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Ron Arad Lights Up Jerusalem

“When you look for Jerusalem online, the first thing you see is rocks,” Itay Mautner, the artistic director of the Jerusalem Season of Culture protested. “On Flickr, you see more rocks than people.” Mautner and his associates are hoping to give Jerusalem a facelift. The Season of Culture, a super-spanning festival of arts that ran this year between mid-May and early September, is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Culture and a host of local artists, designers, and musicians to shine a light on Jerusalem’s ever-strengthening art scene.

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A Home That Makes the Old Masters Come Alive

Art always has some sense of place, whether it is the result of where it was created or the setting it is placed in, but art as a place can be something truly transporting that goes beyond installation to become a world unto itself. I’ve seen shades of this in two current shows, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s Stray Light Grey that subverts Marlborough Gallery into urban backrooms and Andrew Ohanesian’s The House Party at Pierogi’s Boiler Room that brings suburbia to Brooklyn, and even in the ongoing, heavily atmospheric theatre experience Sleep No More with its beautiful 1930s time travel. All of these have led me to think on one of the most engaging and curious of these kinds of art experiences: the Dennis Severs’ House in London.

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Lust for Donuts: Laughing at Our Vices

All of us crave bad things, and want them bad. Do we know they damage us? Yes. Does it still feel good in the heat of the moment? Absolutely. Do we vow to stop? Of course. Do we do it again? Well, uh … Most art tackles this bad-things-feel-good conundrum with angst, fire, and brimstone. Jae Yong Kim’s stroke of genius is to depict it satirically. Sculptures of snails comically pining and lusting after donuts fill the Blank Space gallery in Chelsea. It’s a rare opportunity to laugh at bad habits.

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Wandering the Halls of Chicago’s New Art Fair

CHICAGO — At the beginning of 2012, Art Chicago was canceled by the owners of the Merchandise Mart, the huge exhibition area on the river where the fair was held for a few years. For the first time in over thirty years, it looked like there would be no art fair in the city. Then, thanks to the determination and belief of Tony Karman, who has been involved in many of those prior fairs, Expo Chicago arrived on the scene, with a few changes to the format designed to ensure that the fair continues next year: the fair is back in the festival hall on Navy Pier, which is a higher-profile venue; the number of exhibiting galleries and spaces was curated and limited to 120 to ensure quality over quantity; and it is being held in September so as not to compete with the coastal art fairs held at other times of the year.

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Three Takes on Minimalism from Robert Irwin, Mark Flood, and Richard Tuttle

On view in Chelsea right now are three gallery shows that offer drastically different takes contemporary takes on minimalism. Two are from classic minimalist artists: Robert Irwin and Richard Tuttle have pioneered the movement since its first flowering in the 1970s. The third artist is kind of a gutter punk, but the crusty, abject work of Mark Flood might be the most engaging riff on minimalism’s fading grandeur.

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Empty Galleries, Empty Hands

Nineteen years ago, Anselm Kiefer unveiled an installation at Marian Goodman Gallery called “20 Years of Loneliness,” which featured two decades’ worth of the artist’s work stacked in a towering pyramid (there were rumors that Kiefer was planning to set it on fire) along with two tables filled with large ledgers whose blank pages were stained with squirts of the artist’s semen.