From the category archives:

slideshow

Highlights, and a Sad Observation, From MICA’s Commencement Exhibition

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 15, 2017
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As a rule, we don’t generally discuss student work on the blog. There are plenty of reasons for this, but for me, one is simple: I am forever grateful no one from the art press ever saw the terrible work I was struggling through in art school.

Yet nearly every Spring, I am impressed by commencement exhibitions—how is it possible that so many college seniors have their shit together more than so many grown-ass artists? Thesis shows at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), my old alma mater, tend to be particularly polished and worthwhile.

This year, though, has been a rough one for students nationally. I can’t imagine dealing with Trump’s election in the Fall and inauguration at the start of the Spring semester, all while trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing with your last year of art school. So much work looks like students just gave up hope halfway through a concept—as if a collective trauma had left everyone dispirited and unable to focus. We at AFC can certainly sympathize. The situation is fucking unfair.

That’s why this year we’re covering the MICA commencement show, which closes today (go see it if you’re in Baltimore!). Although it’s overall less enthusiastic and high-caliber than years past, those who persevered through the crisis and turned it out deserve recognition.

Below, the stand-out highlights from the class of 2017. If they can survive pulling-off thesis projects this good in spite of (and often in reference to) the apocalypse, the art world will be a cakewalk.

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Highlights From Brown Paper: a Zine Fest For Artists of Color

by Michael Anthony Farley on May 3, 2017
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Baltimore curatorial platform Kahlon and Brooklyn’s 3 Dot Zine teamed up last weekend to launch a DIY press fair focused on artists of color. Here are some highlights.

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Slideshow: AFC’s Goth Benefit, Part 1

by Michael Anthony Farley on April 20, 2017
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Unless you’ve been un-living under a tombstone, you know Art F City’s Goth Benefit took over the dungeon of Collapsable Hole Tuesday night. It’s an evening few of us will forget. Just in case we do, however, photographer Liz Ligon was there to document it thoroughly. From Hot Topic merch raffles to the goth opera stylings of Joseph Keckler, it was wild night. See for yourself below.

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Slideshow: AFC’s Goth Benefit, Part 2

by Michael Anthony Farley on April 20, 2017
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Unless you’ve been un-living under a tombstone, you know Art F City’s Goth Benefit took over the dungeon of Collapsable Hole Tuesday night. It’s an evening few of us will forget. Just in case we do, however, photographer Liz Ligon was there to document it thoroughly. From Hot Topic merch raffles to the goth opera stylings of Joseph Keckler, it was wild night. See for yourself below.

Be deathly sure to check out part 1 of the slideshow here, and our scary awesome Instagram feed from Sean Fader.

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SLIDESHOW: Mexico City Galleries, Part 3

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 29, 2017
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The diversity and sheer volume of art on view in Mexico City at any given point in time never ceases to amaze me. This week, I had an uncommonly un-cerebral experience of conceptual art critic Robert C. Morgan’s retrospective at Proyectos Monclova. At the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum, I went down the rabbit hole of curator Iñaki Herranz’s pleasantly chaotic survey of young Mexican artists, El placer de la incertidumbre, at Casa de Cultura San Rafael. And at Museo Experimental el Eco, got to check out Folke Köbberling & Arturo Hernández having a demolition derby in the name of international relations and clean air.

Of course, I snapped plenty of pictures of all of the above.

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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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Highlights From the Armory

by Molly Rhinestones on March 4, 2017
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The Armory Show opened this week, creating a theme park for art collectors and lovers from across the globe. Over 200 galleries and site specific installations are on view at Pier 92 and 94 on the Hudson River. This year features a welcome overhaul of the fair’s floor plan, spearheaded by the new director, Benjamin Genocchio. The delineation of a “Modern” section, usually on view at Pier 92, has been phased out, relocating 17 dealers from the “Galleries” section and the “Focus” artists upstairs. In past iterations of the fair it seemed highlights were positioned in high traffic areas near the entrance and by the time the fair fatigue hit you found yourself stuck at a dead end inside labyrinth of the dullest booths. The new design features wider aisles and better traffic management, making for a vastly more pleasant experience. This year’s a hit folks—at least in terms of visitor experience.

In particular, the Armory’s special “Focus” section, curated by Jarret Gregory, stood out. The section culled 10 artists from around the world together to examine a question taken from 19th Century Russian Socialist Writer Nikolai “Chernyshevsky, “What Is To Be Done?” (a breath of fresh air when at times the theme of the fair seems to be “How Many Yayoi Kusama and Marina Abramovic Works Can We Fit Into This Pier.”).

My highlights and commentary below.

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SLIDESHOW: Mexico City Galleries, Part 1

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 1, 2017
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MEXICO CITY- The past month has been a crazy time for Mexico City’s art scene between art fairs, pop-ups, and countless openings/performances at museums and galleries. I’ll be posting updates of highlights—starting with group show The Queen Falls at Galería OMR, Rafael Uriegas: Cueva Semilla Sol & Keke Vilabelda: Overwrite at Galería Karen Huber, and a pop-up from digital art edition producers Janet40.

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Slideshow: Zona MACO, The Art Fair Where Commerce and Politics Make Strange Bedfellows

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 9, 2017
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Last year, I remarked that Zona MACO excels at being an “average” art fair.

I stand by that opinion this year, with the clarification that it feels a bit like the average of many art fairs: a bit of NADA, a big dollop of Design Miami, a dose of Basel, and flavors of Frieze. That makes sense, as it’s by far Latin America’s largest and most important art fair—many of the curated identities of fairs in hyper-saturated US markets come from necessity of branding when there’s competition.

And like I said last year, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Though this year, due to some floor plan rearrangements and somewhat less cohesive booths, the curated sections Zona MACO Sur and Nuevas Propuestas felt a bit underwhelming. That might also owe to (what seemed like) an increase in advertisers’ kiosks and design, publication, and food vendors, comparatively.

The good news: the quality of work in the General Section improved tremendously. Sure, there were many repeat, predictable artist, but the recent political turns in both Mexico and the United States haven’t gone unnoticed in the art world, thankfully. Scattered among the rows of polite abstraction, there was plenty of outright political work, particularly when compared to the December fairs in Miami.

Below, a sampling of the what’s on view, beginning with some of the more overtly political works.

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Preview the Second Avenue Subway’s (Surprisingly Not Bad) Art

by Michael Anthony Farley on December 22, 2016
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Fingers-crossed, the long-overdue Second Avenue Subway will open on New Years Day. But we can preview the city’s newest public artworks—from Chuck Close, Vik Muniz, Sara Sze, and Jean Shin—thanks to photos from inside the construction site.
So far, the work looks better than one would expect…

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