To varying degrees, many of us now know the feeling of being trapped indoors, whether because of lockdown or fear of infection or transmission. As Lonely in Shanghai turns to Grindr and internet porn, the line between imagined and actual encounters starts to become blurry and dream life feels as real as anything else. By ALVIN LI
“I’m not saying the internet ruined boobs. But it does seem like, in real life, they’re being de-platformed.” This month, Cara Schacter writes about the epistemology of Billie Eilish’s cleavage and more.
A new digital city designed by Zaha Hadid Architects promises to realize “the old dream of cyberspace” — but whose? What remains genuinely public sphere when the rhetoric of open access only serves gentrifying the metaverse?
Do bad artists know that they’re bad? Is bad taste, like Ed Hardy, back? In his June column, Dean Kissick explores value and taste by looking at “ultra-modernity,” manufacturing demand, and images that weren’t made by humans.
Is the 59th Venice Biennale the final chapter of an exhausted story? In his May column, Dean Kissick ponders how identity became the biggest elephant in the rooms of mega exhibitions, and how to abandon our screens for the real world and the real world for dreams.
Gideon Jacobs shares an original meditative method of achieving salvation – transcending this physical form, with all its irksome ailments, plus the charlatans and metaverses that promise to cure them.
Henryk Streng/Marek Włodarski, Childhood Memories (1924). Henryk Streng was born in Lwów, Poland (present-day Lviv, Ukraine) in 1903. In 1942 he destroyed all of his documents and acquired new papers under the name of “Marek Włodarski.”
A wave of figurative paintings, by black painters and focused on black subjects, has spawned a ubiquitous new style – but has market pressure pushed artists’ radical intentions into something more palliative?
What’s hot for 2022? Clinical – institutional, terminal, quasi-medical – horniness. Libido with surgical precision. Latex, gore-tex, aphrodesiacs and anesthetics. Cara Schacter reports from the runways of Eckhaus Latta and beyond.
Whether you’re totally pilled or an adamant no-coiner, you’ve probably noticed that Web3 has a lexicon all its own. We’ve put together a guide to some of the insider jargon to help you navigate this wild world. Fear, uncertainty, and doubt no more.
With nostalgia taking hold at The New Museum Triennial and MoMA PS1’s survey of Greater New York, Dean Kissick wonders: what’s so great about it? When art gets sucked back into tradition, where is the future to be found?
Once upon a time, the silver screen held projections of our deepest desires. But now, even our handsomest sex symbols have lost their deadly edge, drained of their power by pocket-sized screens and eroticism on demand.
Sandra Mujinga was recently awarded the prestigious Preis der Nationalgalerie 2021. To celebrate this honour, we’re releasing Jeppe Ugelvig’s portrait of Mujinga from Spike #56: CULTURE WARS from our print archive.
It’s September. When the kids go back to school, what do the adults return to? Tradition? Seasonal basics? Cyberstalking like it’s the early aughts? Natasha Stagg reflects on summer’s wind-down for the final Out of State of 2021.
Why does film – an art form built on stardom, visual pleasure, and control – have such a persistent sexual misconduct problem? It's an industry full of either monsters or geniuses, depending on who you ask.
With an uptick in breakthrough cases and breakups, what’s left in New York? The shambles of the Astor Place Kmart, some piecemeal conspiracy theories about who controls it all – models, probably – and the Friends Experience (not to be confused with having friends).
New York is going through a renaissance; a golden age for contrarians, Catholics, and chimera-denialists. On the occasion of his first trip outside the city in a year and a half, Dean Kissick reflects on all that’s happened in the interim.
As cinemas reopen and "immersive" art experiences flood New York with their competing ads, Natasha Stagg wonders if we've lost the plot. Is reality still our north star, or has it been eclipsed by a collective fiction?
Dean Kissick returns from his summer hiatus (ascetic, solitary research, perhaps?), restored and brimming with renewed hope. Eat vegetables, get Tao Lin-pilled, and revel in the beauty of the universe: the modern-day equivalent of "turn on, tune in, drop out"?
Even in a summer of change, some things remain the same. NATASHA STAGG’s column is back. This week, for the first installment, she observes that certain constants – like FOMO and self-delusion – are here to stay.
The Austrian writer Friederike Mayröcker, born in 1924, and sadly passed away today (4 June), has written dozens of highly acclaimed books of poetry and prose. Her works are occasionally accompanied by her own drawings, sketches of floating figures with handwritten captions. The following excerpts are from a series of conversations between Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Sarah Ortmeyer, and Friederike Mayröcker, who drew as they talked about her writing routine and the price of a life dedicated to literature.
The endless circuit of global fairs, exhibitions, and biennials once kept the art world perpetually in motion, but Corona has put a stop to all of this, blocking the easy paths to jetsetting. Is that necessarily a bad thing? Or can we find solace and community in our own backyards, with only glimpses of goings-on abroad from our overly Zoom’ed sofas? By JEPPE UGELVIG
A lot’s changed in New York since we last heard from Dean Kissick in October. A president was elected and fresh plywood added to store façades, quickly blanketed in new graffiti hearts. Hope and the 5G conspiracy are pretty tricky things.
In her new column, KAITLIN PHILLIPS gives us a few anecdotes about hot dog eating, boys who overvalue Continental Philosophy, and what happens when your friends start to hate you. What more could you ask for?
In her new column, KAITLIN PHILLIPS recounts the drama of finally getting her own pad, and quickly finds out that she has no lights, or buzzer. How will people get in to her housewarming party? Read on to find out.
The production of the mushrooms we like to eat is just a small fraction of what the fungi that produce them do. Serpentine Galleries curator BEN VICKERS had the chance to pick the brain of MERLIN SHELDRAKE, who has just published a memoir on the massive underground network of the magic mushroom.
New York’s art world is filled with careerists, but it is also filled with those who consciously moved away from the art machine. E’wao Kagoshima, nearly eighty years old, falls into this latter category, a painter who brings his brush with him everywhere he goes, treating the city as his canvas and marketplace.
In her newest column, KAITLIN PHILLIPS gets to the heart of what really matters, like: Do you own a manual pencil sharpener? And is it safe to open the windows again? And do you like your parents? Read on for answers to these and other burning questions.
Out Of State (part 8) is back in New York, and there NATASHA STAGG wonders about the future of the restaurant biz and all of the people that used to flock to the Big Apple for the good eats and parties. Did we see this coming?
DEAN KISSICK takes us through the troubled beginnings of the 2020s, charting his own history in New York, and the timeline of events of the previous decade that brought us here. Writing is the best cure for amnesia.
Get your black spandex tights and head down broadway musical memory lane with NATASHA STAGG in her seventh installment of OUT OF STATE. After the curtain drops, there's still New York behind any rendition of "New York, New York." Which is your favourite?
This week, the OUT OF STATE (No. 6) train is headed to Baltimore, once home to the inimitable Divine, muse of many a John Waters' flick, and now site of his final resting place. Pilgrimage to the grave, and a few musings on the plight of Cancel Culture, are on the menu. Just no dog shit.
Get OUT OF STATE (No. 5) with Natasha Stagg this week, where she follows the great exodus from New York (at least for a weekend). But beware of Lyme disease, weird neighbourly hymns, and the countryside's glacial pace when it comes to motivation.
Is there such a thing as Deleter’s Remorse? NATASHA STAGG’S fourth column sifts through the aftermath of her deleted Instagram account, and all of the things she misses – and doesn't miss – about the social media giant. Who knows? Maybe she'll create a Finsta profile now in its place.
Gimme Fiction! For her latest column, KAITLIN PHILLIPS takes us on a pretend journey through the ins and outs of worklife, and all of the crazy creatures that rear their cute little heads – from drunk monk haircuts to desperate stuffed animal keychains.
NATASHA STAGG’S third column focuses on speech acts, and the elected officials who seem incapable of delivering them with any eloquence. As the US just celebrated the 4th of July, maybe the fireworks will do a better job of speaking for New Yorkers than the old dudes behind a podium.
NATASHA STAGG’S second column gives us another snapshot of New York in the midst of a struggle between justice for its citizens and the desire to pose for a close-up. Spoiler alert: Stagg has parted ways with the selfie-behemoth, Instagram, in the process of writing this.
Summer is here, so let’s go out of state! Frequent Spike contributor and New York denizen, NATASHA STAGG, is back with a weekly column for the remainder of the warm season. In her first of the series, Stagg talks about branding, policing, and the endless stream of images that fill our screens and our squares (the big ones).
Stay home, stay away, but stay online, for goodness sake. Digital communication has become more of a force than ever in the art world, without the usual galas, openings, and related events. JEPPE UGELVIG dishes the digital dirt.
Spike’s Senior Editor COLIN LANG’s weekly column “FALLING OUT” takes a look back at a primal scene of his, which involved underground zine culture. Read to the end to find out about a new project at Spike and why you’re reading this to begin with.
Spike’s Senior Editor COLIN LANG went on a voyage … around his apartment. He was not alone – there were devices, music, and his laptop to keep him company. With not much else to see, enjoy the FIRST INSTALMENT of his COLUMN “FALLING OUT”. Hold tight!
Crafting an alternative history of the twentieth century through cybernetics, psychedelia, and tarot, Suzanne Treister’s sprawling projects trace a vertiginously networked world where everything is connected and nothing is meaningless. By Lars Bang Larsen
The countryside is synonymous with the desires for escape, health, self-sustainability, and many other things that might well describe the current mood under the threat of corona. DEAN KISSICK weighs in on one exhibition that presents the nether reaches as just that: somewhere far away.
Fashion has built a trap for itself. The most contemporary medium may still pride itself on being ahead of the curve, but it has fallen prey to a totalised corporate capitalist realism that is closing the door on a new generation. Where will it go with its need to rebel and experiment?
With the dawn of a new decade comes the possibility that all could start over, be good again. DEAN KISSICK takes us on a journey in search of exhiliration in art, theatre, and elsewhere. Follow his trek from Mexico to New York, out of the glum and into glam and glee.
Now Zero has been a staple at Spike online, but now, fittingly alongside Brexit, we also bid farewell to Ella and her column. Fear not, Ella will continue to scrawl across the walls of Spike’s print pages, and there will be others to take her spot, though not her place. You’re not reading it properly unless you click through and play all the links at once.
In the beginning there was energy, matter, and light. But the most important element in human evolution could have been the kiss of fire that propelled human evolution forward and set the stage for the mother of all arts: cooking. Austrian filmmaker Peter Kubelka talks to Asad Raza about a life in film and how the art of cooking isn’t hard to master.
This month Outworld™ becomes a daily, weekly, and monthly annual subscription to social in cites, tactile inbox, virtual companion ships, micro e-gestion, aisle vista, UFOs, serenityNowplus, tax in Saint Ives, chronovoyagé and more in C major. Download Grammarly now to VOTE LABOUR
Gucci’s new Cruise campaign, directed by Harmony Korine and Alessandro Michele, stars rapper Gucci Mane. Gucci Mane’s new album cover, shot by Harmony Korine and Alessandro Michele, stars Gucci. Pop continues to eat itself. Nothing means anything here, in the twilight of the 2010s.
The Good Life was a popular British sitcom about a suburban couple who tried to escape modern life and go “back to the land” of Surbiton, South West London in which the “radical thinking” of the counter culture finds synergy with middle class (yuppie) Britain.
Tired of all the GoT takes? For her May column, Ella dives into a fish tank and digs into mystical poetic botany in her mother's garden, the Black Forest and at the Serpentine's latest symposium. What is planted may never die.
1980's London was dirty and depressing. A new generation of artists reacted to the mood of the time by screwing with cultural hierarchies, decoding and recoding cultural material until it was no longer clear on which side they stood. By Liam Gillick
The worlds of technology and spirituality are converging once again, but something new is emerging. It is too early to say what its effects will be and the right language to describe it is still taking shape. Hans Ulrich Obrist and Ben Vickers on new dimensions of understanding in lines of code.
An interview with curator Marco Scotini about multiculturality and biodiversity as traces of the ancient Silk Road, how to exhibit eco-artistic practices today and the liberation of the biennial format. By Christian Kobald
Where do we stand in Europe today, as it drifts further and further to the right? We asked cultural figures from four countries about the influence of the political right on the arts. By Schorsch Kamerun, Karol Radziszewski, Eva Blimlinger and Gergely Nagy
Neoliberalism turned a hard-won freedom into a duty and everybody became an artist. If, in 1968, breaking with the family was a prerequisite to living as one wished, fifty years later it is back with redoubled force. Through highways and byways, we have come full circle. By Rob Horning
What are the exhibition spaces of the future? Hybrid museum buildings, domestic spaces that defy our transparent, commercialised world, or the urban fabric itself? Alessandro Bava on the rediscovered relevance of architecture and the desire for real experience.
As New York's East Village is becoming host to a score of elite art organisations, the question of whether the local creativity they endorse is still alive and well comes to the fore. By Ariella Wolens
In his column Dean Kissick writes about Neïl Beloufa's controversial show "L'Ennemi de mon ennemi" at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and explores what it says about protest in our "byzantine circulatory system of images"
In his column Dean Kissick writes about the second season of the BBC's Blue Planet and finds a swansong for a disappearing natural world full of bizarre beauty. Soon, science and technology may furnish us with an imaginary and perhaps still stranger world.
In his column Dean Kissick writes about Sophia, the first robot to be granted citizenship by a country. But as a female humanoid robot, she says more about humans' lack of imagination than the new forms and relationships that lie ahead of us.
The winds are changing in the world of fashion. The era of Demna Gvasalia, Gosha Rubchinskiy and their ilk is nearly over. Gucci is back, taking fashion from the streets into space, with a new aesthetic of eternity that sells the promise of a better world for all. By Ella Plevin
We are on the edge of the abyss, but nobody seems to really care. In his latest column Dean Kissick writes about how the present threat of a nuclear war gets lost in the memeification of reality and politics
Jordan Wolfson Real violence, 2017, (Installation view) Virtual reality headsets, high-definition video, color, Sound; 2:25 min. 2017 Whitney Biennial ( March 17-June 11, 2017). Collection of the artist; courtesy David Zwirner, New York, and Sadie Coles HQ, London.
In this month’s column, Dean Kissick writes about what happens when subcultures emerge from the underbelly of the internet, Angela Nagle’s Kill All Normies, and how the culture wars of the 90s have come back to haunt us
The New York Times virtual-reality app takes Rob Horning to deep space, to the front lines in Falluja or to artist’s studios. But once you have stepped inside these worlds, it's not clear what you are supposed to do there.
In art, love and politics the first moments of an encounter are crucial. They determine what happens next, whether it goes well or goes badly, if it leads to happiness or misery. How can art help give us a sense for the appropriate forms of conduct when we meet others? By Jan Verwoert
The artist spoke to Anna Gritz about deeply rooted behavioural patterns, subjectivity as a system, alternative economic models – and how in the end, although he hated it so much, art is what saved him.
The French artist ties her art, the conditions of its production, the artist’s life, her exhibitions and commissions and the circulation and distribution of images into a knot that is impossible to untangle. By Dominikus Müller
The artist is best known for paintings celebrating the “ecstatic unity” of her relationship with the artist Dieter Roth. She was connected to Fluxus, but too uncompromising in how she brought her personal life, identity and sexuality into her art to be considered part of its canon. By Barbara Casavecchia
How can theory have an effect on the world? Armen Avanessian’s answer would be: only by making it go faster. With books and conferences on Accelerationism and Speculative Realism, as well as his participation in an art film earlier this year, he has attempted to free philosophical thought from the narrow bounds of the academy and bring the Left up to speed with financial capitalism. Why does he find the art world so appealing?
We all know that transparency is no longer a magic formula that automatically leads to greater emancipation. By contrast, in order to win back a piece of humanity and freedom, we will have to become our own censors. In various recent artworks Barbara Casavecchia finds the building blocks for a new culture of silence.
Fulvia Carnevale, part of the Paris-based collective Claire Fontaine, and theoretician Rory Rowan, have a number of complaints. Art is increasingly becoming a job, there is too little time left for thinking, and artists have to act like rock stars to please collectors. Is there still hope?
From strategies of exposure to those of concealment, feminist artists are finding new ways to address the female body as a site of projection, voyeurism, or even dissent. Theorist and educator Maria Walsh attended the “Finding the Body: The Last Transgression?” symposium in London last week, and offers her take on the dialogue between feminisms old and new.
Cady Noland is a prime example of exit from the art world, yet her work from the 80s and 90s about the violent sides of America remains eloquent. This is Tanya, titled after the nom de guerre of William Randolph Hearst’s granddaughter, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in the mid-70s and joined the group.
Now that the human is no longer central to history – replaced, instead, by networks and systems – we need to reconsider the old question “What is to be done?” It’s never been harder to make your own rules for how to act. How to continue? Acceleration or exit? Lars Bang Larsen thinks these are false alternatives and searches for new, fluid forms of action.
The 1992 group show “Post Human” explored how the Internet, artificial intelligence, and plastic surgery were changing what it meant to be human. The exhibition‘s curator Jeffrey Deitch travels back into a past future.
Figures fall chaotically, cranes take flight, half-rendered dogs roam around threadbare computer-game landscapes. No matter how long you watch Ian Cheng‘s video installations, the logic of what‘s happening remains out of reach. The artist himself doesn‘t know how his simulations are going to turn out. He merely sets the parameters: a virtual ecosystem and characters whose actions are partly scripted and partly determined by chance. These works seem to circle around themselves, which raises several questions. Gianni Jetzer met up with the New York-based artist for an interview.
In her collages from the beginning of the 1980s, Julia Wachtel made the image-worlds of Pop and trash collide. When she turned to painting, she remained loyal to her technique of hard cuts – which she has maintained ever since. Bob Nickas looks back on the era of infotainment, when picture-making was reinvented.
Curators talk about an artwork that is important to them and their work. Philippe Pirotte, Dean of the Städelschule and Director of Portikus in Frankfurt, on "Crystal Chain Letter Complex (Dark Episode)" (2005) by Corey McCorkle
Hieronymus Bosch's work hasn't just withstood the test of time; his paintings and illustrations currently on display at the Noordbranants Museum emerge from the archive with uncanny contemporaneity. Los Angeles based writer Dean Kissick puts Bosch's 500 year old esoterica into dialogue with a variety of images circulating our modern visual economy.
A shirt, a T-shirt, a dress: clothing is inescapably concrete. But several recent collections have introduced new strategies of dematerialization into the world of fashion undoing the separation of image and object. Michele D’Aurizio explains.
Stones to throw | 2011 | Installation, mail and public art project; painted stones, plinths, photographs, FedEx bills | views from streets of Diyarbakir | Courtesy of the artist | Photographs by Askin Ercan
In November 2015, president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party unexpectedly won an outright election victory. Since then, activists, artists, academics, journalists and, indeed, anyone raising their voice to criticise government policy has faced persecution and arrests. We spoke to artist Ahmet Öğüt about the current situation of artists in Turkey and the limits of artistic protest.
The best storyteller has the power, according to British filmmaker Adam Curtis. In his new BBC documentary Bitter Lake (2015) he montages archival material from seven decades of failed Afghan politics and explains why the West has lost faith in its own narratives.
1997 eröffnete die Kunsthalle Bern “Blues and the Abstract Truth”, eine Einzelausstellung des US-amerikanischen Künstlers David Hammons. Der damals 54-Jährige richtete mit sparsamen Mitteln eine “unverkäufliche” Ausstellung ein: “Die Leute sollten nicht glauben, dass man irgendetwas nach Hause nehmen könnte.” (Hammons). Im Rückblick erschließen sich weitere Bedeutungen dieser Ausstellung, die im Moment des Besuchs vor allem durch ihre Atmosphäre beeindruckte, wie Daniel Baumann schreibt.
Harald Szeemann’s documenta 5 is considered one the most important exhibitions in the history of art. But hardly anyone is familiar with its original concept, which, in the spirit of May 1968, turned radically against art as something you could own. Instead of the art object, the collective event took centre stage. Bazon Brock, who worked with Szeemann on the project, talks about the exhibition that could have been.
Precious metals and stones were mined out of technological objects and transformed back into mineral form. The artificial ore was constructed out of gold (Au), copper (Cu), Aluminum (Al), and whetstone; all taken from tools, machinery and computers that were sourced from a recently bankrupt factory.
Even if the virtual space of the screen misleadingly suggests a kind of perpetual present, the world is filled with remainders of bygone media technologies. For the Finnish new media theorist Jussi Parikka, the multiple temporalities of media archaeology offer an alternative to the singular forward drive of accelerationism.
The perfectly crafted, deeply unsettling films of Omer Fast revolve around the traumatic experiences of refugees, soldiers returning home from war and drone pilots. In a constant interplay of immersion and alienation, they turn filmic illusion against itself.
Poignant eulogies, black feminist humor and expansive installations that ardently express openness, empathy and humaneness. Californian artist Lutz Bacher dodges a signature style in favor of artistic rebelliousness.
What if you can’t see an event? First of all, it doesn’t matter: anthropocentrism is out and it’s time we accepted that there are events that have nothing to do with humans being around to witness them. Benjamin H. Bratton talks about Google’s Nest, buying a can of corn in the supermarket, and the big question of scale.
Tucked away in one of California’s scenic national parks, Paul McCarthy inflated his giant butt plug (sculpture) and Stefan Simchowitz shaved his head. Take a walk with Keith J. Varadi around the third and final installment of the Paramount Ranch art fair.
One of the fundamental questions of our 21st Century Theory series is whether the “correlationist thinking dominant today may perhaps be an obstacle to understanding important trends in contemporary art.”
Why is taking a digital image more like painting than analogue photography? Media artist Paul Kneale investigates the fundamental difference between the two modes of production, and sees us as painters stepping back to review the latest brushstrokes of our just-taken selfies. Looking through the haze of his own “optical migraines” Kneale argues for a new form of painting.
Since the mid-1980s, the French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster has created films, photographs, installations and environments that often involve viewers in uncanny, oneiric scenarios from the past and future. Most recently, she has been working on a series of performances where she assumes the roles of people such as King Ludwig II, Bob Dylan, Vera Nabokov and Fitzcarraldo. In advance of the opening of her retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, she talked to Oliver Basciano about mixing up different times, meeting ghosts, and why she works against the theatre.
Status Quo Art School. How do art academies change in the course of a world run by a liberal-minded creative industries? How should art schools respond to the financialisation of higher education? Can art schools maintain their autonomy as sites of independent teaching and learning? In the first of a series of pieces tackling the future of art education to be published on Spike Online in the coming months, Chloe Stead writes on the student activists of Free Cooper Union and on protest as a learning experience.
"Shelf life is always an issue – I don’t like seeing the grapefruits wizen", commented American artist Darren Bader in an email-conversation with critic Bruce Hainley. On food in the arts, Zeitgeist, and the profundity of ancient and bad curators.
It’s difficult to say what Tobias Madison actually does. The Swiss artist shuttles between refusal and participation, withdrawal and exposure, community spirit and calculated outsourcing. In doing so, he works his way along the edges of found formats: the work, the exhibition, as well as the figure of the “young” artist.
The artist Constant Dullaart has a dream to come true. Curator Toke Lykkeberg wants to show the world how it really is. One has founded a company, the other has brought an everyday commercial aesthetic into the Musée d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris. What role do artists play in start-up culture? Are we experiencing a rematerialisation of the art object?
For some time now, architecture has been in crisis. Between the totally networked Google city and middle class fantasies of retreat, it seemed like there was no space left for new ideas. Due to the influx of refugees, the need for housing hasn’t been this urgent since the end of the Second World War. Niklas Maak sees this situation as an opportunity, and drafts a utopia.
Oswald Oberhuber is the sort of artist who doesn’t just apply ideas and action to his own practice; he transfers them to other social spheres. In the early 1970s, he began directing Vienna’s Galerie nächst St. Stephan. Later he became Head of the University of Applied Arts and designed furniture and posters. His public statements about political topics regularly caused a stir. Andreas Reiter Raabe met up with the artist, whose work goes in all imaginable directions. With an introduction by Robert Fleck
In 2010, Werner Herzog was among the lucky few to be given permission to enter the recently rediscovered Chauvet Cave in the south of France. In just six days he made a stunning documentary film about its 32,000-year-old cave paintings. Timo Feldhaus looks back at the beginnings of art through a flat Retina Display and soon drifts back to the present – to the image archives of Corbis.
Lily van der Stokker's wall paintings and installations play on the decorative, the “nice” and the “girly”. Gossip, celebrity friends, and the always-dirty home find a place on the museum's walls, which become a diary full of colourful flowers and clouds. In this way, the artist has developed not only her own approach to image and text but also a feminist strategy: “Nonshouting Feminism” as she calls it.
“If you sit on an elephant, your behaviour changes.” Technology may continue to advance, but that doesn’t mean art is getting any better, says Nicolas Party. With a calm and irony-free attitude, he has been developing one of the most idiosyncratic practices among young painters today. A conversation with Rita Vitorelli about naivety, the slowness of matter, and what’s special about the human hand.
It has become an all too common cliché that everyone from brokers to Uber drivers is employed under the model of the artist. Over and over, you hear that the boundaries between art, pop, and creative industries are blurring. What sets the artist apart from the non-artist? What sets the art object apart from other objects? A discussion with artists Natascha Sadr Haghighian and Simon Denny, and exhibition maker and gallerist Alexander Koch, moderated by Kolja Reichert.
Why are people now taking a renewed interest in Giorgio Griffa’s work? Perhaps because around 1970 he had already anticipated many of the concerns of painting today, with his serial gestures and unprimed canvases nailed onto the wall. Eva Fabbris writes about how the artist developed a unique position between Conceptual art and Arte Povera.
All five of the artists I’ve chosen have great personal and artistic significance for me. Except for Leonore Mau, I’ve worked with all of them in various ways, engaged with their work for years, and learned a lot from them in a lively and ongoing process of exchange. In selecting them, I’ve been guided above all by two thoughts: how can one relate to situations and objects so that there is an exchange among things, people, and world? And what might an art look like that speaks creole, non-Eurocentric languages?
Spike’s current editorial intern is angry. The art world doesn't pay its assistants and interns, so in her other life Chloe Stead serves burgers. She has found allies in artists and activists who oppose the culture of unpaid work and calls on us all to do the same.
Can hackers really save lives? A member of Ghost Security Group speaks to our writer Paul Feigelfeld. By passing on information to the US secret services, the volunteer network brings a new mentality to hacktivism. Read the full interview here:
Originally envisioned as a survey show of emerging artists, the fourth instalment of “Greater New York” at MoMA PS1 changes tract and raises the average artist age to a getting-on-a-bit 48. Through the more mature positions the difference between old New York and the “Post-Bloomburg iteration we’ve inherited” becomes startlingly clear. Musing on the inclusion of videos of drag performers by Nelson Sullivan and the cruising photographs of Alvin Baltrop, our writer gets nostalgic for the salad days of NYC.
Artists’ assistants are omnipresent in the art business. Yet, as a rule, they are all but invisible. Ever nameless they disappear from view in artists’ studios; their work is absorbed into their employers’ production and their independent creative participation in the works is subsumed by the artistic “brand” they have helped to form. However, things do seem to be changing. Not only has “Artist’s Assistant” become a recognized occupation, but assistants are starting to emerge from their anonymity and raising their profiles as artists in their own right. Hans-Jürgen Hafner sketches out the situation.
If 72% of 18 to 25-year-olds say they can express their feelings better though using emojis than words what does that mean for the future of written language? Dean Kissick discuses Starbucks conspiracy theories, ordering Domino’s pizza and if heartbreak can be conveyed by pictures of anthropomorphic food.
Rrose Sélavy, Vern Blosum, John Dogg: Why do artists create alter egos or hide as collectives behind made-up characters? Martin Herbert traces the figure of the fictional artist over the last hundred years and discovers a reflection of the art world’s changing face. Sometimes one identity just isn’t enough.
The artist Ericka Beckman has been dealing with gender tropes in virtual worlds for over 20 years and pre-empting many contemporary discussions on the topic. With current debates about feminism raging online our writer finds that it’s the perfect time to revisit the CalArts MFA’s oeuvre who presented her characters as subjects in a form of techno-Bildungsroman.
Why does the art of today often seem to exist in a historical vacuum? What is the significance of art history for post-Internet art? Is our sense of history changing because of the accelerated circulation of images, money and data? Where does this leave the art object? At Spike’s new space in Berlin, Kolja Reichert moderated a discussion between artist and essayist Hito Steyerl, art historian Susanne von Falkenhausen, and two of the four curators of the 2016 Berlin Biennial: Lauren Boyle and Marco Roso from the collective DIS.
Frieze Projects, Frieze Talks, Frieze Sounds and the Frieze Artist award: over the past few years Frieze Art Fair proper has grown to incorporate a full range of non-for-profit projects and events. But isn't that missing the point? Our writer remembers what Frieze is really about.
Matias Faldbakken, born in 1973, first became known as a writer, thanks to his 2001 novel The Cocka Hola Company, which inaugurated the »Scandinavian Misanthropy« trilogy. The open social critique in his writing is counterbalanced by the deliberate hermeticism of his art, in which found materials are worked into what the artist calls »negativistic gestures« in versions of sculpture, readymade, and painting. His works often use materials from construction or logistics, as in a recent series of flattened and framed cardboard boxes. The »aesthetic products« in his exhibitions are, Faldbakken has said, »the side effects of an artistic strategy that engages readily available possibilities of disengagement«.Here he selects five artists and writers whose work he admires.
Taking place at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin "Technosphere, Now" was the inaugural event of a four-year research project into global technology and its identity. Our writer visited the one-day conference, thought about Berghain and water on Mars, and was left with some answers and a lot of questions.
Samara Golden‘s phantasmagoric installations bring to mind the halls of mirrors in old amusement parks as well as the dark glamour of Hollywood. On the occasion of the Los Angeles–based artist‘s exhibition at MoMA PS1, Dorothée Dupuis explores the uncanny power of Golden‘s work and discovers a form of resistance in the emotions conjured up by the shimmering interiors of the American home.
Questions of appropriation have never been easy, but the New York-based artists collective Shanzhai Biennial uses the strategy of the copy – or, better, a copy of the strategy – as a way of refusing easy categorization, whether as parody, masquerade, parasitism, critique, or something else. Their work raises questions about the spectacle, globalization, branding, and, as Harry Burke argues, compels us to reconsider the relationship between art and image.
Whether calling himself “The Friendliest Black Artist in America”, eating the Wall Street Journal piece by piece, or crawling up the entirety of New York’s Broadway, the American artist William Pope.L applies pressure in exactly those places where race and capitalism meet in the American unconscious. Adrienne Edwards writes on Pope.L‘s strategies of abjection, precarity, and play.
If we assume that we always get what we deserve, there's nothing for it but to read Karl Owe Knausgaard's novels. They are long and very boring and a perfect expression of our times. Timo Feldhaus read the new volume of "My Struggle".
For almost 25 years Frank Castorf has put on a stridently modern kind of “Regietheater” (director’s theatre) at Berlin’s Volksbühne. After the fall of the Wall, the famously grouchy Castorf persuaded the likes of Christoph Schlingensief and René Pollesch to stage works at the theatre on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. They let disenfranchised subjects stumble elegantly through superannuated ideologies, speaking in voices that are not their own. And they won’t be doing it for long. Jan Küveler knows what we’re going to miss.
Voluminous and heavy, a new anthology brings together 37 texts on speculative realism and its ramifications on the arts by the likes of Quentin Meillassoux, Graham Harman, Steven Shaviro, Manuel DeLanda, Diedrich Diederichsen, Reza Negarestani, and many more. Paul Feigelfeld wades through and finds an overly present absolute, and philosophy that has become a tourist attraction.
Contemporary abstraction borrows blindly from art history, all looks the same and works particularly well if you hang it over the sofa - this is the reproach at the heart of Walter Robinson's idea of "zombie formalism". But maybe art criticism has just forgotten how to look closely. Travis Jeppesen defends abstract painting against its opponents and hits the ball back into their court: it's time for critics to reengage with their subjects and find a new language for painting.
De-evolution against the existential terror of everyday life is still trending. The designer Thomas Thwaites commissioned a set of special prosthetics and decided to spend a couple of days living as a goat. His experiment makes Dean Kissick think about modern communication, the Paleo diet, ancient satyrs, and Miley Cyrus.
From Donald Trump to Rihanna, True Detective, and 50 Cent: this summer a new theatricality has become evident in American culture. The congruence of camp and violence has given us Young Thug, a rapper who calls his guns “dicks” for reasons nobody knows.
Opening with Hannah Höch, Otto Schmalhausen, Raoul Hausmann, John Heartfield mit Kind, Otto Burchard, Margarete und Wieland Herzfelde, Rudolf Schlichter, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (?), Unbekannt und Johannes Baader
The field of art is considered to be free, open and accessible to everyone. In reality, no outsiders have been spotted here for a long time. Does “art audience” today really only mean people who have an (economic) interest in the art world? Is anyone immune to the half-drunk advances of its warped social economy? Are we all alone? With these questions in mind, our reporter Elvia Wilk went from Berlin to Venice to the hotspots of this summer's art viewing and asked people.
Daniel Baumann on the work of British artist Sarah Lucas, how her pieces were aimed at adverse presentation, how Penetralia moves away from that, and the newest sculptures, NUDS, appear to completely break away.
The biggest news of the month is that Google has developed an Artificial Intelligence that is able to paint. The artist Daniel Keller tried it out. In the process, he discovered two things: a Post-Internet art of hallucinogens and an answer to the question of why visual memes can so quickly go from mindblowing to lame.
Like almost no other artist, Albert Oehlen subjects painting to a stress test. For over 30 years he’s been tinkering with the medium’s source code: colour and paint application, lines and layers, titles and triumphs, disappointments and expectations. These elements are all played against one another and caught off guard. Daniel Baumann leads us through the work.
Is it possible these days to make political art within the existing art (market) system? That is precisely what the art collective Claire Fontaine have been been trying to do since their inception in 2004, though the odds may be stacked hopelessly against them.
In 1957 a group of artists, poets, and filmmakers founded the Situationist International in Paris. Michèle Bernstein was one of the few women among them. She wrote the novel All the King’s Horses in 1960 – when she was married to the group’s leading theorist Guy Debord – as a way of filling the young organisation’s coffers. This sentimental romance about the affairs of Parisian intellectuals was a pastiche of Françoise Sagan’s Bonjour Tristesse and became a bestseller. Christian Egger writes on the book, which was recently translated into German.
The first Vienna Biennale aims to combine art, design, and architecture to generate creative ideas and artistic projects that help improve the world's problems. Maybe it wants too much. Our author puzzles over the problems of the event itself.
U., the (anti-)hero of Tom McCarthy’s new novel Satin Island, is a 21st-century Man Without Qualities. This “corporate anthropologist” has been given the job of writing the “Great Report” – the “First and Last Word on our age”. The ambition is similar to the task faced by artists today, the near impossibility of mapping the contemporary landscape. What forms can resistance take, if it is even still possible? Spike’s editor-at-large Alexander Scrimgeour talks with Tom McCarthy and curator Nicolas Bourriaud.
Finally there is software that knows exactly how we feel inside – even better than we do. Thanks to Affectiva, market researchers no longer have to ask test subjects about their feelings: algorithms can scan these directly from their faces. Rob Horning explains the next phase of life with machines.
If techno had its origins in the industrial sounds of Motor City, what sort of music corresponds to the screen-mediated environment we live and work in today? Maybe the haunting, radically anti-escapist collages that have brought Holly Herndon to fame since her debut album Movement in 2012. Listening to Herndon’s new album Platform, Alexander Scrimgeour considers our changing relationship with machines.
Many people are anxious that the growing class divide in the art world and the succession of record-breaking prices paid for contemporary art endanger the belief system supporting it. But why is nobody worried about money itself? Isn’t what happens at an auction that money celebrates its freedom, its release from the burden of being a means of comparison? Is art the new money? On a currency that lives from the bank of the gaze, into which we all make payments.
When the Vienna Actionists urinated, masturbated, and vomited at an event titled “Art and Revolution” in Vienna University’s Lecture Hall 1 in 1968, the proceedings were accompanied by a lecture on the relationship between speech and thought by the then thirty-two-year-old Oswald Wiener. One year later his literary montage die verbesserung von mitteleuropa, roman (the improvement of central europe, a novel) was published. With its excurses on linguistics and cybernetics, it now reads as an astonishing foreshadowing of the Internet and virtual reality. Later, Wiener turned to the figure of the dandy, who maintains his difference from machines by cultivating a practice of self-observation. Hans-Christian Dany visited him at his home in southeast Austria to talk about the peculiar standstill of art and science in the digital age.
In the past decade we've seen art flow and exponentially overflow through information networks. Pallasvuo's years as a practicing artist have overlapped with the peak years of sharing culture. Now he just wants to shut the fuck up.
Writing about art never happens in isolation. In his latest column from London, Oliver Basciano drops the facade that does. This time the critic has serious problems with his house. He saw three exhibitions in Peckham but couldn't resist thinking about DIY.
Last weekend, dancer and choreographer Boris Charmatz hypothetically transformed Tate Modern into Musée de la danse. Our editor-at-large was harbouring some reservations about this new democratic participatory art, but found it surprisingly moving.
The New York-based Norwegian artist is drawn to big subjects – violence, sexuality, destruction, aging, self-expression. His exhibitions are dense installations packed with paintings, sculptures, readymades, photographs, and contributions from friends working with art, design, or literature. Jennifer Krasinski speaks to him about the visual dimension of writing, the death drive in homosexuality, and the irrelevance of cultural relevance.
Known as much for her clever plunder of painting’s conventions as for her bumptious mix of high and low cultural references, Los-Angeles painter Laura Owens has by now long outpaced the early trivializations of her work as light-hearted California-girl pictures. In her recent work, Owens gives painting’s gestures her most serious overhaul to date.
Writing about art never happens in isolation. Oliver Basciano drops the façade that it does. In London, the critic visits his sick grandmother and three exhibitions that both do and do not match the emotional heights of all that happens outside the gallery walls.
“Generation Wuss” only wants to be liked, is incapable of dealing with criticism, and takes everything too seriously – this was the gist of a recent piece by Bret Easton Ellis in Vanity Fair. Responding to this no-holds-barred attack on today‘s twenty-somethings, the writer Harry Burke comes to his generation’s defence.
"nature after nature" at Fridericianum in Kassel, Yvonne Rainer at Raven Row in London, Camille Henrot at Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, Le Mouvement in Biel, Korakrit Arunanondchai at the Mistake Room in LA
Figures from Vienna’s art world compose a portrait of the city. By Peter Pakesch, Stefanie Sargnagel, Martin Vesely, Andreas Spiegl, Gabriele Schor, Hubert Klocker, Andreas Huber, Heimo Zobernig, Bettina Leidl, Josip Novosel, Robert Fleck, and Barbara Holub
During the summer months Timo Feldhaus visited major art events in Cologne, Vienna and Basel, as well as Berghain in Berlin. Everywhere he found the same things: a need for immediate bodily experience and intensity; viewers looking to art for kicks; exhibitions that made no effort at subtlety but sought to hit everyone openly in the gut; and a refashioned performance art, adapted to suit our daily compulsion to perform.
For the past twenty years American dancer and choreographer Meg Stuart has brought her vivid and fractured impressions of subjectivity and narrative to the theatrical stage. Restlessly prolific, she has collaborated with numerous artists, designers, musicians and performers to evolve a singular dance language of intense emotional charge. Adam Lindner talks to her about resistance, collaboration and the importance of images.
The Darknet at Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, Ryan Trecartin at KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin, Helene Schjerfbeck at the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Georg Baselitz at Haus der Kunst in Munich, Vienna Art Week, 55th October Salon in Belgrade, Anna Bella Geiger at Mendes Wood DM in Sao Paulo.
Alex Israel was born in Los Angeles in 1982. His practice is multi-faceted, employing a variety of media to accommodate the many and varied flavors of his particular West Coast aesthetic. His blown-up sun shades, airbrushed self-portraits, and Hollywood props belie a deeply layered set of personal and pop cultural references that expertly reorient their context. His As It LAys series of celebrity interviews reflect the miracle and wonder that is life in L.A. and helped to bring a greater attention to his sun-drenched artworks. Since 2010 he has operated a sunglasses company called Freeway Eyewear that has lately begun collaborating with marquee artists to design new looks. The next collaboration is scheduled for release this holiday season. Israel is an unvaryingly upbeat artist, consistently delivering a cool optimism across his oeuvre. What is his secret? An interview by Jon Leon.
Curators Daniel Baumann and Jay Sander confess their secret love for the museum, discuss the (alleged?) power of the collector, and the reawakened interest in performance. Withholding that the latter’s successful combination of popular event with a claim to art is what makes it so attractive to museums. In 2012, Jay Sanders co-curated the Whitney Biennial together with Elisabeth Sussman. Daniel Baumann is one of the curators of this year’s Carnegie International in Pittsburgh.
In the last years, the art world fell in love with live and time-based practices. Since then, a lot has been said and written about performance and performativity, but too little time has been given to listen to those whose work has been stretching the tight disciplinary confinements that shape dance, performance and visual arts. That is what Filipa Ramos sought to do in asking the Swedish performance-related artist-dancer-choreographer-producer-writer Mårten Spångberg to give us his thoughts on four concepts: Space, Rhythm, Expectation and Embodiment. The result of this encounter can hardly be described, as ideas, concepts and words sprang out all over the place without restraint and with such overwhelming speed that capturing it in writing was a performative feat in itself.
The British artist, who is currently showing at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, is known for her series of film portraits of famous men, including Merce Cunningham, Mario Merz, Michael Hamburger and Giorgio Morandi. Andreas Reiter Raabe talks to her about painterly qualities, light, colour and affection.