This week, reviews of Dr. Dog, Mohsen Namjoo, Rodrigo y Gabriela & C.U.B.A., Sia Tolno, Lana Del Rey, Clams Casino, Leonard Cohen, Snow Patrol and more.
AWP, or the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (that’s actually AWWP, but we’ll let that slide), is billed as an annual celebration of authors, teachers, writing programs, literary centers and small press publishers. Every year these bibliophile masses descend on a North American city (Chicago, this year) to promote, mingle, fraternize, frolic, freak out, fight, deal, dole and drink. The book fair is the centerpiece, the polestar of the conference; a nerve-jouncing nerve center of tables and stalls and booths tucked away in the belly of the Chicago Hilton hotel on South Michigan Ave.
This week is an ALL VIDEO Required Reading. From the GIF to Dali, from Cindy Sherman to the anthropology of YouTube, this is the way to spend a leisurely Sunday.
I am watching a black man gyrate in front of me in a thong over gray briefs. A tuft of synthetic, orange hair peeks out from the front of the triangular fabric. His nearly-shaven head glistens as beads of sweat trickle down his face. His dark eyes stare intensely at us.
There are a number of things that distinguish Zak Prekop, who was born in 1979, from other young painters. The most important one is that he hasn’t turned what he does into a style or, in today’s parlance, a brand consisting of signature gestures. For while he has developed a method of making based on collage and optical disturbance, he has kept his options open. He embraces both the literal and the fictive as well as intertwines them in ways that are assured and compelling.
To walk into the artist Robert Gober’s installation of paintings, photographs and writings by Forrest Bess — a visionary painter and self-described, self-surgically-altered “pseudo-hermaphrodite” — was to encounter art frontloaded with (as the reader put it) “cultural significance while also being visually intoxicating, or mesmerizing, you can choose a description.”
“One picture leads to another,” Alec Soth tells the two filmmakers in Somewhere to Disappear (2011), a documentary that follows him around during the last two years that he worked on his photographic book, Broken Manual (2006-11). Later, in the film, he says: “I want to be carried.” Soth yearns for a subject to overwhelm his curiosity, leading him into places and situations that he couldn’t have otherwise foreseen. Photography is his means of discovering both the self and the Other, and where the two meet. It is how he finds “a path through the world.”
The Spanish artists Patricia Gómez and María Jesús González, who exhibit under the moniker Gómez + González, fashion works from the vestiges of soon-to-be-demolished places. In these architectural spaces, they put their training as printmakers to use, creating monoprints of walls and doorways, using a modified version of strappo, a technique used in the conservation of frescoes. Instead of a copper plate or lithography stone, the matrix for the print is provided by the building itself, whose outer skin is transferred to a thin, transparent fabric. The prints are complemented by photographs and video documenting the process and the sites.
This week, New York Times opens its photo archive to Tumblr, what’s going on in Qatar, Facebook’s image policy, Ai Weiwei speaks, a vintage interview with Warhol goes online, a Titian stays in the UK, newspapers on Pinterest and more.
Allison Miller is a young abstract painter who lives in Los Angeles, a city of few pedestrians. It is a vast, sprawling circuitry of vehicles and traffic jams, of getting from one place to another in the shortest and most efficient manner. You can still find neighborhoods to live in, but you cannot walk very far. Poor people take the bus. Taxis need a GPS. Wandering is not permitted.
I left the 2012 Whitney Biennial with a feeling of leadenness that no amount of free coffee (available at Monday’s press preview, and many thanks for that) or Werner Herzog’s video ode to beauty (“Hearsay of the Soul,” 2012) could alleviate.
This week, whither Santa Fe? a newbie goes to the Miami art fairs, Marina Abramović makes German men cry, Elmgreen & Dragset Fourth Plinth sculpture unveiled, UK’s guerrilla tree sculptor and more.