This March the Whitney Biennial opened. And, this year one of the curators was an artist, Michelle Grabner. She also lives and works outside what's typically considered the art world's centers. She lives in the 'burbs, runs a gallery, the Suburban, with her husband in her garage and another, The Poor Farm, in rural Wisconsin – on a former poor farm. We talked for the Believer about the process behind curating the Biennial, a show that has never once included Michelle. We talk about that being pretty weird, the establishment stuff and wanting to make the whole process transparent. I have to say, being one who lives outside the art world's centers and can find that world a bit daunting, while liking art very much and liking to write about it and also wanting to be in a rural place and write and think about art in that place and make art that might be seen by a wider audience, I find her pretty inspiring. She's also nice and likes football and wears gray sweatshirts supporting the Packers. Oh, and one other thing, process interviews for the Believer are generally with an artist about putting together a single work. So, obviously this whole idea riffed on that idea...
Every museum wants a new logo, a new identity. Why? I went to a meeting with one and came back to report on it. I won't say where or for whom, but it did lead me to think about all the new logos and what lies behind them. They all seem like a version of the same thing – and the same goals. I wrote this for Metropolis magazine, where I am a contributing editor.
The Isa Genzken retrospective at MoMA was great for many reasons and one is to see how Genzken tangles with cities, with architecture and built spaces and asks bigger questions of our world. Her work is amazing, enlarging, funny, sometimes troubling and her take on the city both transgressive and transcendent. It also seemed the perfect riposte to MoMA's Folk Art Museum hell and the "art bay." I mean what else would an artist who puts oyster shells on the outside of a moquette think? I wrote this take on her work and the art bay for Design Observer. (Also if you read it on their site, Lorrain Wild who designed the catalogue, logs on with a smart comment on Genzken too).
Okay so that number doesn't equal dollars. We're far from rolling in it (and what we do take in goes to our writers), but I am very very proud to say The Weeklings, the site I co-founded with Greg Olear and Janet Steen and Sean Beaudoin, has hit a milestone in internet terms: One hundred thousand unique visitors a month. This is both a surprise and not (but is definitely a delight). Our visitor numbers climb each month. But, what is heartening or maybe surprising is that people want to read what we do, that in this our age of fast everything, people are interested in a site that does an essay a day, every day and nothing else. Just one essay. Montaigne is our hero and that idea of essayer, of attempting and exploring, is behind what we try to do. Every day.
For the March issue of Frieze, I write about the work of New Zealand artist Kate Newby, whose pieces can be radically slight – so small they can be easy to overlook. Through them she asks questions of us and art and what we notice. In fact one of my favorite pieces of hers I never got to see but only heard about. In a gallery in Auckland she gave the people working there little stones and charms she made (often cast from things she'd found, coins and nails) to keep in their pockets during the exhibition. They'd take the charms home at night and bring them back, so they lived with them and they became part of the attendants' daily lives. That was her contribution, part of life, something so small so insignificant, it could be overlooked. She also makes stones for her friends to skip in ponds and rivers, oceans and even swimming pools. The stones, made out of porcelain, disappear swallowed by the water, and that brings up the question, what was the art? The rock? The moment? The friendship? Below is an image of Drew skipping on of Kate's stones on Fogo Island where I first met Kate.
You can read a PDF of the piece here.