“The Society Without Qualities”
at Tensta konsthall, Spånga
April 12 2013
The title “The Society Without Qualities” has a double meaning: an indictment of a state that fails to provide a life of quality for its citizens but it also – and for most people probably foremost – an evocation of Robert Musil’s masterpiece “The Man Without Qualities” (1930–1942), the novel in which an indifferent protagonist, Ulrich, leaves it to the outside world to form his character. In “The Society Without Qualities,” it is society rather than the human being that is deliberately left blank. Curated by Lars Bang Larsen, the show includes work by Thomas Bayrle (Frankfurt), Samuel R. Delany (New York), Charlotte and Sture Johannesson (Skanör), Jakob Kolding (Berlin) and many others. The Society Without Qualities is part of the project The New Model: An Inquiry, initiated by Maria Lind and Lars Bang Larsen in 2011 that centers around the 1968 project by Palle Nielsen in the Moderna Museet where children were asked to construct their own social model. The Society Without Qualities revisits key themes and central concerns of this momentous project such as artistic research, the right to the city, the child as an active historical subject, and the critical use of the art institution. (Maaike Lauwaert)
“The Society Without Qualities” at Tensta konsthall, Spånga runs through May 26.
Global Art Forum_7
March 15 2013
This seventh edition of the high profile event Global Art Forum focuses on ‘language.’ Titled ‘It Means This’, the forum explores the concept of ‘definitionism’: investigating the words, terms, clichés and misunderstandings that proliferate in the art world and beyond. The Forum attempts to define and redefine words, phrases and ideas we think we know – and those we need to know – in order to navigate the 21st century. Featuring commissioned projects and research, as well as six days of live talks, Global Art Forum brings together a diverse line-up of participants: artists, curators, musicians, strategists, thinkers and writers. Among the more than 40 contributors are the political scientist Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla, poet and author Mourid Barghouti, former REM lead singer Michael Stipe, editor and writer Brian Kuan Wood, artists Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Hassan Khan, curators Koyo Kouoh (Raw Material Company, Dakar), Bisi Silva (CCA Lagos), Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and Canadian writer and artist Douglas Coupland. Each element of the Forum takes on a keyword; some are more common (Heritage, Biography, Freezone, Score and Place) than others (think Academese, Advert Adverts, Drone Fiction, MENA (Middle East Nervous Anxiety), or Neologism). The eclectic line-up of contributors will pick apart these terms through debates, polemics, friendly rants (‘frants’), performances, TV clips, new publications, films and music. (Maaike Lauwaert)
Global Art Forum_7 starts at Mathaf – Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha (March 17–18, 2013); and continues at Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah (March 20–23).
CIRCA Projects, Newcastle upon Tyne
February 6 2013
CIRCA Projects is a not-for-profit arts organization based in Newcastle upon Tyne, in northeast England. Formed in 2009 by Sam Watson and Adam Phillips, CIRCA started with individual projects and now focus on bigger programs and commissions. The organization, which now includes Dawn Bothwell, is focused on the presentation and production of new art works and projects within lens- and time-based practices. CIRCA regularly organizes talks and screenings, publishes books, and keeps a video archive. The tagline on CIRCA’s website, “Dialogue with the Present”, indicates their focus on exhibitions and projects embedded in the present and their aim to encourage a critical discussion around contemporary art production. CIRCA is important in its city’s art scene; they function outside of a commercial or institutional model and invite artists from outside of the region to broaden the dialogue. They currently have their own project space in the beautiful red-brick Stephenson Works (a former locomotive workplace) but also present projects off site. CIRCA is currently engaged in a 14-month thematic project called “Space Release“, which explores the possibilities and parameters of the exhibition space. Opening soon are Paul Becker with Space Release # 12 and Rubén Grilo with Space Release # 13. (Maaike Lauwaert)
Mike Kelley’s exhibition at
Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
January 7 2013
The era-defining works of Mike Kelley (1954–2012) encompass painting, sculpture, works on paper, installation, performance, music, video, photography, collaborative works and critical texts. Moving between high and low culture, they punch in the face our preconceptions of identity and sexuality.
At the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam the largest ever exhibition of his work is currently on view, comprising over 200 works spanning the artist’s 35-year career. After the artist’s tragic death in early 2012, “his remarkable oeuvre was suddenly complete, and so this exhibition, which was being planned with his direct participation, became a retrospective in the full sense of the word,” states Ann Goldstein, director of the Stedelijk.
Organized mostly chronologically, Kelley fills virtually all of the 1792-square-meter temporary exhibition space in the new building of the expanded Stedelijk. The exhibition is masterfully curated and the sequence of rooms, with their own stories and moods, constitute a journey through Kelley’s world. “Mike Kelley’s brilliance was rooted in his ability to dig critically into a world of cultural productions, representations, and constructions in all their messy contradictions, using a combination of incisive wit, poetic insight and uncanny associative power,” Goldstein writes. (Maaike Lauwaert)
Itinerant & Protocinema’s exhibition featuring Gerard Byrne
November 13 2012
“Why it’s Time for Imperial, Again”. Again. This early video work by Gerard Byrne is shown in a collaboration between the organization Itinerant – which presents occasional exhibitions in New York spaces that have become vacant due to the economic downturn – and Protocinema, a transnational experiment creating nomadic exhibitions in New York and Istanbul. Curators Rose Lord and Mari Spirito stress the renewed urgency of Byrne’s piece, which was made between 1998 and 2002 and which recalls a period of US history from the early 1980s. In the work, two actors humorously re-enact a dialogue between former Chrysler chairman Lee Iacocca and Frank Sinatra. The dialogue betwen Iacocca and Sinatra was originally published in an elaborate advertisement for the new Chrysler Imperial in the November 1980 issue of National Geographic. In the aftermath of the US presidential elections, at a time when there is much discussion on the life and death of the US auto industry and, to be sure, of the very nature of capitalism, Lord and Spirito believe the work might help us reflect on the decline and alienation within contemporary America. In this work, the real is fictionalized and the fictional realized, showing us, as Amanda Coulson writes in a 2004 review of the work in Frieze, the construction of reality and myth in the media. (Maaike Lauwaert)
Shrimpy’s restaurant in London
November 12 2012
Pablo Flack and David Waddington are considered pioneers of the London dining scene, with venues for their restaurants ranging from the Royal Academy of Arts to a car park overlooking the Olympic site. After the 333 Club, Shoreditch Electricity Showrooms and Bistrotheque, they recently opened Shrimpy’s at the Filling Station, a new temporary cultural quarter in King’s Cross. As Waddington states in The New York Times Magazine, the restaurant is “a little piece of the Americas: bright, bold and flavorful,” serving Latin food inspired by trips to the West Coast. The restaurant takes up residence in the former petrol station and has been transformed by the British architects Carmody Groarke, who designed a series of pavilions for last year’s Frieze Art Fair and the recent Bauhaus show at the Barbican. Their architectural intervention, an illuminated fiberglass wall that wraps the building, sets the space aglow. While the exterior references modernist Californian gas stations, the interior features new art commissions by Donald Urquhart and Jonathan Trayte. Their colorful wall paintings reinforce the American inspirations for Shrimpy’s: Donald Duck, Louise Brooks, and Gypsy Rose Lee. Enjoy it with some salsa creole, ceviche or chimichurri. (Maaike Lauwaert)
Sara VanDerBeek at Fondazione Memmo, Rome
November 7 2012
Rome’s Fondazione Memmo – best known for its ancient art shows – recently started a new exhibition program dedicated to contemporary art, conceived by Fabiana Marenghi Vaselli and Anna d’Amelio and titled Arte Contemporanea. The New York based artist Sara VanDerBeek opens this program with her first Italian solo show, curated by Cloé Perrone. VanDerBeek created a site-specific project n the stables of Palazzo Ruspoli based on a summer spent working in Rome. For this show, she continues to research the relationship between photography and sculpture, image and object, and continues to explore what she calls an “Eternal City”. In an interview on Memmo’s website, she explains that “the exhibition will include a mix of images I have taken in both Italy and America with a focus on surfaces and spaces resonant of human gestures and activity yet abstracted by the close focus of the camera.” In doing so, concentric forms, primary shapes, and repeating lines appear. These visual rhythms are both ancient and contemporary, shifting our perspective between past and present, recognition and abstraction, presence and absence. All these dualities are present in most of VanDerBeek’s work, but they have added resonance, too, with the city where these works originated. (Maaike Lauwaert)
Independent exhibition space Shanaynay, Paris
September 14 2012
Shanaynay is what its founders Jason Hwang, an artist and curator from Los Angeles, and Romain Chenais, a curator from Paris, hesitantly call an “Independent Exhibition Space.” Their space is situated in a storefront in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, “close enough to the hip young galleries in Belleville to not be excluded and far enough to not be included.” Hwang and Chenais met at the now defunct artist-run space The Institute of Social Hypocrisy where they discussed artist-run initiatives and the lack thereof in Paris. They decided to start their own space and Shanaynay has been running for five months now. Their working method is “conversational and collaborative” and their space both offers room for experimentation – projects can be developed in the space over time – and functions as a resource – they have a public library comprised solely of donated books. They purposefully work within a very modest set of means, to “avoid certain structures of presentation traditionally associated with public art institutions and/or private galleries” and “experiment with conventions such as the press release, art documentation, and the art opening.” (Maaike Lauwaert)
Shanaynay will inaugurate the group show “Vous vous foutez de nous? Vous ne vous en foutrez pas longtemps” with Valentin Boure, David Douard, Camilla Oliveira Fairclough, Charlotte Houette and Charlotte Seidel tomorrow evening (September 15) on the occasion of the second Biennale de Belleville.