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Monday
Sep302013

Sexuality, Politics and Protest – Panel at frieze London

In London this October? I have the pleasure of chairing a talk at the Frieze London Art Fair with Neil Bartlett, Marlene McCarty and Zanele Muholi on art, activism, politics and sexuality – From ACT UP to S. Africa today... Neil is an amazing novelist and playwright who both takes on history and restores it to the present from his first book, Who Was That Man: A Present for Mr. Oscar Wilde ,a hybrid crossing over from novel to non-fiction, memoir and history to his work in the theater. He also impressively just donated his archive to the British Library (see the talk about it here).

Marlene was part of with Gran Fury (creating the visuals and graphic/advertising arm of ACT UP NY). Her own work since has pushed the language and codes of society from the way we address and sexualize women to how society encodes morals and values and the knots those can tie us up in from girls and their families to our take on ourselves and great apes.

Zanele just won the Freedom of Expression award from Index on Censorship and her work, portraits of black lesbians in S. Africa are bold, striking and in a country that asks for invisibility – declarative.They've been shown recently at Documenta last year and in Venice this year.

It has been 20 years since ACT UP, Gran Fury and queer activism reshaped the power of contemporary art and protest. What is the legacy of and possibility for art and protest now?

Monday
Sep302013

Let The Other Thing In – Kate Newby, Hawks and Coyotes

This summer the awesome inspiring Kate Newby has a show up on Fogo Island (itself awesome and inspiring). I wrote an essay for her (the catalogue published by Sternberg Press), that talks about the point of art and the experience of it, whether or not the moment is in an object, an experience. Or, watching a pebble disappear into a frozen pond...

Here's the start of the essay. In the bit after this, I exhort the reader not to read any further and to tear up the page she's reading and cast it into the wind. Or water. Or both.

1. December 5, 2012: Kate Newby pulls a pebble from her pocket. The stone is green and smooth and feels fragile to touch. We’re on the edge of a frozen pond, in a place evocatively called “inland” to denote everything that isn’t by the sea. Next to me PJ Decker, a retired house painter and oil-rig worker, looks at the rock with amazement and perhaps some confusion. “Did you paint it?” he asks, assuming it’s a real rock, found on this island, Fogo Island, that is rocks on rock. He turns it over in his palm and passes it to me. I send it skimming across the ice. The pebble is, yes, painted. It’s been glazed and is not rock, not in the traditional sense, but porcelain, made by Kate and designed to be skipped in water. The rock bounces twice and disappears. How do you throw art into a pond and toss away this beautiful thing? But that’s the point, and after it’s gone, what is it? What was it? This fleeting moment, an action, a game, a thing made from rock thrown into the water, with no witnesses other than three people by a pond and a photo taken on an iPhone here in this place, this inland that sounds like a fairytale.

Or, maybe the point is the question, “Did you paint it?” Or the way I handle the rock gingerly because it’s art. Or that art is literally a throwaway moment that Kate’s repeated in waters around Manhattan and New Orleans, on Fogo Island and in New Zealand.

To Read further click on the link to Sternberg's site. The catalogue itself beautiful and Kate's work inspiring – radically slight so it asks for a reconsideration of art. And the world around us.

Sunday
Sep082013

I Sell The Shadow: Civil Wars at the Met

On this the sesquicentennial of Gettysburg, with two Civil War shows at the Met I look at how the unspeakable nature of war gets translated into art. And what we gain and lose. And, the legacy of the Civil War today. This first appeared on The Weeklings and then Salon

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Sunday
Sep082013

Stealing Beauty: Assessing the Collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts

The week Kevyn Orr decided the Detroit Institute of Arts was fair game in the city's bankruptcy and hired Christie's to assess the collection. I found myself in Detroit with a day to spare and got to visit the collection. Here's my assessment – opinionated, art historical(ish), feminist on what should stay or go and why which appeared on The Weeklings and then Salon.

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Sunday
Jul282013

Pretty On The Inside – Jennifer Sirey at On Stellar Rays

Take art, add bacteria. Question minimalism, and you get Jennifer Sirey’s experiments with science and bacteria make some of the most compelling and disturbing art today. I write about them in The Weeklings...

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