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Confessions of a Towel Person: Performing with Freeman/Lowe

I became a towel person thanks to the dying battery of an electric golfcart-taxi and the sudden onslaught of torrential Floridian rain. The original plan for last night was to take in Ryan McNamara’s “MEƎM 4 Miami,” which proved impossible due to that pair of obstacles, not to mention Miami’s anemic traffic creep. We instead hid out from the elements at the Edition, the just-opened luxury hotel on Collins Avenue that has been hosting approximately 78% of the after parties for this year’s Art Basel Miami Beach. It was the location for a performance later that evening by gonzo artist duo Freeman/Lowe, entitled “Shadow Pool: A Natural History of the San San International.” My travel companions — a writer who penned a Modern Painters cover story on Freeman/Lowe, and an artist who has previously worked with them — mentioned that the pair was still looking for performers to round out the evening’s cast. It seemed like a more interesting proposition than standing on a lawn taking selfies with new John Baldessari sculptures, and so we got sucked into the slightly chaotic, albeit well-staffed, production of “Shadow Pool.”


Overheard at Pulse: David Magnusson on His “Purity” Series

Among the solo presentations at Pulse’s new beachfront tent is Bloomington, Indiana’s Pictura Gallery, who have lined their booth with David Magnusson’s solemn, pale-toned photographs of fathers and daughters posing prom-style before vast expanses of desert. We caught up with Magnusson to ask him about the story behind the striking works — and his response was so good, we just had to quote it in full:

“These are pictures of young girls with their fathers who participated in Purity Ball ceremonies arranged by conservative Christian organizations in the south and southwest. A Purity Ball is a ceremony where the girls promise to stay pure and remain abstinent until marriage, and their fathers promise to protect their daughters in their decisions. Coming from Sweden, which is one of the most secular countries in the world, I just had the picture of crazy American fathers sitting on porches with big shotguns, prepared to do whatever it took to protect their baby girls — but I was fascinated by the use of symbolism from marriage ceremonies, so I started to read everything I came across.


That Time Miley Cyrus Came to Art Basel

So last night was the night that Jeffrey Deitch brought Miley Cyrus to Art Basel so that she could sing “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, the both of them tucked inside a giant plush rainbow costume. It was a night that most people seemed eager to hate the hell out of. Cyrus, wearing a glittery wig and gleefully slapping whatever female posterior twerked its way toward her on stage, was foul-mouthed and lovable, mostly. She let us know that, contrary to her normal protocal for performance days, she had indeed drank and smoked weed in advance of her set. She gave a long, rambling, self-deprecatory explanation of her recent endeavors into the world of contemporary art, after which she started talking about someone’s dead cat, and sang a pretty good piano ballad about the dead cat (even though it’s banging-key histrionics did slightly recall Dana Carvey’s classic “chopping broccoli” riff).


Manifesta 11 Names Artist Christian Jankowski Chief Curator

German multimedia artist Christian Jankowski will be the chief curator for Manifesta 11, Europe’s contemporary art biennial, scheduled to take place in Zurich in 2016. “For the first time in Manifesta’s history, an individual artist will take the position of Chief Curator and will work on a project for an entire urban environment,” said Hedwig Fijen, Manifesta’s director and chair of the curatorial selection committee, in a press release. “Jankowski will investigate the whole array of art’s authorship, its production and its reflection on Zurich’s professional landscape. In doing so, Manifesta 11’s Chief Curator approaches the complex identities of the city in an unexpected way, reaching out to audiences beyond the inner circle of contemporary art biennials.” Based in Berlin, Jankowski participated in the Venice Biennale in 1999 and 2013, and in the Whitney Biennial in 2002; his work often consists of large-scale performance pieces that engage large numbers of participants, some of them unwitting. For example, in 2009, he staged “Strip the Auctioneer,” a performance held at Christie’s in Amstersam, in which auctioneer Amo Verkade sold off his clothing piece by piece.


ICI’s Independent Vision Award Goes to Eva Barois De Caevel

On behalf of Independent Curator’s International (ICI), Nancy Spector, deputy director and chief curator of the Guggenheim Foundation, has made her choice for winner of the Independent Vision Curator Award: Eva Barois De Caevel, a Paris-based independent curator, assistant curator of Raw Materials in Dakar, and co-founder of Cartel de Kunst, an international emerging-curator collective. “Eva Barois De Caevel’s unflinching curatorial practice tackles some of today’s most urgent issues, including sexuality and human rights, in a postcolonial world,” Spector explained in a press release. The award, which includes a $3,000 stipend, will be presented to De Caevel on November 17 at ICI’s annual benefit auction.


Concept Art Fair to Debut on Miami Mega Yacht This December

A new art fair is set to join the Miami ranks this December. Called Concept, it will take place on the Seafair mega yacht docked in downtown Miami’s Bayfront Park and focus on “blue chip secondary market work by modern and contemporary masters,” according to press materials. Just down from the city’s new Perez Art Museum, the seafaring fair will have 35 exhibitiors, which have yet to be announced. Created by Next Level Fairs, Concept will run from December 2 through 7.


MoMA Identifies Earliest Feature Film With Black Actors

Though film history includes stories of early productions featuring predominantly black casts, such as 1913’s “The Pullman Porter” and 1914’s “Uncle Remus’ First Visit to New York,” all actual copies of these films have since disappeared  — that is, until now. Found in MoMA’s archives, an untitled film print starring Caribbean American musical theater actor Bert Williams has been dated back to September of 1913 and will debut at the museum later this fall.


assume vivid astro focus Brings Roller Rink to Buenos Aires

Whether making over a Barney’s with Lady Gaga or exploring transsexuality in geometric psychedelica, assume vivid astro focus always seems to be up to something eye-catching — and now, for the second time, that something has taken the form of a roller rink. Reprising a project they first undertook in 2004 as a tribute to New York’s rollerdance community, the duo is bringing their disco-themed interactive installation to Argentina, for the 10th anniversary celebration of the Faena Hotel Buenos Aires, home to the Faena Arts Center. Dubbed “angeles veloces arcanos fugaces,” the project will also feature an appearance from comedienne and drag performer Lady Bunny.


Expo Chicago Names Artists For In/Situ And More

Expo Chicago, whose third edition takes place in the city September 18 through 21, has announced the artists included in its In/Situ section, organized by Independent Curators International Executive Director Renaud Proch. The 8 participants are Robert Burnier; Fernando Pareja and Leidy Chavez; Cheryl Pope; Michael Rakowitz (whose work is pictured above); Jessica Stockholder; Saya Woolfalk; Ken Gonzales-Day; and Whitney Biennial stand-out Elijah Burgher.


Feline Art Takeover Shows No Signs Of Slowing

Yesterday may have been National Dog Day, but there’s certainly been no shortage of cat-related buzz in the art world, from this feline-centric exhibition at 356 Mission in San Francisco to Irena Jurek’s sex kittens in New York. Now the photographic group and online exhibition platform Humble Arts Foundation is seizing the, um, meowgeist with “New Cats In Art Photography,” a serious-sounding array of 100 images curated by Jon Feinstein.