Maria Bussmann is an artist whose work is rarely seen in this country, and so her compact new show of seven large drawings and twenty-four small ones at NYU’s Deutsches Haus represents a notable opportunity to catch a glimpse of her singular sensibility.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Empty cans, bits of plastic, wire and wood are common sights in city streets. Some of it is very familiar, like the bottle cap embedded in the tarmac out the front of my neighbor’s house that has been there for years. Graffiti, wheat-pasting, and stencils are a common sights in the inner city streets in Melbourne, Australia. Then one day I walked into a little street in Melbourne’s inner city suburb of Fitzroy and saw the two combined staring at me — street art sculpture made of junk with the tag: Junky Projects.
At the brief question and answer period that followed the premiere of the new documentary TURNING, Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons, spoke briefly about the difficulty of understanding what a work of art means, even to those involved in making it.
BRIGHTON, UK — Under normal circumstances, art doesn’t come with a manual. But at a new show in Southwark, London, visitors soon find circumstances are not so normal.
CHICAGO — The Great Refusal: Taking on New Queer Aesthetics induces a sort of lonely feel, one that falls closer in line with Lee Edelman’s No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive, which argues that “the efficacy of queerness lies in its very willingness to embrace this refusal of the social and political order” than the playful camp of Planet Unicorn. It is after Lee Edelman’s polemic text, and namely the notion of “refusal,” that this video screening and the larger exhibition series takes its name. Yet, if queerness is all about transcending and transforming beyond normative modes of being and believing, why do the works in this screening mostly rely on queer theory texts of the past? This video screening presents 11 videos covering topics of the abject body, intersections of sex and death, the gay mystic, explorations of S/M fantasies and fetish, power plays, the bathhouse, and the odd world of online amateur porn.
With smoke and fire, blowtorches and red-hot cattle brands, Non Grata has emerged from Estonia as one of the most audacious and evolving performance art groups to regularly come to and perform in the United States. From last month through the end of this one, the group has been guest curating a series of events at Grace Exhibition Space, showing off many talented American performance artists while also giving spectators a view of some of the raw and audacious performance work that Eastern Europe has to offer.
There’s a garage sale at the Museum of Modern Art, and no, it’s not a high-end, designer consignment sale. Martha Rosler’s Meta-Monumental Garage Sale is about as real as they come, from the racks of battered shoes to the “great dad” statuettes, and from the worn lingerie to the splattered cookbooks. One notable difference, I suppose, is that Rosler’s sale includes a car (“NO ENGINE!” the sign advertises). But don’t worry: all the paintings for sale are as kitschy and bad as any you’d find on the sidewalk.
BRIGHTON, UK — If a picture is worth a thousand words, Nihilistic Optimistic is worth about a million. The new show from Tim Noble and Sue Webster at Blain Southern is super photogenic, and therein may lie its appeal.
I’ve always been attracted to the macabre in art and literature. I have a vivid memory of pronouncing Edgar Allen Poe my favorite author we had read that year in 7th grade; most of my classmates preferred Harper Lee or Mark Twain. While walking through the group exhibition A Wake: Still Lives and Moving Images at the Dumbo Arts Center, which combines video, cinema, and photography to explore the theme of death, I had a similar experience to when I first read Poe.
Have you seen the photograph of Astronaut Charles Duke and his family that was left on the Moon in 1972? It is a small 3×5 color photo of Duke, his wife Dorothy and their two sons Charles and Thomas posing for a studio portrait. If you visit the American Museum of Natural History in New York you can find a document of this photo near the end of the ramp that exits the Hayden Planetarium.
As has been all too visible in the tossed wreckage of homes and devastation of whole neighborhoods from the recent storm, floods ravage what they consume into fragments, pulling away some things and leaving the rest in disorder ready for decay. Although Phong Bui’s current exhibition at Show Room, Work According to the Rail, Part I (After the Flood), was planned before Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, it features 25 collage paintings mostly created after a flood in the artist and Brooklyn Rail publisher’s studio this past August that destroyed around 20 percent of his work. Unfortunately, Bui was also hit hard by Sandy just a day after the opening at Show Room, telling Hyperallergic that his Greenpoint studio was “decimated” by flooding that rose from the Newtown Creek.
At some point, nearly two hours in, Marlene McCarty, one of the members of the AIDS activist group Gran Fury, an affinity group that was part of ACT-UP, reminded those gathered: “We were not making art.” The event was a panel discussion that took place at Columbia University on November 15, organized by Columbia’s School of the Arts, and was intended to draw on some of the themes present in the exhibition that just opened at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s. The panel was comprised of ICA Boston curator Helen Molesworth and four members of the eleven-member collective that was Gran Fury: Avram Finkelstein, Tom Kalin, Marlene McCarty, and Robert Vazquez-Pacheco.
The question that prompted McCarty’s response was one of a handful that arose during the Q&A that followed the presentations by the panel. There was a similar tone to many of the questions that came up, the majority of which were something along the lines of: “How can we do what you did?” In addition to reminding those present that Gran Fury’s intention was never to make art, per se, McCarty added, “We were very brash about the fact that we were making propaganda.”