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Posted inBooks

Reading the “Nothings that Are”: Craig Dworkin’s “No Medium”

“In No Medium Craig Dworkin looks at works that are blank, erased, clear, or silent … point[ing] to a new understanding of media.” So goes the back cover copy of the author’s new book, which was released in March by MIT Press. This paratextual statement, while certainly catchy, is a bit misleading regarding Dworkin’s argument as well as the actual nature of his objects of study (some of the treated works, such as John Cage’s 4 ’33” and Robert Rauschenberg’s White Paintings, are well known while many others are not); and it risks obscuring, to some extent, the host of wonderful subtleties, the wily interpretive moves and maneuvers that can be found within the book itself.

Posted inArt

Duchamp’s Endgame, in Chess and Art

BRIGHTON, UK — Swapping out pieces in a game of chess is only a smart move provided you hold the most on the board, or at least the strongest position. But a new show at the Barbican in London suggests chess could be a “metaphor of exchange” between the artists it lines up. According to the theory, Duchamp swaps ideas with acolytes: John Cage, Jasper Johns, Merce Cunningham, and Robert Rauschenberg. And yet the Frenchman, superb chess player that he was, came out conceptually on top by the time of his death in 1968.

Posted inArt

Less Is More at the Armory Show Modern

Let’s face it: navigating Armory Week and all its various satellites is a bitch. With so much art to see and endless booths to maneuver, it’s all very daunting. But we love it. Well, at least I love it.

Spontaneity and taxis are the two things I rely on the most. Spontaneity, because one should always open to possibilities, no matter what the schedule might dictate. Taxis, because who in their right mind wants to walk the five long-ass blocks to Pier 92, where the Armory Show’s Modern section was housed, from the subway (with a headwind off the Hudson River that somehow affects travel in both directions)?

Posted inArt

The Writing Is on the Wall at the Independent Art Fair

Wading through the crowded opening of the Independent Art Fair, held in the former Dia:Chelsea building with its ridiculously narrow stairway, I found myself doing more reading than gazing at art. While this was partly due to the inclusion of Printed Matter, the seminal alternative book and zine store that sustained massive losses from Hurricane Sandy, it was also because the galleries and nonprofit spaces in the Elizabeth Dee and Darren Flook–founded art fair leaned heavily on conceptual works.