ART FAG CITY
A spritely figure dressed all in white, 77 year old Joan Jonas recently bounded around the stage atRoulette, interacting with small objects, drawing materials, video projections and music performed by the jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran. In their collaborative performance Reanimation, they respond to one another’s work in a live improvisation.
Entering a storied East Village bathing establishment around 10 PM one evening, swimsuit in hand as per the instructions, I wondered what exactly I’d gotten myself into. A sense of collective vulnerability permeated the audience as we shed our clothes in the cramped dressing room and slipped on flimsy robes over our bathing suits. We crowded into the hot, but bearable sauna known as the “Turkish room” and exchanged shrugs and “we’re all in this together” glances as we awaited the actors to enter.
Framed by the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges and set against the backdrop of lower Manhattan, Emilia and Ilya Kabakov’s Ship of Tolerance will grace the DUMBO waterfront until October 8th. The pre-eminent feature of this 66-foot wooden vessel is its colorful sail, stitched together from paintings on 30” x 30” silk squares by New York City public elementary school students. The paintings express notions of peace and tolerance and hope for a brighter future.
The neighborhood surrounding the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) buzzed last Tuesday as moderate-sized crowds mingled on Fulton Street in front of three newly unveiled public art installations. It was precisely the intended effect of BAMart:Public, an initiative to enliven underutilized public spaces with visual art (a fourth project is on view inside BAM’s Peter J. Sharp building). David Harper, the program’s curator, walked me through the installations and explained the project’s genesis along the way.
It is hardly the first time O’Grady’s presence can be felt simultaneously at “establishment” and “alternative” New York art venues. Indeed, she carried out her debut guerrilla performances at the New Museum and Just About Midtown, making sure to shake up the art world from all sides with her insistence that maintaining parallel, racially segregated cultural circles was bullshit.
It isn’t exactly a surprise that this year’s Global Art Forum, an annual discourse on contemporary art under the aegis of Art Dubai, should explore the theme “the Medium of the Media”. The event takes place on the rough anniversary of uprisings that spread across the Middle East, making it inevitable that panelists focused on where art fits into a landscape marked by tweets from Tahrir Square and the real-time dissemination of images of Qaddafi’s corpse.
Acquisitions of net art by the Tate Modern, the Guggenheim, and other institutions have given institutional validation to the genre, but complicated curatorial debates rage over what exactly it includes: Can it be shown on a computer in a gallery? Can it only be viewed online? Can art not based on code count as net art?