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ONLINE PREMIERE: “Ways of Something – Episode 3”

by Paddy Johnson on January 30, 2017
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With John Berger’s death this month, the online premiere of Lorna Mills’ “Ways of Something, 3” feels particularly poignant. While Mills’s “Ways of Something” wasn’t conceived strictly as an update, as 117 person re-interpretation it effectively functions as such. To complete this piece, Mills invited over 100 artists to remake all four parts of Berger’s 1972 BBC series “Ways of Seeing”, minute by minute. Each artist was given 60 seconds of video—doled out on a first come first serve basis—with the sole condition that they would need to retain the text used in captioning. What they did to the captioning font, the visuals, the sound, was entirely up to them.

The result is almost certainly the largest video exquisite corpse in existence. Similar to the first Surrealist conceived exquisite corpse drawings, where each half is made blind of the other, each artist creates a minute without knowing what will come before or after it.

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On Zona MACO: How to Excel at Being an Average Art Fair

by Michael Anthony Farley on February 11, 2016
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Last week, I visited Mexico City’s Zona MACO (México Arte Contemporaneo), Latin America’s largest art fair. This was on the heels of our visit to Material, a satellite fair that impressed Paddy and me beyond our expectations. Walking into MACO felt just like visiting the most art fair-y of art fairs by comparison—which is to say, the immediate experience was predictable. There were long convention center lines, groups of “fresas” queuing up to take selfies in reflective sculptures, and familiar overexposed blue-chip names such as Alex Katz and Richard Prince. (“Fresas” is Mexican slang for “yuppies”, literally translating to “strawberries”.) MACO devoted a good chunk of floor space to design wares—from furniture to high-end sunglasses. I wasn’t immediately inspired to lend the event much thought beyond snapping some photos. With a few days of reflection, I realize Zona MACO is noteworthy for its extremes. And that’s not just the quality or quantity of blatantly commercial crap. For all the lackluster blue chip staples on the floor, I also saw an impressive amount of well-curated project booths that smartly positioned emerging artists and galleries in dialogue with the establishment. These two poles served a useful purpose: they lay bare how contemporary art fairs function. Zona MACO is the best model I can think of to demonstrate how for-profit fairs must work to remain both commercially viable and discursively relevant. For better or for worse, MACO excels at both.

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