Need break from your family this holiday weekend? Escape into the sweet embrace of Artspace's Weekend Reads.
“Sexuality, Innocence, Darkness, Complacency” – In April’s Artforum, Johanna Fateman assesses the online exhibition of feminist net art “Body Anxiety,” along with related Internet and social-media works by artists such as Amalia Ulman and Frances Stark. As she finds, the web’s culture of constant co-option—of screengrabbing and trolling—poses some challenges to criticality. “If to put an image of one’s body on the Internet is to frame it with the apparatus of porn, to lose control of its circulation, and to expose oneself to the cultural anxiety, sexist scrutiny, and confounding hostility that attend the gesture, then what’s the way forward?” she writes. (Artforum)
Gustav's Gilded Gift – Patricia Cohen digs into the backstory of the new film “Woman in Gold,” which stars Helen Mirren as Maria Altmann, the niece of Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose gilded portrait by Gustav Klimt now hangs in the Neue Galerie. As Cohen reminds us, the case of Altmann, who succeeded in winning restitution of the painting from the Austrian government after a long legal battle, is exceptional. “The few successful claimants,” she writes, “tend to have big bankrolls, meticulous records, and an exceptional run of luck.” (The New York Times)
The Winner's Circle – A new statistical study conducted by The Art Newspaper finds that a whopping 30 percent of major U.S. museum exhibitions of contemporary artists shown between 2007 and 2013 featured named from just five galleries: David Zwirner, Hauser & Wirth, Gagosian, Pace, and Marian Goodman. While not necessarily shocking news, considering the fact that these galleries reprent both today's most famous artists and the estates of historic figures, the numbers demonstrate something many have long suspected: the inside game of the art market extends well into the walls of even the most respected art institutions. (The Art Newspaper)
Alone in a Crowded Chatroom – The Guardian’s Olivia Laing delivers a long, thoughtful meditation on loneliness in the Internet Age, drawing from the work of Edward Hopper, Jean Cocteau, Oliver Laric, Ryan Trecartin, and more as she thinks through digital connectivity and isolation. This is far from a reactionary screed against the perceived “shallowness” of social media—Laing maintains a cautious yet hopeful outlook, writing, “We long for contact and it makes us afraid. But as long as we are still capable of feeling and expressing vulnerability, intimacy stands a chance.” (The Guardian)
“Scapegoated, Discriminated Against, and Stereotyped” – Critic Ben Davis reviews Trenton Doyle Hancock’s survey at the Studio Museum in Harlem, peeling back layers of the artist’s surreal, sex-and-food-obsessed personal mythology to find a sensitive political consciousness. Hancock's work, Davis writes, “suggests how a plunge into the unconscious might take on particular significance in an America where evidence of racism still crowds in on all sides, to keep the mind from being paralyzed by ambient outrage.” (Artnet)
The Good Glitches – Miles Klee of the Daily Dot's Kernel magazine writes an accessible, intelligent history of glitch art, the multifaceted pseudo-movement devoted to exploring and exploiting cracks in the otherwise smooth facade of digital media. The most interesting pieces Klee cites are not the GIFs currently dominating online art making, nor even the giants of ‘90s net art (although many of these are indeed great works of art), but the very early experiments with electronic media by the likes of Nam June Paik and Len Lye, reminders of W.T.J. Mitchell’s old adage: “The shock of new media is as old as the hills.” (The Kernel)