From the category archives:

Feature

Catbox Contemporary: It Looks Different in Person

by Paddy Johnson on September 27, 2017
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The idea for Catbox Contemporary had been percolating for years. Founder and artist Philip Hinge hatched the idea of starting a miniature gallery just after he finished grad school at VCU in 2014. The plan was to launch exhibitions inside one of two kitty apartments in his cat tree. It wasn’t until January 2017 that he opened the gallery in his Ridgewood apartment but now it’s taking off.

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A Museum Chain is Local, and Also a Hotel

by Paddy Johnson on June 19, 2017
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I spent seven hours inside the Nashville, Tennessee airport last week before they announced my flight had been cancelled. I was in town to see the latest 21c Hotel and Museum, but assumed I would only be staying there one night. At 11 pm, I returned to the hotel for a second evening in the hopes of getting a wistful 5 hours of sleep before returning to the airport the next morning. It wasn’t the best day.

The lodging I returned to, though, made my crappy travel bearable. 21c Museum Hotel has all the perks of a W Hotel (minus the nightclub vibe) and adds access to a 24 hour contemporary art museum to the mix. The shows change with the regularity of most museums and promise to challenge visitors rather than placate them. There’s art in all the elevators (a Leslie Thornton binocular video fit perfectly in the space), all the lobbies, the conferences rooms, the bar and restaurant, in some of the rooms and will soon always be on the TVs. (21c will be launching their own video art program that will be the default station.) The only place they omit art is the gym.

If there’s a nice place to land for extra night, it’s a museum.

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How Much is Culture Worth Compared to Melania Trump?

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on March 24, 2017
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New York’s arts organizations stand to lose big time under Trump’s NEA-gutting budget. New York taxpayers are already losing big time while footing the bill for the Trump family’s security owing to the First Lady’s decision to remain in her Manhattan penthouse.

We wondered: just how much art could you fund with a few hours of Melania’s security detail?

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SLIDESHOW: Mexico City Galleries, Part 2

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 17, 2017
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Last month, I checked out what was on view at some of Mexico City’s galleries during the art fairs. Over the past week, I stopped by a few more. Highlights include Rurru Mipanochia at ArtSpace Mexico (bastion of queer contemporary art), SANGREE at Yautepec, and Mauricio Limón at Galería Hilario Galguera a few blocks away. Today is the last day to see Mauricio Limón’s show, and I highly recommend it.

All three very different solo shows share one thing in common: they mine Mexico’s turbulent post-colonial history with a sense of humor. Strategies range from queering pre-Columbian cosmology or hybridizing Mayan and classical European pottery to recycling imagery from currencies that failed in the face of globalization. Notably, none of this work comes across as bitter or preachy.

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Museum Punk Show in Need of A Sound Guy

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 24, 2017
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In a past life, Mexico City’s Museo Universitario Del Chopo was a punk flea market. Today, it’s gone back to it roots (kinda).
Punk. Sus rastros en el arte contemporáneo is a fantastic survey of both punk and its impact on contemporary art. But when so much of that influence has been on video art, the logic of a gallery presentation is questionable.
The show feels a bit like it should be a film festival but has been squeezed into a white box. Good luck trying to sit through more than a dozen videos with overlapping sound on different loops.

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From Botswana with Love*: The Gaze in Meleko Mokgosi’s Marxist Oil Paintings

by Michael Anthony Farley on September 29, 2016
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Meleko Mokgosi’s two exhibitions at Jack Shainman are a politically-charged invitation to spectatorship in oil on canvas. Gorgeously rendered scenes from southern Africa invite the viewer to consider colonialism, class, and domestic life from a Marxist, yet utterly subjective viewpoint.

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Hot as Hell: Peter Burr’s Subterranean Utopias

by Paddy Johnson on September 23, 2016
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It’s hard work to build a world. I went to visit Peter Burr in advance of his upcoming exhibition at 3-Legged Dog Art & Technology Center this Sunday to find out just how hard.

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Faulty Cottages: the Curious Case of Mill Hill’s Fired Community Artists

by Michael Anthony Farley on August 2, 2016
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Macon Georgia’s Mill Hill Arts Village is a utopian vision of inclusive planning, permanently affordable housing stock, and community arts programming. So why were resident artists Samantha Hill and Ed Woodham fired? They believe they uncovered a gentrification scheme, but the Macon Arts Alliance tells a different, incomplete story.

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Inaugural Toronto Art Book Fair Pages City’s Independent Print Culture

by Rea McNamara on June 16, 2016
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The rise of art fairs has not been all that bad. Yes, we’re stuck with the same galleries showing the same work, but we’ve also seen a rise in alternative venues, the most common being art book fairs. Whether it’s LA or New York, the fairs often have a frenetic energy, particularly the sections dedicated to artist-made zines, which in addition to artist books, often include performances, the sale of related ephemera (think buttons and stickers) and zealous trading. Fair sections divide exhibitors by rare book dealers, distributors and artists. Even the poorest of us can afford something at the fair, which means every visitor can leave with a sense of being able to directly support the livelihood of artists.

Here in Toronto, the arrival of the new Toronto Art Book Fair (TOABF) — which opens today in a historic schoolhouse in the West End, and runs to the end of this weekend — has been enthusiastically received by the local arts community. In fact, much of my Instagram has been filled for the past week with artists like Micah Lexier and Lido Pimienta proudly snapping the wares they’ll be selling. With a tightly-curated 75 vendors participating, it appears the free public event has been far more successful than either Art Toronto or the recently-ended Feature in attracting the involvement of international vendors. Art Toronto mostly attracts galleries outside Canada under its FOCUS curated section (for the 2016 edition in October, it’ll be Latin America) and because Feature was organized by Montreal’s Association des galeries d’art contemporain, it was criticized by local gallerists for its Quebec-heavy regionalism. Further, since Toronto isn’t a “traditional art capital”, those fairs have been challenged in representing a discerning edit of the local commercial gallery scene.

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What Happens Now That Peter Brant Officially Owns a Big Chunk of the Art Media Landscape?

by Rea McNamara on June 3, 2016
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The concentration of media ownership is never a good thing. Integration leads to anticompetitive behaviour in the marketplace — especially among publications owned by the same parent company. So should the art world be concerned by the recent news that Brant Publications, owned by powerhouse collector Peter Brant, now owns all the assets of Art in America, The Magazine Antiques, Modern Magazine and ARTnews, which joins his flagship, Interview Magazine?

It depends on how you look at it. Brant was already a majority stakeholder, which gave him full control over the companies. In July 2015, as the Observer reported, Brant Publications sold its 100% ownership of Art in America to Artnews S.A., the publicly-traded company based in Warsaw, Poland that owned ARTnews. BMP Media, a Brant subsidiary then purchased a 60% stake in ARTnews for $16.9 million.

So the only difference now is that he owns 100% of the stock. The question then arises: now that ARTnews is under private ownership, how will that impact its coverage moving forward, especially since it’s no longer a publicly-held media entity?

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