Once considered a mere caretaker for collections, the curator is now widely viewed as a globally connected auteur. Over the last twenty-five years, as international group exhibitions and biennials have become the dominant mode of presenting contemporary art to the public, curatorship has begun to be perceived as a constellation of creative activities not unlike artistic praxis. The curator has gone from being a behind-the-scenes organizer and selector to a visible, centrally important cultural producer.
The fact that Canada has a vibrant contemporary art scene is no secret to Canadians, but in other parts of the world, including the United States, this is not as recognized as it deserves to be. This wide-ranging, comprehensive survey of contemporary Canadian art, showcasing the work of artists from all across the country, will change that. These artists include those who have risen to international prominence--Michael Snow, Garry Neill Kennedy, and Marcel Dzama, among others—as well as many artists who have yet to be discovered outside Canada.
Over the past twenty years, an abundance of art forms have emerged that use aesthetics to affect social dynamics. These works are often produced by collectives or come out of a community context; they emphasize participation, dialogue, and action, and appear in situations ranging from theater to activism to urban planning to visual art to health care. Engaged with the texture of living, these art works often blur the line between art and life.
In The Museological Unconscious, Victor Tupitsyn views the history of Russian contemporary art through a distinctly Russian lens, a "communal optic" that registers the influence of such characteristically Russian phenomena as communal living, communal perception, and communal speech practices. This way of looking at the subject allows him to gather together a range of artists and art movements—from socialist realism to its "dangerous supplement," sots art, and from alternative photography to feminism—as if they were tenants in a large Moscow apartment.
In a career that spanned five decades, most of them spent in San Francisco, Bruce Conner (1933–2008) produced a unique body of work that refused to be contained by medium or style. Whether making found-footage films, hallucinatory ink-blot graphics, enigmatic collages, or assemblages from castoffs, Conner took up genres as quickly as he abandoned them. His movements within San Francisco’s counter-cultural scenes were similarly free-wheeling; at home in beat poetry, punk music, and underground film circles, he never completely belonged to any of them. Bruce Conner belonged to Bruce Conner.
In Jeff Koons’s One Ball Total Equilibrium Tank (1985), a Spalding basketball floats in the center of a glass tank that stands on a four-legged black metal structure. It has been called one of the defining works of the 1980s--but also described (by such critics as Craig Owens, Rosalind Krauss, and Hal Foster) as "an endgame," "misleading," and "repulsive." The work presents what the artist called "the ultimate state of being"--neither death nor life but the absence of change. It captured a spirit of the time, characterized by commodification, seduction, and political inactivity.
What is the first thing to learn in art school? “Art can be anything.” The second thing? “Learn to draw.” With 101 Things to Learn in Art School, artist and teacher Kit White delivers and develops such lessons, striking an instructive balance between technical advice and sage concepts. These 101 maxims, meditations, and demonstrations offer both a toolkit of ideas for the art student and a set of guiding principles for the artist.
This book will be an original and indispensable resource for all who believe in the importance of art in the wider educational realm. Framing the recent "educational turn" in the arts within a broad historical and social context, this anthology raises fundamental questions about how and what should be taught in an era of distributive rather than media-based practices.
The "ruins" of the modern era are the landmarks of recent art’s turn toward site and situation, history and memory. The abiding interest of artists in ruination and decay has led in particular to the concept of the modern ruin--an ambiguous site of artistic and architectural modernism, personal and collective memories, and the cultural afterlife of eras such as those of state communism and colonialism.
To the extent that Chinese contemporary art has become a global phenomenon, it is largely through the groundbreaking exhibitions curated by Gao Minglu: "China/Avant-Garde" (Beijing, 1989), "InsideOut: New Chinese Art" (Asia Society, New York, 1998), and "TheWall: Reshaping Contemporary Chinese Art" (Albright-Knox Art Gallery,2005) among them. As the first Chinese writer to articulate a distinctively Chinese avant-gardism and modernity—one notdefined by Western chronology or formalism—Gao Minglu is largelyresponsible for the visibility of Chinese art in the global art scene today.