The life and death of Mike Kelley

Jori Finkel: When I visited Los Angeles on spring break in 1992 during my final year of university in New York, lured by the promise of sunshine and tennis courts more than by any cultural event, I happened to catch “Helter Skelter: Los Angeles Art in the 1990s”, a generation-defining group show at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA). MORE

Wed, 26 Mar 2014 12:07:00 GMT | 1 comments

Biennials, far from the crowded art market?

Jori Finkel: Dating back at least to the time of Jackson Pollock in the 1940s, the Whitney Biennial—then an annual exhibition—has had notable powers as a market maker. When it releases its list of artists for each edition, the burden of cultural curiosity shifts for many of us. MORE

Wed, 05 Mar 2014 07:03:00 GMT

Lessons of California’s droit de suite debacle

Jori Finkel: It’s not surprising that the history of resale royalty legislation in the US began with an auction and an altercation. The fight took place in 1973 outside the Sotheby Parke-Bernet auction house. Taxi mogul Robert Scull had just sold off many works of art at historic prices. MORE

Thu, 06 Feb 2014 08:34:00 GMT

Angels needed in LA

Jori Finkel: Packed with celebrities from Leonardo DiCaprio to Salma Hayek, the annual Art + Film gala of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (Lacma) in November raised $4.1m for the institution. But don’t let the parade of Gucci gowns or glitzy red-carpet moments fool you. MORE

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 22:31:00 GMT

Texas, part three: High hopes and heels, and JFK’s Hotel Texas

Charlotte Burns: We hit the tarmac running in Dallas, where the temperature feels hot like Hell’s breath. Fresh from the flight, we jump in our third car of the week (Japanese again, so all is well), blast the air-conditioning, hurrah at the blue skies and head out on one of the city’s endless freeways. MORE

Sat, 31 Aug 2013 03:40:00 GMT

Texas trip, part two: Marfa

Charlotte Burns: All you can see are oil fields as you descend into Midland-Odessa. I’ve never seen anything like it. They stretch for hundreds of miles, dividing the rust-coloured earth all the way to the horizon. We’re on our way to Marfa. MORE

Thu, 29 Aug 2013 03:35:00 GMT

Texas trip, part one: Houston

Charlotte Burns: I had visions of rolling ranches, big blue skies and the occasional oil drill. These notions are swiftly punctured upon arrival to Houston. It's a grey city and an endless urban sprawl. As we drive out of the airport, the dark clouds overhead promise thunder and rain while, on the ground, our first impression is formed by the oppressive freeways that squat over the landscape. MORE

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 01:04:00 GMT

Lee Kit’s ‘You (you)’ is Great (Great)

Wenny Teo: Lee Kit is precisely the kind of artist that people either love or hate. Those from the sneering "my-kid-could-do-that" school of spectatorship will want to stay well clear of the young Hong Kong artist's solo show, but everyone else should make it a point to visit. MORE

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 15:15:00 GMT

"The Unicorn and the Dragon" brings China closer to Venice

Wenny Teo: Many Chinese artists exhibiting in Venice over the years have attempted to retrace the rich historical and cultural connections between Italy and China. Indeed, some might still recall Cai Guo-Qiang’s dramatic gesture of Bringing to Venice What Marco Polo Forgot in the form of an exotic junk boat loaded with traditional Chinese medicine, spectacularly marooned somewhere along the Grand Canal, in 1995. MORE

Tue, 18 Jun 2013 14:52:00 GMT

Rebuilding Utopias in Venice

Aaron Cezar: Draped across the exterior of Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, with views down the channel towards San Marco airport, Emily Jacir's hand-painted banner Untitled (SOLIDARIDAD), 2013, welcomes visitors not only to the Emergency Pavilion but also to Venice itself. MORE

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 16:43:00 GMT

Kaleidoscopic exhibition presents many facets of Chinese art

Wenny Teo: "Voice of the Unseen" is a sprawling survey of Chinese independent art from 1979 to the present, presented in the Tese delle Nappe, Arsenale Nord. It is an unapologetically spectacular and, indeed, encyclopaedic exhibition curated by the admirable Wang Lin. MORE

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 16:07:00 GMT

Anita's diary: meetings and greetings

Anita Zabludowicz: I had a fabulous day in the rainy weather as this poor gentleman dragged himself home. We continued to party and socialise with Matthew Williams and Alex Gartenfeld. Ellen Altfest and young collector Jamie Diner. MORE

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 12:44:00 GMT

Neocolonialism as multiculturalism at the Kenya pavilion

Wenny Teo: Several pavilions have chosen to include artists of different nationalities in their exhibitions this year, but none have done so as crudely as the Italian commissioners and curators of the first ever Kenyan pavilion. MORE

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:41:00 GMT

(Soft) Power Play at the Chinese pavilion

Wenny Teo: The theme of this year's Chinese pavilion is "Transfiguration”—an elegant English approximation of the Chinese term "bianwei" that literally means “a change of position”. There is no doubt an unfortunate irony in this, given that China's most powerful living artist and activist has not one but three exhibitions currently on display in Venice (none in the Chinese pavilion of course) but has not been allowed to leave the country since his arrest, in 2011, to oversee their installation. MORE

Tue, 04 Jun 2013 11:27:00 GMT

Several generations of Russian artists together in Venice

Klara Kemp-Welch: "Lost in Translation", at Ca' Foscari, is a delicious treat of a show that brings together several generations of Moscow Conceptualists with less well known contemporary artists. A vast grey, trembling woolly mammoth greets visitors in the courtyard,Russian Elephant by Iced Architects, 1997-2013. MORE

Mon, 03 Jun 2013 15:20:00 GMT

Pawel Althamer and Anatoly Osmolovsky: our editor's take

Jane Morris: Thanks to his installation Venetians, 2013, in Massimiliano Gioni's Encyclopaedic Palace show in the Arsenale, Pawel Althamer has become one of the talking points of this year's Biennale. Another side of the 46-year-old Polish artist's work is on show in a collateral exhibition at the Casa dei Tre Oci, on Giudecca, paired with the work of the Russian artist, Anatoly Osmolovsky. MORE

Mon, 03 Jun 2013 14:38:00 GMT

A different take on the Romanian pavilion

Klara Kemp-Welch: This year, the Romanian pavilion is empty and white and occupied by a group of young dancers in jeans moving about and arranging themselves into different shapes and positions. From time to time they call out titles of works, artists, dates, or what seem like random phrases. MORE

Mon, 03 Jun 2013 12:42:00 GMT

Anita's diary: letting our hair down

Anita Zabludowicz: I went the most perfect party night which ended up on an island in the middle of nowhere to celebrate Jeremy Deller and the British pavilion. All the Brits were there, including John Gerrard with a couple of his pals. MORE

Mon, 03 Jun 2013 11:55:00 GMT

Bad form at Prada: when attitudes become intolerable

Sarah Wilson: A total lack of forethought or preparation to receive either VIPs (and their crashers...) or the press at the Prada Foundation. More of a 3D futurist maelstrom explosion—a Marinetti sound poem of bad behaviour in the street and massive incompetence inside after the (wet) scrum the internal queue. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 17:23:00 GMT

Pawel Althamer and Anatoly Osmolovsky's personal mythologies

Klara Kemp-Welch: A light-hearted but serious show in the pristinely refurbished Casa dei Tre Oci, on the banks of Giudecca, now rented for the third year consecutively by the Russian V-A-C Foundation. On a smaller scale than the blockbuster show there two years ago, Nicholas Cullinan has brought together just two artists – but he has make a great choice. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 17:11:00 GMT

Alfredo Jaar drowns the Giardini

Klara Kemp-Welch: Walking into what should be a flat room, we climb a series of unnecessary steps, only to have to climb down another set as we exit - a reminder perhaps that this abnormal routine has swiftly become one we barely notice in Venice. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 16:50:00 GMT

Belgium's pavilion is a metaphor for Venice itself

Sarah Wilson: One enters a dark gloomy space, the overhead light covered with sackcloth and ashes. A vast tree trunk (a knotted amalgam of trunks) fills the central space—limbs bound with rags.... I was looking for dead animals (it's Berlinde de Bruyckere after all), but no mice or even a beetle to be seen. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 16:34:00 GMT

Central Asia reveals its complexities

Aaron Cezar: Curated by Dina Nasser-Khadivi, “Love Me, Love Me Not” is produced by Yarat, a non-profit organisation setup by artist Aida Mahmudova whose work dominates the entry to the space. The sculptural assemblage of reclaimed Azeri decorative window frames with stainless steel contemporary forms gives a strong first impression. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 15:59:00 GMT

Slovenia explores Balkan identity

Lucian Comoy: Slovenia and Bosnia are both much preoccupied in this Biennale with nationhood and identity, but in different ways: Slovenia has a strong ethnic unity while Bosnia’s is a very diverse one, despite all the bloodletting. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 14:45:00 GMT

Prada does much more than resurrect an old show

Ossian Ward: “When Attitudes Become Form”, at the Fondazione Prada, is a 21st century re-enactment of pioneering Swiss curator Harald Szeemann's seminal 1969 exhibition in Bern, a landmark show for conceptual art and one that has had to “Live in Your Head” (to give its full title) or in grainy black-and-white photographs and nostalgic eulogies, until now. MORE

Fri, 31 May 2013 14:23:00 GMT

All blogs