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Posted inArt

Making Fun of Minimalism in Two Chelsea Galleries, Pt. 1

Could it be that the slick surfaces and lustrous finish fetish of high minimalism isn’t exactly suitable for the current atmosphere of economic austerity measures? Along with the painful recession consequences of mass job loss, gallery closings and the bloody fight over British arts funding cuts has come a suspicion of entities too big to fail: the black boxes of big banks and even bigger corporations. Taking this to the art world, I’ve been noticing an artistic suspicion of the hermetic perfection so glorified by minimalists like Donald Judd and Anne Truitt. Two current Chelsea exhibitions show artists taking down modernism and minimalism’s cold self-seriousness with the movement’s own weapons. In this first installment, check out Yuichi Higashionna’s Fluorescent at Marianne Boesky Gallery.

Posted inArt

Liveblogging Maximum Perception, Sat Night

Tonight, Daniel Larkin and I will be liveblogging night two of the Maximum Perception Performance Festival at the English Kills Art Gallery in Brooklyn.

Last night’s liveblog can be found here and tonight we’re going to be trying some new things as we go along. Each night a new experiment and we’re going to try to have as much fun as we can while recording what we see and what we hear …

The Twitter hashtag for tonight’s event is #maxperception and you can follow our Twitterfeed here: twitter.com/hyperallergic.

Posted inArt

Liveblogging Maximum Perception, Fri Night

We’re setting up at the English Kills Art Gallery and getting ready for the Friday night liveblogging session.

Tonight, Hyperallergic’s Kyle Chayka and I will be manning the blog, Twitter & everything else and taking turns chiming in about performances and what’s going on around us.

The Twitter hashtag for tonight’s event is #maxperception and you can follow our Twitterfeed here: twitter.com/hyperallergic.

Posted inBooks

Rethinking History’s Traces in Public Journal 42

Public is a Canadian journal founded in 1988 that comes out twice yearly, a compendium of art, design and writing projects centered around a single theme for each issue. Public‘s latest issue, number 42, is called Traces, and centers around the physical traces history leaves us through art: commemorative works and remembrances that attempt to fix our definition of what our history actually entails. But, Public 42 asks, how can we create works that don’t attempt to fix history, that don’t preserve our problematic ideas? How do we create art that allows history to be dynamic?

Posted inArt

Global Africa Project Dissects the Idea of Africa

The Museum of Art and Design, New York’s The Global Africa Project makes an audacious claim: to present the art, design, architecture, and craft of the contemporary African diaspora. Given that Africa is the world’s second largest continent, with a population of over one billion dispersed among 54 distinct countries—never mind the millions of people of African descent living elsewhere—any attempt to survey its production and influence seems impossible. However, the curators — Dr. Lowery Stokes Sims, formerly director of the Studio Museum in Harlem and currently the Charles Bronfman Curator at the Museum of Arts and Design, and Dr. Leslie King-Hammond, founding director of the Center for Race and Culture at Maryland Institute College of Art — have embraced the unwieldiness of the notion of “Africa,” creating an exhibition that intentionally raises more questions than it answers.

Posted inArt

What Has Hide/Seek Lost? A Review

On November 30, 1994, choreographer Bill T. Jones’s experimental dance piece “Still/Here” opened at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The work featured live dancers performing in front of video footage of terminally ill people discussing their sicknesses. Nearly a month later, dance critic Arlene Croce blasted the piece in a now-infamous essay in the New Yorker. Announcing that she had never seen “Still/Here” and had no intention of doing so, Croce wrote, “By working dying people into his act, Jones is putting himself beyond the reach of criticism. I think of him as literally undiscussable.” She went on to classify that category of undiscussability as “those dancers I’m forced to feel sorry for because of the way they present themselves: as dissed blacks, abused women, or disenfranchised homosexuals—as performers, in short, who make out of victimhood victim art.” In many ways, the National Portrait Gallery’s current, controversial, and excellent special exhibition Hide/Seek feels like a resounding rebuttal of Croce’s thesis.

Posted inArt

Met Staff Share Their Quirks Through “Connections”

The Metropolitan is really hitting hard with its new media efforts lately, coming out with an interesting project in conjunction with its Lod mosaic exhibition, as well as a new presentation called “Connections,” an online series of photo slideshows with audio featuring museum staff giving short presentations of pieces in the museum collection that fascinate them, based on a particular theme or idea. The videos are fun insights into the personalities of staff and the collection, but they could go deeper into the art objects that they present.

Posted inArt

New Roman Mosaic at Met Shows an Animal Foodchain

A new Roman mosaic on view at the Metropolitan might have been used for an entertaining parlor, but its imagery is anything but peaceful. Excavated in Lod, Israel, the 300 A.D. mosaic is thought to be from the home of a wealthy Roman, installed in a room that would have been used for hosting guests. The Lod mosaic is also unique in that it’s incredibly well-preserved; the colors of the tiles pop like nothing that’s 1700 years old should. What really pops, though, is the mosaic’s imagery. Composed of hunting scenes that focus heavily on animals eating each other, it’s a pretty strange sight.

Posted inArt

Eli Broad Museum is the Target Superstore of the Future

Eli Broad’s much anticipated museum finally unveiled the design by Diller Scofidio + Renfro to the public today. First of all, I have a very difficult time taking firms that use a plus sign instead of an ampersand or just the word “and” seriously because, really? Anywho, back to the design. Bluntly put it’s a rhombus looking cube with a concrete (concrete!?) honeycomb skin that makes a “flirtatious gesture in the direction of Disney Hall,” Christopher Hawthorne’s words, not mine. The honeycomb of the skin is elongated in such a way towards the highest “flirtatious” point, it actually just looks like it is being sucked into a vortex, and not a good one.

Posted inBooks

Anne Beck’s Artist Book is Like Scientists Dreaming

Readers will probably figure out that Anne Beck’s artist book State is inspired by the apocalyptic before they read the editorial note that comes at the end of the small volume. The first hints come through in the opening pages: a stark “STATE” in heavy hand lettering that does a horizontal flip on the next page, a reversal that opens up the instability and vagaries implicit in the rest of the book, a collection of painted collages and drawings that together tell the story of a society impaired by its dependence on technology and yet still invested in a clean state of nature. Beck mixes the organic and inorganic into a surreal whole.

Posted inBooks

30 Years of Dan Witz’s Art, Illegal and Otherwise

In the history of street art, New York’s Dan Witz is a pioneer and one of the only names in the field that continues to enjoy an impeccable reputation based on skill, reinvention, and innovation. Yet, his monograph In Plain View is more than your conventional street art book. Its 220+ pages document a personality who arrived in New York in the late 1970s to attend art school, played in a band in the city’s thriving music scene, started working on the street because of the lack of opportunities for young artists to show in galleries, and continued to develop related but independent bodies of work both in public and in his studio. What makes Witz’s artistic contribution impressive is his endless stream of ideas that demonstrate an incredible knack for adapting to the times without falling victim to trends.