Familiarity is as dangerous as it is comforting. The privilege of flight, to a common seagull, is little more than daily toil. From the outside looking in, or from the bottom looking up, the two interviews showcased this week proffer the necessity of reflecting on what is present and absent, as the moment of stillness after a storm lends renewed appreciation to what was merely a passing turbulence.
From the skeleton to the skin, Slovene Historian and theorist Beti Žerovc is attempting to restructure the behemoth of the contemporary art institution. In her ardent and articulate interview, Žerovc details the unspoken reconfiguration of the autonomous art exhibition into a ruthless ideological platform for the host gallery. The curator, once a revered middleman who shined the public spotlight on flashes of genius, is now a sort of director, arranging actors according to the wills of the producers. Artists and their work, treated like disposable resources, have been offered to the maw of art institutions and spit out in ruins after serving their purpose. Most importantly, Žerovc warns against adopting a bullheaded and resilient demeanor in opposition to the barrage of creative restrictions, advocating instead a receptivity to awareness and solidarity.
Established photographer and instructor Robert Lyons gracefully demonstrates how our most unassuming and quiet objects can exude the ineffable beauty of cycling moons and fading hands. The calm, meditative aura that permeates Lyons’ photography gently lulls the viewer into an introspective state of mind, as if suggesting a question rather than pressing a narrative. In a discussion on the inquisitive and confident nature of Berliners, Lyons touches upon the deep significance of vulnerability. A discerning gaze directed inwardly revisits with sage vigor the faces of the past – the faces of people, stones, and clocks.
Have you been reading any new books? Courtney Bethel is enjoying the delicate and fiery Fates and Furies, a recent publication by American novelist Lauren Groff that renders apparent the intricate, silent grid that upholds relationships, from the dance of public appearances to the pitfalls of private habits. Andrew Ginzel, another one of our users, is paging through The Invention of Nature, by Andrea Wulf, an historical novel breathing new life into the overlooked legacy of Prussian naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, an intrepid writer whose excursions into dangerous environments founded our modern poetic conceptions of the earth.
The 2017 Odessa Biennale is posing the question of whether it is still possible to erect a pillar from a pit of gravel. Hosted by the Museum of Odessa Modern Art in Ukraine, this open call urges applicants to challenge the looming permanence of an unstable global culture. By addressing boundless ethical, cultural, and procedural subjects, the dynamism of art has stretched the discipline to a thin veneer. Applicants have until December 31st to convince the art world that our reality of clashing and disparate materials can be fashioned into a beautiful quilt.
Any mirror that offers a single perspective is worth shattering.