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Dawn Kasper

The Venice Biennale: An Orphanage for the Terminally Out-of-Touch

by Paddy Johnson on May 17, 2017
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It was close to midnight when my phone started lighting up last week. James Comey, the head of the FBI, was fired and the freak out was almost immediate. I felt lucky to be in Italy. A buffer from US news was necessary to maintain any kind of focus on the Venice Biennale, not to mention one’s sanity. And yet, even from this distance, the turmoil back home certainly drove home one point: Art isn’t going to save democracy. Art has no impact on Donald Trump’s actions, the FBI, or any of the Republicans in the senate and congress. People can call their representatives. Art cannot.

All of which is to say, the art professional who believes artists are magical unicorns who will save us all is looking increasingly silly. And so, visiting this year’s Venice Biennale Viva Art Viva curated by Christine Macel, which begins with the premise that artists will shape the world to come, felt a bit like walking through a United Way commercial. The upside of this: the 2017 Biennale more diverse than many of its predecessors. The downside: diversity isn’t of much value if the show is bad.

The Biennale fails both thematically and visually.

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The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: Images from the Giardini

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2017
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What’s the best way to understand art? One tactic is to see a lot of it. Another is to spend time with artists. And yet another is to curate an entire show around the idea that artist practices are God’s gift to the world and include as many studios, meditations on studios, and virtual studio renderings as humanly possible. Guess which approach Biennale curator Christine Macel takes in the Giardini section. A look at the show below. Arsenale pics here.

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Art About Time, and Bushwick Open Studios

by Paddy Johnson and Whitney Kimball on May 27, 2014
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Time: a universal topic in art, but especially prominent in this week’s art events. Thinkers Tacita Dean, R. H. Quaytman, John Powers, and Marco Antonini are just a few who will be taking on time as subject matter.

It is also time to start planning for Bushwick Open Studios. This post covers the several Bushwick galleries and satellite fair which will be opening for this week’s massive open studio walk. Coming up next: AFC’s picks for artist studios. Stay tuned!

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Let’s Get Real

by Corinna Kirsch and Whitney Kimball on January 13, 2014
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If the economy has given us one gift in the emerging art world, it’s a lot of activities involving sweatbands and opportunities for cheap dates. This week is no different.

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2012 Whitney Biennial List, Leaked

by Paddy Johnson on December 21, 2011
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Thanks to GalleristNY for publishing an email with the names of the Whitney Biennial artists. So far the blog’s only been able to confirm 8 of the 51 names, but we’re republishing the list with some initial thoughts.

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