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In the Air – Art News & Gossip

Archive for the ‘Off Beat’ Category

Instagrams of the Art World: #TBTs, Good Reads, and More

Designer Tracy Reese (tracy_reese) dug out this decade-old Vogue shot of Studio Museum director Thelma Golden wearing one of her gold dresses, posing for Lorna Simpson and shot by Annie Lebowitz.


Your Next Dinner Party, Face Off with Kehinde Wiley

So you’ve made plans to invite your five closest friends over for a home-cooked meal, an opportunity to discuss the most pressing artistic matters of the day, like: Is the Björk show really a sign of the apocalypse? Did Jerry Saltz deserve to get temporarily booted off Facebook? Is the best way to insult an artist to insinuate that they are literally a zombie? Somewhere amidst that feverish conversation, after the fifth bottle of prosecco is popped, a guest will inevitably turn the discussion to Kehinde Wiley and his exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Affecting an air of bored indifference you might, quoting Chloe Wyma, say that Wiley merely “feeds our contemporary taste for promiscuous juxtaposition and nobrow pastiche.” One of your dining companions will likely turn the discussion to that super-racist article in the Village Voice, which you haven’t read, really, though you’ve read a lot about it. Soon enough the chatter will crawl into other, non-art-related categories: How much the new season of Girls sucks; if Tinder’s new policy against right-swiping-all will lead to the app’s downfall; that friend of yours who just bought a house in a Brooklyn neighborhood that, two weeks later, was annointed by New York Magazine as the Next Big Thing, thereby ruining it. (more…)

What If Classic Paintings Got Modern-Day Hashtags?

When Michel Foucault looked at Diego Velásquez’s “Las Meninas,” he saw the foundations of an intricate theory on objective representation — or, to hear the BBC’s Jason Farago tell it, a ballsy act of selfie-ism. In a piece commemorating the Velásquez retrospective opening this week at the Grand Palais in Paris, Farago writes, “The painting assumes our presence and ignores it at the same time. It is a work of artifice and a slice of life at once. [...] And nothing in ‘Las Meninas’ confirms that double strategy more than the presence of Velázquez himself — a painter, albeit one with favour at court, who had the gall to photobomb a royal portrait.” That astute analysis got us thinking — how might we interpret other classic works of art within the paradigms of modern-day image-making? Below are a few classics given their proper hashtag-laden due.

Instagrams of the Art World: Pi Day, Theremins, and More

Gavin Brown’s Enterprise gallery director Lucy Chadwick (lkchadwick) celebrated Pi Day in supreme style — especially if this picture was taken at 9:26 PM. #neverapologizefornerditude


Shia LaBeouf Is Live-Streaming His Heartbeat Online

A quick poll: How many of you, on a daily basis, are curious about Shia LaBeouf’s inner organs? Though we would hazard a guess of “not a ton,” those who perked up are in luck. Because now, at, there’s a giant candy-pink jewel-cut heart that purports to pulse to the beat of LaBeouf’s own, as transmitted via a live-streaming heart monitor worn while he attends SXSW. Why, you ask? Well, according to a statement released by the actor-turned-conceptual-shock-jock and his collaborators Nastja Säde Rönkkö and Luke Turner (previously of the #IAMSORRY performance art debacle), it has something to do with cat whiskers:


Q&A: Liz Harris (aka Grouper)’s New Mural at Ballroom Marfa

From March 13 to 15, Ballroom Marfa hosted a mini music and arts festival titled “Marfa Myths,” curated by New York record label Mexican Summer. Timed with the opening of the new Sam Falls show, the event drew a gaggle of artists and musicians to the Texas space to perform, including Dev Hynes and Connan Mockasin for a recording residency; Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, who created a “sound bath”; Gregg Kowalsky and his live installation, “Tape Chants”; a short-documentary program; and music from the likes of Iceage, Tamaryn, Weyes Blood, Suicideyear, and more. But one project that caught our eye especially was a semi-permanent outdoor mural in the Marfa Lumberyard by Liz Harris (aka Grouper), a recording artist who melds ambient sounds with graceful melodies, wrapped up in thick, hazy production.


Portraits Celebrate Haenyeo, Korea’s Legendary Female Divers

In 2008, Liz Chae directed the short documentary “The Last Mermaids” — and while that title might imply some Hans Christian Andersen rehash and/or Disney Channel fare, instead her film focused on (and soon became an adopted nickname for) Korea’s haenyeo, or “sea women,” the legendary female divers of Jeju Island. Mentioned in Korean literature as early as 1105, the haenyeo are offshore fisherwomen who gather seafood from depths of up to 65 feet without using any breathing equipment (a practice similar, though not identical to, the pearl-seeking Japanese Ama); these divers begin training around age 8, achieve official status at 15 or 16, and then continue to dive until well into their 60s. This more aged group in particular is now the subject of a new exhibition at Gallery Korea of the Korean Cultural Service NY, featuring photographer Hyung S. Kim’s wall-sized portraits of individual divers caught just after a dip. Kim first came across the haenyeo in 2012 and has since been living among them in Jeju, documenting their daily lives through photo and video as they partake in this rapidly fading tradition.


Korean Museum Uses Adorable Cats in Visitor Etiquette Guide

“Nearly forty years after their first appearance, the practices now associated with ‘institutional critique’ have for many come to seem, well, institutionalized.”


Tom McCarthy’s “Satin Island” Becomes a London Art Show

When my cats asked interdisciplinary novelist/artist/secret-society member Tom McCarthy recently about whether he’d prefer to be stranded on a ferry with writers or art-world people, he confessed that he’d most like to be in the company of zombie porn stars. A sage answer, to be sure, but it’s clear that McCarthy is also comfortable working with art-world insides, even ones who aren’t undead: The ICA Studio at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts will stage an exhibition modeled around his latest novel, “Satin Island,” the tale of a rogue anthropologist using his skills to forward an enigmatic, and possibly malevolent, international project. (more…)

An Ode to the Independent Art Fair (In Text Paintings)

The Independent art fair got poetic with its text-based works this year. Artists appropriated lines from advertisements, quoted Russian prison tattoos, lifted titles from books, and even popped interjections next to pictures of a young Leo DiCaprio (see: Isa Genzken’s piece, above). In fact, some of the words were so evocative, we felt inspired to compile our own found poem from their elusive, fragmentary statements. Here it is, in all of its glory; read on, if your heart dares.  (more…)