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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.

Posted inArt

Corporate Media Fictions: Brad Downey and Banksy

Just over two weeks ago, a story about an excavated Banksy in Berlin ricocheted across the global media. Most of the coverage featured closely cropped smiley faced riot police and the name “Banksy” screamed in the media coverage. From the tone of the coverage and the emphasis on the discovery of a lost Banksy most people probably assumed it was another case of an opportunist commercial gallery swiping a street art work and displaying it in order to make a potential profit. What many people — and news outlets — didn’t realize was that the glimpse of the Banksy was only part of a much larger work by artist Brad Downey.

Posted inArt

A Letter to Merce Cunningham

Dear Merce Cunningham,
As your company comes to a close this winter, I have been on the look out for all things Merce. Wanting to understand you better and hoping that I could still understand you even after you have passed, I visited Charles Atlas’s video tribute to you now at the New Museum not just once, but twice.

Posted inArt

An Unknown Chapter at America’s Bauhaus

In the summer of 1952, artist Jack Tworkov traveled to Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina. A leading figure of the New York School, his time at the influential American school, which some people consider “America’s Bauhaus,” is the subject of a new exhibition. We talked to the curator, Jason Andrew.

Posted inArt

Blue Chip Chelsea: Keifer, Rauschenberg, Sugimoto + Surprises

Yesterday afternoon, I ventured out into the bordering on bad weather and braved the gray skies to bring you the latest on Chelsea this November. The gallery district is probably much as you remember it, with high-end galleries showing off their blue chip stables and smaller spaces skipping to keep up. Yet there are still pleasant surprises to be found in the warehouse-strewn streets, from lesser known painters that include (gasp!) a ceramicist to commercial shows that may as well be museum retrospectives. Continue below for the blow-by-blow of my blue-chip Chelsea trip.