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Posted inArt

Tracing a Path from Cubism to Digital Art

I first learned about Cubism in an art history class my sophomore year of college. I remember the moment of revelation, after reading a lot about but still failing to grasp what exactly Picasso and Braque were after. In the darkened lecture hall one afternoon, our teacher summed it up this way: how sparingly could you paint a face while still having the viewer understand it as a face? What was the bare minimum required for representation? As legend has it, these questions and the art they inspired changed the course of art history forever.

Is the same true of the digital revolution? That’s the premise of Decenter, an exhibition curated Andrianna Campbell and Daniel S. Palmer and currently on view at the Abrons Arts Center.

Posted inArt

Gabriel Orozco Brings Beach Collecting to the Guggenheim, I-Spy Style

In a side gallery off the Guggenheim’s main spiral, it looks like a tide of water came and went, leaving behind piles of bricks, wood, and detritus ripped from their original contexts and tossed into disarray. It’s not unlike certain parts of the New York City area, post-Sandy. The difference is that in the museum, the scrabble is neatly arranged into a rectangular patch of floor and organized by color in a rainbow gradient only slightly darkened by mud.

Posted inOpinion

Required Reading

This week, new Banksy, artists/writers design money, early Christian art, talking to Gabriel Orozco, catalogue raisonnés, modern art toilets, globalizing art history, design criticism and political photo trends.

Posted inArt

Art That Thinks Inside the Box

What is it about boxes that is so fascinating? I was thinking this as I went into Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to see Pandora’s Box, a show that displays artist Joseph Cornell’s signature assemblages alongside the works of artists who allegedly were inspired by him or who were in artistic sympathy with him. I can think of historical precedents: medieval reliquaries; Victorian memento mori, which often look strikingly like Cornell’s miniature worlds. But these forebears don’t quite explain the combination of weirdness and visual beauty of something made by Cornell, nor the undoubted fascination with him since his death. His boxes frame the objects in a different way than a conventional picture frame, of course; they concentrate the viewer’s attention; but there’s something else, which finally came to me after I’d seen this show.