- Last night, the New Yorker hosted a panel discussion moderated by editor-in-chief David Remnick and panelists playwright Tony Kushner, poet, essayist, and playwright Claudia Rankine and author Salman Rushdie. The subject was today’s American politics and how artists respond. What a letdown. Salman Rushdie is still a misogynist (he blames Susan Sarandon for Bernie bros not giving his loss a rest). Tony Kushner oddly avoided the subject of race when Claudia Rankine brought it up, and Rankine was the only one willing to take potentially contentious positions. Even she didn’t have much to say, though, perhaps because the entire panel was ill-conceived. Nobody thought their art would be influenced by politics—which was its subject. Rushdie pushed the cliched theory that art only gets good when times are tough. All in all a stinker, (but you can watch the video and decide for yourself). [Public Theatre]
- Speaking of how the arts are influenced by politics, Matthew Rose discusses this very subject in his piece “Trump World—Signs of Protest”. I’m quoted in Rose’s piece more than once, but this sentiment closes out the piece. “Functioning democracies require the engagement and work of citizens,” says Paddy Johnson of Art F City. “It doesn’t require an excess of formalist abstract painting. I’m not interested in the work of right-leaning artists. We have Neo-Nazis shutting down anti-Trump statements at museums. This is not a curiosity. It is a battle and we need to be prepared for it because it’s not going to be pretty.” [Art Blog]
- Need to escape Trump’s world? Mark Farid is going to spend a month alone in a room wearing virtual reality headgear. The piece is basically a bunch of sane professionals expressing concern over the idea. Add me to this list. I’ve never been able to go more than 15 minutes wearing the goggles without getting nauseous and I’m told that’s better than average. He’s Farid going to do days of this? [VICE]
- A Google doc listing all the galleries that show only white artists, those with no black artists, and those with only one non-white artist. [google docs]
- A Golden Girls inspired cafe has opened up at 4394 Broadway in New York. Michael Anthony Farley says this is the only news that has made him excited to return to the United States—and since it’s an all white show, I can’t imagine it’s going to land on President Donald Trump’s hit list for any reason. [WQAD]
I’m not sure where this GIF of buff eagles in speedos dancing came from, but I sure am glad it exists. Try as I might with reverse Google Image Search, I can’t seem to find this image’s source. It does seem to be pretty widely posted across the internet, though, and it’s easy to see why.
Kick the week off with the closing reception of an anti-Trump poetry show at EIDIA House, part of their “Plato’s Cave” exhibition series. Tuesday, artist Hakan Topal and curator Joanna Lehan talk about representations of refugees at CUNY’s Graduate Center, and Wednesday two artists plunge into the aesthetics of capitalism and consumption at respective openings downtown.
Things lighten up a bit starting Thursday. We’re looking forward to the NYC debut of North Carolina artist Carmen Neely at Jane Lombard Gallery and Monica Bonvicini’s oddly sexy work at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. On Friday, AFC friend Saul Chernick is opening a collaborative show at NURTUREart in Bushwick, and Saturday Liinu Grönlund’s rat-centric video work goes live at Open Source Gallery. End the week with a timely show about barriers and portals from A.K. Burns at Callicoon Fine Arts.
Last year, we would occasionally spend some of our Friday afternoons writing up unusual things we found in the ethers of social media under the tag The 150th Wing of the Internet. I thought of resurrecting that tradition today, when someone sent me a link to the Facebook page N I G H T D R I V E R ナイトコール, which posts lots of GIFs, illustrations, and photos of cars driving through cities at night. Some of them have a retro-futuristic cyberpunk vibe, or capture candid moments of traffic from cities around the world. It’s a notable example of hyper-specific Tumblr-style curating migrating to other social networks.
For the ultimate highspeed-car-chase-from-the-comfort-of-your-home viewing experience, I recommend scrolling through the page while listening to this song.
Doomed Capitalism And Psychedelic Escape In David Spriggs and Matthijs Munnik’s “Permutations of Light” at Pittsburgh’s Wood Street Galleries
Before the election and the daily drama of Trump’s administration, I never fully understood just how important the current sociopolitical state is to the success of an exhibition. Of course, I was aware that timeliness could make or break a show. But, less than a month into Trump’s presidency, work that normally wouldn’t interest me in galleries I typically bypass have taken on new meaning and resonance.
The latest project to remind me of art’s dependence on its political context is David Spriggs and Matthijs Munnik’s dual exhibition Permutations of Light at Pittsburgh’s Wood Street Galleries. The show presents two large-scale immersive installations, Spriggs’s Gold and Munnik’s Citadels, on separate floors of the gallery. Concentrated on formal aspects of light, color and form, this type of experiential installation (which are often associated with Wood Street Galleries’ programming) have become so commonplace that they seem, at this point, like a crowd-pleasing cliché. But, when viewed in the context of our surreal times, Spriggs’s critique of capitalism and Munnik’s escapism feel surprisingly relevant.
A GIF that needs no caption.
Say hello to a gaping animated butt hole. That’s right, it’s hump day here at AFC, and we’ve got a butt to ponder. Enjoy. Animation by Mary Prats.