‘Low Form’ at MAXXI

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 the 1980s, or failing that the 1970s, they belong to the Millennial Generation and are – just about – ‘digital natives’. Continue reading ‘Low Form’ at MAXXI

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Companion Planting

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 30 years into the future. Continue reading Companion Planting

Franz Erhard Walther

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 of the revered Mexican architect, situated in the working-class Tacubaya neighborhood of Mexico City. Continue reading Franz Erhard Walther

Casa Wabi

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 by a commercial gallery and as a result have fewer opportunities to show their work. Continue reading Casa Wabi

Sounding out Idols

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 women justified in their attempts at reforming nature, they are performing a kind of duty by attempting to make their beauty appear supernatural, even divine. Continue reading Sounding out Idols

Garden of Memory

Weaving together poetry, sound, and sculpture, “Garden of Memory” styles itself as a conversation à trois between artists who are bound by friendship and love. Poet and painter Etel Adnan serves as the link among her longtime collaborators Robert Wilson and Simone Fattal, both of whom she met for the first time in the summer of 1972 in Beirut. Her poem Conversations with my soul (III), 2018—here read aloud by Wilson over speakers and heard by Fattal’s sculpted angels—folds into another dialogue, this time between the poet’s different selves. Continue reading Garden of Memory

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

Francis Alÿs

This review of Francis Alÿs’s show “Knots n’ Dust” at Beirut Art Centre appeared in the March-April issue of Flash Art International: “Francis Alÿs: Knot’n Dust” at Beirut Art Center, 2018 Paradoxes are knotty statements that fold back on themselves, as in “Sometimes winning is losing / Sometimes losing is winning.” Finger written by the artist on a windshield, following a sandstorm that covered Beirut in a film of dust, these words appear as bilingual (English and Arabic) captions in one of four postcards commissioned for Francis Alÿs’s first solo show in this war-torn region. The sepia-colored photographs from which the cards … Continue reading Francis Alÿs