Even though, like most people, I use Twitter publicly, I still often get the feeling that my tweets exist in a kind of social media bubble — that they’re shielded from the rest of the world, read only by the people whose feeds they might happen to pop up in. That is, of course, just the imaginary feeling of comfort that social media inspires, and the reason it works so well. In truth, everything I tweet is a public statement.
CHICAGO — There are some situations in life where bigger really is better (readers can fill in the blank on their own), but art isn’t necessarily one of them. Much as I love German uber-expressionist Anselm Kiefer’s “Nigredo,” or the playful idiocy of Jeff Koons’ giant puppy, I wonder whether the effect in either case would be the same if the pieces were twelve by twelve inches rather than fifteen or twenty feet long or high. Particularly in the context of the modern industrial-gallery-museum complex, ”going big” often seems a response to having all those white walls to fill and auction prices to keep up, rather than having something to say on a large scale.
Camille Paglia, who famously polarized artists and intellectuals throughout the 1990s, is back. In her new book, Glittering Images, her mission is to bring closure to an era she feels is full of art-world stunts and isolating pretension, in exchange for a return to art-world appreciation among a general audience and beyond. For her, museums are the locus of this new evolution, and we could not agree more. If museums are the way by which people experience and understand art, and if we want to change that experience or simply get more people involved in it, we must begin by examining the interface.
MIAMI — Oliver Sanchez should be an easy name for any perceptive Miami art enthusiast to pull from their mental archive. A widely respected sculpture fabricator who has worked with artists including Daniel Arsham, Bhakti Baxter, Piotr Uklanski, and Peter Coffin, to name a few, Sanchez is also a curious sort of curator: one who dispenses fringe histories with a blisteringly funny lilt. His refined madness was on full display during his latest exhibition, Pataphysics for Dummies: 100 Years of Artitude (1913–2013).
I suppose it was only a matter of time, but yesterday, it finally happened: Hyperallergic was Facebook censored.
SANTIAGO, Chile — Walk down a flight of stairs and open the door. The door closes behind you and you find yourself in a dark room. You disappear; you can’t leave the space and don’t have a point of reference. A few minutes later, 500 silhouettes of the heads of 500 different people throw a diffuse white light — you find yourself gathered with people, some dead, some disappeared, and some others still alive. You are one of the victims of Chile’s dictatorial period. Finally the door opens and you go outside, warmed again by the natural light of the sun. You have just visited the installation “Geometria de la Conciencia” (“Geometry of the Conscience”) by Alfredo Jaar. You are in the Museum of Memory and Human Rights of Santiago, Chile.
One aspect of all of artists’ workshops and residencies is that in making work side by side, artists inevitably begin to understand each other despite their differences. Empathy is a fundamental ingredient in most art, and while individual works are vastly different from each other, much art confronts and offers unique answers to such essential questions as, what does it mean to be human? Artists are vital to easing political friction because by fostering a vision and purpose, they can dissolve borders and provide a psychic geography.
To pin meanings onto British artist Ed Atkins’s semi-narrative video works is a difficult assignment. Throughout the two pieces currently on display at MoMA PS1, which are composed of high-definition, three-dimensional renderings of human figures and faces set onto flat compositions of color and digital collage, meaning ebbs and flows, emerging and then flashing away like a fish darting across the bed of a shallow river, always close to hand and yet constantly escaping. Despite, or perhaps because of, this teasing, there is something uniquely compelling about getting caught in Atkins’s aesthetic current.
Yesterday afternoon, Hauser & Wirth opened the doors to its new space in Chelsea for a preview. The gallery’s only home until now in New York has been a townhouse on the Upper East Side, which, like all buildings of its sort, makes for a narrow, multilevel (and sometimes fragmented) art-viewing experience; the new gallery, the site of the former Roxy nightclub and roller rink on West 18th Street, is pretty much the opposite — a cavernous warehouse that, although it’s technically only one floor, seems to expand and spread in every direction.
HONG KONG — I wasn’t interested in the exhibition Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Not even while knowing that this is the largest ever showing of Warhol’s work in Asia, that it marks the 25th anniversary of the artist’s death, and that it opened in Singapore and will also travel to Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo.
This week, openings and discussions and parties, oh my!
Poring through a cache of my late uncle’s works on paper, I come across an arresting print purporting to be a self-portrait. It is on delicate and weathered paper. The notes at the bottom state simply: “10/10 Self-Portrait Serigraph, 7 Color” followed by an undecipherable signature that ends with the year “’64.”