- I (Michael) took a lot of flak for my criticism of Light City, a “light art” festival that the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts sunk millions of dollars into. Now, apparently, even the people who started Light City are unhappy about it. [City Paper]
- A holographic Virgin Mary that visitors can “destroy” by artist Timo Toots is causing a problem for an Estonian museum. Man, I love how weird headlines have been now that the culture wars have moved into our “awful future” era. [The Art Newspaper]
- Even the promise to work with President-elect Donald Trump is sparking outrage. The American Institute of Architects sent out one such note to its members, causing a backlash from many of its 89,000 members. Good. [Hyperallergic]
- Has the art world had enough of curators? Not sure, but I’ve (Paddy) definitely had enough of Hans Ulrich Obrist being the face of all curators. Replacements for the term include “organized by” and “exhibition maker”. [artnet News]
- Dealer turned art fair manager Edward Winkleman is using his facebook feed and blog to begin a new series called “History Repeating”. Like the rest of us, he’s terrified by what electing Trump will mean for the country and is pointing out similarities in history where dictators did terrible things. If you’re thinking of Hitler and Nazi Germany, you’re on the right track. [Edward Winkleman]
- And here’s a post from a conservatively leaning website, contemplating the moral implications for Republicans who must chose whether they will serve under Trump. To sum up the message: “Don’t do it. Save yourselves.” Great. [Just Security]
- Deborah Kass’s Trump on the cover of New York Magazine. [ARTnews]
- Sotheby’s Impressionist Modernist sale totaled $157.7 million with 81% of lots sold. Josh Baer says there is a supply problem in the art world that’s slowing sales. [The Baer Faxt]
A GIF posted without commentary. Do with this what you will.
Probably the most inspiring night of my life was Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s artist talk at MICA a few years ago. I’m likely paraphrasing here, but there was anecdote along the lines of “If you told me when we were pissing in a bottle as performance art in the Sixties that we’d end up saving dolphins in the Eighties, we wouldn’t have believed it. But now, in retrospect, we see that they’re all parts of the same process.” The message I took away from this: art is important. Working out our frustrations and tears and hopes now might lead to tangible victories in the future—even if they might be considered small in the grand scheme of things.
That’s why I’m personally exceptionally proud to have Genesis speaking on Wednesday night as part of our Strange Genitals exhibition at AICAD. This is a person of extreme wisdom, compassion, and rebellious spirit—qualities the world desperately needs right now. In a strange twist of irony, two events extremely dear to AFC’s interests are competing with the talk: a discussion about DICKS at Fortnight Institute, and a performance interpreting Dennis Cooper’s GIF novels at the New Museum.
There’s plenty of more overtly politically-minded art events for the rest of the week. Thursday night, Xaviera Simmons opens a mysterious solo show at Half Gallery, and Terence Gower talks US-Cuba relations at Simon Preston Gallery, followed by an unrelated LGBT anti-Trump rally in Washington Square Park. If you’re energized from that, meet with State Committeeman Ben Yee at Arts on Site Friday for a discussion on organizing resistance ahead of the midterm elections. We’re also excited for openings at the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts and Vector Gallery, where some AFC reviews might just find their way into JJ Brine’s sculptures…
The weekend brings Pioneer Works’ conference on alternative art schools. I’d expect the conversations to be dominated by the election results rather than pure pedagogy. Saturday night, Michael St. John uses Walt Whitman to consider subjectivity in democracy at Andrea Rosen Gallery, and PS1’s Mark Leckey-centered Night at the Museum might just encourage us to dance our way through these trying times.
Don’t give up on art. You are so, so important.
We feel you, Yoko, we feel you.
After Donald Trump’s election, private prison stocks soared. While this small but ominous tidbit might be overshadowed by the glut of other horrifying news pouring in since Tuesday, it makes On The Inside, a group show of incarcerated LGBTQ artists at Abrons Arts Center, that much more crucial.
Curated by Tatiana von Fürstenberg (yes, the daughter of designer Diane von Fürstenberg), the exhibition is an essential reminder that art can be harnessed for activism. Many shows claim to make the invisible visible, but rarely does the work come from the silenced populations themselves. Von Fürstenberg organized the show in collaboration with LGBTQ prisoner grassroots organization Black and Pink. They placed an open call for art in their monthly newsletter, which reaches 10,000 prisoners. The response was overwhelming, receiving around 4000 submissions from prisons in all fifty states.
It’s hard not to see any art through the lens of politics this week. Trump’s unexpected victory leaves little space for anything else–nearly any experience has a surreal quality to it.
I’m not going to say I don’t find this disruptive to the critical process. The context of evaluating art has changed. What was relevant seems useless post-Trump. But since there’s no way around it, I’ve decided to embrace it. In the case of Mark Leckey’s Containers and Their Drivers at MoMA PS1, I found his career-long satirical engagement with technology amusing on Monday. Today, though, three days after the American people decided to press the country’s self-destruct button, I’m left wondering if the show even weathered this sudden change in perspective.
This week’s posts have not been easy to assemble. There’s not a shred of post-election news that’s good. It’s all terrible, horrifying and deeply frightening. After a small meeting about how to respond, Michael and I decided that while there is no normal right now, perhaps the best thing we can do for ourselves is carry on. And thus, we have links. And we will have reviews. And we have each other.