Month: April 2016

An Old ‘Strange New Beauty’

Above detail from Three Ballet Dancers, c. 1878-80. Photograph by the author.

Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty is now open at the Museum of Modern Art through July 24th; it is comprised primarily of monotypes created by the prolific artist from the mid-1870’s through the 1890’s. His subjects include bathers, dancers, prostitutes, members of the Parisian bourgeoisie and intelligentsia, and French landscapes. The exhibition, with its somewhat paradoxical title, is absolutely incredible and a must-see, not just because Degas is a master of printmaking, but also because of the intriguing setting for his work. Unlike the Met, the MoMA is not particularly renowned for its Impressionist collection and usually panders to the public with commercialized shows starring Sixties Pop artists and even media celebrities (just google ‘MoMA criticized’ and you’ll find yourself falling down a rabbit hole of articles explaining why writers such as Jerry Saltz are “burning” their museum press passes in the aftermath of the Björk retrospective fiasco). However, with regards to Degas, reviewers have had very few complaints. As I feel I cannot exactly do it justice myself, here are some of my favorite articles about A Strange New Beauty, as covered in the NY Times by Roberta Smith and in the WSJ by Karen Wilkin. I will say that neither journalist succeeds at conveying the bewitching and almost brooding, as well as kinetic nature of the by and large black and white pieces. For that sort of experience, you’ll have to head over to 53rd and 6th.  (more…)

What’s In My Mailbox?

One of the wonderful things about the art world and about social media and technological communication in general is that we have this immediate ability to interact with and study current events without ever having to leave our houses. As soon as I reload my inbox, I am inundated with articles about the international art scene, new gallery and museum shows in both the New York area and across America, information about artist documentaries, promotions for various art schools, online magazine editorials, etc. In this day and age, contemporary arts and culture more often than not comes to us, rather than we to it. Sign up for emails from ArtNet News or Modern Magazine’s digital publication, and sure enough, during your morning commute, you’ll find yourself going through email after email until you tire of engaging with art through someone else’s virtual lens, and decide to check out the work for yourself. Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of the journals that make their way into my mailbox on a daily basis, considering they continue to provide me with insight into art and the art world and have proven to be generally entertaining. Feel free to comment below with links to your own favorite periodicals!

Hyperallergic

This Brooklyn-based (and boy, can you tell) site offers “an intelligent, although sometimes humorous forum for analysis of contemporary art and the art world today that also functions as in-the-know art groupies’ preferred destination for reviews of new shows and cultural events,” as I wrote periphrastically for MolaPola’s Inspirations page. Whether I was subconsciously referring to my unenlightened self when speaking of “in-the-know art groupies” remains to be seen, yet I have to say that Hyperallergic is a serious contender for my procrastinatory affection along with Instagram and Into the Gloss– i.e. it’s in good company. Hyperallergic’s unintentionally (?) satirical and purposefully playful hipster wit manifests in articles entitled Sweden Has A Phone Number and I called It, and Darkly Absurd GIFs of Famous Paintings, which are not only very well written in a linguistic respect but also thoughtfully researched. Here is their coverage of the latest art-world intrigue: a 3D printer-generated painting that is evocative of Rembrandt in every way possible.

Art in America’s Online This Week

I’ve already expounded on the many virtues of AiA in my post about February reads, but I have to suggest that in addition to purchasing the magazine’s April issue, that all interested parties sign up for the informative weekly newsletter listing the articles that have made it onto the site over the past few days. Their most recent roundup seems to be centered on land art, with multiple accounts of the history and ideologies behind artists’ earthscape pieces, in conjunction with Open PlanMichael Heizer’s current show at the Whitney.

Honorable Mentions: ArtNet News, E-Flux journal, Rookie’s eye-candy section, Art21 (I’m obsessed with their short films), Artsy’s magazine (plus podcasts), and Art & Education. Furthermore, if you have two minutes, read this.

Artist of the Month: Frederic Brenner

Artist of the Month (April)

Frédéric Brenner

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Shlomi and Oren (2012) from one of Brenner’s series, now collected in his book, “An Archeology of Fear and Desire.” Copyright Artsy 2016.

Bio of Brenner (adapted from his Artsy profile) below:

Since 1978, anthropologist and photographer Frédéric Brenner has been exploring Jewish identity, chronicling the people and places of the Jewish Diaspora, and focusing on Israel’s complex topography. For his first project, he traveled to the ultra-orthodox enclave of Mea She’arim to photograph this transplantation of shtetl life to the Middle East. In 1981, he embarked upon his career-defining work, a 25-year journey around the world, documenting the Jewish Diaspora in the late 20th century. Of this project, he states: “I came out of it with a lot more questions than answers. Through it a sense of paradox was born in me.” Further questioning led Brenner to This Place (begun 2007), an ambitious endeavor, for which he brought together a group of world-renowned photographers, including Jeff Wall and Josef Koudelka, to produce a more nuanced portrait of Israel.

Visit the artist’s collaborative show, entitled This Place, at the Brooklyn Museum through June 5th.