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Home Explore ArtReview__December_2017


Published by Tridong Design, 2019-09-20 17:42:23

Description: ArtReview__December_2017


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Tomás Saraceno Art Science Life Kenan Malik on the right to appropriate

Carmen Herrera, Nocturne, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 152.4 x 152.4 cm, 60 x 60 in LONDON NEW YORK Roy Colmer 67 Lisson Street Shirazeh Houshiary Nothing is deeper than the skin Carmen Herrera 504 West 24th Street 27 Bell Street Gerard Byrne In Our Time 138 Tenth Avenue

HIROSHI SUGIMOTO london 26 october – 22 december 2017 paris 28 october – 22 december 2017 SNOW WHITE SURFACE TENSION marian goodman gallery new york paris london

Lucas Arruda Anna Bella Geiger Paloma Bosquê Bienal de Arte La Casa Encendida Contemporânea de Coimbra Madrid, Spain Coimbra, Portugal 28/09 – 31/12 2017 11/11 – 30/12 2017 Hammer Museum Daniel Steegmann Mangrané Los Angeles, USA 14e Biennale de Lyon 15/09 – 31/12 2017 Lyon, France 20/09 2017 – 07/01 2018 Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Serralves Porto, Portugal 29/09 2017 – 07/01 2018 Adriano Costa Mariana Castillo Deball Sonia Gomes Runo Lagomarsino Everyday Poetics LACMA Seattle Art Museum Los Angeles, USA Seattle, USA 20/08 2017 – 19/02 2018 18/11 2017 – 17/01 2018 Paulo Nazareth Mendes Runo Lagomarsino Wood PROSPECT.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp DM Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University New Orleans, USA Rua da Consolação 3368 18/11 2017 – 25/02 2018 01416 – 000 São Paulo SP Brazil Solange Pessoa 13 Rue des Sablons / Zavelstraat 1000 Brussels Belgium KölnSkulptur #9 Skulpturenpark Köln 60 East 66th Street, 2nd floor Köln, Germany New York NY 10065 United States 15/10 2017 – 10/07 2019 info @ Image: Paloma Bosquê


LUCIANO FABRO 30 November 2017 – 6 January 2018 London Luciano Fabro with the work Croce (1965) at the Palazzo Arte Contemporanea, Milan, 17 April 1980. © Archivio Fotografico A. Guidetti e G. Ricci.


Phillip King 29th November, 2017 3rd February, 2018 Colour on Fire 3 Duke Street St James’s Ceramics 1995 - 2017 11 Duke Street St James’s 3 & 11 Duke Street StJames’s London, SW1

ArtReview vol 69 no 9 December 2017 Piccante All the talk today is about limits and boundaries. Geographical ones around issues such as Brexit, the limits of social, moral, sexual and indeed legal modes of behaviour in everything from the fields of politics to the entertainment industry, not forgetting the social and economic sphere that surrounds the business of art. Given the nature of the transgressions that have generated this discourse, no one could object to efforts to redefine the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not. And, as impor- tantly, behaviours that should be tolerated and those that should not. Freedom of expression does not mean the freedom to harm or exploit others. Nevertheless, all this presents a tricky situation for an art magazine that has, for the last sixty-eight years, devoted itself to exploring artworks that seek to break through the boundaries and limits of normative thinking and, at times, normative behaviour and to expand notions of the personal and social potential of people living in this world. Normativity, after all, involves a submission to controls, and controls that all too often limit thought as well as actions. So this issue is dedicated to exploring the implications of that discourse in the field of cultural production. In the field of art, ArtReview’s contributors look at the way in which Tomás Saraceno escapes the limits of art as a discrete Connective tissues 11

discipline, and, at the other end of the scale, J.J. Charlesworth looks as the nature of the relationship between artworks and the character of the artist who made them. Kenan Malik explores the thorny issue of what’s known as ‘cultural appropriation’, an issue concerning who has the ‘right’ to say what about what, and who, ultimately, polices that right. It’s a debate that’s further extended into the realm of art production and criticism by Jonathan T.D. Neil in the article that follows. Alongside that are explorations of the boundary-blurring work of Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa, Carol Rhodes and Georgia Sagri. Underlying all that is a dialogue about what unites and divides us, and whether or not it is more productive, socially and aesthetically, to be focused on the former or the latter. What emerges above all else is that there are no easy answers to such questions. Different circumstances might call for different understandings of the problem. What is more impor- tant, perhaps, is that it is a discussion, however difficult or upsetting, that’s worth having. Sometimes, to borrow a turn of phrase from The Invisible Committee (see book reviews), the friction generated by a clash of different world views can be a productive thing. Certainly, in these times, such friction is something about which we should be unafraid. ArtReview Cheese 12

Members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Atlanta, Georgia, March 1963 © The Richard Avedon Foundation Richard Avedon On Nothing Personal Photographs and documents from Avedon’s 1964 book with James Baldwin November 17, 2017 – January 13, 2018 537 West 24th Street Pace Gallery & Pace/MacGill Gallery are honored NEW YORK to be representing The Richard Avedon Foundation.


ADAA THE ART SHOW 2018 February 27 – March 4, Booth D4 TANYA BONAKDAR GALLERY April – May, 2018 TOMÁS SARACENO

Art Previewed Previews Georgia Sagri by Martin Herbert Interview by Ross Simonini 25 40 Under the Paving Stones: Chicago Points of View by Sam Korman by J. J. Charlesworth, Maria Lind 33 and Aimee Lin 47 Art Featured Tomás Saraceno Power in Black and White by Mark Rappolt by Jonathan T.D. Neil 74 56 Carol Rhodes Naufus Ramírez-Figueroa by Mark Prince by Linda Taylor 64 78 The Truth about ‘Cultural Appropriation’ by Kenan Malik 70 page 78 Carol Rhodes, Bay, 1994, oil on board, 48 × 46 cm. 19 Photo: Ian Marshall/Lighthouse Photography. © the artist. Courtesy Andrew Mummery December 2017

Art Reviewed Exhibitions 86 Aaron Flint Jamison, by Yuri Stone Cajsa von Zeipel, by Jeppe Ugelvig Basquiat, by Richard Hylton Lyon Biennale, by Louise Darblay Pat Steir, by Rachel Wetzler Power and other things: Indonesia & Art (1835–Now), by Sam Steverlynck Frank Bowling, by Ashton Cooper Marc Camille Chaimowicz, by Kristian Vistrup Madsen Alexander Tovborg, by Joshua Mack Lara Schnitger, by Dominic van den Boogerd Isabel Nolan, by Martin Herbert Rachel Rose, by Cat Kron Lucio Fontana, by Barbara Casavecchia Rodrigo Valenzuela, by Wendy Vogel Scuole Romane, by Mike Watson books 114 Fiona Banner and Peter Voss-Knude, by Aoife Rosenmeyer Dark Side of the Boom: The Excesses of the Art Market Jodie Carey, by Laurie Macdonald in the Twenty-first Century, by Georgina Adam Torbjørn Rødland, by Daniel Culpan Now, by The Invisible Committee Allora & Calzadilla, by Ben Eastham Fred Forest’s Utopia, by Michael F. Leruth Sheila Hicks, by Isabella Smith Designed for Hi-Fi Living: The Vinyl LP in Midcentury America, Jack Whitten, by Gabriel Coxhead by Janet Borgerson and Jonathan Schroeder Zach Blas, by Paul Clinton thE stRiP 118 David Alekhuogie, by Aaron Horst Ad Minoliti, by Shana Nys Dambrot A CURAtoR WRitEs 122 Elaine Cameron-Weir, by Lindsay Preston Zappas Black + Brown People | White Problems, by Emily Watlington page 98 Torbjørn Rødland, Trichotillomania, 2010. Private collection 20 ArtReview

Image Courtesy of Marguerite Humeau. Photograph: Julia Andreone

Art Previewed Exterminate benevolence, discard rectitude, And the people will again be filial 23

{ICA MIAMI}Open{Dec}1 { }The }Everywhere{Studio { Dec 1, 2017 – Feb 26, 2018 Martin Kippenberger, Worktimer (Peter sculpture), 1987. Courtesy the Estate of Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. Photo: Lothar Schnepf. Institute of 61 NE 41ST Street Free Admission Contemporary Miami FL 33137 Art, Miami 305 901 5272 @icamiami

Previewed 1 Since she began exhibiting in 2005, Camille Blanche’ strand, Henrot takes on a full week Anyone suspecting, in the light of Henrot’s Henrot has frequently highlighted shaky struc- while doubling down on the digital undertow. project, that one primary role of artists today is tures of knowledge: how we apprehend reality 2 to purposefully falsify might next turn to Toyin through self-invented means, from museums Split across seven spaces in the Palais’s Ojih Odutola’s show at the Whitney, To Wander to the perfidious swamps of the Internet, to cavernous interior, Days are Dogs divides into Determined, where the Nigerian-American artist’s notions of time. Her signature work remains seven ‘days’. The week, unlike the year – though sumptuous lifesize portraits in charcoal, pastel the dazzling video Grosse Fatigue (2013), a narra- we’re leaving out a fair bit of Egyptian and and pencil – with particularly virtuosic render- tive of the universe’s creation unfolded via Babylonian inventiveness here, admittedly ings of black skin – depict two aristocratic documentation of diverse historical collections – is a manmade device built on dodgy founda- Nigerian families who never existed, framed appearing as a cascade of pop-up windows, and tions, not quite consonant with the Gregorian in aspirational interiors. Ojih Odutola is notable rapid-fire spoken word by poet Jacob Bromberg. calendar, and seamed with residual mythology. in part for her hypermodern career path: she’s For the New York-based French artist’s show In Henrot’s update, each day gains a presiding come up using social media, has been champi- last year in Rome, meanwhile, bronze sculp- hashtag and each room mixes and recombines oned by musicians like Solange, and had her tures – a sad figure from a Boticelli, a losing works by her and her artist friends, so that work featured in the background of the TV show athlete, a drooping figure weeping while star- – for example – Wednesday becomes less the Empire (2015–). But she’d be a standout figure ing at a smartphone – embodied the disorderly day consecrated to Woden or Mercury, or more for her drawings alone – pointedly presented and downcast qualities we associate with lately ‘Hump Day’, and more associated with here in a free-entry area of the museum – which Monday, most people’s least-loved day. Now, whatever contingent objects and images she deftlycontestclichésof blackservitudeandreani- taking her turn in the Palais de Tokyo’s ‘Carte and her coterie have assembled there. The Palais mate the notion of the artwork as conversation de Tokyo, please note, is closed on Tuesdays. 2 Toyin Ojih Odutola, Wall of Ambassadors, 2017, charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper, 102 × 76 cm. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York 1 Camille Henrot, Days are Dogs, 2017 (installation view). Photo: Aurélien Mole. © ADAGP, Paris. Courtesy the artist and Kamel Mennour, Paris; König Galerie, Berlin; and Metro Pictures, New York December 2017 25

piece, not least due to the ambiguities that swirl Part of the pleasure when Grassie debuts a new which she took up a residency at a glass studio around her group portraits. series is in the traditionalist thrill of his art’s in the Oregonian city, her adopted hometown. More true lies: since he left the Royal College high-grade fidelity; part of it is surprise, since Yet this show, The People’s Cries, with its brightly 3 of Art in 1990, Andrew Grassie’s painterly he’s an artist who seems to design culs-de-sac coloured, semiabstract and, yes, sloppy fused- approach has evolved from sedulously copying for himself and then, somehow, always reverses glass pieces – including two 12m-long skylights his own juvenilia, to painstakingly rendering out of them (if only into a new one.) – is also tinctured with the daily in other ways. gallery spaces, to the seven paintings in this 4 Jessica Jackson Hutchins’s ‘sloppy craft Sandwiched between a multicoloured glass show, which initially appear to be documenta- assemblages’, as the authors of her Wikipedia distension and its ceramic base is the written tions of artists’ studios. Certainly they’re page call them, have long linked to her life: phrase ‘General Strike’, while further works based on photographs, and certainly Grassie’s she’s repurposed her old couches and homely (and the show’s title) refer to punk, upraised fists eye-straining facture in gouache suggests verisi- ceramics, and when she became a parent her and opposition movements both historical and militude. But the wry Scot in fact set up these children’s clothes started showing up in her art. contemporary. Hutchins’s everyday, then, is the workspaces in his own studio before docu- That she’s now occupied with stained glass might same fissuring one we’re all grinding through, menting them, presenting them as the lairs naturally be traced to her biography therefore; though maybe she sees it in brighter colours. of a succession of imaginary artists: spaces in and sure enough, last year Hutchins visited 5 Lesley Vance began as a painter of still lifes which, ironically given the man-hours Grassie an abandoned Christian Science church while whose process was gradually to work towards puts into rendering them, no work appears location scouting for her participation in the 2016 abstraction, closing down figurative references to be going on. A surface truth, then, yet the Portland Biennial. She ended up filling in three in taut, modestly scaled canvases until the epistemological ground beneath is weak. missing panels in the church’s glass oculus, after image ceased to register, the painting a record 3 Andrew Grassie, Studio Proposal 2, 2017, tempera on paper on board, 24 × 31 cm (framed). © the artist. Courtesy Maureen Paley, London 4 Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Daughter, 2017, glass, steel armature, ceramic base, 147 × 64 × 48 cm. Photo: Object Studies. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York 5 Lesley Vance, Untitled, 2017, oil on linen, 79 × 61 × 3 cm. Courtesy the artist and Xavier Hufkens, Brussels 26 ArtReview

6 Richard Jackson, La Palette, 2016–17, wood, steel, fibreglass, paint, 279 × 488 × 488 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie GP & N Vallois, Paris 7 Zied Ben Romdhane, West of Life, 2014–16. © the artist of its mutation away from depiction. During instance, to make a painting one doesn’t need Germain bar La Palette – the name being not the last three years, though, the forty-year-old a canvas or any kind of flat support, or a brush. irrelevant, nor to its curvilinear shape – in an Milwaukeean appears to have had a revelation: 6 One just needs paint. Richard Jackson, who ‘homage to the old and kitsch world of the hey, why not just make abstractions in the first as his French gallery puts it ‘considers that the painter and his easel’. The bar is mechanised, place. As her third exhibition at Xavier Hufkens nice couple made up of the paintbrush and the and randomly sprays paint around the gallery; showcases, Vance now freely improvises awhile painting is a commonplace’, and whose rebarba- the title, delineating the act, is The French Kiss. and then responds to that, leading to luminous, tive antics inspired a generation of West Coast looping compositions in jewel-box colours: artists, has demonstrated this since the early At this point, we realise we’ve been banging viewers wanting something to grip onto might 1970s. He’s used windscreen wipers to apply on about painting for much of this column. We’re note allusions to a wealth of earlier painters, paint; also doors, and a Vespa’s wheels. He’s not sorry – painting’s the best – but let’s switch from Hans Arp to Georgia O’Keeffe to Hilma made sculptures from painterly apparatus 7 media. Over in Mali, the Bamako Encounters af Klint, while those who need narrative can and sprayed and thrown paint onto all manner is opening its 11th edition since 1994, which try tracing back Vance’s intricate conundrums of objects – including, in his impishly monu- means photography, and in this case photography to the chancy place where they began, and mental series of Bad Dog works, the facades under the rubric of Afrotopia, aimed at coun- those who want sheer lyrical complexity can of museums, over which said Clifford-sized tering the Westernisation of Africa by focusing proceed without caution. canine is seen splashing piss-yellow paint. on cultural contributions arising from within Now, following (apparently) several years of the continent. Expect, then, a monographic Contemporary art history, of course, brims ‘consideration’, he’s reconstructing the Saint show for octogenarian London-based Ghanaian with little eureka moments like Vance’s. For photojournalist James Barnor, who – aside from December 2017 27

8 Otto Berchem, Swept Away, 2017, acrylic on brooms, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist and Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam 9 Shaun Gladwell, 1000 Horses, 2017, production still. Courtesy the artist and SCAF, Sydney pioneering work documenting Africans in the a midair cascade – basically a mobile – of falling in Bogota, Berchem is concerned with centre and UK – went back to Ghana and introduced colour processing there. Other projects include Justin coloured papers that, neatly, could be read periphery and lopsided power structures, and his Davy’s exploration of African music since independence, and Nigerian curator Azu as relating to either of their codified practices. revisions might be seen as a symbolic claiming Nwagbogu’s show dedicated to Afrofuturism. It recalls Pica’s interest in painful bureaucratic of agency; when, as here, he takes a well-known You can learn a lot of arcana about codes 8 from Otto Berchem. Did you know that processes and turns an earlier videowork by work like André Cadere’s multicoloured sticks American hobos had a set of signs for each other, Berchem – Revolver (Universidad Nacional) (2013) and recasts them as brooms, he at once activates eg a triangle meant a homeowner had a gun, a circle with two parallel arrows meant ‘scarper, – into a sculpture, while the title points to the the political-metaphorical meanings of the hobos not welcome’? The Connecticut-born, Bogota-based Berchem used this language politics underwriting the latter’s work. A while cleaning implement – new broom, sweeping for a 2005 work in the Istanbul Biennial, and the interest in hierarchy wasn’t a one-off. Earlier ago, Berchem created a chromatic alphabet, away corruption, etc – pointing, à la ‘mobilise’, this year he made a work with Amalia Pica, Mobilize (2017): a punning sculpture rendering drawing on sources including the writings of to the necessity of dissent and of reshaping the Jorge Adoum and Vladimir Nabokov (who had balance of power, while, as ever, filtering it synaesthesia), and Peter Saville’s sleeve designs through eye-catching aesthetics. for the first three New Order albums. In his fifth 9 A red thread through Shaun Gladwell’s show at Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Dive for Dreams, career has been ‘horse substitutes’ – cars, motor- Berchem partly continues a project of recoding bikes, skateboards – as well as heroism, mascu- iconic artworks through this alphabet, but his linity and war. The Australian artist has, among project isn’t a quixotic one. As an American living other projects, spent extended periods in his 28 ArtReview

Richard Mosse still from Incoming 2015–16 (detail) three channel black and white high definition video, surround sound, 52 min 10 sec (looped) NGV.MELBOURNE Co-commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne and the Barbican Art Gallery, London. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Purchased with funds donated by Christopher Thomas AM and Cheryl Thomas, Jane and Stephen Hains, Vivien Knowles, Michael and Emily Tong and 2016 NGV Curatorial Tour donors, 2017 © Richard Mosse courtesy Jack Shainman Gallery, New York and carlier|gebauer, Berlin PRESENTED BY PRINCIPAL PARTNER MAJOR PARTNERS DEC 15 – APR 15 2018 A MAJOR PRESENTATION OF GLOBAL ART AND DESIGN ONLY AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF VICTORIA MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

country’s desert to make his series Maddest- life-cycle, and a 3D print of a damaged Roman the body and the image. (Alongside, clearly, the fact that we all move too fast and don’t stop maximus (2009), which involved Gladwell car- equestrian sculpture, shifting the emphasis to smell the roses.) At K20, smartly matched to the cool gratifications of the museum’s concur- surfing, ie riding on the outside of a moving – appropriately, given Gladwell’s outlook – rent retrospective of Carmen Herrera, she’s pre- senting a variant on STAGING (2017). Initially vehicle; and, for the 2016 video Skateboarders from domineering warrior to sacrificial equine. performed at this year’s Documenta, it’s a solo of movements by Hassabi subsequently imparted vs Minimalism, commissioning pros to skate And lastly, from galloping to, well, not: we to a quartet of dancers who, art historian/critic Rachel Haidu has written, ‘multiply her, frac- on exact replicas of minimalist artworks 10 all get slower as we get older, but Maria Hassabi turing a solo into multiple parts that can now touch one another, repel or entwine’. What’s (to a Philip Glass soundtrack, naturally). has ambled ahead of the curve. After debuting being ‘done’, here, is sometimes no more than breathing – which, incidentally, is what Now, though, Gladwell’s dealing with actual in early-to-mid 2000s New York with perfor- Duchamp said he was ‘doing’ for the latter part of his career (even if it wasn’t quite true). steeds. 1,000 Horses, being shown in Tel Aviv, mance works that consciously tapped the residual Any sluggards looking to defend their inertia, here’s your line. Martin Herbert appropriately links Israel and Australia, refer- energy of the downtown scene (graffiti backdrops encing the century-old Battle of Beersheba, by Dash Snow’s crew, a focus on fashion), the in which the 4th and 12th Australian Light Horse Cyprus-born artist has since decelerated wildly. Brigades and the Allies, defeated the Ottomans Nowadays her works, performable anywhere – an event that triggered the British rule of from theatres to Wall Street to the atria and Palestine, and is thought to be the last major staircases of MoMA (for PLASTIC, 2016), constitute battle involving soldiers on horseback. The successions of glacially morphing poses, barely works here, though, focus on the horses: videos mobile tableaux vivant; and indeed Hassabi’s and virtual-reality photographs of the horse’s central interest is in the relationship between 10 Maria Hassabi, STAGING, 2017. Photo: Fred Dott. © Kunstsammlung NRW 1 Camille Henrot 4 Jessica Jackson Hutchins 8 Otto Berchem Palais de Tokyo, Paris Boesky East, New York Ellen de Bruijne Projects, Amsterdam through 22 December through 7 January through 23 December 2 Toyin Ojih Odutola 5 Lesley Vance Whitney Museum, New York Xavier Hufkens, Brussels 9 Shaun Gladwell through 25 February Tel Aviv Museum of Art through 16 December 3 Andrew Grassie through 24 February Maureen Paley, London 6 Richard Jackson Galerie Georges-Philippe 10 Maria Hassabi through 7 January & Nathalie Vallois, Paris K20, Düsseldorf 9 December – 21 January 30 through 23 December 7 11th Bamako Encounters Bamako through 31 January ArtReview

oude kerk Na Christian Boltanski 24 Nov 2017 – 29 Apr 2018

Under the Paving Stones Chicago plays the long game by Sam Korman Taking credit above Graham Foundation below Cauleen Smith at the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago is a slow city, a fact you’ll no doubt come to understand sit- ting in the back of an Uber or Lyft or Juno. It sounds OK at first. But 33 you’ll soon begin to measure the distance between neighbourhoods in exhibitions you don’t get to see, and you’ll watch as your afternoon tally dwindles to a measly one or two. At this point, you will have spent several days in the Rust Belt, and you’ll be confronted with the uncanny feeling that you’re stuck in traffic in your own hometown. It’s for this reason that you may come across a used-car dealership at the corner of N Western Ave and N Iowa Street. Maybe you’ve just visited a few galleries in Ukrainian Village or you’re on your way to the hardscrabble artist-run spaces in Garfield Park. You are, without doubt, stuck at the crowded intersection, waiting on your second red light. (I hope it is not winter when this happens.) Only a dozen or so cars will fill the modest corner property, and apart from the large neon prices that have been scrawled with purpose across each vehicle’s windscreen, there will be little to distinguish the random assortment. There will be no mistaking the messages of other signage, however, such as, ‘Bad Credit’, ‘Good Credit’, ‘No Credit’, ‘Instant Credit’, though other attempts at candour will not offer the same reassurance. You won’t like the sound of ‘Used OK’d Cars’. You will settle on a half-truth as the answer to how this place survives: audacity is what the used-car man is known for. Your mind will begin to stray to the other details of the last few days, when the thought might return to you that Chicago was named by Bon Appétit magazine 2017’s ‘Restaurant City of the Year’. Finding the through-line In your perambulations, you will finally arrive at Human_3.0 Reading List, Chicago-based artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith’s exhibition with the Art Institute of Chicago. It has the best name of any exhi- bition you’ve seen in years, but what actually marks the show as crucial is the fact that Smith chose this high-profile opportunity to exhibit drawings she has made of books. ‘Love. Resist. Read on. Right on,’ Smith intones in the small catalogue that accompanies the show. It’s easy to pigeonhole the series as an essential reading list; no doubt necessary reading, it’s the supple depictions of these well-read volumes that permit new imaginative leaps between their themes. While you might already count The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965), coauthored by Malcolm X and Alex Haley, or Grapefruit (1964) by Yoko Ono as part of your library, add in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991) by Donna Haraway, Citizen: An American Lyric (2014) by Claudia Rankine and Inferno (2010) by Eileen Myles – a curriculum comes into view. And what kind of theoretical para- digm are you able to build by the time you include Dhalgren (1975) by Samuel R. Delany, Yearning: race, gender, and cultural politics (1990) December 2017

by bell hooks, Young, British & Black: A monograph on the work of Sankofa Film/Video Collective and Black Audio Film Collective (1988) by Coco Fusco and an anomalous instruction manual about the weather? Occasionally, Smith depicts her own hand: in her rendition of The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin’s 1963 dire open letter to his nephew, she holds the recognisable paperback edition to show us its spine. The act of drawing seems to have given Smith the extra time to think about each book. Realised during 2015–16, the series spans genres, with 57 books on view. Who’s reality are you? Gerald Williams was a founding member of AfriCOBRA, a Chicago- based movement that operated throughout the late 1960s and into the 70s. Their name stood for ‘African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists’; composed of African American artists, its art was intended above Gerald Williams at Kavi Gupta Gallery above left David Hartt at the Graham Foundation below Ken Ellis at Boyfriends above right Jennifer Packer at The Renaissance Society 34 to unite the black community around a pan-African aesthetic. A selection of Williams’s paintings from the 1960s to today at Kavi Gupta shows why the movement’s impact radiated, and was so quickly adopted beyond Chicago. Early paintings are wily and affirmative: for Say It Loud (1969), the work’s title provides the bold backdrop against which three afro-haired figures come into focus. And there is a wild exuberance to the collection of traditional African patterns that comprise the portrait My Parents (1975). Williams’s later work would become more meditative, characterised by a pointillist style that would appear like a form of shamanic divination. The sense of space in Nostalgia (2007), Fragmentary Apparitions #2 (2010) and Looking Out On the Morning Rain (2014) does not belong to the earthly plane. In Portrait Y (1970s–1990s), more pointillist patterns ebb and flow around the head of an adolescent figure. Accessibility and impact were foundational to AfriCOBRA’s politics, and these paintings share the same meticu- lous beauty with a more populist medium like textiles, directly resembling West African fabric patterns and weavings. In a message painted at the bottom of Portrait Y, Williams ponders: “IF YOU ARE NOT A MYTH THEN WHO’S REALITY ARE YOU? IF YOU ARE NOT A REALITY THEN WHO’S MYTH ARE YOU?” ArtReview

Tending bar and quilting swastikas below above Tribune Tower facade, detail Five Rooms by Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner What you will have failed to realise when you first visited Ken Ellis’s Selected Works: 2006 to the Present at Boyfriends, especially if you at the Chicago Architecture Biennial are new to Chicago, is that the artist is a local folk hero. People will be quick to tell you, however, and there’s a lot of evidence to back 35 it up. First: Ken works in that archetypal American folk medium: quilts. His puffy, hand-embroidered textiles capture typical scenes of American violence and capably spin them into epics. Police abuse against African Americans in a handful of smaller panels clearly resonates with a depiction of the murder of a Native American at the hands of nineteenth-century military guards. Two quilts hone in on symbols of white supremacy – Klansmen, Hitler Youth, Skinheads – the terrifying truth of which comically substan- tiates with the soft-stitched homeliness of decorative swastikas. You might be told that Ken is a bartender at a local favourite bar. A 1999 article in Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly paper, confirms the fact, and provides further support of his myth: he learned sewing from his dad and picked up the tools of his trade along the way; he dropped out of college, he’s been working in bars since the 1990s, he’s into punk. Chicago is where many artists get educated (the School of the Art Institute is one of the country’s most popular art schools, and the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago are represented by influential arts faculty), and, though Ken’s work stands alone, hardly in need of any biographical buttressing, his story will be perennially popular with wayfaring young artists seeking to confirm an inviolable idealism or to substitute it for their own developing character. One way or the other, Ken’s story offers reassurance. We come back to our folk heroes because we need them. There is a bizarre resemblance between Jennifer Packer’s exhibi- tion Tenderheaded at The Renaissance Society and David Hartt’s in the forest at the Graham Foundation. In both shows, lush plants and foliage are a vibrant counterpoint to bodies in repose. Packer’s flowers are her secret weapon, and in the portrait Graces (2017), which depicts a man reclining in a reading room, plants not only offer a memento mori, their slumping plumage presents an emotional foil for the figure’s contemplative state. Hartt, on the other hand, turns his attention to architecture, and studies the abandoned 1968 mod- ernist housing development Habitat Puerto Rico. The HD video in the forest (2017) scrutinises the skeletal concrete remains of architect Moshe Safdie’s ultimately unfinished project in the Hato Rey neighbourhood of San Juan. Hartt portrays the building as a mausoleum for foliage. When building became theory The Chicago Architecture Biennial, ambiguously titled Make New History, packs its primary venue, the ornate Chicago Cultural Center, with site-specific installations, photographic documentation, experi- mental films, material studies, architectural models, scholarly research and diagrams, artworks, proposals for other biennials and several microexhibitions. Five Rooms (2017), an architectural interven- tion by Paul Andersen and Paul Preissner, sums up the show (and had me in stitches). Using the ultragross tiles typical to convention centres, they built four partitions into an awkward ground-floor section of the building, making little to no improvement, but none- theless subdividing the space into five semifunctional ‘galleries’, including space for another contributor’s photographs. Comically, it isn’t clear where the exhibit starts and the building ends. The top floor of the exhibition revisits an architecture competi- tion from 1922 for the design of the new headquarters of the Chicago December 2017

Tribune. By the time the original competition closed, the newspaper had received so many proposals that it was determined they should be exhibited. A turning point in the field of architecture, the travel- ling exposition shifted emphasis from the building to the concept, laying the groundwork for the more theoretically driven world of architecture, and its metamorphosis into what today resembles a social science. Though other galleries offer a hodgepodge of displays, this historical turning point would suffice as the biennial’s theme, I would guess, and in this instance, various architects and studios were asked to reinterpret some of the original proposals in the form of five-metre-tall models, on view here. Later that afternoon, I had a look at the actual neo-gothic building that had won the competition (designed by New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood). Since it was completed, real fragments from various historical buildings have been embedded into this edifice. With a stone from the Great Pyramid, marble from the Parthenon, a decorative element from Notre Dame and a brick from the Great Wall, among other bona fide landmarks, the building itself comprises a unique architec- tural compendium. above Chicago Architecture Biennial above top Diane Simpson, Study for Sombrero, 1995 below View of Marina City above middle Thomas Grünfeld, Misfit (pheasant/goat), 2009 above bottom Margot Bergman, Untitled (Red Hot), 2010 Tiny, tacky, runty You could see Corbett vs. Dempsey’s exhibition as a sendup of the architecture biennial’s grandiosity. Titled Small Sculpture, it presents just that. The following may offer a satisfactory enough description: tiny Richard Artschwager, tiny Rachel Harrison, tiny Carol Bove, tiny Mike Kelley, tiny Dieter Roth, tiny Joe Brainard, tiny Joyce Pensato. Is Diane Simpson the best sculptor in the United States? The dinky Study for Sombrero (1995), a complex maquette Simpson conjured from MDF and tacky polyester batting, still confirms her inimitable ability to completely mystify any space she works in. To encounter Thomas Grünfeld’s hybrid taxidermy Misfit (pheasant/goat) (2009) will magi- cally alter your mood for the rest of the day. And try not to melt when you see Margot Bergman’s Untitled (Red Hot) (2010), a smiling, runty little rabbit-like quadruped that can’t help but seem happy to see you. The degree to which you enjoy this exhibition would depend on how many times you say to yourself, “It me”. 37

above left Ayesha Singh and Misael Soto at Acre Warning: neighbourhood art organisation above right Jesse Malmed pin below Malmed’s Western Pole You might not know what to make of an outdoor installation at Acre, All photographs by the author a residency programme headquartered in Pilsen (the actual residen- cies primarily take place in Wisconsin). Artists Ayesha Singh and Misael Soto (a former resident) have obscured 60 percent of the building’s facade with a largescale reproduction of the building itself. Printed on vinyl and mounted to a hulking set of steel scaffolding, the entire scene is rendered even more bizarre when you consider this redundant billboard against the rest of the street, which is rather residential. You might also wonder about the permits involved, the rental agreements signed, the answers they had to provide to their suppliers; the conversations you might imagine the artists and curator had with officials will start to overshadow petty concerns about meaning. That it happened at all, having passed through these civic and commercial channels, confirms its relevance. They already convinced those they needed to convince. At this point, the installation performs a seemingly simple operation to notify residents that there’s an art organisation in their neighbourhood. Mounted to the scaffolding were the only exhibition didactics I saw at any art institution presented in both English and Spanish. An audience of one or two Back at the intersection of N Western Ave and N Iowa Street, you might also notice, on the northwestern corner, Western Pole, an ongoing project by my friend Jesse Malmed, who tapes or staples a new flier to the same electrical pole every month. It’s next to a bus stop, and the idle commuters are probably the only people who have noticed the fliers at all. To give an example of what they would see: ‘You need to speak with me. –Dad’, reads a contribution from Fontaine Capel; or ‘Wet Pain’ by Hope Esser. I was lucky to witness Patrick ‘Q’ Quilao’s contribution: an advertisement for the ‘Who Shot Mr. Burns?’ episode of The Simpsons, which originally aired 17 September 1995. A joke is being played on someone, though admirers will tend to possess a paranoid sense of humour and a heavy predilection for puns. ‘Passersby’ is how Jesse himself would describe the intended audience of the works anyway. He clearly takes joy in the strange and absurd, a quality inspired by Fluxus and New Media artists of the 1960s and 70s; as with his predecessors, Jesse finds it is equally imperative to be responsive to the immediate concerns and conversa- tions of his community. He has written, ‘My favorite bands are still my friends, because I’m still here for possibility.’ In his roles as an artist, filmmaker, educator and curator, he possesses the gravitas of a goofy rabbi. Jesse, together with his longtime partner, curator Raven Munsell, operated Trunk Show (2013–16), a multiyear series of happenings that involved artist-designed bumper stickers for their car (the project ended naturally when their car finally failed to start). It’s their particular brand of humour that makes Jesse and Raven posterchil- dren for Chicago: together they measure the success of an artwork in incidents of joy and befuddlement, and that art should imbue a city with an awkward sense of wonder. Two additional details about Western Pole deserve mention: one, the name is a pun on Western Exhibitions, another longstanding local exhibition space; and two, it used to be located on a pole in front of the used-car dealership, until Jesse began to suspect the fliers were being removed. Sam Korman is associate editor of ArtReview 38 ArtReview

FBA Futures The pick of recent art graduates from across the UK 9 to 20 January 2018 The Mall, London SW1 Sponsored by Image: Aiden Milligan Between the Pines (detail) Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres and workshop, Odalisque in Grisaille (detail), about 1824-34 © The Metropolitan Museum of Art / Art Resource / Scala, Florence Until 18 February 2018 Pre-book online and save Members go free #Monochrome Exhibition Logistics Partner Exhibition organised by the National Gallery in collaboration with Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf

Interview Georgia Sagri “It’s almost like we try again and again to assume that we are all on the same planet. No, we are not all on the same planet” by Ross Simonini Attempt. Come., 2016, performance, duration 20h, Documenta 14, Athens. Photo: Stathis Mamalakis. Courtesy the artist 40 ArtReview

Georgia Sagri’s multifarious work for Documenta and museums and onto the street, a gesture its place in contemporary capitalist culture. 14 involved dozens of sculptures, a short film, of social and political engagement that has She often pushes her own body to its limits, a manifestolike text and a variety of perfor- been present since Sagri’s early works, some usually through exhaustive, repeated move- mances in multiple countries. All of these of which were a part of the Occupy Wall Street ments – twitching, jarring facial expressions, activities, collectively titled Dynamis (2017), movement. In Polytechnic (1999) she stood in screaming, crying – and to do so she has revolve around an approach to the body she a glass cage, wrapped in bandages to commem- drawn upon the manners of a used-car sales- has been developing for years, and which, for orate studio protests in Athens, and in The New man, Bruce Lee, ancient drumming rituals the first time, she here attempted to “transmit” Kind (2003), a video for the Athens Biennial, she and iPod commercials. in a series of workshops over eight months to crawled through city streets with bound hands 200 people. In action, this training manifests and feet. Born, raised and still partly living For the following interview, I Skyped as something like a Dada event, a dance in Athens, she has said of the city that ‘every with Sagri, who was in Athens for the final rehearsal and an acting class, with a group time you go out for a walk there is a protest. days of Documenta 14. of participants she refers to as a chorus It’s impossible to not be politically involved.’ (as in Greek theatre). Pairs of people walk, Ross simonini What have you been teaching run, hum, count, crouch, dance, yell and chant, “When these two groups in your workshops? and at the centre is Sagri, a demanding, fastid- of people met, they started ious conductor who speaks in half-direct, crying, because they realised GeoRGia saGRi The point of the workshops half-ambiguous commands: “Concentrate they were doing almost the was to share my practice, which is primarily on the breathing,” she says. “Not on what you same movements – without based on physical and mental exercises that are supposed to be while you are doing this!” me directing anyone, without I’ve been developing and practising by myself in solitude for ten years now. It was not an easy At one point the workshop was open me trying to impose process, as it was the first time that I was actually to the public, and audience members could any choreography” sharing this very personal practice with others. engage in dialogue with Sagri. Her work I had to find ways to transmit, and at the same has often encouraged viewer participation, Her sculptures, too, are performative. time to observe how it affects other bodies and such as Art Strike (2013), performed at the For her work Unethical Nests (2011) she strapped help those bodies to adjust to the training, Lyon Biennale, in which audience members plastic dog transporters under the Brooklyn– as well as to find individuals willing to partici- were brought, one by one, to stand onstage Queens Expressway in New York. For Dynamis, pate in a six-day nonstop performance with me. until all the seats were empty. she created blown-glass ‘scores’ of the breathing At the opening of Documenta 14 in Athens the and counting practices in her workshops. workshop was open to the public, and a group Most of Sagri’s work orbits around perfor- of 20 stayed to be part of the performance in June mance, and yet she dislikes the term and usu- Whatever her chosen media, Sagri’s work – during the opening of Documenta in Kassel. ally attempts to twist its parameters, especially offers an intense and sometimes humorous those related to space and time. Many of her exploration of the human body, especially Rs Who took part in the workshops? works take place over long, unbroken periods. Dynamis occurred ‘simultaneously and in Dynamis, Breathing score I’n (detail), 2017, handblown Gs Many different people – artists, dancers, continuum’ in both Athens and Kassel for six glass, steel, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist actors, sociologists, anthropologists, writers, days this last June, with performers moving musicians, singers and students of the schools slowly, deliberately and in strikingly unusual and Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London of the arts from Kassel and Athens. Most of them ways among Documenta’s attendees. The were very enthusiastic and curious about perfor- performance also spilled out of the galleries mance art, and some wanted to go through the workshop to learn more about performance December 2017 41

Soma in orgasm; as leg, as hand, as brain, as ear, as heart, as breast, as sex, 2017 (installation view, Documenta 14, Athens). Photo: Angelos Giotopoulos. Courtesy the artist and Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London 42 ArtReview

but also its relation and connection to their field to acquire and understand the unique qualities have – still – the representation of the master, of interest. For example, the dancers were very that each of us carry; that is, in my opinion, servant, woman, man, the representation of the much interested in breathing exercises, and taking care of the self. Which for me at least difference between animal and man. many of them benefited from the training is also the base, the foundation, for the medium to realise basic mechanics of the skeleton, of performance. Or any kind of medium of What I’m trying to do with my work is the posture and diaphragm. But it wasn’t only using the body as primal material. to establish a field that doesn’t have fixed roles. for me to teach someone a fixed method, but I’m starting from very basic things, from under- to be able to continue developing it myself. Rs Because you feel that, ultimately, mastery standing the mechanics of the body, appreci- is just imitation? ating the variety of organisms. On the other Rs This sort of self-training, do you apply it to hand, because I’m working with this body, every one of your performances? Gs Because mastery has been the foundation with my body, I need to analyse and understand of what we call the ‘nation-state’. The perfor- it socially, physically and mentally. And in order Gs Exactly, because it is a training, it has ming arts were created to support the idea to do that I create tools, tricks, training for no endpoint. It can be a preparation for any of representation through reproduction. myself to go along with an activity that exposes performance but also it can stay as training. specific parameters of time and space. With “The orgasmic force is the performance, we assume there is already a form Rs And the workshop is a training for anybody space and time we can give to that is presented. No, that’s performing arts. interested in movement. each other to understand our What I’m trying to say is that with performance, differences, where we actually we acquire the capacity to be ready to perform. Gs In understanding their bodies, basically. understand what needs to be Understanding their physical capacities, transformed. It’s also the political Rs How is that capacity achieved? and the individual and unique characteristics they carry. Because each person has very specific or social moments that we Gs For Documenta 14 there was a particular and unique capacities and conditions, the understand as revolutions” trajectory that this piece was trying to grasp. way we experience the world is very different. That is, how to create a sociality. And this action The performer is representing the citizen happened at the same time in both cities, Athens It’s almost like we try again and again onstage, and the characters that support and Kassel. Dynamis was a priori taking place to assume that we are all on the same planet. existing hierarchies, and this in my opinion in the same field – even if it was happening in No, we are not all on the same planet. This has already happened a lot. We have mastered two different cities, the piece was constructed as planet holds many different planets, many performing. We have mastered reproducing happening in one place, in one field, in one different organisms that are really totally figures, but we haven’t acquired the tools and space. It was a very difficult task because – and different from each other and experiencing analyses and training of beings. Because when that’s the reason why this training was neces- this place in a totally different way. So I have you have representation, you have also partic- sary – the people that participated in the to be okay with that. ular roles. So for example, in the theatre, you performance had to actually do these actions for six days nonstop, they had to not only physically Most of the time, we’re trying to adapt Dynamis (detail), 2017, 28 sculptures, ten breathing scores, prepare but they also had to admit to themselves to something that we see, and we try to mimic, and performances for Documenta 14, Kassel. that they can do something that they don’t and the better we do this, the more we form © and courtesy the artist necessarily believe logically. It doesn’t work for our bodies and qualities. But each person has them logically. But then it works for them their own conditions and their own capacities emotionally. And when these two groups of to exist and experience everything, so I under- people met in Kassel on the last day of the work, stand training as a way to abandon this idea of mastery – mimicking someone – in order December 2017 43

Polytechnic, 1999, performance in the streets of Athens. Photo: Dimitris Diakoumopoulos. Courtesy the artist 44 ArtReview

they started crying, because they realised they careful in this – understanding our heartbeats, Gs I don’t present the training. I’m training. were doing almost the same movements our breathing, our walking, our gestures. The training is to be trained. That’s it. Like – without me directing anyone, without me in music: to be able to make a note sound, trying to impose any choreography. And they Rs You began as a musician. you need to work and train for many years. were doing them because they were coexisting For some people at some point, they have a in the same field of sociality, of space and time. Gs I was trained as a musician from the age sound. Others don’t. That doesn’t mean that of five.  they haven’t trained. They have been trained. Rs You have said that this work orbits around And that’s the beautiful part – that you train the concept of orgasm. Is this the central idea? Rs Do you think of your work as rooted in music? to make the sound, but it doesn’t mean that it’s going to sound. But the whole training, Gs Dynamis was the central character: Dynamis Gs My work is rooted in understanding the whole calibration of the listening, the is orgasmic force, not exactly strength, and the score’s function during the performance position, the everyday need to work on the not exactly power. The force that makes people of a piece. That’s how I got more interested sound to make it sound – that’s the whole transform, change their lives – personally but in visual arts. point, not to make the sound. The way that also socially. So, it’s not the orgasm of sexual I’m working doesn’t have an end, it doesn’t intercourse, it’s the orgasmic force, which makes Rs What kind of music were you trained in? have a Beethoven. people come together and change the course of their lives. The orgasmic force is the space Gs Classical cello. Rs You seem to resist hierarchy in general. and time we can give to each other to under- stand our differences, where we actually Rs The term ‘score’ suggests music. Gs Yes. I’m really not very comfortable understand what needs to be transformed. with hierarchies. It’s also the political or social moments that Gs For me, it was the opposite of musical we understand as revolutions. scoring. I was observing the breathing, Rs But you embrace structure. and I was giving it a reality in blown glass. Rs This work was performed in the street. The breathing was scoring me. Gs Structure is not hierarchy. Structure For you, does this make the work a form of social is part of the creative force, the chaos, which activism, where you’re trying to engender some Rs A documentation. is surrounding us. We try to make sense kind of social engagement? of it. We try to create a trajectory of our own Gs But this documentation, all of it is in the path and our own understanding of what Gs I will say that it is a training of emotional field of art. You know, we don’t just make tools this chaos is. That’s not hierarchy. This is the capacity that can be shared. And that capacity that actually work. Some tools are also there base for creation. If I was assuming every- can create a field of understanding and imag- to not work. [Laughs] Which is very good! thing around me was fine, I wouldn’t have ining another way, another space, another Because we don’t have someone to tell us, any need to make sense of it, to make time. A common time. The participants, “Oh, it’s not working”. something out of it. I’m interested in the the performers and myself, we tried to touch moment when the chaos takes form and that moment. Rs You think of your training as something that materialises. doesn’t have to work, as well? Rs Are you breathing in prescribed ways for the work? Ross Simonini is an artist, writer, musician Gs Of course! Yeah, of course.  and documentarian based in New York Gs When I’m using the performance as a and California medium, I don’t assume, “Okay, I’m breathing”. Rs It’s just something that you present, and then It’s a privilege. It’s better to be a little bit more after that there’s no intention with it? Dear all, 2013, performance at the Musée d’Art Contemporain de Lyon. Photo: Blaise Adilon. © the artist. Courtesy the artist and Biennale de Lyon December 2017 45

CHARLES ATL AS 17.2 – 13.5 2018 TERESA BURGA 26.5 – 12.8 2018 ENGAGE • LEARN • EXPLORE KO K I iesa_ad3.indd 1 26/05/2017 14:16 TA N AK A 25.8 – 11.11 2018 MARIA EICHHORN 24.11 2018 – 3.2 2019 Limmatstrasse 270 CH–8005 Zurich AN INSTITUTION OF THE MIGROS CULTURE PERCENTAGE

Points of View In the slew of abuse accusations that have True FaiTh Burroughs (he shot his wife in the head) or the been made since the Harvey Weinstein sexual weird English modernist Eric Gill (he sexually misconduct allegations broke, one of the more JJ Charlesworth abused his daughters) or Richard Wagner (he was disturbing undercurrents has been a shift in examines the fiercely anti-Semitic) still produced work that, the debate over how artworks relate to the lives consequences strictly speaking, has its own merits, and, indeed of the artists who make them. Unquestionably, of judging is still deemed to have its own merits (London’s the notion that an artwork’s merit should be an artwork via National Gallery held an exhibition exploring judged in the light of knowledge of the artist’s The person the influence of Caravaggio’s art earlier this year; personal life and behaviour has gained traction who made it Wagner concerts are still popular fare; Gill Sans in recent months. Beyond the revelations remains a widely-used font). and condemnation of the abuse itself, public If campaigners want to punish transgressors commentary – from op-ed articles to social- by demanding a boycott of the work that allows To argue that ethical concerns (how people media chat forums – is fixated on the question them to earn a living, that’s one thing. Although should behave towards one another in society) of whether or not we should watch films or TV there are, of course dangers, to this – involving are identical to aesthetic concerns (how an art- programmes by actors, or look at artworks by the verification of an accusation, what punish- work has an effect on its audience) destroys the artists, once we hear about the way they have ment means, and who delivers it – about which distinction between the experience of artworks behaved. And moreover, whether we should we should be nervous (hence Wilk’s cautious and the experience of social life. It makes accept that the artistic value of their work is emphasis on ‘verified testimony’, even though absolute the relationship between the meaning itself bound up with – and inevitably tainted she elsewhere states that she errs ‘on the side of an artwork and what is publicly acceptable, by – their personal lives and behaviour. of believing witnesses by default’). and, in the case of dead artists, makes the social values of the present arbiter over the past. Writing on in the wake of the But the idea that one should see the work artworld’s own post-Weinstein campaign itself as ‘bad work’ because of its author’s Aesthetics don’t always match ethics, because ‘Not Surprised’ (following allegations of sexual behaviour is itself equally troubling. The idea artworks are not people, and because the people misconduct brought against Artforum publisher that we shouldn’t, or can no longer look who experience works (us), aren’t attending Knight Landesman), Elvia Wilk dismisses the at an artwork without referring to the author’s to the author of a work, but to something ‘arty excuses for the abusive behaviour of life, should be open to question. Artists as independent of the author. This isn’t to deny geniuses’ that allow that ‘he’s an asshole but he morally questionable and downright criminal that an artist’s subjectivity leaves its traces makes great work’. ‘It’s that last excuse that most as Caravaggio (he killed a man) or William in a work – all the recent tortured think-pieces urgently needs to be dismantled,’ Wilk writes: by writers trying to decide whether to watch ‘In order to move beyond outcry to action, that another Woody Allen film or Louis C.K. show statement must become a paradox. He cannot ever again speak to the problem of interpreting make good work if he is a sexual abuser. If a person a semi-biographical work in the light of public is an abuser, the work cannot be good. I don’t revelation. But it is to recognise that artworks just mean that the work is somehow tainted are deliberated according to the broader interests by bad behaviour. I mean the work itself is and concerns of a diverse public. Insisting actually not good.’ that the work equals the artist’s behaviour and opinions effectively asserts moral sanction While no one would endorse or excuse over the audience’s freedom to consider its abusive behaviour by anyone, this is nevertheless content, its effect and its value, on the audience’s an extreme conclusion that throws up some own terms. troubling questions. It turns on the widespread frustration that men might get away (and indeed Trying to abolish the difference between have gotten away) with abusive behaviour while the good or bad of an individual person and continuing to profit from their work. And given the good or bad of an artwork is really about that many of the abuses that have been brought imposing a new moral etiquette – one in to light have operated within and to some which we feel obliged to disapprove of the extent been permitted by the framework of work in order to show that we disapprove professional power relations, it’s not surprising of the author. But audiences should be free that it’s led to a call for instant justice and the to make their minds up about the behaviour punishment of abusers by hitting them where of artists, and just as free to value artworks it hurts. As Wilk puts it, ‘if we can agree that as something other than the person who makes abusive worker = bad work, it follows that an them. We may not be able to trust artists acceptable form of social retribution in response to be good people. We should trust ourselves to verified testimony – pending litigation to judge good artworks. – is to injure the careers of those workers.’ J.J. Charlesworth is online editor of ArtReview December 2017 47

To have power entails being able to influence State of Russia is one of several case-studies here: the way things go. In The Sprawl (Propaganda tHe NatIoN the film examines how the country operates about Propaganda), a 2016 film by Amsterdam- within the planetary-scale computing megas- based duo Metahaven, power is about exer- Maria Lind tructure that theorist Benjamin Bratton, one cising sovereignty. In this work, released finds that art of the film’s talking heads, calls “the stack”. in 35 segments on YouTube, sovereignty differs The stack – consisting of the cloud, the Internet from the nation-state-oriented geopolitics of follows life, of Things, apps, smart cities, etc – is an abstract geographical territoriality that has dominated just as life vertical model, replacing and distorting the the European discourse of power and politics followS art horizontal topology of geopolitics as defined since the seventeenth century. The Sprawl is about by the Peace of Westphalia (the 1648 treaties the kind of agency that is able, through commu- both Metahaven, The Sprawl (Propaganda about that protected the territorial integrity of nation- nication, to disrupt ‘the other side’: to under- Propaganda) (still), 2016, HD video, 70 min. states in Europe). The stack, with its multiple mine any belief in demonstrable truth. The rise vertical sovereignties, is, Bratton argues, the of ISIS plays a role in the film, as does Russia’s Courtesy the artists, Lighthouse and The Space superpower of our time, albeit an incidental one. annexation of Crimea. The film is exceptionally seductive, as is typical of Metahaven’s work, with a continuous overlaying of images and graphics (both figurative and nonfigurative) – reflections, smoke, chromatic colours – and atmospheric, melancholic music. Footage of YouTube’s Los Angeles headquarters, of a huge Russian missile-launcher caught on a mobile camera near the crash site of flight MH17 in the Ukraine, and of street fights in Bahrain are mixed with staged scenes featuring beautiful young people in nondescript spaces. As one of them swings a sword athletically, the action is described as “aesthetic terrorism”, while another appears with global positioning coordinates on her face. A third actress is identified as “impersonating the idea of taking position”. Then there are colourful flowers, decorative explosions and recurring upside-down footage shot from a car driving in the US. Poetry by Anna Akhmatova is recited in Russian, as are quotes from Leo Tolstoy’s What is Art? (1897) that exemplify an expressive paradigm of art, and a lyrical text by Metahaven themselves. Metahaven’s film starts with a forest filmed at night, which quickly turns into a rocky, computer- animated landscape, a scene that brought to mind another recent tour-de-force of propaganda I encoun- tered, the exhibition Seven Days That Changed Russia, at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center in Yekaterinburg. That show’s introduc- tory film opens with a captivating panoramic projection of a northern landscape devoid of humans – Russia before Russia. Seconds later the landscape is populated by a large group 48 ArtReview

of people, who trigger the heroic story of both Seven Days That Changed Russia (installation the heart of a fully-fledged propaganda machine Russia’s struggle for freedom, from the chain- view), 2015, at Boris Yeltsin Presidential Center, enveloped by an impressive media facade. By the laden Middle Ages to Peter the Great to Yeltsin look of it, the Yeltsin Center could just as well himself. In rapid succession, carried forward Yekaterinburg. Photo: Evgeniy Kondakov be located in London, Seoul, New York, Dubai by dynamic visuals and sound, leaders appear or Shanghai – it is a perfect neoliberal marketing and disappear from the screen: Lenin and vehicle, with a seemingly happy union of com- Gorbachev are briefly present, whereas Stalin merce, real estate, leisure and culture. And yet is only mentioned in the voiceover. And Putin? there is something typical of today’s Russia about it: although not popular with the current The stunningly well-constructed exhibition president, the skilfully propagandistic insist- follows seven days in August 1991 when Yeltsin ence on the importance of the presidential assumed leadership in the wake of a failed coup office and the current president as the inevitable d’état, leading to the dissolution of the Soviet sovereign is at its heart. Union – or, in this version of the narrative, the genesis of ‘democratic Russia’. Ostensibly The command that Metahaven has of a monument to Russia’s first elected president, contemporary visual communication, their the exhibition turns to Putin, cast as both sover- understanding of the digital sublime and eign and messiah, on the sixth of its seven ‘days’. how to use it to manipulate, has an equivalent He appears then as the chosen one, ultimately in the Yeltsin Center. The final room of the delivering freedom to Russia, thanks to the exhibition is ‘the hall of freedom’ and features foundational work of his predecessor Yeltsin. largescale flatscreens with various people The exhibition – put together by museum- expressing their thoughts, feelings and opinions exhibition design firm Ralph Appelbaum about ‘freedom’, among them Bill Clinton Associates, who among many other things and Tony Blair. Through tall windows there created the exhibition design for Bill Clinton’s is a beautiful view of Yekaterinburg, next Presidential Library – is based on a surprisingly to a video booth where visitors can record their interesting and precise selection of documents, own views on freedom. To me, it looks a lot objects and images, orchestrated partly through like repressive tolerance, squared. installation strategies made familiar by artists such as Edward Kienholz, Ilya Kabakov, Mike Both The Sprawl and the Yeltsin Center rely Nelson and Michelangelo Pistoletto. One room primarily on affect, leaving me with memories is a replica of an ordinary living room in the of the captivating atmospheres they conjured. Soviet Union in 1991; another copies Yeltsin’s While sound in The Sprawl is as powerful as the office on 31 December 1999, the day he delivered his famous televised resignation; a third room image, it is the contains a grocery store with empty shelves. editing that shapes the film. The exhibition is embedded in a building The emotional born as a shopping mall but converted, at an impact of the early stage of construction, into the presidential subject matter centre, which opened in 2015. Surrounded is reflected in by fashion stores, upscale cafés and restaurants, its production, a bookshop, a grocery store, an art gallery and in how it is an open space with ping pong tables available articulated down to anyone in the mood, the exhibition becomes to the smallest component. At the same time, the film is full of succinct and enticing catch- phrases: “interface as space of splintering”, “lamination of perception”, “subtitling the real”, “cognitive fundamentalism” and “digital scream”. The film helps articulate the current condition with an interfacial regime based on incredible reduction and pre-narration, which it wants to reveal and counter, and yet is at the same time part of. While the Yeltsin Center offers one manifestation of that regime, using architecture and lifestyle as propaganda, both are quintessentially of our time. Maria Lind is a writer and curator based in Stockholm December 2017 49

While many of the products of Japanese manu- King of The of recording daily objects, the series is an ode facture and design are known internationally, monSTeRS to everyday life, honest and intimate, that and the nation has long been exporting its pop ultimately reveals the sensible truth of the culture in the form of music, animation/manga, Aimee Lin discovers country to be a far from normal state of being. films, video games and various sub-cultures that Japan’s to Asia and the world, broadly speaking its The photographs of another finalist, contemporary art remains a domestic phenom- yoUng ARTiSTS Motoyuki Daifu, also focus on quotidian enon. It is certainly the case that relatively few have the potential life – in this case his daily meals, often com- young Japanese artists, often collaborating with to be The godzillAS prising microwave foodstuffs, and canned luxury brands and fashion houses, have entered and packaged products. On the one hand public view internationally. of oUR Age this is a celebration of sometimes garishly colourful (or colourfully packaged) food; The biannual Nissan Art Award is one on the other hand it documents commodities, of the vehicles set up to combat this and the consumerism and excess. five finalists for this year’s edition each present a new work at BankART1929 in Yokohama. More minimalist is the work of Nami Beyond the competitive agenda, the award Yokoyama, the only female artist and the exhibition provides an opportunity to only painter included in the exhibition. examine the output of a generation of artists She presents a set of paintings of neon texts in Japan who are emerging from an age that has been defined by the politics of Shinzō Abe and the lasting impact of the 2011 earth- quake and tsunami. The exhibition begins with the work of Ryuichi Ishikawa, a photographer who believes that his medium allows for a ‘confron- tation’ between the artist and the world. His project here is a collection of photographs of daily life in his hometown, featuring depictions of his bedroom, living room and toilet, and more intimate details such as the toys his child leaves lying around the home. It also includes ostensibly less personal photo- graphs of US military planes flying above Okinawa – sometimes so close to the buildings that they look as if they might be plucked from the window – but this is in fact an occurrence that is so regular in the city that it forms just another aspect of domestic life. Riffing off a tradition in Japanese photography above top Hikaru Fujii, Playing Japanese (still), 2017, video, 40 mins. Courtesy the artist above bottom Motoyuki Daifu , STill life (detail), 2013-2016, 86 × 66 cm (each), chromogenic print 50 ArtReview


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