new-york

“The Storyteller”

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery

In 1936, Walter Benjamin famously worried that the art of storytelling had been superseded by journalism and mass media. Working under the sign of Benjamin, “Storyteller” curators Claire Gilman and Margaret

Sundell grouped together fourteen artists who employ the story form as a documentary mode, setting aside Benjamin’s distinction between the subjectivity of oral communication and the assumed veracity of mechanical broadcast in order to investigate the use of narrative across a swath of contemporary art. The show (which opens this month at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto) includes photography, drawing, and installation. But video predominates, perhaps as a result of the medium’s durational format, which lends itself to conveying information sequentially. Emblematic of such work are Lamia Joreige’s Objects of War No. 3 and No. 4, both 2006, in which interviewees discuss the Lebanese

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