2015 was great for art. For all the bitching that went on about art fairs, the dominance of the market, and sub-par museum shows (cough, cough Björk), I saw more great shows than I have in my ten years working as a critic in New York. Rather than try to whittle our picks down to a few select shows, we wrote up every show we thought was truly exemplary.
These GIFs were created by artist Alfredo Salazar-Caro to document his project “Border Crossing Beta 2.0,” an installation containing a video game based on interviews with Mexican-American migrant workers. Within the game, users might wander indefinitely in the desert—an approximation of the Arizona/Mexico border—without accomplishing anything. Other users might encounter embedded interviews with the people Salazar-Caro consulted with.
The installation recalls the hostile natural and man-made environment of the country’s southern edge—where, unlike the gateways to many other nations, a visitor is unlikely to find a “welcome” sign, much less infrastructure of comfort or convenience. Instead, many people’s first impressions of the United States are of cinder blocks and barbed-wire.
The bleak landscape of the United States’ obsessively-fortified fringes reflects the increasingly hostile political rhetoric against our neighbors to the South—an obstacle far more frustrating than a hard-to-navigate game. The sandbox is an apt metaphor for the escalating xenophobia and territorial whining of politicians such as Donald Trump—children never seem to want to share their toys, or even “their” patch of shitty desert.
This Sunday, the new digital art biennale known as “The Wrong” (again) will officially go online. It’s so large, I’m not sure how we’re going to see it all, but in preparation for the day, I spoke to the Wrong founder and organizer David Quiles Guillo.
Now that we’re all back from our art-world summer vacation, looking at our schedules can be mildly panic-inducing. Have no fear, we have a syllabus to help you navigate one very hectic September week. Tonight, there are more openings in the Lower East Side than one can possibly see between the hours of six and eight. We recommend prioritizing Regina Rex and 247365, which will be opening a new exhibition space adjacent to their gallery at 57 Stanton. Thursday, head up to Chelsea for a new video installation by Christian Marclay at Paula Cooper, a solo show from Andrew Birk at Johannes Vogt, and a very-timely video piece about the alienation of migrant women by the multi-national artist Elektra KB at BravinLee programs. Friday night, there’s no one Manhattan neighborhood to call homeroom. Sprint from Printed Matter to White Columns to the BHQF’s Foundation University Gallery (FUG) for some new, up-close but not-too-personal in flagrante delicto scenes from the legendary Betty Tompkins.
Saturday afternoon, the must-see event is undoubtedly the Knockdown Center’s Internet Yami-Ichi, an informal marketplace for all things net-art related. AFC’s own Corinna Kirsch with Dylan Schenker will be releasing a zine encyclopedia of everything you need to know about the internet in 2015. Saturday night, there are openings all over Brooklyn, but we recommend heading to REVERSE for an evening of virtual reality escapism. Sunday, check out early drawings from queer filmmaker Barbara Hammer at Company Gallery, a thrift-store-themed show at Soloway, and a panel discussion on Snapchat featuring AFC alumn Matthew Leifheit at Signal. PHEW.
The image comes from Time Vortex, a project by Alfredo Salazar Caro. A woman’s face acts like a tropical island terrain, and we zoom by her in what looks like the opening scene of Jurassic Park. This is a GIF for everybody in need of a tropical summer vacation (to the disembodied extradimensional head of a green haired lady).
AFC’s Chicago contributors Robin Dluzen and Pedro Vélez ventured beyond the West Loop, opting instead to analyze a selection of those organizations and spaces that pave their own ways: the glorified art walk Brave New Art World; the artist-run, commission-free space AdventureLand; and Roots & Culture, a well-established non-profit gallery that regularly exhibits emerging art.