Feline Darlings and the Anti-Cute
“YouTube speaks a tale of catness thoroughly at odds with feline history,” writes curator Sasha Archibald. For her contribution to the book, Cat Is Art Spelled Wrong, she looks to art, literature, and pop culture to show how the cat’s status as “cute icon extraordinaire” is recent, supplanting its early role as a symbol of “magical metamorphosis, potent danger, sexual provocation, and impervious autonomy.”
William Pope.L: The Will to Exhaust
As Gilles Deleuze put it, to exhaust is not to be tired; it is the will to begin again. In Pope.L’s performances—which have found the artist crawling the streets of Manhattan in a black suit or consuming pages of the Wall Street Journal—the willingness to reformulate our experiences of subjectivity and collectivity is about exhausting limitations in order to know what indeed is possible.
He Gave Me Blues, I Gave Him Back Soul
A year to the day after Scaffold Room concluded its world premiere at the Walker, its creator, Ralph Lemon, returns for a “memory refraction” related to the work. A performance installation in the galleries, Scaffold Room fueled this conversation on curating performance between Lemon, Walker curator Philip Bither, and Sarah Michelson, whose work tournamento premiered Sept. 24 on the Walker stage.
Sarah Michelson: “The Question Takes me Forward”
“The question in all my old pieces is what’s a dance, what could it be? Is making art a self-congratulatory, redundant practice, or if there’s a real pursuit of the nature of the beast to ground level, knowing there is no ground?” Back at the Walker 10 years after performing Daylight (For Minneapolis), Sarah Michelson discusses her return to the theater after years of creating works for museums.
Cornell Boxes and Cake: A Visit to Utopia Parkway
Mesmerized by curious boxes containing “fragments of the everyday world that alluded to fragments of imaginary ones,” former Walker director Martin Friedman set out in the rain from Manhattan one day in 1967 to visit their wizardly creator at his home on Utopia Parkway in Flushing, Queens. His mission: to convince reclusive artist Joseph Cornell to loan some of his famed shadow boxes to the Walker.
Initially commissioned as a birthday gift for Hugh Hefner, Jann Haworth’s soft-sculpture Playboy Bunny got a new life following a sexist encounter at London’s Playboy Club in the mid-1960s. A celebrated Pop artist and co-designer of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album cover, Haworth tells the tale of Maid (1966), a “working girl” who isn’t a mere sex object for men.
It’s Complicated: The Institution as Publisher
What does it mean for a museum to function as a publisher now, in 2015? Publishing is no less complicated an endeavor within an institutional context than it is in the external “real” world, where the presence of a consumer-grade Internet began altering the social production, consumption, and distribution of text some decades ago, writes the Whitney Museum of American Art’s digital media director.
“Pop Cinema at Its Best Pop”: George Kuchar’s Hold Me While I’m Naked
“Here is the most macabre sense of humor at work,” wrote Jonas Mekas in 1964, introducing young filmmakers George and Mike Kuchar to Village Voice readers. “Here is the Pop Cinema at its best pop… Here are banality and corniness transposed into their grotesque opposites.” Critic and International Pop Cinema curator Ed Halter looks at the Pop sensibilities in George Kuchar’s Hold Me While I’m Naked (1966).
Natascha Sadr Haghighian
A rubber raft filled with passive world leaders, their arms locked in unity. This image—an uncredited mashup circulated online—combines a photo-op of western politicos at the Paris Charlie Hebdo march with a more recent tragedy: the deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean. It’s an apt metaphor, writes Natascha Sadr Haghinian, for an EU refugee policy that’s hopelessly adrift.