Dionne Lee at Interface (Artforum)

Dionne Lee’ss images respond to the genre of landscape by pointing to its roots in property ownership, colonialism, and myths of the “natural.” She aims to uncover the fraught relationship of black subjects to the American terrain, and to reconstitute it. For example, in Test for Forty Acres, 2016, she covered a swath of land in mylar blankets, a protective gesture that also resembled an act of burial or a signal to the heavens. In this show of new work, Lee shifts her focus from land to water…

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Suzanne Lacy (Artforum)

This gesture by SFMOMA points to larger issues about exhibiting performance retrospectives that otherwise run largely under the surface of “We Are Here”: What it means to experience the exhibition as a set of performances versus installations; and whether the institution is responsible for animating or recreating this kind of work in order to fully convey it to an audience who may otherwise see these performances as mere documentation of things that happened years ago, perhaps far away.

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Undesigning Disability (SFMOMA's Open Space)

… dominant cultural narratives, the kind reified in old-school exhibitions of historical Western European art, can be subverted as much by the presence of people who would have been absent when these works were first hung in salons — visitors who require different designs to enter gallery spaces and inspire different interactions with the art’s gatekeepers — as by the most critical art historians and activists.

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Isaac Julien: Playtime (Art Papers)

As clever and self-aware as Julien has ever been, Playtime  presents a study of what we now call “late capitalism” as highly produced content displayed on massive screens in an immersive installation format. Julien has been making multiscreen works since the 1990s; this recent project suggests an evolution toward work that is both more cynical and more market-friendly than his past achievements in gallery and experimental cinema contexts.

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Escuela de Arte Útil: A Proto-Institution Implementing Performance as Usefulness

...contra the YBCA’s relationship to the Escuela, many institutions are still trying to have their cake and eat it too by keeping the larger frame of the institution, designed to showcase so-called autonomous art, unchanged while trying to find creative ways to incorporate practices like Arte Útil into conceptual and physical architectures that were not designed to host them.... What would Museum 3.0—one designed to embrace user-generated, user-oriented practices—look like?

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The Algorithmic Self: Interview with Rhonda Holberton (Performa Magazine)

"After doing a bit more research, the similarities between the vanitas paintings and the source images I was recreating became really obvious to me. The vanitas painting style coincided with the height of Dutch Colonial Empire a period of accumulated capital largely based on slave labor. The paintings were popular with the mercantile class and are some of the first examples of images circulating outside of the church and noble classes, so in many ways they were examples of the first “social images.”

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Place, Space, or Backdrop: The Dilemma of Desert X, the “Coachella Biennial” (MOMUS)

The 2017 Desert X exhibition catalogue quotes Wakefield: “There was a certain kind of blankness [in Gstaad] that became the backdrop. That’s also true of the desert.” The front page of the Desert X website doubles down on this terra nullius imagery, referring twice to the desert as a “canvas” in bold caps; one onto which artists “were invited to project their vision.” This is the consistent misconstruction of the show: representing the Coachella as a void to be filled or overwritten. At best, it’s a misreading of the history and culture of the area; at worst, it’s whitewashing.

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Review: Tosha Stimage at City Limits (Artforum)

Tosha Stimage stages an analytical memorial of black mourning to address the loss of both life and meaning that accompany death turned into spectacle. The language of flowers offers an entryway into the artist’s system: Her diptych painting Vanitas (all works 2017), featuring a diving human body (reminiscent of a chalk outline) filled with collaged flowers, alongside a panel of the title, renders a Conceptualist interest in sign systems as colored by floriography and the tradition of vanitas painting. What happens when the meanings of symbols and names are forgotten or misunderstood?

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"Lives Between" at Kadist (Artforum)

This intricately composed show of work by international artists living between two places is deeply self-reflective about the ways that human habitation is fundamentally shifting before our eyes. The nomadic art world is a relatively privileged site from which to observe these shifts, but it operates on many of the same principles that dictate mass migration and population relocation: opportunity, flexibility, annual patterns of movement, and an ever-increasing economically driven need to be able to be in more than one place at a time.

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With the Logic of Vegas, the Seduction of Art: Hadar Kleiman’s Cheap Desirability in San Francisco (MOMUS)

Rather than exploring a particular locality, as with Benjamin’s historical covered shopping passageways in Paris, Kleiman resolutely pursues situations of placelessness and locations that could be anywhere: malls, casinos, airports. The spiritual seat of Premium Emporium might be a duty-free perfume boutique at a run-down international airport, or the worn paths of desire running across a casino carpet patterned to hide stains and cigarette burns. The show critically examines the mythologies of value and power that underlie such nondescript yet aspirational places where spending money is the main attraction.

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