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Weekend Reads

Going Through Rauschenberg's Stuff, Giving Women Artists Their Due, & More

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Going Through Rauschenberg's Stuff, Giving Women Artists Their Due, & More
Weekend Reads with RR

Bikes, Bunting, Buttons, Bottles, Balloons: For a winning T Magazine feature (with a very interesting high-tech online component), the poet Dan Chiasson was dispatched to Robert Rauschenberg’s “high-security warehouse” in Westchester County where the archive of his unused materials from his Captiva home and studio and other workplaces has been gathered—allowing the list-loving writer a chance to itemize the many quirky components of the artist’s signature combines and collages. (TMagazine)

Electric Grids: Adrian Searle reviews Tate Modern’s Agnes Martin retrospective (which will tour to the Kunstsammlung NRW in Dusseldorf, LACMA, and the Guggenheim) with careful, selective attention to her biography. As he writes, “Martin’s schizophrenia, though never entirely a secret, seems at odds with her art, which is marked by its clarity and rigour, and an exactitude that never excludes human qualities, and has within it a sense of immanence.” (Guardian)

Abstracting Race: Kambui Olujimi inaugurates a series of conversations with African-American artists with this candid Mark Bradford interview, which covers topics from recent episodes of police brutality to discrimination in the art world to his decision to become an abstract artist. One fascinating tidbit that addresses a couple of these issues at once: “The whole urge to become an abstract painter was, to me, a very political gesture. I decided that I was not going to have people determine what it was to be black. So I said, well, I just won’t do figures, I will do abstraction. And I’ll be in South Central and still abstract it.” (Modern Painters)

Wonder Women: The June issue of ARTnews takes “Women in the Art World” as its theme, bringing together old and new perspectives on the challenges and triumphs of female artists and thinkers. Two articles are particularly noteworthy: The first, “Taking the Measure of Sexism: Facts, Figures, and Fixes” by Maura Reilly, provides frightening insight into the across-the-board underrepresentation of female artists in museums, galleries, and biennials, making the blatant exclusivity of these institutions chillingly clear through the use of graphs and figures. The second in a repeat performance of Linda Nochlin’s seminal essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” (originally published in the January 1971 issue of ARTnews)—a useful reminder of the institutional and social constructs that continue to open doors for certain male artists at the expense of everyone else. (ARTnews)

Wake Me Up When September Starts: Andrea K. Scott gets us excited for the upcoming tenure of Anne Pasternak, the Brooklyn Museum’s new director slated to assume her position in September. Pasternak is, in her own words, a “populist,” one who’s decorated career includes staging Paul Chan’s Waiting for Godot in New Orleans and helping to organize Kara Walker’s sugar sphinx in Williamsburg, all under the auspices of the public art organization Creative Time. Like her Brooklyn Museum predecessor Arnold Lehman, Pasternak is not afraid of stirring the pot to make a point. As she says, “Museums need to be places of delight and wonder and joy and inspiration, but it’s also fine if they are places that make us feel uncomfortable. We have to lean into those complexities.” (The New Yorker)

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