Shamus Khan postulates that elitism is no longer expressed by enjoying highbrow arts, but rather by indulging a wide range of cultural preferences, from cheap Chinese food to Tchaikovsky.
Heather Dewey-Hagborg imagines a not-so-distant future in which police sketches are made using current DNA technology, and Paolo Cirio promotes activism with transmedia storytelling.
“What has been good for the art world has been disastrous for the rest of the world.” It’s a strongly worded polemic from Andrea Fraser, who just contributed an essay on the subject to this year’s Whitney Biennial in lieu of an artwork. Today the New York Times makes the same point in an article by business and economics journalist Adam Davidson.
Enigmatic and in constant flux, human emotions are not easily grasped, let alone quantified. Yet, the French artist Maurice Benayoun endeavors to do precisely that for the sake of opening new ways of thinking about the world. He tracks worldwide emotional trends and catapults them into the spotlight, juxtaposing real human feelings with the monster known as the global financial system.
Recent exhibitions are revealing a seeming divergence in what art is intended for. On the one hand, there are Damien Hirst spot paintings scattered throughout Larry Gagosian’s global franchise in a spectacular staging of world domination through art—a show/ploy that sits tentatively on the fine line between art and pure marketing. On the other, smaller arts organizations like the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts zeroes in on socially relevant issues and promotes art as activism through programs and exhibitions, such as their current Sound of Silence: Art During Dictatorship (on view January 27 through March 10). It then came as a pleasant surprise to discover what MoMA has in store for the next few months.
Sharon Hayes’s 2009 performance and installation In the Near Future virtually predicted Occupy Wall Street. The artist sought to investigate the figure of the protester and the contemporary conditions of public space and speech, all of which had to be seriously considered by Occupiers in the context of a digital public sphere that could be mobilized for disseminating the protest’s message.
Maurizio Cattelan’s retrospective at the Guggenheim is inseparable from his sudden art world retirement. Guggenheim chief curator Nancy Spector has invited the philosopher Simon Critchley to co-organize The Last Word, a symposium that takes the end of the exhibition and Cattelan’s art career as a starting point for discussing “the end” from nearly every vantage point imaginable.