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.
Experience offers a reading experience like no other. A heat-sensitive cover by Olafur Eliasson reveals words, colors, and a drawing when touched by human hands. Endpapers designed by Carsten Höller are printed in ink containing carefully calibrated quantities of the synthesized human pheromones estratetraenol and androstadienone, evoking the suggestibility of human desire. The margins and edges of the book are designed by Tauba Auerbach in complementary colors that create a dynamically shifting effect when the book is shifted or closed.
Modernity has had so many meanings and tries to combine so many contradictory sets of attitudes and values that it has become impossible to use it to define the future. It has ended up crashing like an overloaded computer. Hence the idea is that modernity might need a sort of reset.
Today curators are sometimes more famous than the artists whose work they curate, and curatorship involves more than choosing objects for an exhibition. The expansion of the curatorial field in recent decades has raised questions about exhibition-making itself and the politics of production, display, and distribution. The Curatorial Conundrum looks at the burgeoning field of curatorship and tries to imagine its future.
Images of environmental disaster and degradation have become part of our everyday media diet. This visual culture focusing on environmental deterioration represents a wider recognition of the political, economic, and cultural forces that are responsible for our ongoing environmental crisis. And yet efforts to raise awareness about environmental issues through digital and visual media are riddled with irony, because the resource extraction, manufacturing, transportation, and waste associated with digital devices contribute to environmental damage and climate change.
Contemporary engagements with documentary are multifaceted and complex, reaching across disciplines to explore the intersections of politics and aesthetics, representation and reality, truth and illusion. Discarding the old notions of “fly on the wall” immediacy or quasi-scientific aspirations to objectivity, critics now understand documentary not as the neutral picturing of reality but as a way of coming to terms with reality through images and narrative.
The impact of Andy Warhol on contemporary culture is incalculable. Painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker, publisher, TV personality, socialite, diarist, graphic artist, collector, curator, illustrator, rock impresario, photographer, model, and author, he was a pioneer in virtually every medium in which he worked. From blotted-line advertising illustrations for I.
The multiple platforms of the digital era have not diminished the role of the magazine for artists as an alternative medium and experimental space. Whether printed on paper or electronically generated, the artist’s magazine continues to be a place where new ideas and forms can be imagined as well as a significant site of artistic production. Intrinsically collaborative, including readers’ active engagement, the magazine is an inherently open form that generates constantly evolving relationships.
Historically, “queer” was the slur used against those who were perceived to be or made to feel abnormal. Beginning in the 1980s, “queer” was reappropriated and embraced as a badge of honor. While queer draws its politics and affective force from the history of non-normative, gay, lesbian, and bisexual communities, it is not equivalent to these categories, nor is it an identity. Rather, it offers a strategic undercutting of the stability of identity and of the dispensation of power that shadows the assignment of categories and taxonomies.
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. In this first book-length study of Conner’s enormously influential but insufficiently understood career, Kevin Hatch explores Conner’s work as well as his position on the geographical, cultural, and critical margins.