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Mark Bradford

The Venice Biennale Pavilions: Caged Dogs, Fallen Logs, and the Problem of Time

by Paddy Johnson on June 6, 2017
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Pretty much any traveler will end up thinking about time in Venice given the age of the city, but the Biennale amplifies this tendency. Even in thinly attended years, visitors to the Venice Biennale preview quickly get used to standing in long cues to see popular pavilions. As far as VIP events go, the pavilion previews aren’t the least bit exclusive, so wait times come with the territory. As a result art is often considered by whether or not it’s worth the time you budget.

A discussion of Anne Imhof at the German Pavilion, Geoffrey Farmer at the Canadian Pavilion and Mark Bradford at the US Pavilion after the jump.

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The Venice Biennale, Viva Arte Viva: The Pavilions, Part One

by Paddy Johnson on May 11, 2017
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Today we spent the majority of our time looking at the Pavilions and we’ll be spending much of tomorrow similarly. Overall, there seem to be fewer people visiting the pavilions and Biennale this year—as evidenced by shortened bathroom cues and the ability to get a cup of coffee in less than hour. It’s hard, though, to discern the reasons for this. It’s not like anyone knows in advance what the shows (or weather) will be like. Still, I wondered if the poor quality of this year’s biennale might have depressed some enough that they took the day off. And perhaps the Americans here are too worried about the President’s recent firing of FBI Chief James Comey to focus on art? I know it’s an issue for me as well as many others I’ve seen over the last two days.

As for the pavilions, it’s a mixed bag—some good, some bad, and some stinky. I mean that literally. At least three pavilions this year need stench warning signs for those with allergies.

I’ll be discussing a lot of the work in greater depth in a separate post. In the meantime, here’s a sampling of what we saw this afternoon.

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Julie Mehretu at Marian Goodman Gallery: Can Social Abstraction Succeed?

by Paddy Johnson on October 20, 2016
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How valuable are first impressions? In art, this seems to be a perennially important question. A work should, aesthetically, stand on its own. Except, of course, when it doesn’t matter because the concept determines the formal choices.  Or when aesthetics kinda sorta matter but so does the context.

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Why Artists Make Better Landlords: An Interview with Akin Collective’s Oliver Pauk and Michael Vickers

by Rea McNamara on June 20, 2016
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The belief that artists are too independent or focused on their career to self-organize needs to die. Artists have the capacity to be both generous and great.

Take, for example, the affordable housing movement, and the artists dispelling the traditional artist-as-gentrifier-enabler role. Theaster Gates transformed vacant and abandoned buildings in his neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side by establishing a foundation, and then partnering with the city and developers to rehab a public housing complex into mixed-income housing. In Houston, Rick Lowe’s Project Row Houses covers six blocks in the Third Ward, providing affordable housing for low-income tenants. Mark Bradford’s Art + Practice not only brings contemporary art programming to Los Angeles’s Leimert Park, but also provides social services for youth in the city’s foster care system. Artists have the potential to readdress urban displacement and ensure affordable space still exists for art by pulling up their sleeves and playing a bigger entrepreneurial role in real estate development.

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At the Whitney: Industry, Advertising, and Death Makes America Hard to See

by Paddy Johnson on April 27, 2015
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A closer look at the Whitney’s permanent collection exhibition America Is Hard to See.

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