COLUMNS

  • Du Keke

    WHILE THIS YEAR, another wave of East Asian shows explored (Western) modernity—with terms such as Anthropocene, thingworld, and posthuman popping up in the titles and curatorial statements of various exhibitions—two large-scale prodemocracy protests in Taipei and Hong Kong, as well as escalating territorial disputes in the East China Sea, plainly prove that the mission Frantz Fanon set out for the third world in The Wretched of the Earth (1961):—“to resolve the problems to which Europe has not been able to find the answers”—is far from being fulfilled.

    The 2014 Yokohama Triennale refrained from

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  • Agnieszka Gratza

    ALEXANDRA BACHZETSIS’S RIVETING NEW PERFORMANCE and installation piece, From A to B via C, comes in three versions, respectively destined for theatrical, museum, and online viewing. I caught the premiere of the first iteration staged as part of the Biennial of Moving Images at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva (September 18 to 19, 2014). Three dancers—including Bachzetsis herself—mirrored each other as they went from mimicking athletic movements to following an online tutorial on how to dance like Beyoncé and then on to executing ballet instructions. Throughout, they peeled off successive

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  • Sohrab Mohebbi

    ORGANIZED BY Cabinet Gallery, the exhibition at the Airbnb’d Fitzpatrick-Leland House (a 1936 Schindler building) in Lauren Canyon perhaps was the closest you could get to a John Knight retrospective (February 2, 2014 to February 5, 2014). A take on the Los Angeles–based artist’s oeuvre was presented through a collection of his signature 8 x 10′′ exhibition catalogues, postcards, posters, photographs, a few editions and studies, and other ephemera, all part of the expanded site(s) of the works that locate them in the greater socioeconomic network of contemporary art. As the city is dealing with

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  • Marco Tagliafierro

    IMPLICIT IN ADRIANO COSTA’S EXHIBITION “LA COMMEDIA DELL’ARTE” AT MILAN’S PEEP-HOLE (September 26 to November 8, 2014), was a well-timed consideration of the narrative potential we encounter through objects, actions, and environments that appear like epiphanies in everyday life. For the Brazilian artist, a thoughtful examination of these quotidian moments means a thorough look at their complexities, particularly as a totality of contradictions, which, if appropriately analyzed, break free from the visual preconceptions that hamper our interpretations. For instance, How to Be Invisible in High

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  • Lesley Ma

    SEVERAL EXHIBITIONS this year highlighted the effects of personal relations and social interactions on art made by itinerant or transcultural Chinese artists, as well as the increasingly wide sources of inspirations adopted by expatriate practitioners.

    “Pioneers of Modern Chinese Painting in Paris” at de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong (May 14 to June 21, 2014), assembled avant-garde paintings and sculptures made between the 1920s and the ’70s by Chinese artists in Paris. Though works by the familiar faces of that milieu—such as Sanyu, Zao Wou-ki, and Chu Teh-chun—were pleasers, T’ang Haywen’s paintings

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  • Hili Perlson

    AT THE RISK OF SOUNDING DRAMATIC, 2014 was nearly marked by a personal crisis of faith in art, as too many exhibitions pertained to trends I couldn’t get excited about. If artistic production addresses a contemporaneous condition, am I wrong not to feel enthused by work that directly responds to technological advances? Is the flat, lurid quality of much of the art seen the only adequate expression of the effects of networked technologies on our lives? What’s more, as violence and war became increasingly devastating throughout the year, I saw too many hapless examples of the slippery relation

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  • Kevin Jones

    AS MUSEUMS THINK “EXPERIENTIAL” in their tireless quest for greater footfall and art fairs steadily concoct unexpected “live” attractions and “project” components, all my top shows for 2014 were almost conspicuously understated. Each seemed deeply introspective and so racked by dissent, dissatisfaction, and doubt that they nearly offered an anti-stance to the 2014 zeitgeist of Gulf capitalism and its blithe consumerist emporiums.

    London-based, Iranian artist Reza Aramesh gave Dubai an antimonument (“The Whistle of Souls, A Play that Never Starts,” Leila Heller Gallery Pop-Up Space, March 17 to

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  • “Degenerate Art”

    WHEN I WENT TO SEE “Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany, 1937” at the Neue Galerie in New York, I found a line snaking from the museum’s Eighty-Sixth Street entrance and around the corner onto Fifth Avenue. I joked to my neighbor that it was like waiting to see the enormously popular, Nazi-organized namesake exhibition. Crass humor aside, I expected to enjoy the show, which featured National Socialist art alongside the “degenerate” work of such artists as Max Beckmann and George Grosz. But I came away unsettled. I was prepared for an exploration of Nazi aesthetic politics,

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  • Life or Something Like It

    DARK, FUNNY, FEMINIST, and executed in gorgeously controlled rich black-and-white, the iconic comics work My New York Diary (1999) sealed the reputation of Montreal-based cartoonist Julie Doucet. The publication of Doucet’s first long-form narrative (originally serialized in her acclaimed comic book series Dirty Plotte [Dirty Cunt] beginning in 1993), earned her a surge of recognition from multiple corners of contemporary culture, and paved the way for a whole host of graphic memoirs to come, especially by women. One can see the influence in Doucet’s work of underground cartoonist Aline

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  • Dream Time

    MY EXHIBITIONS are non-linear narratives, where the juxtaposition of each image together tells a specific story, like Scott McCloud’s definition of comics in his great book Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art (1994). My American Dream, recently included by curator Stuart Comer in the Whitney Biennial, was a giant comic composition, in addition to being a salon-style installation of paintings. I created “horizontal” installations in which paintings still tell stories but in a contemporary format. In homage to the early days of the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the forthcoming arrival

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  • Shopkeepers of the World Unite

    ONE EVENING LAST SUMMER, far from New York City, I was cornered by a senior curator from a prestigious arts institution. The woman, who was urbane, stylish, and in her late thirties, had a pressing question. “You live in Los Angeles,” she noted. “Can you tell me, is Petra Cortright a feminist?”

    I squirmed as I considered how to avoid falling into this trap. I was acquainted with Cortright, a Santa Barbara–raised artist known for her YouTube clips and desktop-stripper animations, but I didn’t know much about her politics. Smelling weakness, the senior curator pressed on: “What about Amalia

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  • the paintings of George W. Bush

    We cannot aspire to masterpieces. We may content

    ourselves with a joy-ride in a paint box. And for this

    audacity is the only ticket.

    —Winston Churchill, “Painting as a Pastime”

    AS I WRITE THIS REVIEW, the New York Times is running a feature on Metro Meteor, a retired racing champion who’s reinvented himself as a painter. Assistants tape his brushes so that they don’t splinter when he holds them in his mouth. He paints only one color a day so that the marks don’t smear. Presumably, he paints by feel—after all, a horse’s eyes are on the side of its head.

    I don’t bring up Meteor to equate

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