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EXPO CHICAGO/2014
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JULY // IN REVIEW


 

JUAN A. GAITÁN // CURATOR OF THE 8TH BERLIN BIENNALE
In Conversation with Vincent Honoré

The 8th Berlin Biennale, curated by Canadian-Columbian writer and curator Juan A. Gaitán and his artistic team, opened on a diluvian day simultaneously in three different venues, two of them (very much) off-centered in West Berlin. Installed throughout the Haus am Waldsee, the Museen Dahlem, and the KW Institute for Contemporary Art – including the Crash Pad, a single artist installation commissioned as an off-shoot of the KW – the exhibition naturally brings together a varied range of international artists – what else do you expect from a biennale?
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PROFILE OF THE ARTIST // JULIA WACHTEL
In Conversation with Tara Plath

Julia Wachtel’s most recent solo exhibition was at Elizabeth Dee, and before that at Vilma Gold in London. Across these exhibitions, there has been a lot of focus on Wachtel’s work from the 1980s. Her upcoming exhibition at the Transformer Station with the Cleveland Museum of Art will be ninety percent new work. A few very early pieces that have never been exhibited will be on view – but mainly, Wachtel will feature two current bodies of work: one of which employs the silkscreens in two strains, landscape paintings and celebrity paintings. The other body of work that will be shown is a series entitled Post-Culture, which are completely hand painted, and do not involve the silkscreen process.
Read Part I and Part II here
 

MARCO BRAUNSCHWEILER // DOCUMENT
by Hiba Ali

Photo lapses, late nights, decay, and the accumulation of debris; these circumstances may appear as a randomized assortment, but have one particular quantifier in common: time. An essential aspect of Marco Braunschweiler‘s I want to be an honest man and a good writer, currently on view at Document, is how time and location intersect to configure the discourse on a consumer’s life-style. In Braunschweiler’s case, this discourse is focused on the commodity of flowers.
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PRENTICE WINDOWS // JEFF PROKASH
by Joshua Michael Demaree


Parts I, II, and III

In 2013, when architect Betrand Goldberg’s infamous Prentice Women’s Hospital began to be demolished, the artist and cultural communities of Chicago that had fought to save the Brutalist tower, looked on in dismay. Chicago-based artist, Jeff Prokash, had a different reaction: rather than see the building as lost, he imagined what could become of the materials that were being carted away by demolition crews. He set about determined to save some of Prentice’s iconic elliptical windows. After several months of run-around with Northwestern University and the demolition crew, beyond all hope, he was able to procure what are the last four remaining in-tact windows, insuring that one part of the building would be given a second life.

When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, “See! This our father did for us.”
Read Part I here

French philosopher Michel Foucault posited a circular prison with a lone guard tower in the center. He theorized that, as long as every prisoner could see the tower but not the person inside, the powerful processes of sight and thus accountability would make the prisoners believe they were always being watched and thus, keep them under imaginary control. Prentice took this process of domination and reversed it: rather than prisoners, there were patients, and rather than imaginary guards, there were real nurses. It turned a line of domination into a line of support, allowing the patients to know that someone was always in sight and able to help.
Read Part II here

Never before have we been so con temps, or “with time.” We are now truly with it — all of it — and need to find a way to progress forward unencumbered. But how are we to navigate being with time and history simultaneously?
Read Part III here

 

DARA FRIEDMAN // MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART DETROIT
by Alexandra Kadlec

At the beginning of Kanye West’s music video Runaway (2010), an unexpectedly poetic scene takes place. West, dapper in a suit and bowtie, starts to tap the keys of a white piano. Slowly, resolutely, the somber notes are sent out, piercing the air one at a time. Within seconds, a troupe of ballet dancers in black leotards rushes onto the screen—a concrete floor, their stage. The piano keys punctuate the light scratching of the dancers’ steps as they assemble themselves into a huddle, their slender, sculpted bodies curved into various poses.
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ROBERT MAPPLETHORPE // GRAND PALAIS
by Caroline Picard

Picture a masculine torso, identified primarily by a single ridge running down the center of the photograph; it divides the abdomen between a subtle range of light and dark gray. At its base, the image is punctuated with a delicate field of hair: a threshold pointing just beyond the frame where the pubic area begins. The image would function like an aerial landscape â€“ a desert, maybe – except for a curious belly button blooming in the center, like the bulb of a very fat tulip. Its unusual shape pulls focus, recalling what one tends to forget: a remote point of origin just beyond memory. 
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NORMAN ZAMMITT // ANDREW RAFACZ
by Shreya Sethi

Norman Zammitt’s acrylic paintings of gradated color, currently on display at Andrew Rafacz, were produced in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, around the same time that home computers began gaining popularity. The works, much smaller in scale but similar in style to Zammitt’s Mural paintings, are composed of narrow bands of precisely calculated solid color on canvas board mounted to float about an inch away from the wall.
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ANOTHER LOOK AT DETROIT // MARIANNE BOESKY & MARLBOROUGH CHELSEA
by Tara Plath

Another Look at Detroit, a two-part exhibition currently on view at Marianne Boesky and Marlborough Chelsea, is curator Todd Levin’s heartfelt endeavor to shed a more personal and positive light on a city recently cast into the shadows of bankruptcy. Levin’s selection is far-reaching and diverse, creating a narrative that appears more singular to his taste than thematic of the city itself. Perhaps most surprising is the museum-like atmosphere of the exhibition, which supports a strange union of works dating back nearly two centuries. 
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Image up top: Tower of Prentice Women’s Hospital designed by Bertrand Goldberg; photo courtesy of Flickr user trevor.pratt

 
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