Damian Ortega, “Cosmic Thing” (2002) Disassembled 1989 Volkswagen Beetle, 265×296 in, The Museum of Contemporary At, Los Angeles, purchased with funds provided by Eugenio Lopez and the Jumex Fund for Contemporary Latin American Art. (image courtesy ICA/Boston) Mexico City is a hub for contemporary art spawning internationally renowned artists that participate in a global art […]
Washington, DC — (E)merge Art fair opened September 22- 25 with 80 international and local galleries spread over two floors of the Capitol Skyline hotel in Washington, DC. I was curious if anything would “stand out” among the many of exhibitors. I then came across a curious series of six standard size loose photographic prints simply pinned to the wall, by Edinburgh-born, London-based photojournalist Muir Vidler.
In 2011, India moved from the classification of “developing” country to that of being a “newly industrialized.” This upgrade was made along Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Philippines, Brazil and China, all of which have economies showing promise towards becoming “developed.” Perhaps as a salute to this increase of stature, India had its first pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale with an exhibition curated by Ranjit Hoskote aptly titled, Everyone Agrees: It’s About to Explode.
Where do the terms “Primitive” and “Tribal” sit in our art lexicon? For the past few years I have understood these both as pejorative terms, but have consistently seen the labels applied to exhibitions, artworks, online and in galleries.
On March 24, 2004 in Johannesburg, South Africa, a mammoth sculpture of legendary former president and icon Nelson Mandela was unveiled. Over 15 feet tall, this sculpture was commissioned to stand in the center of Nelson Mandela square in Sandton City, an upscale shopping mall in a well-to-do part of the city.
Washington, DC — “Dub poet Mutabaruka found it necessary to argue, in a public contribution on the subject, that the statue [Emancipation Monument], which represents a woman and a man, both nude standing in a pool of water and looking upward as a symbolic representation of the spiritual emancipation from Slavery, was ‘gay’ because the male figure did not respond sexually to the presence of the naked female figure.” explains Veerle Poupeye, Director of the National Gallery of Jamaica.
BERN, SWITZERLAND — This has been a week of blunders. At an art conference in Switzerland a debate began amongst fellow participants about the content of a drawing, which could either be considered bad taste or ironic. The conversation expanded to talk about politics in South Africa, more specifically the demographics of voting, which resulted in the comment “but most of the people who voted for that political party were non-white”. What had been intended from the speaker was to say, “not white.” This may appear as a minor letter error however this discrepancy is critical.
ZURICH — Is being an artist-in-residence in a third world country akin to being a participant on the Survivor television series? If visiting artists are left to fend for themselves in unknown territory, this may well be the case, however at what point does a residency in such an area need to step in and moderate a visit?
In Kingston, Jamaica, making artwork that explores LGBT-related issues is becoming increasingly more accepted, however it still has the potential to be life threatening.
When Apartheid was abolished in 1991, probably the worst thing to be symbolically in South Africa at the time was a white male, as it embodied everything associated with being the oppressor. With the abolishment of Apartheid came a number of important more subtle shifts.
Brazil is one of the fastest growing economies of the “developing world.” In fact, so much so that it is now considered an “NIC” or newly industrialized country, a term used to describe being in between “developing” and reaching “fully developed” status. Today, Brazil is looking towards a future as host to major global sporting events, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the 2014 Soccer World Cup. Leading up to these events, global investment in the country is sure to rise, promising a healthy future for arts and culture on all levels of the spectrum.
Artists in developing areas of the world reside in environments where social and cultural complexities are at the fore of conversation. As a result, many artists in these regions carry with them an inherent social awareness that infiltrates their artwork.