Highlights of the year you say? The year had highlights? Well my response to the year has been to retrench and research to find the possibiities in history. Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass and the unknown William H Johnson (the Albany barber orator he was called in 1888. He was also an abolitionist and later lobbyist in NY State who fought to get through some of this state's most progressive civil rights legislation just after the Civil War). But that was in the 19th century, what about this century, this year? This was what I wrote about for Frieze, protest and power and people... You can read it here (or below)
Entries in Frieze (19)
Sophia Al-Maria and I talk shopping malls, war, climate change and Gulf futurism for Frieze...
In the 1990s, Sophia Al-Maria exiled herself from American teenhood by choosing to live in her grandmother’s home in the Qatari capital, Doha. There, she had a front-row seat for the cataclysmic cultural and environmental changes unleashed on the Gulf by extraction industries, climate change and mobile technologies – the subjects that have become the focus of her work. The dark sides of technology and late capitalism are the thematic hallmarks of her films, installations and writings. She first discussed these issues in her essays on ‘Gulf futurism’ – a concept she initially articulated in 2007 – and in her memoir-as-novel The Girl Who Fell to Earth (2012). The fragmenting identities explored in her writing continue to inform her installations and film projects, while her unfinished feature film, the rape-revenge fantasy Beretta, looks at sexual violence in Egypt. Characterized by a pessimism she calls ‘doomy’, her work certainly has a dark seam running through it but, in conversation, Al-Maria reveals a lively sense of history and family, as well as a profound curiosity about the world. She talks, too, about her first US solo show, which opens in July at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Ellie Ga makes visual essays. They interlace myth, history and journeys, personal and profound. As she explores ideas she'll travel to the literal ends of the earth, get lodged in ice in the Arctic for months, learn to dive to try to find the world's first lighthouse. The work ends up being profound meditations on time, place, work, language all held together by her hypnotic voice ...I write about her for the October issue of Frieze:
In Frieze, I review the two Guerrilla Girls' anniversary shows. The Guerrillas' do work that has changed how we see art, and I lament how little space the shows get, relegated to a corridor and a basement. And talk about what this means for art now:
IN DECEMBER I went to the Walmart Museum. In October to Thomas Cole's home. Cole was the founder of the Hudson River School, and Walmart, well you know what they do. But the founder's daughter Alice Walton also has a museum in a rural-ish area. Living in the sticks, I'm interested in how art plays outside the centers of the art world. Living in the stomping grounds of the Hudson River School I'm curious about the legacy of that landscape tradition. This is a shorter version of a chapter in the book I'm working on, Growing Up Modern.