• the GALA Committee

    IN A SWIFT, BRUTAL DEVELOPMENT, America has suddenly become the greatest reality show on earth, its inhabitants in peril of being thumped as if they were nothing more than a prop conference table on the Apprentice set. There is something both comforting and invigorating about revisiting an earlier era when television was television and real life was real life, and when in the space between the two—at least in one singular case—art blossomed.

    In 1995, the curators Julie Lazar and Tom Finkelpearl asked the artist Mel Chin to take part in “Uncommon Sense,” a group show at the Museum of

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  • Shock Waves: A Syllabus for the End Times


    or, A Few Thoughts About Thinking at What Might Turn Out to Be the Beginning of the End of the World

    Take a deep breath.

    I mean it.

    Take a deep breath.

    Now exhale.


    I’D LIKE TO START WITH A SIMPLE BUT EXPANSIVE ASSERTION: The fundamental epistemological problem of recent intellectual history has been the privileging of contradiction over contrariety.

    To put it simply, contradiction is an opposition between “this” and “not-this.” Only one of the two can obtain at once; only one half of a contradiction can be true at once. A contrariety, on the other hand, is an opposition

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  • On the Ground: New York


    History doesn’t graciously step aside for the new to waltz into the future. Remember how the 2016 calendar year began prematurely? Well, the untimely is the very rhythm of suicide—Chantal Akerman departed the October before last, and more heroes dropped off the further we hurtled along the narrowing line. The slow-burn view of her films, how the world looked when veiled in her stark patience, the picture never ending even after the movie was through, like a dire infection. Isn’t that how despair moves, spreading and multiplying across bodies, through the blood of trauma’s

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  • Shock Waves: Martha Rosler

    The stunning rise of nationalism, populism, and fundamentalism—and the Trump presidency—has roiled the world. How did we get here? What can art do? In concert with the December issue’s feature on THE YEAR IN SHOCK—which features pieces by Helen Molesworth, Tariq Ali, and Wendy Brown on the upheaval of political and perceptual experience as we know it— presents short reflections on post-election America and the aftershocks to come.

    Martha Rosler is an artist who lives and works in Brooklyn.

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  • Untimely Feedback

    IN MID-NOVEMBER I am asked to skype with a writing class in New York. How nice to see again, after some months of Midwest fashion drab, the eager young of NYU in their particularized plumages. Arrayed against windowless cinderblock walls, they are diffident at first, then warm up. They have read my book on 1990s punk feminism and want to talk about its relevance for today. Does it suggest any actions for the present.

    Friends have been texting me from New York. The city is in shock, they say, or mourning. We are all stunned and teary; the public is teary. It’s like after 9/11, one says, and I

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  • Mourning After: Dear Ivanka


    Much like you, we are professional women and mothers. We are, in the parlance of your lifestyle-branding Gesamtkunstwerk, #womenwhowork. We also share a set of regional values—remember the ones that Lyin’ Ted unsuccessfully mocked? The vilified bubble of New York privilege and cultural elitism that the rust-belt electoral college so passionately rebuked? Is it too pithy to say that we might have enough in common that the four of us could maybe be friends? That there might be just enough conversational fodder to at least get us through one of those tedious dinner parties?

    Maybe… if

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  • On the Ground: Istanbul

    NOT LONG AFTER FIGHTER JETS BEGAN DROPPING SONIC BOMBS, I decided to go to bed. It wasn’t my apartment.

    On July 15, 2016 the night of Turkey’s attempted coup d’état, I was at a friend’s house party in Galata. From the building’s terrace, which commands otherwise delightful views of the historic peninsula, everyone was trying to glean a hint of what was happening. When that did not work out, Twitter feeds and live TV had face-offs on multiple cell phones, only to be interrupted by worried relatives’ calls and streams of tears. On one screen, I saw President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on FaceTime with

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  • Mourning After: Marlene McCarty & Donald Moffett

    ON THE EDGE of a new world, pilgrims engage in outrage porn.

    Marlene McCarty and Donald Moffett are artists who live and work in New York.

    For more, read the December issue of Artforum: “The Year in Shock”—critics reflect on the upheaval of political and perceptual experience as we know it.

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  • Mourning After: Badlands Unlimited

    WE KEEP GETTING CALLS AND EMAILS AT THE OFFICE, TELLING US “IT’S COMPLICATED.” They say we don’t “understand them.” Be “reasonable” they say. The more ambitious ones go on to explain that while there were definitely voters who acted on racist, misogynist, and xenophobic instincts, most voted simply out of the sense that their economic hardships were being ignored.

    This is when we hang up. Or turn on the vacation responder. (Paul told us to.) If we could engage, we’d tell them that they’re right, and that’s why they’re wrong. They’re right that many voted for Trump because they believe he spoke

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  • Mourning After: Shannon Ebner

    USA IS AN IMAGE I made in in 2003. It was part of the series “Dead Democracy Letters,” 2002–2006. When suggested running something from the series it was hard to know which one to choose. Should it be Landscape Incarceration, RAW WAR, The Folding Up, The Doom—so many terrible options to choose from. When I made this image, it was prompted by an article I had read about detainees at Guantanamo Bay, particularly the children that were detained and how they were requesting books about the sea, given that they were on an island in Cuba surrounded by water, a different “scenery” from

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  • Mourning After: Wu Tsang

    In the wake of the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, artists and activists have begun to respond—and prepare for future interventions.

    TWO DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION I wrote and performed the following text, as a response to Zoe Leonard’s I want a president project on the High Line in New York City. My feelings haven’t changed much since then, although they are perhaps more palpable in daily interactions. As I’m traveling outside the US right now, a lot of people ask about Trump. Rather than respond to that question, I’d rather continue to talk about the things that mattered

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