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Bernd and Hilla Becher

This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Spend Valentine’s Day Grabbing Bjarne Melgaard’s Sloppy Seconds

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 13, 2017
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Bjarne Melgaard is going through a reinvention phase, which means he’s giving away his entire $500K wardrobe for free on Valentine’s Day at Red Bull Studios. Then he’s launching his new project: a streetwear line with an installation a department store at the same spot Thursday night. Then two painters offer unique takes on domesticity through still lives—Sydney Licht at Kathryn Markel Fine Arts and Crys Yin at Amy Li Projects.

Friday night, things get weirder with a dystopian video game from Jeremy Couillard at yours mine & ours, artwork lost in translation at Tiger Strikes Asteroid, and a late-night performance from Actually Huizenga and one-time-AFC-contributor SSION (video above). The weekend brings two more all-women shows conceived in response to Trump’s sexism: BODY/HEAD Saturday night at Be Fluent NYC and BEAT at On Stellar Rays Sunday afternoon. Lookin’ good, NYC.

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Manifesta: “Something old and tyrannical burning there”

by Eva Heisler on July 3, 2012
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“A portable climate.” That’s what Ralph Waldo Emerson called coal. “Every basket is power and civilization,” he wrote in 1860. Coal is not only a portable climate but “it is the means of transporting itself whithersoever it is wanted,” Emerson added, noting “a half-ounce of coal will draw two tons a mile, and coal carries coal, by rail and by boat, to make Canada as warm as Calcutta.”

Writing 100 years later, Thomas McGrath contrasts coal fire to wood fire in his poem “A Coal Fire in Winter.” With a coal fire, there is “[s]omething old and tyrannical burning there.” This is “heat / From the time before there was fire.” Coal, compressed plant matter accumulated over 100,000 years, is the legacy of a “sunken kingdom” and its flames are “carbon serpents of bituminous gardens.”

Coal—as fuel, as fossil, as material, as metaphor, as “black gold,” as historical force—is the starting point of Manifesta 9, situated in the main building of the former Waterschei mining facility in Genk, Belgium.

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