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Notes From Paris: JR’s Au Panthéon

This summer, the Parisian street artist known semi-anonymously as JR installed his massive, black and white portraits inside the classically built Panthéon, tackling that age old divide between art and architecture. Erected in the latter half of the 18th century in the Latin Quarter of Paris, the Panthéon was intended to be a neo-classical church and ended up as a famous mausoleum. The Panthéon has an ornate, Gothic exterior embellished by Corinthian columns and beautiful stonework, and inside boasts lofty domed ceilings, religious murals and stunning marble floors. Glass windows and skylights fill the galleries with natural daylight, giving the interior the hushed feeling of a religious space. For the duration of the exterior renovations … [Read more...]

The Characters of Paris

Travel can tell you more about who you are than it might about the places you visit, and can be the best way to look for who you were. A decade after I lived in France, this felt like the perfect summer to revisit and revaluate, to dust off old memories and sentiments of a place that was once familiar and yet foreign. Who changed more, I wondered while crossing the Atlantic, myself or Paris? While I was away, I soon discovered, Paris had become warm and friendly, outgoing and uninhibited. It was more expensive than I recalled but also more beautiful, as rainy patches gave way to brilliant sunshine. Café culture was as seductive as ever, and the lifestyle, as I remembered, seemed less exhilarating but more enjoyable. The pace of life is … [Read more...]

Swoon’s Submerged Motherlands

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands, Brooklyn Museum, 2014, Installation View — The Brooklyn-based artist Caledonia Curry is known best as the street artist named Swoon. She remains one of the very few female street artists whose style is as recognizable as a Banksy, and who has been wheatpasting her intricate portraits and paper cutouts onto Brooklyn buildings and beyond for over a decade. In the last five years, as the street art movement has gained momentum and commercial appeal in the art world, Swoon has created several site-specific, high-traffic installations. From her Swimming Cities project,handmade rafts that sailed uninvited onto the shores of the Venice Biennale in 2009, to the suspended sculptural installation Thalassa, … [Read more...]

The Photograph in a Post-Digital World

What Is a Photograph?, International Center of Photography (ICP), January 31–May 4, 2014 — Owen Kydd, installation view of Knife (J.G.), 2011 What Is a Photograph? is the latest exhibition to open at the International Center of Photography (ICP), and its title asks one of the most relevant questions facing not just photography but art today. Opening coincidentally after the Aperture Foundation published a new book of essays by John Berger titled Understanding a Photograph, this is the topic du jour for photography in a post digital world. Despite reviews suggesting that the ICP exhibition answers none of the questions it poses, the twenty-one artists it represents, ranging from young makers to some well-established old-timers, do … [Read more...]

Rincón, Puerto Rico (Overexposed Series), 2013

Overexposed, Rincón, Puerto Rico, 2013. Fujifilm Instax Mini … [Read more...]

Mike Kelley’s Abjection

“When I was young the art world was where you went to be a failure. It was a chosen profession, and you chose to be a failure.” – Mike Kelley, 2004 2013’s exhibition calendar for the major museums in New York City brought a seemingly unprecedented invasion of West Coast artists to our attention. The onslaught included important figureheads like Paul McCarthy, who took over the Park Avenue Armory in his Disney-inspired, pornographic video installation WS, James Turrell, who transformed the Guggenheim Museum into a sublimely colorful skyspace, Robert Irwin, who exhibited one of his classic light paintings at the Whitney and Chris Burden, whose brilliantly lunatic work was tamed and repurposed in the New Museum’s halfheartedly edgy … [Read more...]

Station to Station

Makers—In this life there are takers and there are makers. We’re here to celebrate the makers—the unsung heroes who make things with their hands — Levis Strauss Olaf Breuning, Smoke Bomb Performance, the setup and aftermath. Described as a nomadic “happening,” Station to Station, the brainchild of the L.A. based, multimedia artist Doug Aitken, is a richly compelling idea that consists of a collective of artists, musicians and performers traveling through the United States by train. In various cities across the country—Chicago, Pittsburg, Winslow, Minneapolis, New York City, Los Angeles—the group of traveling creatives disembark, team up with local artists, and together orchestrate a night of food, music, art and performance. Station to … [Read more...]

Isabella, Puerto Rico (Overexposed Sereis), 2013

Overexposed, Isabella, Puerto Rico, 2013. Fujifilm Instax Mini   … [Read more...]

Aten Reign

James Turrell's Illuminated Vision, Guggenheim NYC, June 21–September 25, 2013 — James Turrell is arguably the most sublime manipulator of light and space the contemporary art world has ever known. This is an important and impressive summer for the 70-year-old artist, as retrospectives open simultaneously in L.A., Houston and New York City. His massive installation at the Guggenheim entitled Aten Reign (2013), promises to be the east coast’s summer blockbuster. It is the artist’s first solo museum exhibition in New York since the Whitney career retropective in 1980. An artist born into a Quaker family in Pasadena, California in the 1940s, Turrell belongs to a generation of west coast artists who were fascinated with light, and who … [Read more...]

Aguadilla, Puerto Rico (Overexposed Series), 2013

Overexposed, Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, 2013. Fujifilm Instax Mini … [Read more...]