I’ve always been wary of blonde children. Maybe this stems from having grown up in a mostly white Canadian small town, where civic pride swelled for the farmer boys with hair the yellow of corn who became NHL players, or the figure skating girls able to lutz and flip jump in their sparkling spandex.
In Liz Magic Laser’s Kiss and Cry at Mercer Union, the chilling universalism of the sacred, blonde prodigy is affirmed. Commissioned by the artist-run center, the video follows figure skating coach Marie Jonsson MacKenzie conditioning her blonde blue-eyed children, seven year old Anna and eleven year old Axel, from training practice to spot-lit performance. It’s a straight-forward and minimal video work install: a blacked-out gallery, a large-scale projection, and not much else. Their dialogue with each other is stiff and unsettling—at one point after a performance in a darkened, empty North Toronto arena, young Axel says in a robotic-sounding voice-over “fuck the child … fuck the future”.
At the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit’s “People’s Biennial,” curators Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffmann have selected a group of established artists to, in turn, choose their own non-art world collaborators. But “outsider art” hardly begins to cover the kinds of creative practices on display.
This week leaves us with very little time: Roberta and Jerry do a rare public joint interview, professional newscasters perform a Liz Magic Laser piece, and artists do stand-up. More stars emerge from the Whitney Biennial, a Greenpoint horror film premieres, and Abrons Art Center hosts a day for disabilities.
But make sure to clear your schedule for the most important event of all, our co-hosted panel on studio affordability.
Good news for those of you who couldn’t get tickets to Performa’s blockbusters! There are still free and open Performa events (a 24-hour group performance, a screening by the Gay Cable Network archive) and non-Performa exhibitions of puppets, comics, animation, and a queer experimental film festival.
August suffers from a lull in gallery openings, so you can anticipate plenty of film and performance listings from us for the rest of the month. This week we recommend checking out some of the Lord of the Rings at MoMA (yes, you read that right), a film about land artist Andy Goldsworthy at Storm King, and the last of Shaun Krupa’s performances at the Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery. Sound also emerges as a theme this week, with a performance by Ganjatronics at Clocktower Gallery and the launch of the Soundings event programming at MoMA.
An air of something clung to the walls of The Armory Show yesterday afternoon. Sales were uneven, but steady, and the crowds pretty much identical to last year. The mechanics of the fair seemed to be working fine.