“Index A to Z: Art, Design, Fashion, Film, and Music in the Indie Era” published by Rizzoli

August 1 2014
3:00 PM

Starting out as a low-budget, oversized fanzine, the indie style magazine index quickly grew into an influential voice with 51 issues published between 1996 and 2005. The memorable covers were shot by photographers such as Bruce LaBruce, Wolfgang Tillmans, Juergen Teller, Doug Aitken and Leeta Harding, among others. index brought fashion, design, film, art, philosophy and writing together in a non-hierarchical flow of interviews, reports, texts and images, and always a couple of steps ahead of the hype. Abel Ferrara, Fritz Haeg, Ann Demeulemeester, Terry Gilliam, Slavoj Žižek are only a few of the names featured by index. The recently published “bible of indie culture,” index A to Z: Art, Design, Fashion, Film, and Music in the Indie Era celebrates the rich history of index, with the uncompromising personalities, humor and DIY attitude of Generation X. Here, the most memorable interviews and photographs of the index years are included alongside previously unpublished materials and party pictures. The book is organized in alphabetical chapters, referring to ideas of archival systems and to the nature of photography. Sections include F for Fashion, I for Indie, V for Vanished, and X for X-Rated. Finally, the book features new interviews with founders Peter Halley and Bob Nickas, a reminiscence by photographer Bruce LaBruce, and a historical overview by Wendy Vogel, who also edited the book. (Maaike Lauwaert)

Hannah Weinberger, "Looking Forward," installation view at Hacienda, Zurich, 2013
Courtesy of the artist and Hacienda, Zurich

Hacienda, Zurich

July 3 2014
3:00 PM

This summer marks the end of a full year of programming at Hacienda, an off-space located in Zurich’s Seefeld neighborhood. Run by Arthur Fink, Fabian Marti and Oskar Weiss, Hacienda is located in an apartment in a small townhouse, lending the exhibitions a domestic feel. The project’s three founders each have a different background: Fink currently studies art history and philosophy in Basel after having worked with Karma International, Zurich; Marti is an artist who co-founded the artists’ collective PAC and the artist-run space CAP in Fribourg and established the Zurich Arts Club; Weiss also runs Galerie Weiss, a bookshop in Zurich which was formerly a gallery, and works on different artists’ archives and estates. Given their backgrounds, the presence of a library reading room in Hacienda is no surprise; neither is the fact that they create their program through discussions and research. Their first year of operation has seen them work with Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist, who designed the Hacienda logo; Swiss artist Hannah Weinberger, who created the space’s inaugural exhibition; the Swiss experimental musician and artist Anton Bruhin; and American artist Pentti Monkkonen. After “Swiss Jarry,” a solo show by Rainer Ganahl in May; “Naughty by Nature,” an exhibition by Lisa Anne Auerbach and Liz Craft in June, and then “1989 – 2013,” a solo show by Keith Boadwee in July, Hacienda will have to move to a new location. Stay tuned! (Maaike Lauwaert)

Every Mode of Doing Needs Commons: An Uncommon Festival of the Common(s)
Photo by Niels Moolenaar

“New Habits”
at Casco, Utrecht

May 21 2014
3:00 PM

Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory has recently opened a new location in the museum quarter of Utrecht, the Netherlands. More than triple the size of Casco’s former space, the new complex also hosts artist studios: In De Ruimte, an open space for use by independent workers and self-organized cultural activities; and Fotodok, which focuses on documentary photography. Casco’s program is committed to artistic and social issues. They usually collaborate with a growing group of varied communities, as it is also manifested in their inaugural exhibition and series of projects: “New Habits.” After Giorgio Agamben’s recent analysis of Franciscan practices in his book Highest Poverty (2011), the focus of this aesthetic, ethic and political program is on bringing together a variety of possibilities for altering cultural habits and for forming new ones. The involved artists, architects, choreographer and other participants, including Andrea Büttner, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Tehching Hsieh, Ienke Kastelein, Sung Hwan Kim, Annette Krauss, Christian Nyampeta, Aimée Zito Lema and Yvonne Rainer, address habits that form in everyday practices such as eating, sleeping, working, playing, thinking and studying, and work around the question of how they can be altered in order to reach a new way of living together. Coinciding with the opening was “An Uncommon Festival of the Common(s),” organized by artists Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri around the idea of common concerns, needs and desires. Habits are, after all, “everyday expressions of unintentionally obtained and individually embodied knowledge,” as Casco states. (Maaike Lauwaert)

“New Habits” at Casco, Utrecht, runs through July 13

Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy
by Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit

May 8 2014
3:00 PM

While his debut, 36 (2012), consisted of just thirty-six shots in 68 minutes, Thai writer-director Nawapol Thamrongrattanarit describes his latest experiment in film-making as a search into new ways of storytelling. He chose a section of 410 consecutive Tweets from the Twitter stream of someone he has never met: @marylony. Thamrongrattanarit used all Tweets as they were written, without skipping any or changing their order. The challenge was to shape this series of random, often meaningless daily events into a coherent narrative and film. The result is Mary Is Happy, Mary Is Happy (2013), a jumpy, two-hour film about the Thai schoolgirl Mary, her best friend Suri and their many female classmates. The video is interrupted roughly every two minutes with a Tweet that relays us schoolgirl bickering, the progress of the yearbook Mary and Suri are compiling, an unplanned trip to Paris as well as Mary’s crush on the mysterious M. The story and jittery Twitter format meet in their unpredictability and echo one another. With her imminent graduation only a few months away, Mary is faced with sudden and abrupt changes in life, love and friendship. The strange events that begin to happen to her seem completely random and without reason—as, needless to say, her Twitter feed shows. While Mary struggles to make sense of her life as it threatens to spin out of control, Thamrongrattanarit delves deeper into the emotional life of these teenage girls. (Maaike Lauwaert)

Jochen Schmith, installation view at VI, VII, Oslo
Courtesy of the artists; and VI, VII, Oslo

Hamburg-based collective
Jochen Schmith

April 5 2014
3:00 PM

The work of Jochen Schmith, a collective composed of artists Carola Wagenplast, Peter Hoppe and Peter Steckroth, addresses contemporary consumerism, aesthetic signifiers of lifestyle and luxury fetishism in a way that’s both subtle and razor-sharp. The commercial, the institutional, and the mediated are under close scrutiny in their practice, which ranges from objects and installations to audiovisual works and radical spatial interventions, such as the one they undertook in the Amsterdam artist-run space W139 (It’s Only Rock ’n Roll (But We Like It), 2011): the gallery floor was covered with a rough, ink-black, tarmac-like material mixed with a small, glittering particle. On the other end of the spectrum are works such as There Was a Time (2007), an audio piece consisting of advertisers’ descriptions of luxury housing in Hong Kong; or smaller objects such as Cigar Ends – Collectors’ Waste (2010), a bronze cast of a cigar collected from an art fair VIP lounge. In “Present Gifts,” their current solo show at VI, VII, Oslo, they further investigate commercial and political power structures with works such as Lazy Bones (2014), an embroidered canvas mocking the fake splatters of paint used by designers such as Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana on their so-called “painters pants;” or with Spinning Object (2014), a carousel of 53 slides listing gifts exchanged between politicians, economists and individuals in foreign states. (Maaike Lauwaert)

Lida Abdul, What We Saw Upon Awakening, 2006 (video still)
Courtesy of the artist; and Giorgio Persano Gallery

Dhaka Art Summit

February 6 2014
3:00 PM

This year Dhaka becomes a vibrant hub for contemporary art once again. The second edition of the Dhaka Art Summit (from February 7-9) will focus on the South Asian region, hosting thirty-three local and international galleries, each one exclusively showing works by South Asian artists. DAS is a major non-profit platform for art, whose main gist is its program consisting of five exhibitions curated by local and international curators; fourteen solo art projects by, among others, Rana Begum, Shilpa Gupta, Runa Islam and Jitish Kallat; a city-wide public art project by Raqs Media Collective; special talks; and screenings of experimental films and performances. DAS was conceived by the Samdani Art Foundation to support museum-quality exhibits in Bangladesh, the development of South Asian art and international artistic exchange. Indeed, this year’s edition focuses on exchange: institutional, personal and local. This is manifested, for example, in the project Meanwhile Elsewhere (ইতিমধ্যে অন্যত্র) by the Raqs Media Collective. In this public art project, 160 road signs and billboards across the capital of Bangladesh will show faces of clocks inscribed with words in the Bengali language. The words and phrases relate to each other, contradict each other and form an extensive urban poem that can be read countless ways, thus confronting us with our perception of time and duration. (Maaike Lauwaert)

Michel Boisse, Tom-Tom Caraïbes, 2013
Photo by Julie Liger

at MAMO, Marseilles

January 31 2014
3:00 PM

Oracular/Vernacular,” the title of the current show at the MAMO (short for MArseille MOdulor), refers to oracles, the future and native languages. MAMO is situated on the roof of the 1950s apartment complex Cité Radieuse designed by Le Corbusier. In 2010, the rooftop gym and solarium went up for sale and French designer Ora-ïto purchased it, transformed it into an exhibition venue and gave it back to the city. This second exhibition at MAMO aims to map the contemporary art scene with new and “overlooked,” in the words of curators Charlotte Cosson and Emmanuelle Luciani, works by a diverse group of artists including Neïl Beloufa, Julie Béna, Marine Hugonnier, Dominique Hurth, Alex Israël, Ikonotekst Group, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kolkoz, Gareth Long, Benoît Maire, Falke Pisano, Sunita Prasad, Julien Prévieux and Ryan Trecartin. What unites these works, notwithstanding their differences in formal manifestation or production method, is their fascination with networked knowledge, complex web structures like the Internet, playful approach to linguistic or social codes and our fractured, hyper-aware contemporary condition. A program of workshops and discussions accompanies the exhibition and aims at raising the question of the very idea of contemporaneity and the paradigm that is suitable to define it into the future. This is the start of a process, not the endpoint. (Maaike Lauwaert)

“Oracular/Vernacular” at MAMO, Marseilles, runs through February 16.

Haim Steinbach, Installation view of "The Window" at SMK, Copenhagen
Courtesy of the artist; and SMK, Copenhagen. Photo by Anders Sune Berg

“The Window”
at SMK, Copenhagen

January 21 2014
6:15 PM

The Window,” an exhibition by and with Haim Steinbach at the Statens Museum for Kunst in Copenhagen, puts you in a tantalized state. The exhibition is the first of a new series at the SMK which will invite artists, over the course of three years, to explore and expand aspects of classical museum practice, such as collecting, displaying, arranging and, by extension, the writing of art history. This series takes place in the so-called X-rummet of the museum, an experimental venue for contemporary art. Steinbach places works from the SMK collection, such as mesmerizing trompe l’oeil paintings by 17th-century Flemish painter Cornelius Norbertus Gijsbrechts, Henri Matisse’s Interior with a Violin (Room at the Hotel Beau-Rivage), 1918, and Robert Smithson’s Eight-Part-Piece (Cayuga Salt Mine Project), 1969, alongside some of his own works (including the text work and to think it all started with a mouse, 2004). Part of the exhibition is also a collection of figurative salt and pepper shakers sourced by the museum’s personnel. Steinbach created an architectural structure of walls, steel frames and windows to house these works—a little plateau that holds it all together, guides your gaze and offers new perspective on the works. The installation creates the sense of a never-ending string of discoveries, new associations and surprising connections between the diverse and wide-ranging works. (Maaike Lauwaert)

“The Window,” Haim Steinbach’s curated show at SMK in Copenhagen, will run through February 23.

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