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Christian Boltanski

I Went To The Jewish Museum’s “Take Me (I’m Yours)” And All I Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt

by Emily Colucci on December 7, 2016
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A loud, tacky sign emblazoned with “Everything Must Go” would not feel out of place in the Jewish Museum’s current exhibition Take Me (I’m Yours). A rack of plastic goodie bags branded with the exhibition’s title hang in the show’s entrance, encouraging viewers to fill up on artist-made pins, T-shirts, used clothing, candy and a 25-cent ball of air from Yoko Ono. With this free-for-all curatorial style, the exhibit looks more like a display of samples than a contemporary art show.

That’s a bad thing. The whole show feels like a gimmick designed to lure people in the door by offering them free swag. Meanwhile, the Museum is presenting the idea that they are challenging the traditional relationship between art and its viewers, which not only isn’t true (it’s been done to death), it distracts from the sociopolitical critiques made by many of the artists in the show. Simply put, the show is a disaster.

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Hans-Ulrich Obrist’s New Do It Video Tells You to Do It With Social Media

by Corinna Kirsch on April 29, 2014
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But why should we do it?

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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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Should Artists Go To The Venice Biennale?

by Paddy Johnson on June 9, 2011
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Are biennales like art fairs – a quick way to kill an artist’s soul? I sometimes had this impression while I was in Venice last week, even though nothing is for sale. There’s a lot of art to see, sure, but more importantly, people to schmooze! Given that the day the Biennale opens to the public the crowds thin dramatically — this is same day the three-day advance press and VIP preview closes — it’s hard to think the show is mostly about the art.

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