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John Divola

California Dreaming: “Golden State” at Marianne Boesky Gallery

by Emily Colucci on April 7, 2017
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As a New Yorker, much of my conception of California is filtered through films and TV. At least recently with the popularity of HBO’s Little Big Lies and the continued guilty pleasure of the Real Housewives franchise, California looks like it’s made up of big houses, bigger drama and staggering affluence. But, in addition to the extreme privilege in Orange County, Beverly Hills and Monterey, the state, according to Census research, also has the highest poverty rate in the nation.

Curator Drew Sawyer takes aim at this divide through deceptively simple means in his group photography exhibition Golden State at Marianne Boesky Gallery. Sawyer juxtaposes both staged and documentary style representations of enormous wealth with lack to showcase both individual and communal aspirations. Now, this is a recipe for a pretty standard show, but what makes Sawyer’s approach stand out is how his juxtapositions give us greater insight into a less pictured part of California–not just lower income neighborhoods, but the social and governmental structures that support them.

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The Whitney Biennial: Visual Screen Burn Courtesy of America’s Finest

by Paddy Johnson on March 16, 2017
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Out of the ten Whitney Biennials I’ve seen, this is the first one that could have used a vomit warning. But here we are, in Trump’s America, a future many of us never wanted to imagine, let alone live through. What is the purpose of art in this New America? This year’s Biennial bears no answers. Art doesn’t exist to defend its purpose and even if it did this exhibition was organized prior to the election. Nevertheless, it does bring then-simmering themes to a boil. So, while almost none of the work is Trump themed, as a whole the exhibition reads as a responsive to the challenges the country faces—increasing income inequality across the board, failing institutions, and the rise of hate-fueled violence. If art is a mirror, then this year’s Biennial should scare the shit out of you.

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This Week’s Must-See Art Events: Winter is Coming

by Michael Anthony Farley on March 13, 2017
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The week is of course dominated by two news items: The Whitney Biennial and The Wintery Downfall.

After the blizzard, Wednesday is a great opportunity to get yourself in the snowy mood, art-wise. Enjoy doses of culture from freezing, windswept regions, including Marsden Hartley’s Maine at The Met Breuer (if you’re missing the Whitney’s old digs) and Berlin-based Danish/Norwegian duo Elmgreen & Dragset in conversation with Dan Cameron at The Flag Art Foundation. Later, catch the Icelandic thriller Hevn at Scandinavia House’s New Nordic Cinema screening series.

Other highlights include Fort Gansevoort’s female-perspective sports show March Madness Thursday night and TRANSFER’s four year birthday party, which will feature affordable editions from some of our favorite digital artists.

Oh yeah, and make time to check out the Biennial. I’m told it’s good, but “traumatic”. An appropriately bleak show to match our physical and political climate?

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