Joanna Walsh’s Open Letter to DAAD

Author, artist, and Spike columnist Joanna Walsh rejects a prestigious German fellowship, in light of the widespread cancellation of academics and cultural workers protesting the genocide in Gaza.

Roni Horn at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

In Copenhagen, a survey centered on a cornucopia of portraiture – owls, clowns, waters, so many Isabelle Hupperts – tries to shrug off the yoke of identity.

Zurich Art Weekend 2024

Pining for the finery of Zurich? Digitally publishing the rare mountain air is beyond even our powers, but we did pick out the city’s best exhibitions for the summer ahead.

Anu Põder at Muzeum Susch

Curated by Cecilia Alemani, a retrospective of the late Estonian artist’s sculptures in jute, epoxy, and other materials once considered “non-artistic” buzzes with the erotic violence of autopsy.

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An image for the showcase module titled, "SPIKE ISSUE #79 – OUT NOW!"

Eco ruin and refugeeism, illiberalization and inequality, hot wars and a New Cold War – the polycrisis hydra is always growing another head. But it’s also a state of mind, an identity crisis brought on by paralysis and cognitive shock. Was it always like this, but with less media reach? Or is capitalism really burning itself out, just without any redemptive zest? The arts are expert at thematizing the woes that affect them – hello, Biennale and documenta – but maybe polycrisis is an instructive metaphor for what’s breaking creativity: the commercial takeover of discourse, the bureaucratization of curating, and the dopamine highs of self-branding.

Maybe we’re at a crossroads between recovery and death. But Spike #79 is clear-eyed about the fact that pessimists are never disappointed.

With Henrike Naumann, Shirin Neshat, Roberto Villanueva, Ben Davis, Mire Lee, Precious Okoyomon, Ivan Cheng, Nil Yalter, Anselm Franke, Anna Jermolaewa, Catherine Liu, Oliver Ressler, Morag Keil, Jeppe Ugelvig, and many more.

Eight Very Agitated or Awful Books for Summer
By Ed Atkins and Steven Zultanski

Artist Ed Atkins and poet Steven Zultanski recommend eight very agitated or awful books for the summer.

Montez Press Radio’s Stacy Skolnik on Her New Post-gender Novel
By Claire DeVoogd

Is gender a disease, or a corrupted diagnosis? Skolnik’s genre-exploded book The Ginny Suite proposes a new kind of protagonist: the anti-woman.

Christopher Wool at 101 Greenwich Street
By Barry Schwabsky

Amid the bare studs of a vacant FiDi highrise, a self-organized exhibition reanimates memories of New York’s abandonment and once-settled feuds over the myths of abstract art.

The Gore Layer
By Alex Quicho

Anyone can get away with war – as long as it looks cute online, that is. What smooths over capitalism’s bloodiest inner workings is it’s most innocent image propaganda: the girl.

Nadya Tolokonnikova Takes Back the Cross
By Patricia Grzonka

Opening her first-ever museum show at OK Linz, Pussy Riot’s founder sex dolls, fighting Putin over the uses of religion, and sublimating pain through artistic violence.

Read Me to Filth: Honor Levy
By Lydia Eliza Trail

The author of My First Book on the tattoos she regrets, retelling Shakespeare for Gen Z, and how long it takes for a cultural event to become a bouncy house.

John Galliano’s Sweetest Revenge Is Resurrection
By Drew Zeiba

In the new documentary High & Low, the “fall” of the Margiela and former Dior designer is a plot to finger the fashion industry’s nostalgia while obscuring that what all redemption stories do is move product.

An Interview with Wimbledon Head of Courts Neil Stubley
By Balazs Korchmaros

Ahead of the first serve at Centre Court, a seasoned groundskeeper clued us into gardening by the millimeter and why Novak Djokovic likes eating his grass.

Liberation Theology: Florentina Holzinger’s Debut Opera
By Florian Malzacher

In coitus and nuns’ veils, cabaret and liturgy, roller skates and torrents of blood, Austrian choreographer Florentina Holzinger’s SANCTA is living feminist utopia now.

Yael Bartana: “The Idea of Utopia in the Wrong Hands Can Be Very Dangerous”
By Hanno Hauenstein

After co-opening the Biennale’s German Pavilion to responses of awe and protest, we spoke to the Israeli artist about artistic ambiguity, the war in Gaza, and the redemptive promise of outer space.

Anna Jermolaewa at the Venice Biennale 2024
By Nicole Scheyerer

The dissident artist’s videos probe the memory of state socialism. In tutus and pointe, her Austrian Pavilion at the 60th Venice Biennale envisions the downfall of Russia’s current evil sorcerer.

“Foreigners Everywhere” at La Biennale di Venezia 2024
By Nicolas Bourriaud

Where the politics of the stranger might invent radical futures from outsider-art forms, Adriano Pedrosa’s exhibition offers little more than a safe space for essentializing folklore.

The Shocks Are Not Shocking
By Ben Davis

How do you do culture in a distracting and fragmented mediascape? If age-old strategies of amplification and withdrawal no longer work, art must find a new way to deal with the noise of crisis.

Going Out in Venice
By Tea Hacic-Vlahovic

As the Art World descends on Venice’s canals for the 60th Biennale, Spike’s hedonist columnist dishes out the best way to get drunk between bridges and where to eat like Hemingway.

Spike #79: A Polite No
By Jeppe Ugelvig

If Pharrell’s LVMH appointment pulled up the ladder into luxury, young upstarts need new precarity tactics.

Spike #79: Denk ich an Deutschland
By Alex Hochuli

Four voices in art and politics convene for a roundtable on censorship, what the hell is happening in Germany, and art’s role on the precipice of doom.

Spike #79: Mire Lee
By Travis Diehl

The South Korean artist’s oozing, wheezing sculptures show the difference between flesh and machines to be uncomfortably small.

Resistance, Fish By Fish: Shu Lea Cheang
By Patrick Kurth

The director of Fresh Kill reflects on fusing gender hacking, queer media activism, and a parable of environmental racism into a (newly restored) avant-anarcho eco-satire.

Boy Meets Boy Meets Boys’ Love
By Simon Wu

A journey into the sugary heart of gay romance, from yaoi to E.M. Forster, raises the question: Why is gay happiness so controversial? Is it just because they’re having better sex?

The Steely Ennui of Constance Debré’s “Playboy”
By Estelle Hoy

Beyond affirming that fashioning a new self is often a matter of class, the French author’s coming-out auto-fiction is a cold, hard accounting of being bored shitless.

Jianghu and Art-Making in the Chinese Diaspora
By Xueli Wang

Drawn from martial arts, the fantasy of an underworld peopled by noble outcasts has marked decades of Chinese cinema and recent art on the coincidences of immigrant life.

Going Out in Hong Kong
By Eugenia Lai

Need a foot massage during Art Basel Hong Kong? A Spike confidante has some suggestions – and plenty of tips on the city’s best dim sum, speakeasies, and cha chaang tengs.

“There Is Something Odd…” at Christine König Galerie
By Ramona Heinlein

In Vienna, bold figurative paintings by Cathrin Hoffmann, Laurent Proux, and Pieter Schoolwerth render the nightmarish gaps between visceral and virtual realities.

LA Art Week: Art in the Afterlife of the Rave
By Michelle Lhooq

What happened during LA art week? A little woo woo for white women, Eartheater doing her occult thing, some shop talk about drugs.