Taste as a Political Matter: Coco Fusco on the Guerrilla Girls
Exploring NYC’s “nocturnal underworld” at age 24, Coco Fusco stumbled upon her “first encounter with a full-on feminist art intervention”: a show at the Palladium curated by the Guerrilla Girls. “This was an activist approach that I could connect with, as it spoke truth to power playfully, with wit and style,” she writes in honor of the Girls’ 30th anniversary—and one that influenced how she makes art today.
A Circle of Blood
San Bernardino. Paris. Beirut. Charleston. What is art’s role in the face of unspeakable violence? In a personal meditation on the generalities and particularities of violence, Jack Whitten links his experiences growing up as “a product of American apartheid” to the deaths of so many, including Eric Garner, Aylan Kurdi, and Darren Goforth. “My art,” he writes, “is an antidote used to counteract this poison.”
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
In collaboration with Triple Canopy
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.
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.
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.
An Activism of Affirmation
An Xiao Mina
From #BlackLivesMatter to the #UmbrellaMovement, the Web helps artist-activists inform, inspire, and organize around key issues. But art can play a special role within social-change movements as well: It can help transform the Internet into a space for affirmation, self-worth, and emotional healing.
Tania Bruguera: Artivism and Repression in Cuba
Leaving her Havana home on May 24 after a 100-hour public reading of The Origins of Totalitarianism, Tania Bruguera was intercepted by police—again. After releasing a white dove and throwing Hannah Arendt’s book into the sky, she was driven off in what Cuban curator Gerardo Mosquera calls “a unique case in art history: a street performance that was completed in response to its very repression.”