Letter from Zacatecas

This piece appeared in the February issue of Art Monthly: Opened in 1979, the Swiss-made funicular gliding above the silver-mining city of Zacatecas in North-Central Mexico, was the first of its kind in the country. The short ride on the recently refurbished cable car took me up to Cerro de la Bufa – the shapely hill named after a pig’s bladder (bufa) – past or rather over a sea of whitewashed and bright-coloured houses staggered on the slopes of a narrow valley that contains the city centre. Zacatecas owed much of its prosperity to El Edén, the silver and gold … Continue reading Letter from Zacatecas

Donna Huanca

This Critics’ Pick of Donna Huanca’s “Piedra quemada” at the Lower Belvedere in Vienna appeared in artforum.com: View of “Piedra quemada,” 2018. Spread over eight rooms in the Baroque former summer residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), Donna Huanca’s current exhibition has an opulence all its own. Bright and dim spaces alternate throughout the Lower Belvedere, evoking an initiatic journey into a brave new world. Nude models—sixteen at the opening and two for the duration of the exhibition—with bodies painted in canary-like greens, oranges, and blues starkly contrast with their life-size marble and plaster counterparts, culled from local sculpture collections … Continue reading Donna Huanca

Tania Bruguera: Where Art Can Work

“Where Art Can Work: Interview with Tania Bruguera” was featured in the November-January issue of Flash Art International: Cuban artist Tania Bruguera’s exhibition “10,142,926” takes over Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall this fall with a series of works and interventions, including a heat-sensitive floor that uses the warmth of visitors’ bodies to reveal the portrait of a young man. In an adjacent gallery, a substance that induces tears is diffused in the air. Agnieszka Gratza spoke to the Cuban artist on the occasion of the exhibition. Agnieszka Gratza: The numeric title of your new Turbine Hall project will fluctuate over the … Continue reading Tania Bruguera: Where Art Can Work

‘Low Form’ at MAXXI

This review of ‘Low Form: Imaginaries and Visions in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’ appeared in the December issue of Art Monthly: Agnieszka Polska, What the Sun Has Seen, 2017 The evocative, if not entirely obvious, title of this group show points to the ‘unstable forms produced by artificial intelligence’, in the words of Fondazione MAXXI’s president, Giovanna Melandri. The notion of ‘low form’ is somewhat at odds with the highly sophisticated nature of some of the digital tools and algorithmic processes used to generate the works on view by the 16 international artists included in the show. Mostly born in … Continue reading ‘Low Form’ at MAXXI

Companion Planting

This piece appeared in the summer 2018 issue of CCQ magazine: The roundtable discussion was part of a three-day event (7-10 June 2018) held at artist Fritz Haeg’s Salmon Creek Farm in northern California. Conceived by James Voorhies from the Bureau for Open Culture as a think tank of sorts, Companion Planting: A Manual for the Ecology of New Art brought together artists, writers and academics. Participants were invited to present one of the six modules – Artists, Audience, Economics, Education, Institutions, Publicity – and to consider what is needed to sustain a healthy contemporary art scene from a perspective … Continue reading Companion Planting

Franz Erhard Walther

This review of Franz Erhard Walther’s shows at Museo Jumex and Casa Luis Barragan in Mexico City appeared online in Mousse magazine: Franz Erhard Walther “Objects, to use / Instruments for processes” at Museo Jumex, Mexico City, 2018 (Photo: Abigail Enzaldo and Emilio García) Conceived and curated independently, these two parallel exhibitions—Franz Erhard Walther’s first in the Mexican and Latin American context—beautifully complement each other. One takes over the top floor of the David Chipperfield–designed Museo Jumex in the industrial district of Nuevo Polanco; the other is staged amid the clutter of Casa Luis Barragán, the final residence and studio … Continue reading Franz Erhard Walther

Casa Wabi

This feature appeared in Dutch translation in the summer issue of Metropolis M magazine: Set up in 2014 by the Mexican, Brooklyn-based artist Bosco Sodi, Casa Wabi Foundation has since outgrown the original Tadao Ando-designed exhibition and residency complex on the Pacific Ocean coast in Oaxaca, Mexico. Directed by the artist’s sister Carla Sodi, the foundation’s offices are located in Santa María la Ribera, Mexico City, in a beautifully refurbished town house, which is also used to showcase furniture designed by Lucia Corredor, his wife. An adjoining exhibition space is aimed specifically at emerging local artists who are not represented … Continue reading Casa Wabi

Sounding out Idols

This essay was commissioned for Florian Roithmayr’s Aftercast, a Tender Books publication: Peplos Kore at the Museum of Classical Anthropology in Cambridge In his essay Éloge du maquillage (‘In Praise of Cosmetics’), Charles Baudelaire advocates among other the use of rice-powder designed ‘to rid the complexion of all the blemishes that nature has outrageously strewn there, and to create an abstract unity in the texture and colour of the skin; a unity which, much like that produced by the leotard, instantly assimilates the human being to the statue, that is to say a divine and superior being.‘ For Baudelaire, not only are … Continue reading Sounding out Idols

In conversation with Katerina Gregos

This interview with Katerina Gregos appeared in Mousse magazine: Annaïk-Lou Pitteloud, Neo-Logos, 2017-2018, The Former Faculty of Biology of the University of Latvia (Courtesy: the artist and Barbara Seiler Gallery, Zürich Photo: Andrejs Strokins) Agnieszka Gratza: You curated RIBOCA, the inaugural Riga Biennial in Latvia, Everything Was Forever, Until It Was No More, as well as the group exhibition The State Is Not a Work of Art, which opened at the Tallinn Art Hall in Estonia back in February. Where does your interest in the Baltic region come from? Is it a coincidence that you should be curating two shows so close in … Continue reading In conversation with Katerina Gregos

Collectors as philanthropists

This text appeared in the “Collectors as Philanthropists” catalogue for the RazemPamoja Foundation-initiated charity auction held at the Center for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw: Philanthropy and collecting stem from opposite impulses. Collecting amounts to acquiring things for one’s own private enjoyment; philanthropy, on the contrary, consists in giving away money or other valuable assets for the public good. The one is self-gratifying and wrapped up in itself, the other selfless and outward-looking. Whereas the collector bestows his affections on objects, the philanthropist is by definition animated by the love of mankind. The auction Kolekcjonerzy filantropami (“Collectors as Philanthropists”) … Continue reading Collectors as philanthropists