With four more weeks of the course still ahead of us, the Writing Art & Design Criticism seminar students have already had a chance to welcome several well-regarded art critics and art writers, including Lee Ambrozy, the editor-at-large for Artforum.com.cn and the editor and translator of Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews and Digital Rants 2006–2009 (MIT Press, 2011 http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/
Lee’s visit was followed by that of another Artforum colleague—Michael Ned Holte—a writer and independent curator based in Los Angeles. He is the author of Proper Names(Golden Spike Press). His texts have appeared in numerous publications including Live Art in LA: Performance in Southern California, 1970-1983 (Routledge), In the Shadow of Numbers: Charles Gaines Selected Works from 1975-2012 (Pomona College Museum of Art/Pitzer Art Galleries), Richard Hawkins—Third Mind (Art Institute of Chicago/Yale), and Roy McMakin: When is a Chair Not a Chair (Skira/Rizzoli), as well as print and online periodicals such as Afterall, Artforum International, Art Journal, and East of Borneo. Holte has organized numerous exhibitions including “Temporary Landmarks & Moving Situations” at Expo Chicago; “Support Group” at Thomas Solomon at Cottage Home, Los Angeles; “Laying Bricks” at Wallspace Gallery, New York, and “Celine and Julie Go Boating” at Anna Helwing Gallery, Los Angeles. Along with Connie Butler, he is co-curator of the 2014 edition of “Made in L.A.” at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles.
This past Wednesday, the students had a chance to engage with two guests: one from New York, another from Los Angeles. Mat Gleason is well known in the Los Angeles art scene for his fearless art criticism, and the Coagula Art Journal he has been publishing for over two decades. Mat is also a fellow blogger at the Huffington Post, where his profile describes Gleason as a “famously provocative local art critic,” a “maverick,” and “insufferably cynical.”
James Panero, based in New York, is is an American cultural critic and the executive editor of The New Criterion. In 1999 he worked in Gstaad, Switzerland as a writing assistant to William F. Buckley Jr on his novel Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton (Harcourt, 2000). Before joining The New Criterion in 2001, he was a graduate student in the History of Art and Architecture department at Brown University, where his area of focus was late-nineteenth-century French modernism. James and I shared an advisor, Professor Kermit S. Champa whose untimely passing in 2004 was a loss for all his students. James wrote an obituary article for The New Criterion.
James led an engaging and thought provoking discussion of his recent editorial article “Future Tense VII: What’s a Museum?.”
Our next scheduled seminar guest is Barry Schwabsky, the art critic of The Nation.
Schwabsky has been writing about art for the Nation since 2005, and his essays have appeared in many other publications, including Flash Art (Milan), Artforum—as an international co-editor he has worked with every one of my own reviews dispatched from Tokyo, the London Review of Books and Art in America. His books include The Widening Circle: Consequences of Modernism in Contemporary Art, Vitamin P: New Perspectives in Painting and several volumes of poetry, the most recent being Book Left Open in the Rain (Black Square Editions/The Brooklyn Rail). Schwabsky has contributed to books and catalogs on artists such as Henri Matisse, Alighiero Boetti, Jessica Stockholder and Gillian Wearing, and has taught at the School of Visual Arts, Pratt Institute, New York University, Goldsmiths College (University of London) and Yale University. We have been reading chapters from his most recent book Words for Art (Sternberg Press, 2013) throughout the semester, and it will certainly be a treat to welcome him at ASU, albeit virtually. Viva Skype!
My Critics’ Pick on LA based Bulgarian born artist Iva Gueorguieva is now up on Artforum’s website.
Congratulations to the editors Prof. Thomas Frangenberg and Dr. Rodney Palmer on the release of The Lives of Leonardo book, published as part of Warburg Institute Colloquia series. I am honored to participate in the project with an article on the Russian reception of the artist entitled “Three Faces of Leonardo da Vinci in Fin-de-Siecle Russia.”
I finally had a chance to present a paper on one of the most interesting subjects I researched while writing my Remizov book. It has to do with the notion that the so-called hysteria (a diagnosis liberally dispensed to female patience for the good part of the late 19th and early 20th century), is in fact a condition that signals creativity, a performative form of expression akin to artistic expression.
Remizov’s understanding of hysteria and creativity bridges symbolist and surrealist interpretations of mental illness. His version hysteria/possession/creative release was at once a dialogue with contemporaneous artists, particulary French surrealists, and the reevaluation of symbolist notions of mental illness. Please see the abstract below.
Alexei Remizov, Ivashka, Paris, 1941, India ink and color pencil on paper
It is official: the Russian Ministry of Culture finally purchased the Reznikoff family archive in its entirety, including nine illustrated albums created by Alexei Remizov between the mid 1930s and early 50s. Some of these illustrated albums from the Reznikoff collection are at the base of my monograph Beyond Symbolism and Surrealism: Alexei Remizov’s Synthetic Art published by Northwestern UP in 2011.
Before its purchase, the Reznikoff archive was the largest repository of Remizov materials abroad. Its transfer to the Russian Ministry of Culture completes the existing collection already in the Pushkin House (The Institute of Russian Literature) in St. Petersburg. Remizov donated this portion of his archive to the Pushkin House shortly before his death in Paris in 1957. The remaining part was left in the care of the Reznikoff family, who not only helped the writer and his wife to survive the physical hardships of exile, but at the price of personal sacrifices, enabled a series of post-war printings of Remizov’s books containing his own covers and illustrations.
Now, the Moscow Manezh is hosting an exhibit “Alexei Rimizov. The Return” that showcases a selection of works from the the recent Reznikoff purchase. The exhibition is organized by Irina Alpatova, and will be open through May 22, 2013.
ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts will be hosting a talk about China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic Ai Weiwei. It will take place this Thursday, March 21, at 3 pm in the Lower Level South Gallery of the ASU Art Museum.
The presenter is Lee Ambrozy who is the editor-at-large for Artforum.com.cn and the editor and translator of Ai Weiwei’s Blog: Writings, Interviews and Digital Rants 2006–2009 (MIT Press, 2011 http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/
Chim↑Pom reenact their “100 Kiai” (100 Cheers). Photo courtesy Gadabout.
February 15th I will be giving a paper on Disaster and Creativity panel at the 101st Annual CAA Conference. Here is the short abstract:
“Between Awe and Anger: Young Japanese Artists Respond to Tohoku and Fukushima”
Artistic responses to the twin disasters that struck Northeastern Japan in March of 2011 span the spectrum from aestheticizing the awesome forces of nature to condemnation of human ineptitude and industrial-political collusion. Chihiro Kabata’s series of large-scale paintings depict glistening black water ripples washing back dimly after a climactic surge in which so many lives were instantly obliterated by the wall of murky water.
A different response to the man-made and still ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is by the Tokyo-based collective Chim↑Pom, whose clandestine insertion of the smoking Fukushima reactor into Taro Okamoto’s 1969 anti-nuclear mural at Tokyo’s Shibuya station landed them in legal trouble. In contrast to Kabata’s existentialist awe at the omnipotence of nature, Chim↑Pom’s reaction is a social critique. Their focus is the mismanagement of atomic power. Yet, ultimately, both Kabata and Chim↑Pom contribute to forming the collective memory of the disasters.
My review of the “Painting” show at The Box gallery is up on the Artforum.com site.