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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Sprint Stories & the New Economy: Magic and Economy in Late Capitalism

The dream to speed up production isn’t new; it is explicitly as old as industrialization itself, and practically much older—we’ve been hacking the creation and distribution of material things since the concept of value was invented. What’s new is the hacking of decision-making itself, which has always been held as unwise to shortcut. At a time in late capitalism when many of our processes for value extraction seem to have exhausted the possibilities for raw potential material, increasingly abstract concepts are being presented as raw materials to be refined for the creation of value. Sprint highlights one of these new cases, in a conceptual model of alchemy of thought.

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Review: Stefanie Victor and Christopher Garrett at CAPITAL (Artforum)

Stefanie Victor and Christopher Garrett’s show comprises a study in restraint and bodily intimacy that is disarmingly delicate in physical scale. Using a shared language of personal ornamentation in their approaches to formal in-between states, the artists take on the aesthetics and concept of the fold as something that both covers and opens out onto something else.

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Apollo's Tree

Many of us intuit that plants are at peace. Their seeming lack of desire combined with their seeming lack of selfhood gives the impression of blithe self-sufficiency. Almost a transcendental experience: a way of being without individuality, without subjectivity, without the intentionality that comes with human consciousness and interiority. Is that impression correct?

 

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