In this lean, powerful and timely exhibition, the Chicago artist, activist and practising urbanist Theaster Gates draws upon a daunting archive of Black American popular imagery with a decidedly feral and interrogatory eye. The making of cultural meaning and the legacy of Black images are meaningfully interwoven in “The Banner Waves Calmly.” It is the most recent in a continuing litany of similar interventions with, and articulations of, archival materials by Gates. In fact, the works presented in Montreal are integral to a more expansive production on display contemporaneously at the Prada Foundation in Milan. Keep Reading
The convulsive haunting that the subject of the body has induced in contemporary art, from Bruce Nauman (aesthetics of the manipulable body) and Carolee Scheemann (reclamation of the female body) to the present, has been replete. To bare the body is to foreground it as image, and in a world of pure appearances, it is a palimpsest of surfaces the immersive depths of which rest on top of further surfaces and do not lie fallow underneath.
This exhibition, “Body,” is timely in asking us to consider once again the age-old and vexing question: what exactly is a body? Does it still resonate as one pole of a long-disenfranchised dualism? Is it simply the skin jacket for consciousness? Is it performative, in flux, abased, dismembered, abject, transcendent? The curator here invites us to inspect the body and its spaces in a manner undreamt of by 16th-century anatomist Andreas Vesalius. Keep Reading
I had already written the following review when I learned that my friend, the painter and improvisational jazzman John Heward, had died. Instead of amending it, I thought it should stand as is. Here is my latest act of interpretation on work that I have followed closely since 1980.
The Nomadic Paintings of Martin Golland
Over the last 10 years, Golland has executed what are arguably some of the most restless paintings being made today. Profoundly nomadic in their mien, with contents splayed out like warped architectures gone awry, they extrude upon us like rude kinetic tropes of the built world. Keep Reading
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