Art and Architecture

Everything Must Go

I realized I could no longer discount my feelings

Sometimes you could see where someone had fingernailed away the successive stickers to confirm the original discounted price, in the service of some private calculation or intimate feeling. In this peeling, there was some kind of retracing of the chain of events in capital and carbon that had accumulated into the original prices: cost of material extraction, cost of the labor of manufacture, cost of shipping, cost of marketing—plus obsolete speculation about what the market would bear on top of that.

Guston Can Wait

Guston Can Wait

If you think a museum’s responsibility ends with the gallery space, you probably consider the lived experience of the orcas irrelevant to your enjoyment of SeaWorld

Not much news from the art world pierces the mediasphere, and if it does, it tends to revolve around money—either ludicrously high auction prices or flashy new erections by starchitects. The Guston kerfuffle, on the other hand, has something for everyone cheesed off by the “Intolerant Left”: the beleaguered white male genius, the specter of cancel culture, mealy-mouthed PR-speak.

Out Here

Out Here

An interview with photographer Nicole Buchanan

Every way we’re photographing Black men, and women, and children, whoever, needs to be humanizing. Photography has always dehumanized African and other African-descendent people. Early photographers documented slaves, so if they ran away, you’d have a photograph to know what your slave looked like. That’s the history, and as photographers now we have a duty to show Black life in a positive light. If we take that humanity away, we’re back at the beginning.

My Kid Could Do That

My Kid Could Do That

Today 60 percent of the American population, according to recent reports, possesses a database implant that allows a range of augments to be downloaded directly into the brain. The artificial intelligence can allow a person, for example, with no chiseling experience the ability to create a lifelike wooden sculpture. While there are no reliable statistics within the art world, a recent anonymous survey of working artists in New York City under 40 reported an above-average augmentation rate compared with the general population.

A Walk in the Park

A Walk in the Park

A memento mori at the heart of the leisure zone

The thought occurs to me that if the park were to be sealed off with everyone inside, it could develop its own political and social system. It would be an opportunity to completely remake society, refashion a kinder, more equitable way of life. But then the subcultures would form alliances and rivalries. Perhaps the cyclists would go to war with the joggers over control of the roadway.

Precise and Prescient

Precise and Prescient

On Michael Sorkin, 1948–2020

Sorkin died needlessly, at the hands of a monstrous President he diagnosed better than most back in the summer of 2016, when too many of us dismissed analogy as overstatement. Sorkin began writing for the Village Voice in the late ’70s, his office was up the street from Trump SoHo, and his beat was architecture, money, power, fascism. Of course he understood.

Devil’s Haircut

Devil’s Haircut

Dorkiness in the service of mind-expansion

The negative consensus surrounding the show has now reached sufficient mass that one can now put it on the couch. At its psychic root, all the criticism appears to converge at one point: Koolhaas himself, and the methodology he represents.

Free Your Mind

Free Your Mind

A Speculative Review of #NewMoMA

These kinds of contrasts give rise to history understood as a morass of unresolved conflicts and multiple lines of flight, rather than a unified tale of artistic development. Of course, none of the current constellations break new ground or present innovative scholarship—that is still a step too far for even #newMoMA—but they renounce the egregious evasions that were previously MoMA’s calling card.

Portraits in Oil

Portraits in Oil

Riches without embarrassment

I do not know what it was like to go, French or otherwise, to the original Louvre when it opened in its revolutionarily repurposed palace in 1793. Maybe everything felt borrowed, maybe it was just as hard to tell the salvage from the wreck. The original Louvre had no qualms about trading on the artistic grandeur of former empires. Nor did the nouveau riche Americans of the late 19th century, eagerly snatching up European art and European prestige. The Louvre Abu Dhabi hardly breaks from tradition.

Ethnicity As Counterculture

Ethnicity As Counterculture

Counterculture is a praxis

Imagining the person of color as a counterculturalist, as a weirdo or bohemian, means imagining them as someone who cannot be processed easily into the threat/victim dichotomy, but must be imagined as someone who can wreak joy and pleasure and strangeness upon the world.