Art Seen: National

SONIC AVENUES // #2: Ululation

By Patrick J. Reed The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue. The tip of the tongue gives way to the rest: dorsal surface, median sulcus, a blanket of papillae. A swallowing abyss. We have imagined this alien landscape before. Rabelais’s The Horrible and Terrifying Deeds and Words of the Very Renowned Pantagruel King[…]

COLLECTIVE CONSCIOUSNESS: MARK BAUM // JOHN MICHAEL KOHLER ARTS CENTER

By Leah Gallant In 1961, the painter Mark Baum moved from New York City to Cape Neddick, Maine. The artist was dissatisfied with the New York art world and its turn to abstract expressionism. In the 19th-century barn he took as his studio, he spent the next eleven years perfecting a single geometric shape, which[…]

ALÁÀṢẸ: MESSAGES FROM THE CONJURER // GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER MUSEUM

By Hiba Ali Austin-based artist Nailah I. Akinyémi-Sankofa describes her solo exhibition, Aláàṣẹ: Messages from the Conjurer as “living.” Amidst its run at the George Washington Carver Museum in Austin, TX, the exhibition itself constantly transforms with works being added and rearranged. A nailed signpost at the entrance of the show announces the title of[…]

WAVES OF SOUND, WAVES OF HEARTBREAK // SUSAN PHILIPSZ AT THE PULITZER FOUNDATION

By Annette LePique Susan Philipsz’ exhibition Seven Tears is a multi-media environment that combines sound, sculpture, film, photography, and painting to explore the ways in which sound structures an affective experience of space. For Philipsz, sound is a possibility, sound is a memory, sound shapes the way we move through the world. Philipsz’ practice coalesces[…]

SONIC AVENUES // #1: JÓNSI

By Patrick J. Reed An Introduction: Degenerative blindness runs in my family, a strain that distorts sentences on a page and pales the colors of the visible spectrum. It degrades central vision. Once it starts it does not stop moving outward, swallowing the whole. The peripheries, where the shadows move, go last—shadow into shadow into[…]

Profiling the Experience of a Residency // 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[…]