COLUMNS

  • Marcel Broodthaers

    IT IS INCREASINGLY DIFFICULT, in a political landscape where deliberate confusion—alternative facts and fake news—holds sway, to determine precisely where the boundary between the artificial and the actual is to be drawn. Yet this seemingly contemporary condition was foreseen almost half a century ago by Marcel Broodthaers, who made this dialectic into the very substance of his practice: “When a work of art finds its condition in lies or deception, is it then still a work of art? I do not have the answer.” In a sense, this fundamental uncertainty is intrinsic to the endless staging

    Read more
  • Frank Heath

    IT IS ONE OF THE GREAT PARADOXES of our current era of mediated interconnectivity: We adopt the very same technologies used by intelligence agencies and corporations to covertly track our behavior as our primary means to communicate, to consume, and even to preserve our most intimate memories. This uneasy affinity between surveillant and surveilled provided the central theme of Frank Heath’s recent show at the Swiss Institute in New York. The duality was in fact already signaled in the show’s title, “Blue Room,” which refers to two quite different spaces: areas in prisons reserved for projecting

    Read more
  • the politics of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Running Fence

    ONE SMALL ASPECT of daily life that Donald Trump’s election has altered, perhaps irrevocably, is e-mail etiquette. Professional contacts sign off on all manner of correspondence with “In solidarity.” Announcements and invitations include the poignant yet perfunctory phrase “now more than ever.” Friends forward (and reforward) online petitions, solicitations for donations, and pleas to call Congress. Among all these missives, the most memorable I have received was a post to Change.org by the artist Luis Camnitzer: “Dear President Donald Trump: Please use this golden opportunity to commission US

    Read more
  • New World Disorder: Claudia Rankine

    The New York–based Racial Imaginary Institute examines the idea that race is a construct for all of us. Spearheaded by the poet, essayist, playwright, and 2016 MacArthur fellow Claudia Rankine, the institute plans to host exhibitions, performances, lectures, and talks. It is an antidote but not a rejoinder to the new administration in Washington, DC, because, as Rankine notes below, “Trump is not the beginning of this; he’s just a blatant manifestation of it. It was in the air for a long time.”

    Here, she discusses her plans with artforum.com managing editor Lauren O’Neill-Butler.

    LAUREN O’NEILL-BUTLER:

    Read more
  • New World Disorder: Hannah Black

    FOR MANY PEOPLE, 2016 was the year that a fantasy of progress contorted into exasperation: “I can’t believe it’s 2016 and people are still racist!” This feeling of belatedness is always beginning to give way to the evident fact that the passage of time alone, in either personal or collective historical life, is not enough to fix catastrophes. For a wound to heal, its cause has to stop. Thus transatlantic slavery, to give an important example, keeps insisting on its unhealed historical reality. An optimistic astonishment that a Black president was just as capable of presiding over drone bombings

    Read more
  • On the Ground: Athens

    ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE MOMENT: Greece is at the center of a convulsion in global capitalism. Athens, the birthplace of democratic ideals, experienced one of the earliest documented economic crises in the Western world, in the fifth century BCE. Even now, as an early warning sign of things to come for the European Union—and the epicenter of the biggest refugee crisis in history—Greece is a natural case study. Adding to the fracas is the inauguration this April of one of the world’s largest art exhibitions, Documenta 14: “Learning from Athens (Working Title),” directed by Adam Szymczyk.

    Szymczyk proposed

    Read more
  • New World Disorder: Ridykeulous

    It’s NOT What You Think It is: Banksters, Pineal Glands and Microtubules, Examined in a Meandering, Friendly, Nonlinear, Nonclinical Way (From Pineal to Penile to Penal: Western Civilization at a Glans)

    We’re all inspired by the future. Can we remember, human people, that everything is sentient? Monarch-butterfly people know it, bird people know it. And contemporary ding-dong science can’t take that away from us. Hello, PS and by the way, money doesn’t exist. Will the liberal order survive?

    Who wants to know? And what are you talking about. And survive for what? We can’t even keep a bee alive

    Read more
  • Nasty Women

    INITIALLY, I RESISTED THE PUSSY HAT, that simple, pink, knitted or crocheted rectangular stocking cap that forms “ears” with its top corners, which became, thanks to grassroots efforts gone viral, de rigueur for the Women’s March. I quietly recoiled from that playful symbol seemingly at odds with my grave and militant agenda, not to mention my personal style. (During winter, I wear a felt beret in black, burgundy, or camel.) And while I’m usually game to celebrate the beauty and valor of women’s traditional work in the home, the crafty hats rubbed salt in the wound: I’d hoped, of course, this

    Read more
  • Fire Walk with Me

    IN 1970, the Japanese photographer Takuma Nakahira was asked by a publication to respond to the topic of “urban rebellion.” He took the assignment literally, relaying the successive images that took shape in his mind:

    Urban and rebellion, somehow these words stir up an image within me that must be at night, where a fire burns bright red, as if to make the night exist all the darker. In addition, it must be filled with terror and disquiet. Described in this manner, my image of urban rebellion is very commonplace, something that can all too easily be related to any of the spectacles like that of

    Read more
  • Unpresidented Times: Suzanne Lacy and Andrea Bowers

    WE ENTERED THIS PROJECT TOGETHER to explore the aesthetic and political implications of our personal relationship. The work frames the transfer of knowledge between women as an act of resistance. Two women, two generations: Our lives and work are shaped by an unwavering commitment to justice, which encompasses not only women, but all those oppressed by the powerful. The mythologies underlying misogyny were in full evidence in the months and days leading up to the historic election on November 8, 2016, and in the subsequent results. This project embodies some ideas of performance art as developed

    Read more
  • Unpresidented Times: Kay Rosen

    Kay Rosen is an artist who lives in Gary, Indiana, and New York. A solo exhibition of her work, “Kay Rosen: H is for House,” will be on view at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, Connecticut, from March 5 to September 4, 2017.

    Read more