COLUMNS

  • Fiona He

    THIS PAST YEAR, ignoring the excitement over young and emerging artists (many of whom know all too well what’s expected of them if they’re to thrive in the contemporary art world), and eschewing the gossip pertaining to the political and socio-economic complexities that drive large-scale biennales and mega-group exhibitions, I found myself drawn to the artists who emerged from the puritanical 1980s, many of whom continue to investigate epistemology, ascetics, or aesthetics via their artistic practices.

    On the closing day of Tang Song’s exhibition “Elegy – In Memory of Hans van Dijk” at Boers-Li

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  • Kito Nedo

    “Speculations on Anonymous Materials” at Kunsthalle Fridericianum (September 29–January 26, 2013) Newly appointed curator Susanne Pfeffer has created an exhibition that gives a collective and pointed voice to some of the most influential young artists working today. This timely international group show presents some thirty makers (Yngve Holen, Josh Kline, Pamela Rosenkranz, Oliver Laric, and Aleksandra Domanović, among others) who produce artworks that are currently traded under the precarious label “post-Internet art.” Samsung flat screens, 3-D printing, Tumblrism, fragile USB-cable sculptures,

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  • Paola Nicolin

    AFTER TWO DECADES of Silvio Berlusconi’s leadership, Italy is now witnessing a deep cultural shift and a number of questions: What is the role of critique today in the country’s cultural landscape? Is the nation still investigating the roles of preservation and tourism as core businesses and cultural strategies? Is Italy ready for contemporary production on a larger scale? Grappling with such inquiries, the best shows of 2013 faced a daunting task: to persuade the public to enjoy art that grasps at the complexity of contemporary languages, without neglecting the contexts that inform its viewing.

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  • Alex Jovanovich

    AMERICA, like its psychic capital, New York City, is intolerable and bright. And, being Americans and New Yorkers, we are envied and reviled by many the world over—deservedly so. Nonetheless, I am grateful to be immersed in this marriage of misery and light, which is so often at the core of a truly memorable and, indeed, genuinely American art, some of which I was lucky enough to experience this summer, Gotham’s cruelest, most luminous season.

    Ken Price, “Slow and Steady Wins the Race, Works on Paper 1962–2010” at the Drawing Center (June 19–August 18, 2013); Albright-Knox Art Gallery (September

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  • Mary Rinebold

    THERE STILL REMAIN unexamined vestiges of American West Coast counterculture figure Raymond Pettibon, indicated in the exhibition “Human Wave: The Videotapes of Raymond Pettibon” (January 25–March 17, 2013) through a series of unedited, roughly shot VHS tapes that the artist made during 1989. Programmatically simple, this show at Space, London, consisted of two video viewing stations separated by primary-colored lighting schemes. The video subjects, ranging from the Weather Underground, Charles Manson, and the Symbionese Liberation Army to the 1980s southern California punk community, were

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  • Miguel Amado

    Ahlam Shibli’s “Phantom Home” at Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (January 25–April 28, 2013); Jeu de Paume (May 27–September 30, 2013); Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves (November 14, 2013–February 9, 2014) This year, Paris’s usually calm summer was stormed by controversy surrounding the Palestinian artist Ahlam Shibli’s exhibition, which surveys her photographic output from the past decade. The show includes the series “Eastern LGBT,” 2004–2006, which poetically portrays individuals exiled in cities such as London and Barcelona. Also on view is Shibli’s more recent series “Death,”

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  • Zeenat Nagree

    WITH EACH PASSING YEAR, the calendar of the Indian art world has increasingly arranged itself around the New Delhi–based India Art Fair. This year, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art’s outstanding retrospective of the abstractionist Nasreen Mohamedi’s (1937–1990) unique oeuvre coincided with the fair’s run. “A View to Infinity” (January 31–December 8, 2013) came in the wake of her posthumous international acclaim and exhibitions featuring the artist’s delicate Minimalist drawings from the 1970s and ’80s, which have prompted comparisons to Agnes Martin and Kazimir Malevich, and tight urbanscapes shot

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  • the Year in “Re-”

    A reckoning is in order. Given the extraordinary number of returns, revisits, and repetitions of all kinds this past year, including the extensive refabrications of postwar art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s exhibition “Gutai: Splendid Playground” and the astonishing reboot in Venice of Harald Szeemann’s 1969 show “Live in Your Head: When Attitudes Become Form”—not to mention the steadily increasing interest in repeating historic works of performance art over the last decade—we offer here a provisional taxonomy of contemporary art-world keywords dangling from the prefix re. The

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  • Andrea Fraser

    WITH HER 2003 PROJECT UNTITLED, Andrea Fraser throws us an archetype of sexual and cultural identity. More than in her other performances, Fraser here works without the protection of a research-based script, a surrogate actor, or the remove that often characterizes analytical thinking. The central action in Untitled has Fraser and a male client of her US gallery meet for a session of sex and video recording in a New York hotel room. This is the part of the work that suggests an archetypal narrative. And yet despite all that has been said about this project as sexual fantasy, feminist act, or

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  • Sein und Zit

    THIS WEEKEND IN LYON there was a streaker. For two hours on Saturday and two hours on Sunday, a man whose stage name is Monico Chiquito wandered the biennial wearing black briefs and Asics and using his iPhone to post selfies to Instagram, Vine, and more. These photos were published on disembodiedselfie.tumblr.com and on the New Museum’s website, where from 7 to 9 AM EST you could also watch a livestream of the photos occurring—“performance art,” by the non-present artist Xavier Cha. Since I wouldn’t open a stall door in a public bathroom, find someone shitting or masturbating, and leave the

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  • Jeff Koons

    IF JEFF KOONS IS SEARCHING for a position in art that “lies beyond both critique and affirmation,” as Dorothea von Hantelmann has recently argued, his lifelong pursuit has just come to an end. In a classic tabloid profile of the artist, published this May to coincide with Koons’s two sprawling Manhattan shows at David Zwirner gallery and Gagosian Gallery, New York magazine attempted to polemicize the artist’s status and recall Life magazine’s famous 1949 Jackson Pollock spread with the headline “Jeff Koons Is the Most Successful American Artist Since Warhol: So What’s the Art World Got Against

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  • Fail Safe

    “IT’S LIKE YOU’RE DEEP-SEA DIVING. It feels like a transformation that is urgent and necessary—even if it is exhausting.”

    Moira Brennan said this to me the Thursday before last at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, as we were settling into the first full day of presentations at the Creative Capital Artist Retreat at Williams College, in Williamstown, Mass. Retreat is something of a misnomer in its implication of relaxation; this year’s event, the foundation’s ninth, featured forty eight new projects from the performing arts, literature, and emerging fields, as well as recent grantees

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