Part 2 of Interview with Agnieszka Kurant: Cambridge Analytica and The End of Signature

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Currency Converter, 2016. Various objects, pigment print on archival paper. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
. Photo: Jean Vong

Agnieszka Kurant discusses the concept of collective signatures, including one for the façade of the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is the Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology. Continue reading

Agnieszka Kurant: Complex Systems

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Agnieszka Kurant A.A.I (10-15) 2017 Termite mounds built by colonies of termites from colored sand, gold and crystals .Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York
. Photo: Dylan Wilson

“My work is about how aggregated social capital can be used for good causes. Its value can even be calculated.” – Agnieszka Kurant

Agnieszka Kurant  is preparing to install one of her collective signatures on the façade of the Cleveland Museum of Art. She is the Ida Ely Rubin Artist in Residence at the MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology. Her commission for the SFMOMA was launched earlier this month.  In 2017, Kurant’s recent exhibitions include a solo show at SCAD MoA in Savannah and at the CCA in Tel Aviv and commissions for Guggenheim Bilbao and for Bonner Kunstverein. In 2015 she did a commission for the façade of the Guggenheim Museum, New York. In 2013-2014, the artist presented a major solo exhibition at the Sculpture Center, New York. Continue reading

Shezad Dawood in the Studio

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Shezad Dawood (b. 1974, London); Kalimpong; 2016; virtual reality; © Shezad Dawood; courtesy of Timothy Taylor, London/New York

Shezad Dawood’s neon “Wrathful Activity, Fierce Energy,” his bronze and cement digital sculptures, his virtual reality work “Kalimpong,” and his de-materialized collage/paintings at the Rubin Museum  are worth visiting through January 28, 2019. They add up to a spectacular show in many media. This London-born and London-based artist has a Ph.D. from Leeds Metropolitan University and is a research fellow in experimental media at the University of Westminster. His feature film Piercing Brightness (2013) has been shown at film festivals and at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Dawood has also published two books and many articles. “Kalimpong”  was a physical and psychological thrill to experience. Continue reading

In the Studio with Miriam Ancis

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Round About (detail). Steel, Acrylic. 66 x 60 x 13 1/2. 2018

Miriam Ancis is among the dozens of artists whom curators and artists recommended to me in January. I first met Miriam at the New York Foundation for Arts in 2017 when she showed me abstract conceptual work she was developing. We exchanged twenty-seven emails as I also exchanged countless emails with other innovative artists.  More on my artist selection process at the end. Continue reading

In the Studio with Magdalene Odundo: “recapturing the spirit of the void”

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Final day of the workshop. Carrie Johnson, Jamie Wade, Gayla Lenke, Barbara Thompson (Hawaii Crafstmen), Laura Phelps Rogers, Ellen Crocker, Sally Jackson, Tom Gibson, Evan Jenkins (in back, Hawaii Craftsmen), Annie Stiefel (student and Magdalene’s assistant), Magdalene Odundo (instructor), and Erik Wold (studio manager).

Magdalene Odundo’s vessels have a signature beauty and depth. At the Yale Center for British Art exhibition Things of Beauty Growing, she talked about “humanizing the static clay” and “capturing the spirit of the void.” Historically, her handmade vessels may borrow ideas from San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico, from British potters including Lucie Rie and Bernard Leach, and from Greek, Roman, and Nigerian processes. Her work has been compared to Cycladic art, to sculptors including Gaudier-Brzeska, Hans Arp, and Constantin Brancusi, and to painters including Henri Matisse and Amedeo Modigliani and is in over 50 notable museum collections, including the Stedelijk, the Victoria and Albert, the Nelson-Atkins, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution. Continue reading

Ileana Sonnabend and Arte Povera – Edited by Germano Celant

This exhibition catalog reminds us that performance art and some art made from discarded and daily use objects –and ingenuity — began in the 60s as playful investigations of process, concepts, psychology, and aesthetics. I taught intro to Art History for decades when Germano Celant was a star curator in New York and Europe, also often seen in a 20th Century Art film series discussing process-oriented art — for example, Franz Klein painting nude women blue and rolling their bodies on paper – and why this was art. Many artists in the 60s & 70s, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono and Lynda Benglis, did nude performance art, but it was not necessarily process-oriented. Continue reading

Why Ai Weiwei Addresses Human Rights

Ai Weiwei sculpture

Ai Weiwei Circle Fence, 2017 Powder coated mild steel, polypropylene netting Courtesy of the artist Photo: Timothy Schenck, Courtesy Public Art Fund, NY On view as part of the citywide exhibition Good Fences Make Good Neighbors, presented by Public Art Fund October 12, 2017-February 11, 2018

Ai Weiwei’s Public Art Fund exhibit employs fences as an extended metaphor for increasing barriers around the world. Three large shapes and over 300 smaller art works — bus station shelters, wall art, and lamp post banners — span the five boroughs. One large work, Gilded Cage, is a dome-shaped bird-cage-like soaring structure with about five subway turnstile mini-structures inside. The cage door faces Central Park as its see-through silhouette displays the Plaza Hotel and luxury Fifth Avenue businesses. As we know, even high end companies in Manhattan have entry level jobs for sales clerks and cleaning people. It’s unlikely the lower-paid employees can afford to live in Manhattan. This cage’s transparency reminds us that street vendors and entry-level employees daily work alongside executives and well-heeled customers and clients. Continue reading