TABLE OF CONTENTS

PRINT December 2022

TOP TEN

Joan Kee is Professor in the History of Art at the University of Michigan and a Ford Foundation Scholar in Residence at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and a contributing editor of Artforum. Her book The Geometries of Afro Asia: Art Beyond Solidarity is forthcoming from the University of Cailfornia Press in April 2023.

Lee Jungseop, Bird, ca. 1950s, oil on paper, 8 7⁄8 × 7 1⁄2". From “MMCA Lee Kun-hee Collection: Lee Jung Seop.”

1
SEOUL

After the Korean government lifted both social-distancing and overseas-traveler-quarantine requirements this past spring, the art world of Seoul began riding the K-wave. Frieze Seoul mobilized local galleries and museums while drawing new international audiences. Perhaps the biggest game changer was the display across several institutions of late Samsung chairman’s Lee Kun-hee’s art collection, donated to the Korean state to defray a record estate-tax bill. Attracting massive crowds, this recent slate of exhibitions promises to excite new art histories in which Korean makers, thinkers, and dreamers get their due.

2
7TH LUBUMBASHI BIENNALE: “TOXICITY” (VARIOUS VENUES; CURATED BY LUCREZIA CIPITELLI, BRUNO LEITAO, MPHO MATSIPA, PAULA NASCIMENTO, AND RENE FRANCISCO RODRIGUEZ)

Described by cofounder Sammy Baloji as a matter of survival, the Lubumbashi Biennale in the Democratic Republic of the Congo models a poetics and politics of cooperation outside state or NGO entities too often at the mercy of political and economic elites. The event’s seventh iteration, “ToxiCity,” reflects on urbanization, environmental homicide, and climate change—and asks how the creation of a commons might allow us to see the African continent as more than a mere portfolio of emerging markets.

Mbuku Kimpala, Ced’art Tamasala, and Jérémie Mabiala/CATPC, Résistant déporté et incarcéré (Resistance fighter deported and incarcerated), 2022, cotton thread, jute palm nut/cocoa transportation sack, 23 5⁄8 × 17 3⁄4". Simon Kimbangu. From the 7th Lumbumbashi Biennale.

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THE PERSISTENCE OF TAMARA LANIER

Lanier’s ongoing efforts to obtain the release of nineteenth-century daguerreotypes portraying her ancestor Renty from their current incarceration in the Peabody Museum at Harvard University had an important breakthrough in June, when the Massachusetts Supreme Court deemed her claims of emotional distress to be “plausible.” Though the court predictably dismissed her property interest in the images, the legitimation of Lanier’s affective harm is an important step toward future reparations, challenging the legal imagination to operate beyond the exclusionary logic of property.

4
CARLOS VILLA (ASIAN ART MUSEUM, SAN FRANCISCO; CURATED BY ABBY CHEN, TRISHA LAGASO GOLDBERG, AND MARK DEAN JOHNSON)

In his artwork and teaching, Villa (1936–2013) braided together cultures, races, localities, modes of depiction, and temporalities, demonstrating an inimitable ability to manifest neighborhoods of pleasure in which the estranged become family. Villa was blissfully indifferent to the art-historical canon, divisive political abstractions such as “model minority” (coined in 1966), and the codification of temporal sequence as history. His feathered capes in particular embody a state of lift that hovers above such concepts as “tradition” or “the Third World” to elevate an entirely different set of principles.

Co-organized by the San Francisco Art Institute and the Newark Museum of Art.

Carlos Villa, Ritual, 1970–71, mixed media on canvas, 97 × 94 × 4". © Estate of Carlos Villa.

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FAITH RINGGOLD (NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK; CURATED BY MASSIMILIANO GIONI AND GARY CARRION-MURAYARI WITH MADELINE WEISBURG)

Underlying Ringgold’s remarkable seventy-year career is a demand that we unlearn habits of thinking. From the artist’s probing double portraits of friends to her quilts that all but demand a retelling of modernism, this retrospective dissolved art-historical categories and their organizational matrix. Though subtitled “American People,” the exhibition exuded a cosmopolitanism unbound by even the most elastic conceptions of nation and geography. Of special note were Ringgold’s cloth “tanka” paintings, which function as intermediaries between this world and the next.

View of “Faith Ringgold: American People,” 2022, New Museum, New York. Photo: Dario Lasagni. © Faith Ringgold/ARS, NY and DACS, London.

6
CÉZANNE (ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO; ORGANIZED BY GLORIA GROOM, CAITLIN HASKELL, AND NATALIA SIDLINA)

In an age of skyrocketing logistics and insurance costs, large institutions are among the only entities still able to congregate long-separated artworks for extended public viewing. More than a blockbuster, this sprawling Cézanne banquet kindled anew questions sometimes glossed over amid the relentless demand for timeliness. Benefiting from thoughtful juxtapositions, the show unfolded most convincingly as a propulsive reflection on the delightful treachery of forms that refuse to stay put.

Co-organized with Tate Modern, London.

Paul Cézanne, The Three Skulls, 1902–1906, watercolor, graphite, and gouache on ivory wove paper, 18 7⁄8 × 24 3⁄4".

7
BUDDHIST BRONZE MIRROR, 15TH–16TH CENTURY (CINCINNATI ART MUSEUM)

In the spring of 2021, curator Hou-mei Sung made a remarkable discovery. Acting on a hunch, she shone a light on the surface of a humble bronze mirror that had languished for decades in the Cincinnati Art Museum’s collection. The object suddenly came to life, reflecting the image of an otherwise invisible Buddha haloed by radiating lines. It was an extremely rare tou guang jing, or “magic mirror”; only two others are known to exist. Put on permanent view in the museum’s East Asian galleries this past summer, the object—whose workings remain a mystery—is a welcome reminder that magic is still living.

Image cast by a 15th–16th-century bronze “magic” mirror, Cincinnati Art Museum, 2022. Photo: Rob Deslongchamps.

8
TONY COKES (HAUS DER KUNST/KUNSTVEREIN MÜNCHEN; CURATED BY MAURIN DIETRICH, EMMA ENDERBY, GLORIA HASNAY, AND ELENA SETZER )

Of the many recent exhibitions focusing on or featuring Cokes, this two-institution show may have been the most effective. The artist’s use of color, typeface, sound, light, and scale arrested linear time, such that images became more than streams of content and viewing transformed into immersion rather than consumption. Some Munich Moments 1937–1972, 2022, is recursive in the extreme, cycling through images of Munich’s charged history, including the 1972 Olympics, so that they imprint on—then burrow into—the viewer’s memory.

Tony Cokes, Some Munich Moments 1937–1972, 2022, HD video, color, sound, 54 minutes 19 seconds. Installation view, Haus der Kunst, Munich. Photo: Maximilian Geuter.

9
“LIFE BETWEEN ISLANDS: CARIBBEAN-BRITISH ART 1950S–NOW” (TATE BRITAIN; CURATED BY DAVID A. BAILEY AND ALEX FARQUHARSON)

“Life Between Islands” was a history of postwar Britain energized by the spirited world-making of Caribbean British artists. Freeing the Caribbean from imperialist romanticization, the wide-reaching show took shape through exclamations (Ronald Moody’s sightless 1936 John the Baptist), tantalizing ellipses (Frank Bowling’s ghostly map of 1968), and hyphens that functioned as isthmuses (Neil Kenlock’s 1950 photograph of London schoolgirls sporting Black Panther bookbags).

Ronald Moody, Johanaan, 1936, elm wood, 61 × 28 1⁄2 × 15 1⁄4". From “Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s–Now.” © The estate of Ronald Moody.

10
DANIEL GOLDHABER, HOW TO BLOW UP A PIPELINE

It’s not every day that scholarly activism makes it onto the big screen. This gripping film both expands on and deviates from Andreas Malm’s impassioned 2021 treatise arguing that the only response to the escalating climate crisis is to reject nonviolence. An example of what might be called nonpacifist form, How to Blow Up a Pipeline (2022) is a slash-and-burn manifesto disguised as a heist film that clears the ground for a combustible art of protest.

Daniel Goldhaber, How to Blow Up a Pipeline, 2022, 2K video, color, sound, 104 minutes.