Toxic Seas


Institute For Figuring’s Crochet Coral Reef project, 2005–ongoing. Photo courtesy of the Institute For Figuring

Margaret and Christine Wertheim’s coral reef crocheted project has been shown all over the world, but the current exhibition of their work and that of their many worldwide collaborators at Museum of Art and Design’s Crochet Coral Reef: Toxic Seas show is one of the best that I’ve seen. Continue reading

All that Glitters


Radiant Efflorescence 831 26″ x 22″ x 22,” copper, sterling silver, 23-karat gold leaf. Courtesy of the artist

Metalworker David Huang refers to his works as “vessels,” but it’s little wonder people also call them “treasures.”  On first sight, it’s hard to know what to call them; technically, they’re indeed metallic vessels, but it’s inconceivable that they would ever actually be used.  Their interiors, after all, are lined with 23 karat gold.    They’re indisputably beautiful, but the statement they make isn’t just visual. Continue reading

Landlords are not currently collecting rent in self-love


Installation View, 2016.

In the 1993 film, Falling Down, Michael Douglas plays an engineer who suffers a psychotic breakdown while stuck in traffic trying to get to his daughter’s birthday party. He abandons his car on the freeway and proceeds to stalk through Los Angeles on foot, trying desperately to “go home,” while steadily encountering the flotsam and jetsam of the early 90’s recession years on the American West Coast. Among other things, the film is a meditation on crisis, the postulation of a society in decline. Continue reading

Weaving Space


Restoring the Breath– Sacred Relationship, CCNA Portland Art Museum, courtesy Portland Art Museum.

It’s easy to think of sculpture as art in three dimensions. But at root, sculpture is about space.

Walking into the Center for Contemporary Native Art gallery at the Portland Art Museum to see the Salish weaving show Restoring the Breath— Sacred Relationship, I wasn’t immediately struck by the use of space in the way that I would be at a more traditional exhibition of sculpture. And yet, the space is in the room. Continue reading

The Plough and Other Stars


Riccardo Arena, VAVILON I Solovki Island – Project C. Installation image. Photo by writer.

Whilst the concept suggests a future utopian/dystopian knife-edge, the pieces in “The Plough and Other Stars” use the benefit of hindsight in working with death alternatives, taking in areas such as time travel, fantastical exploration, space travel and non-linear views of humanity. The four gallery-based works refer to events that exploded new pockets of knowledge within a collective consciousness; once viewed in retrospect, however, they show issues in how they were moulded by their receptive environments. Continue reading

In Review: William Kentridge – Thick Time


The Refusal of Time with collaboration of Philip Miller, Catherine Meyburgh and Peter Galison Film Still, 2012. 5-channel video projection, colour, sound, megaphones, breathing machine 30 minutes Courtesy William Kentridge, Marian Goodman Gallery, Goodman Gallery and Lia Rumma Gallery

William Kentridge is an inescapably South African artist, born in Johannesburg in 1955 during the apartheid era. His parents, both attorneys, represented some of those marginalised by the racist regime of segregation implemented by the National Party in 1948, and finally defeated in 1994 with the election of celebrated African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela as President. This history casts a long shadow over his work, as it does with so many other facets of life in South Africa, and commentators have pointed out that a broad understand of the nation’s complicated (and often traumatic) history is something of a prerequisite for understanding much of his practice.  Continue reading

Border Cantos: Richard Misrach & Guillermo Galindo

Richard Misrach Sculpture

Richard Misrach (b. 1949) Wall, Jacumba, California, 2009 . Inkjet print. © Richard Misrach, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, LA

The border between Mexico and the United States runs nearly 2,000 miles over terrain of mountains, rivers, desert, farm fields, backyards and urban concrete. No other international boundary sees as many legal crossings as the 350 million per year between the forty-eight secured crossings. The official border region extends thirty-seven miles from either side of the legal boundary to include several states in Mexico and California, Arizona. New Mexico and Texas in the United States. Conflicts have increased scrutiny of a porous border since the 1850’s including the Mexican Revolution of the 1910’s, attempts by federal agencies to keep Mexican livestock and disease under control, drugs in the 1960’s, the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990’s and terrorist attacks on September 11. Since 2005, the United has spent over $23 billion attempting to secure the border with renewed calls during the recent presidential election for more security. Continue reading