and its superb reproductions of her work. Included are an essay by novelist Zadie Smith and a conversation with artist Arthur Jafa.

Danh Vo, If you were to climb the Himalayas tomorrow, 2006, Rolex watch, Dupont lighter, United States military class ring, 24 7⁄8 × 20 7⁄8 × 17 3⁄4".

7 DANH VO (SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, NEW YORK; CURATED BY KATHERINE BRINSON WITH SUSAN THOMPSON AND YLINKA BAROTTO) To take in the playful, elegant purpose with which Vo approached his solo exhibition at the Guggenheim was a delight and a relief. It is no small task for a living artist who has only been acknowledged in the international art world during the past decade to stay true to his work. From Christmas (Rome), 2012, 2013, consisting of aged vitrine cloths sourced from the Vatican and placed alongside the wooden skeleton of a chair once owned by the former US secretary of defense Robert McNamara (an excerpt from Lot 20. Two Kennedy Administration Cabinet Room Chairs, 2013), to a lonely chandelier seemingly grazing the floor as it blocked your passage on the next ramp, Vo demonstrated a masterful restraint and a faith in his public that should not be underestimated.

View of “Bahc Yiso: Memos and Memories,” 2018, National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Gwacheon, Korea.

8 BAHC YISO (NATIONAL MUSEUM OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART, GWACHEON, KOREA; CURATED BY DAE-GEUN LIM) There have been a few substantial exhibitions of Bahc’s work since his sudden passing in 2004, a couple of which included questionable “realizations” of sculptures from his sketches. Very problematic, but hopefully done with the intention of securing Bahc’s place in the history of conceptual art from Korea. In addition to presenting most of the artist’s existing major works, this exhibition shared contextual information about his activities during his thirteen years in New York, such as Minor Injury, his alternative space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and his cofounding of the progressive cultural organization SEORO Korean Cultural Network, which successfully lobbied the Queens Museum, New York, to present the first exhibition of diasporic contemporary art from Korea in 1993.

View of “Adrían Villar Rojas: The Theater of Disappearance,” 2017–18, The Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, Los Angeles. Photo: Studio Michel Zabé.

9 ADRIÁN VILLAR ROJAS (THE GEFFEN CONTEMPORARY AT MOCA, LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY BRYAN BARCENA AND HELEN MOLESWORTH) Much has been said about Villar Rojas’s ambitious, trans-continental end-of-days project that took overlapping forms on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the entire Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the grounds and observatory at the Hill of the Nymphs in Athens, and the Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, Los Angeles. At the Geffen, I watched the sun shift across the unlit space as visitors examined the surfaces of striated columns (recuperated from a previous exhibition in 2015 at the Kalba Ice Factory in the United Arab Emirates) with their cell-phone flashlights and was reminded of the contagiousness of his fascination and curiosity.

Bruce Nauman, Double Steel Cage Piece, 1974, steel. Installation view, MoMA PS1, New York, 2018. Photo: Martin Seck.

10 BRUCE NAUMAN (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART AND MoMA PS1, NEW YORK; CURATED BY KATHY HALBREICH WITH HEIDI NAEF, ISABEL FRIEDLI, MAGNUS SCHAEFER, AND TAYLOR WALSH) I was completely convinced by the show’s iteration at Schaulager in Basel, where I spent several happy hours; but to see Nauman’s historical works at MoMA PS1 in the building’s full minimal glory is simply a gift. Halbreich, MoMA’s exiting Laurenz Foundation Curator and associate director, seems to have saved her best for last.

Eungie Joo is curator of contemporary art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She was the artistic director of the 5th Anyang Public Art Project in Korea (2016–17); curator of Sharjah Biennial 12 in the United Arab Emirates (2015); and director and curator of education and public programs at the new museum in New York (2007–12).