Art Seen: National

Profiling the Experience of a Resendency // Spring Residents at Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

By Joel Kuennen In April, I flew over a bloated, sluiced Missouri River to Omaha, Nebraska to be THE SEEN’s first Critic-in-Residence at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. I emerged from the sandstone-colored airport to meet Davina, their Communications Director, who ferried me past the former Conagra headquarters that sprawls around the public Heartland[…]

WHOSE HEART WENT FIRST? // THE SORCERER’S BURDEN EXPLORES THE CONVERGENCE OF ART, ANTHROPOLOGY, AND THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE

By Barbara Purcell In The Sorcerer’s Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn, the most recent exhibition at the Contemporary Austin, artist Dario Robleto ponders, “Whose heart went first?” in his moving film about the history of the human heartbeat. Who did that first pulse belong to? And who loved that person, long after that[…]

Trace Inhabitant

RACHEL ROSSIN // IN CONVERSATION By Caleb Mathern Rachel Rossin is a New York-based artist whose exhibitions incorporate quite the media diaspora—from blowtorches and canaries, to deepfakes, holograms, virtual reality, and honest-to-God oil painting. Her practice is uniquely indescribable, in that it fixates so firmly on the experiential. An early adopter of VR (she received[…]

I Can’t Imagine Ever Wanting to Be White

ON AGENCY AND SOCIAL PRACTICE // THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL THEN AND NOW By Noah Hanna When critic Glenn O’Brien received an admission tag at the Whitney Biennial in 1993 baring the statement; “I CAN’T IMAGINE EVER WANTING TO BE WHITE,” he bluntly reflected on the experience in Artforum, “No fucking way was I putting that[…]

Tending a Public

COUNTERPUBLIC TRIENNIAL // ST. LOUIS By Joel Kuennen   The Luminary, an anchor arts organization in St. Louis helmed by founders Brea Youngblood and James McAnally and curator Katherine Simóne Reynolds, undertook its first triennial this year. The triennial, Counterpublic, took form as a series of installations and provocations within local businesses in a predominantly[…]

Walks to the Paradise Garden

A LOWDOWN SOUTHERN ODYSSEY // A REEXAMINATION OF SELF-TAUGHT ARTISTS IN THE AMERICAN SOUTH By Ryan Filchak In 1992, Jonathan Williams wrote the Editor’s Note of his proposed book Walks to the Paradise Garden, writing, “We’re talking about a South that is both celestial and chthonian.”1 Williams—an American poet, founder of the Jargon Society, and[…]

Eight Views on Opera

BEL CANTO: CONTEMPORARY ART & OPERA // SITE SANTA FE By Caroline Picard The story is well-known and repeated often: Orpheus and Eurydice are in love. Orpheus is renowned for his voice. Eurydice is an oak nymph and the child of Apollo. Just before the wedding, she is bitten by a snake and dies. Unable[…]

In Defense of the Selfie

By rel robinson If you type ‘snap + share’ into a Google search bar, the first result you will find listed is the market summary of Snap Inc., the conglomerate that started Snapchat—a messaging app which introduced disappearing content into the digital lexicon. If you type Snapchat into a search bar, the first listed result[…]

Roommates // Shulamit Nazarian Los Angeles

By Celia Glastris Los Angeles gallery Shulamit Nazarian’s summer group show breathes life into the everyday object of the home. The title, Roommates, is a double-entendre that both establishes the plurality of artists on display as well as the things that, through symbolic meaning and sentimental value, develop identities and humanlike residence in our lives.[…]

VIVIAN SUTER // GLADSTONE GALLERY, 21ST STREET

By Arthur Ivan Bravo Despite her voluntary reclusiveness, having lived and worked from a complex of ample abode and studio spaces inconspicuously located in a rural Guatemalan town since 1982, the Argentine-Swiss painter Vivian Suter has earned notable recognition, particularly in recent years. Concurrent with exhibitions of her work held at Toronto’s Power Plant, the[…]

ABSENT SENSE: ALISON O’DANIEL // BEMIS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS

By Joel Kuennen A braid of moving blankets flow down the wall and serpentines flush over the floor through Alison O’Daniel’s exhibition, Heavy Air, at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. The braid serves both as a path and a barrier, with visitors gingerly stepping on or over composite foam pads. Their purpose in the[…]

Water School

OSCAR TUAZON // MSU BROAD By Gabrielle Welsh “East Lansing, huh? I have an uncle out there,” the taxi driver tells me en route to Union Station. I am making the trip to the small town nestled halfway between Grand Rapids, MI and Detroit. “Not much to do.” This seems indicative of all Chicagoans who[…]

Brain Trust

PERFORMING BIODATA // JASON J. SNELL By Patrick J. Reed Approach Cedar Rapids, Iowa from the south via I-380, and you will find a city center framed in spare geometry. A Quaker Oats factory occupies the northern point of the district with grain elevators and a freight yard that appear unchanged since World War II.[…]

THE SEEN Critic-in-Residence in Partnership with Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

  THE SEEN is pleased to announce a Critic-in-Residence program in partnership with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Staff Writer Joel Kuennen is to serve as the first Critic-in-Residence from April 8–12, 2019. While in residence, Kuennen will visit Spring 2019 artists-in-residence in their studios at Bemis and engage in a high level of critical discourse. He will[…]

MUSEUM JOY // 57TH CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL

By Anastasia Karpova Tinari The 2018 Carnegie International, which closed the 25th of March with a flurry of events and performances, offered the peace of mind, wonder, magic, and purity lacking in today’s politically and socially turbulent times. Curator Ingrid Schaffner, assisted by Ashley McNelis and Liz Park, has put together a well-executed and -curated[…]

LOLA ÁLVAREZ BRAVO: PICTURING MEXICO // PULITZER ARTS FOUNDATION

By Annette LePique Lola Álvarez Bravo: Picturing Mexico, the newest exhibition at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in Saint Louis, is an insightful delve into the personal and idiosyncratic archives of one of Mexico’s first female photographers. Curator Stephanie Weissberg’s intimate focus on Lola’s private, experimental work forms a focal point that both anchors and expands[…]

SITELINES.2018: CASA TOMADA // SITE SANTA FE

By Michelle J. Lanteri As the third and final installment of SITE Santa Fe’s “New Perspectives on Art of the Americas” biennial series, Casa tomada evokes a multivocal power play between three key relationships: permanence/impermanence, receiving/rebuilding, and within/beyond. These tension nodes create the discordant yet unifying structure that forges connections between the divergent works by[…]

SUBMERGE THE SHED AND OTHER CIVIC DUTIES: DIANA THATER // ICA WATERSHED

By Kat Lukes-Caribeaux It seems that “laboratory” as the de facto metaphor for cutting-edge contemporary spaces has been dethroned by “shed.” From The Shed’s recent opening in NYC to the Boston ICA Watershed’s inaugural season, the humble suburban dad’s backyard retreat is suddenly a touchstone for avant-garde arts spaces trying to distill their ethos into[…]

OPEN SPACES // KANSAS CITY

By Andrea L. Ferber, PhD At 10 PM the glowing exterior lights of the Nelson-Atkins Museum contemporary wing shut off, creating a perfect outdoor cinema for Jennifer Steinkamp’s video installation Retinal (2018). Digital bubbles and umbilical-cord-like strands in translucent orange, blue, yellow and green slowly float across six conjoined windows, visible from the street. Crickets[…]

To Watch and Be Watched

THE RACIAL IMAGINARY INSTITUTE: ON WHITENESS // THE KITCHEN By Paige Landesberg In 2016, poet and author Claudia Rankine received $625,000 as a stipend from her MacArthur Genius Grant and decided to put the funds toward founding The Racial Imaginary Institute, an organization that gives artists and writers a platform to address issues of race.[…]

Stitching Temporalities

ADRIAN PIPER: A SYNTHESIS OF INTUITIONS 1965–2016 // MUSEUM OF MODERN ART By Caroline Picard Adrian Piper: A Synthesis of Intuitions 1965– 2016 collects nearly 300 individual works of the artist’s work, beginning with late-adolescent paintings, to more recent reflections on the Black Lives Matter movement. What emerges from this assembly is an ongoing interrogation[…]

Sable Elyse Smith

MEN WHO SWALLOW THEMSELVES IN MIRRORS // SITE SANTA FE By Natalie Hegert The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world. It is a statistic we have become accustomed to hearing. But those numbers leave out the reality, the impact, and the imprint of the carceral state—what Ta-Nehisi Coates terms “the[…]

From the Front

FRONT INTERNATIONAL // CLEVELAND TRIENNIAL FOR CONTEMPORARY ART By Susan Snodgrass Urban activist and author Jane Jacobs saw cities as “immense laboratories” for invention. “[L]ively, diverse, intense cities contain the seeds of their own regeneration,” she argued, “with energy enough to carry over for problems and needs outside themselves.”1 An American City, the inaugural edition[…]

DEMIAN DINÉYAZHI’ // THE HENRY ART GALLERY

By Luke A. Fidler Demian DinéYazhi’ (Diné) is the latest and last recipient of the Brink Award—given biennially to Northwest artists under the age of thirty-five—and is the first to make Native life central to their practice. Through zines, stickers, Instagram posts, and a well-stocked Etsy store, DinéYazhi’ has advocated powerfully for intersectional forms of[…]