From the category archives:

Reviews

Vahap Avşar at P! and Protocinema: That Strange Man is Not Your Friend

by Paddy Johnson on December 9, 2015
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Vahap Avşar selects images from the vast archive of Turkey’s AND Postcard Company. They are creepy.

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Art Basel Feels Like Last Season’s Trunk Sale

by Paddy Johnson on December 3, 2015
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My Art Basel experience will sound familiar to almost everyone following the fair. After a day at Art Basel Miami, most dealers I spoke to still had work available. That’s not to say that sales were slow— just slower than the usual mad rush we’ve become accustomed to over the last few years. According to art consultant Josh Baer, that’s not because the art was bad, but because collectors have become more thoughtful.

Yeah right. Collectors have not suddenly transformed into more curious and discerning people. They’re just not oblivious to the obvious: most of the art on view looked like B-rate work we’d seen a hundred times already. Even people who have nothing to do all day but buy things will eventually get bored of that.

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Another Failed Exhibition at TIFF: “Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen”

by Rea McNamara on November 25, 2015
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It’s hard to count all the ways the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) exhibition “Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen” fails. Lame gallery space, obvious exhibition design, poor exhibition maintenance all contribute to a terrible viewing experience. And it’s not the first time. The show is the latest in a string of underwhelming shows suggesting that the film centre and headquarters for TIFF might not be equipped to handle the major touring exhibitions it earnestly seeks to attract. In the five years since TIFF moved into the TIFF Bell Lightbox, a five-story glass-paneled complex in the heart of city’s entertainment district, its exhibition programming has struggled in going year-round.

Blame the HSBC Gallery, its main exhibition space. Despite state-of-the-art cinemas on upper levels gently twisting above an airy street level public atrium, it’s always struck me as an architectural afterthought. Any exhibitions I’ve seen — from a revamped version of MoMA’s Tim Burton exhibition to the TIFF-organized David Cronenberg retrospective survey — have felt cramped, and marred by exhibition design lacking any sort of intuitive flow or sense of movement for visitors.

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Inside Paris Photo: The Art Fair Almost No One Saw

by Michael Anthony Farley on November 19, 2015
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Following last week’s terrorist attacks, the art fair Paris Photo was forced to close. This week, the organizers launched an online simulacrum of the exhibition. Exploring the largely-empty fair is eerie, awkward, and uncannily poignant.

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An Artist-in-Residence at a 19th Century Library: Lu Zhang

by Michael Anthony Farley on November 17, 2015
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Lu Zhang has spent the past year as the artist-in-residence at the George Peabody Library, a massive, beautiful “cathedral of books” from 1878. Her year of non-objective research and wandering has resulted in a surprisingly logical (but playful) series of artworks.

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The Wrong Biennale: First Impressions

by Michael Anthony Farley on November 11, 2015
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Online art exhibition The Wrong Biennale’s second iteration has been live for over a week now. Much like the internet itself, The Wrong is huge and unwieldy and generated by so many authors that it’s thematically and qualitatively inconsistent beyond recapitulation or even judgement, really. That being said, The Wrong’s greatest utility might be its capacity to lay bare all the strengths, challenges, and glorious failures of displaying and viewing digital art online.

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Hotel Art That Makes You Feel Richer: On 21c in Durham

by Paddy Johnson on November 6, 2015
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I visited the 21c hotel in Durham North Carolina, which was established by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson as a means of housing their art collection.

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Is Claire Bishop Mired in Citational Modernism?

by Rea McNamara on November 5, 2015
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Going to lectures where the speakers workshop their book on you sucks. This was the case last Wednesday evening, when a crowd of artists, students and academics packed an OCAD auditorium for “Déjà Vu: Contemporary Art and the Ghosts of Modernity”, a free public lecture by art historian Claire Bishop.

From what I could gather during the lecture, Bishop believes we’re stuck in a rut she describes as ’“reformatted modernism”. The self-invented term refers to a historicist strain of contemporary art, where our downloadable obsessions with Eames chairs, van der Rohe skyscrapers and archival forms of display (think slide projectors) have rendered Modernist references in art that are all image and no function.

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Today, Miriam Simun Lets Us Taste the Future and it’s Gross (Mostly)

by Michael Anthony Farley on November 4, 2015
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Today, Miriam Simun’s GhostFood will be offering viewers a chance to smell the future at Baltimore’s Lexington Market. The project is presented by The Contemporary and imagines a future where we’ll have to eat imitations of climate-endangered foods.

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We Went to North Carolina: The Weirdest Contemporary Art Museum in the South

by Paddy Johnson and Michael Anthony Farley on October 28, 2015
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Pretty much everyone we spoke to while we were in North Carolina was excited about Point & Counterpoint at SECCA. And for what it is—a group show of artists whose work was not selected for any kind of commonality past being a recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship—it’s not hard to see why. The show was so masterfully installed by SECCA curator Cora Fisher that it’s hard to imagine most of the work ever looking better than in that context.

That said, we were a little underwhelmed by a lot of the work on view.

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