Spotlight Series

Spotlight: N-o-nS…e;nSI/c::::a_L

This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some arts publications that we admire, and this week we’re focusing our attention on the work of N-o-nS…e;nSI/c::::a_L. We’re starting off the week with an excerpt from Harry Dodges “The River of the Mother of God: Notes on Indeterminacy.” Co-founder Vivian Sming writes, “Dodge begins his text by describing it as a chain of ‘decontextualized paragraphs, notes.’ Dodge creates a dizzying trail, leaving behind morsels of thought on spatial awareness, free-falling, and groundlessness as it relates to language, meaning, and identity. Weaving together physics and chemistry with love notes and memories, along with Gertrude Stein, Fred Moten, and Beatriz Preciado, among others, Dodge’s text is a murky river without a destination, in which the reader is carried, swept, and at times thrown around.” This essay first appeared in N-o-nS…e;nSI/c::::a_L’s 2014 issue, (ethics).

In a short essay called “In Free Fall: A Thought Experiment on Vertical Perspective,” Hito Steyerl suggests the idea of “free-falling” to describe a particularly contemporary dysphoria. Opening with a bit of information about the sextant (which uses the horizon line as the marker by which orientation is constructed) she chronicles a skeletal, not wholly idiosyncratic history of visual modalities including single-point perspective, cubism, experiments in abstraction, collage, followed by photographic and filmic technologies such as superimposition, montage, green screen, overlapping computer frames, and multiple screen projections. These artistic innovations are followed by radical intellectual leaps in theoretical physics and then myriad forces of industry brought to bear on our perception: the conveyor belt, warfare, advertising.[1] The preponderance of aviation in turn expands possibilities for collisions and nose-diving, and the age of space exploration breeds hundreds of camera-cum-satellites. We’ve now been thoroughly inundated with “aerial views issuing from the military–entertainment complex.”

Steyerl suggests that this shift to what she calls vertical perspective—a looking down on earth, or yourself, or the “ground,” this gaze situated on the “y-axis”—might be a radical one. Not only because it transfers the locus of an internal, embodied point of view to a vantage that is external, as she says, “a subject safely folded into surveillance technology…a disembodied and remote-controlled gaze,” but because this new mental orientation also generates a new kind of subject, one that is floating, looking down at a multiple, fragmented, collaged imaginary “ground.” She suggests that “the horizons have, in fact, been shattered. Time is out of joint and we no longer know whether we are objects or subjects as we spiral down in an imperceptible free fall.” Of course, this type of extreme loss of orientation (especially in the context of a kind of throbbing, gigantic effluvium of fragmented hyper-realism and purely visual, severally displaced story–apparati) indicates a new kind of looker, one that is somehow multiple, many, a creature-becoming or perhaps a kind of flayed, woven desideratum, “created and recreated by ever-new articulations of the crowd.”

Read the full text here.

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Spotlight Series

Spotlight: Momus

This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some arts publications that we regularly read and love. Wrapping up our week with Momus, today we bring you the final selection from Senior Editor Casey Beal: “LA contributing editor Catherine G. Wagley delivers a careful reflection on the factors that cause a legacy to be selectively appropriated. Through a compelling reexamination of LA gallerist Virginia Dwan’s history and influence, read against an ongoing retrospective at LACMA, the essay underscores the integrity inherent in her present reluctance to be cast as a central character in ‘Important Art.’” This article was originally published on May 5, 2017.

Larry Rivers, Maquette for Larry Rivers Exhibition at Dwan Gallery, 1961. Colection of Virginia Dwan, © Estate of Larry Rivers. Photo: Tricia Zigmund.

Larry Rivers. Maquette for Larry Rivers Exhibition at Dwan Gallery, 1961. Collection of Virginia Dwan, © Estate of Larry Rivers. Photo: Tricia Zigmund.

“Any ideas of art history or significance were forgotten,” wrote gallerist Virginia Dwan in 1990, remembering the first time she saw one of Yves Klein’s all-blue reliefs through the window of Galerie Rive Droite in Paris. Within a year, Klein would be living in Dwan’s Malibu beach house, making work to show in her Los Angeles gallery.

On March 14, 2017, five days before the opening of Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959–1971 at Los Angeles County Museum (LACMA), Dwan spoke about the excitement Klein brought her. He “has gotten a rather bad reputation of just taking nudes and scrubbing them around on canvas,” she said, but that interested her less than his wilder conceptual imaginings. “He wanted to build architecture from jets of air coming out of the ground … He was involved with the whole universe, actually,” the 85-year-old continued, “and very important to my thinking finally.” Her affinity for Klein’s ambitions is telling: Dwan cared far more about fostering adventurous urges, and engaging them, than her position in Important Art.

Read the full article here.

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Spotlight Series

Spotlight: Momus

This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some arts publications that we admire, and this week we’re reading Momus. “Kimberlee Cordova, a Momus contributing editor from Mexico City, continues her penchant for bold and brave art criticism with this assessment of the role that exaggeration and ‘alternative fact’ played in Jill Magids much-publicized performance piece, The Proposal. Kimberlee suggests that the easy narratives that emerge, though convenient for Magids imagery and publicity, stretch the truth in possibly harmful ways.” This article was originally published on January 24, 2017.

Jill Magid. The Proposal (detail), 2016; Uncut, 2.02 carat, blue diamond with micro-laser inscription “I am wholeheartedly yours,” silver ring, ring box, documents. Setting design: Anndra Neen. Courtesy of the artist; LABOR, Mexico City; RaebervonStenglin, Zurich and Galerie Untilthen, Paris.

Jill Magid. The Proposal (detail), 2016; uncut, 2.02 carat blue diamond with micro-laser inscription “I am wholeheartedly yours,” silver ring, ring box, documents. Setting design: Anndra Neen. Courtesy of the Artist; LABOR, Mexico City; RaebervonStenglin, Zurich, and Galerie Untilthen, Paris.

As the spectacle of the 2016 United States presidential elections played out over the summer, Mexico hosted a surreal visit by a well-known, polarizing New Yorker. Mirroring Trump in her own way, Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Jill Magid brandished symbols of wealth and messianic messaging, while conducting a master class in media manipulation. Much ink was spilt last year on her controversial mission to insert herself “into the life of a dead man” with her four-year project The Barragán Archives (2012–16). The work was generally celebrated by standard-bearer publications and has been widely circulated on social media. In Mexico, however, the reception to Magid’s work has been decidedly more ambivalent. And broader questions loom: How are journalists to report stories responsibly when truth seems to matter less than attention, and the very fact of reporting becomes, itself, a post-truth prop? With hollow justifications of “alternative facts” ringing in our ears daily, it feels more than slightly uncomfortable to lift another skillful prevaricator upon our shoulders.

The dead man in question was Pritzker Prize-winning Mexican architect Luis Barragán, whose ashes Magid negotiated to have transformed into a one-carat diamond. This gem was set in an engagement ring, which she offered to Dr. Federica Zanco, the director of the architect’s professional archive, in exchange for the documents’ repatriation to Mexico from Switzerland. Titled The Proposal (2016), Magid’s offering of the ring represents “the final climactic instalment” of The Barragán Archives, which sought to “understand what it meant for an artist’s legacy to be controlled by a corporation.”

Read the full review here.

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Spotlight Series

Spotlight: Momus

Continuing our week highlighting the work of Momus, today we bring you a selection by Senior Editor Casey Beal: “Momus contributing editor Saelan Twerdy covers a lot of ground in this thorough and theoretically rich exploration of art’s ‘morbid symptoms’ in this moment of late capitalism and decadent neoliberalism. He manages to do so without sacrificing close attention the subject at the center, the 2016 Montreal Biennial. But he asks important questions, and concludes that ‘contemporary art’s symptoms are beginning to look terminal.’” This article was originally published on November 22, 2016.

Tanya Lukin Linklater, “He was a poet and he taught us how to react and to become this poetry,” 2016. Photo: Guy l”Heureux. Courtesy BNLMTL.

Tanya Lukin Linklater. He Was a Poet and He Taught Us How to React and to Become This Poetry, 2016. Courtesy of BNLMTL. Photo: Guy l’Heureux.

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s nauseating election victory, hard on the heels of this year’s earlier Brexit vote in the UK, it has become clear that the post-1989 era of neoliberal globalization is over. Given that contemporary art as we know it has been defined in relation to this political–economic configuration, can we say that “contemporaneity” is ending, too? If so, what might art look like after “contemporary art”? The 2016 Montreal Biennale, presented in the midst of these upheavals, is symptomatic of this uncertainty.

In the press preview for the biennial, curator Philippe Pirotte was at pains to distinguish his exhibition from other recent large-scale exhibitions that, in his opinion, made excessively sweeping pronouncements about the contemporary moment and the likely future. In particular, he criticized the recent Berlin Biennial (“The Present in Drag”) and the 2015 Venice Biennale (“All the World’s Futures”). However, his implicit, unmentioned target was perhaps the previous installment of the Montreal Biennial itself, which was titled “L’avenir (Looking Forward)” and concerned itself with the broad question of “what is to come.”

Read the full essay here.

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Spotlight Series

Spotlight: Momus

This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some of the commendable arts publications that we regularly read, and this week we’re spending some time with Momus. Today we bring you one installment of  Andrew Berardini’s “How to” series: “His light, infectious prose mines the artworld’s white cubes, back rooms, and dark corners for intimate scenes and broader insight. He also recently started a new series titled ‘Portraits,’ the first two entries in which can be found here and here.” This article was originally published on March 23, 2016.

Bruce Davidson, "USA. New York City. 1959. Brooklyn Gang." Courtesy Magnum Photos.

Bruce Davidson. New York City, 1959. Brooklyn Gang. Courtesy: Magnum Photos.

No one likes being called an amateur, a dilettante, a dabbler.

“Unprofessional” is an easy insult.

The professional always makes the right moves, knows the right thing to say, the right name to check. Controlled and measured, the professional never fucks the wrong person or drinks too much at the party. They never weep at the opening, never lay in bed for days too depressed, sick, broken to move. They say about the professional, “so easy to work with” or “so exacting but brilliant.” The professional takes advantage from every encounter, employs every new acquaintance as a contact, always hits the deadline. When asked about their work, they know what to say, a few lines of explanation sprinkled with enough filigreed intrigue to allude to abysses of research, the mysteries of making. They answer emails in minutes. Their PowerPoints are super crisp. Look at their website, so clean, so modern, so very pro.

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Spotlight Series

Spotlight: Momus

This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some arts publications that we regularly read and love, and this week we’re focusing our attention on the work of Momus. Senior Editor Casey Beal writes, “This piece, by Publisher and Editor Sky Goodden, is set during a gallery-viewing trip to Los Angeles which—like so many other things—acquired an unexpected gravity in the immediate, stunned aftermath of Donald Trump’s 2016 election. Writing through what felt like a pall, Goodden eloquently negotiates an impossible weight the artworks weren’t designed to bear. Equal measures slow and timely, the essay conjures a style of criticism that tries to engage with art and its position alongside urgent contemporary conversations.”

Kathryn Andrews. Black Bars, 2016; Installation view. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery.

Kathryn Andrews. Black Bars, 2016; installation view. Courtesy of David Kordansky Gallery. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

My first trip to Los Angeles started ten days after an election that diminished our assurance in something like a common good. I booked the flight before that fatal turn, of course, expecting something cool, maybe correcting in the city’s artworld; imagining a community of shaggy game-changers who’d successfully mooted the binary between ambition and good sleep. I met, instead, a people bent, broken, groping for genuine, if inarticulate, exchange. Over five days of back-to-back gallery visits, openings, and meetings, I shared in pressed and fractured conversations about art and much else, that felt urgent and unlikely. I was nearly grateful for my timing.

***

We want our artists to publicly bleed for us as quickly as we feel our wounds. An ever-renewing online media suggests immediate reflection (and when the editor-in-chief of the New Yorker can produce two of the most in-depth and affecting responses to Trump’s election inside a week, why expect anything less?). However, recent publishing standards haven’t overcome the time lag that consideration requires.

It’s important to remember that it takes a minute for good art to show up. That the strange, static awareness we feel after an upsetthe something-like-silence where we’re observing the noise and fog of our own breath and trying to read into it a messageis not rudderlessness or detachment, but the substance of responding.

 

Read the full essay here.

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Spotlight Series

Spotlight: ARTS.BLACK

This summer, Daily Serving is shining a light on some of the many arts publications that we respect, and this week we’re devoting our attention to ARTS.BLACK. “En Plein Air: A Collaboration between Jacolby Satterwhite and Trina” is the final selection from co-editors Taylor Renee and Jessica Lynne, who write, “At ARTS.BLACK, we have a deep love for the Miami rapper Trina. After learning that she had partnered with another artist we love, Jacolby Satterwhite, to produce a short video installation, we flew from Detroit and Brooklyn for a trip that lasted less than twenty-four hours just to see the two perform together at the Perez Art Museum. Unfortunately, Satterwhite was unable to make the performance, but Trina was nothing short of stellar.” This article was originally published on May 12, 2015.

N PLEIN AIR VASSALAGE, 2015, COURTESY OF OH WOW GALLERY

Jacolby Satterwhite. En Plein Air Vassalage, 2015. Courtesy of Oh Wow Gallery.

On April 30th, the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) debuted a video installation by artist Jacolby Satterwhite which featured Miami-bred rapper Trina. The film was followed with a short performance by the Diamond Princess herself, who performed hits like “The Baddest Bitch,” “Pull Over,” and “Look Back at It.” The collaborative performance is a part of the PAMM’s WAVES initiative, a series of commissioned collaborative performances among a range of interdisciplinary artists. The performance, entitled “En Plein Air,” took place in PAMM Beach, situated in the museum’s outdoor space along Biscayne Bay.

“..WATCH ME BUILD A TREE HOUSE..” a lyric rapped by Trina in her 2013 collaboration with Lil Wayne entitled “Wowzers,” echoed through the speakers. Trina’s lyrics continued: “DICK LIKE A TREE,” playing simultaneously along with the video. The sounds provided by DJ Total Freedom included some of Trina’s most provocative euphemisms chopped and slightly screwed melodically over gigantic bass-bound instrumentals.Trina’s voice was then matched with a visual avatar of the Miami-based rapper created by Satterwhite.

Read the full review here.

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