The Outsider Speaking for the Other

            A serial reading of Andre Breton, Sigmund Freud, Frantz Fanon, Rosalind Krauss and Hal Foster, might give the impression of a direct intellectual lineage. That’s not what I’m going to do here. I’d like to think of this as a commentary from the sidelines; of what would have been possible had these thinkers sat… Continue reading The Outsider Speaking for the Other

Three Painters from Bandung

Tondi Hasibuan Overly rigid attempts at comparisons to Picasso do not do justice to Tondi Hasibuan’s incredibly multifaceted work. The stylistic caesuras are too abrupt. Forms reminiscent of Picasso’s late period pieces are given a new lease on life with reinventions from the fund of the artists imagination. A Fine Arts Professor, Tondi Hasibuan’s ambivalent… Continue reading Three Painters from Bandung

A Thread out of the Labyrinth

According to an Athenian version of the Myth of Ariadne, when Minos attacked Athens after his son was killed, the Athenians negotiated for terms. They were required to sacrifice seven young men and seven maidens to the Minotaur every seven or nine years. One year, the sacrificial party included Theseus, the son of King Aegeus,… Continue reading A Thread out of the Labyrinth

The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

Degree Zero: Drawing at Midcentury Photo: MoMA Degree Zero at MoMA provides counterpoints to the understanding of drawing’s role in post-war art. Gathering 75 works, made between 1948 and 1966, from Louise Bourgeois, Yayoi Kusama, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Alfredo Volpi, and many others, as well as recent acquisitions by artists such as Uche Okeke,… Continue reading The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

The Tormented Square

Kazimir Malevich, Black Square, 1913. Kazimir Malevich was clear in his intentions to discover the “zero point” of painting; that is, painting that does not represent life outside its surface. He wanted to completely abandon depicting reality and instead invent a new world of shapes and forms. In his 1927 book The Non-Objective World, he… Continue reading The Tormented Square

Notable Lectures on Zoom

Le Massacre de Scio ("The Chios massacre") a painting (1824) by Eugène Delacroix depicting the massacre of Greeks on the island of Chios by Ottoman troops during the Greek War of Independence in 1822. Indonesia's Genocide: New Perspectives 55 Years On hosted by New York Southeast Asia Network, Oct 7, 2020, 8 PM EST I treat the study of… Continue reading Notable Lectures on Zoom

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

on Karl Ove Knausgaard's profile of Anselm Kiefer Anselm Kiefer in front of his work ‘Ages of the World’ (2014) I first saw Anselm Kiefer’s artwork as an art student in Berlin nine years ago. It was the same fighter plane made from sheets of lead described by Karl Ove Knaussgard in his New York… Continue reading The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

Social Documents

Dorothea Lange, Outtake of "Human erosion in California" (Migrant Mother), 1936, International Center of Photography, NY A question of authenticity links the cases presented by Nicole Fleetwood, Leigh Raiford, and Sally Stein. They all compare and contrast photographers against their subject or with other photographers to emphasize the power of documentary interventions and mishaps in… Continue reading Social Documents

Hooded Trauma

On the offensive figures of Philip Guston The decision by four major museums to delay the retrospective of painter Philip Guston has generated renewed interest in his controversial life. Perhaps because he is still often ranked with American abstract expressionist painters that many were flustered when museum directors deemed his images unfit for public consumption,… Continue reading Hooded Trauma

Pushing against the roof of the world: ruangrupa’s prospects for documenta fifteen

President Sukarno, the first leader of Indonesia after it became a republic in 1945, inspects his troops. (Photo by Hulton-Deutsch/Hulton-Deutsch Collection/Corbis via Getty Images) My latest article about ruangrupa on Third Text:http://thirdtext.org/cristobal-ruangrupa "A concern in many texts of Indonesian mythology is the need to raise the sky. This appears in myths from elsewhere, too, but… Continue reading Pushing against the roof of the world: ruangrupa’s prospects for documenta fifteen

The Manila Syndrome

Filipino labor importation and US Cold War Diplomacy Men wait on pier 40 to board the ship that will take them to Alaska. April 27, 1939. Courtesy Fred and Dorothy Cordova, National Pinoy Archive, Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) Copyright (c) reserved. A month after New York went into COVID-19 lockdown, one of my… Continue reading The Manila Syndrome

Visual Sovereignty and the Counter-archive

The dominance of official photography and the silencing effect of public history on indigenous groups have led First Peoples movements to establish “counter-archives'' presenting their visual sovereignty. Amy Lonetree recounts a powerful encounter with images taken by Charles Van Schaickof of her ancestors just a few short years after what she describes as, “the darkest,… Continue reading Visual Sovereignty and the Counter-archive

Notes on not publishing a book from a really extremist ultra-leftist

Guy Debord's Biography in 45 Notes Guy Louis Debord (/dəˈbɔːr/; French: [gi dəbɔʁ]; 28 December 1931 – 30 November 1994) Think of how your book would look if you published a book. If it looks anything like any other book, do not publish that book.If by some reason you think of a book that has… Continue reading Notes on not publishing a book from a really extremist ultra-leftist

Visual echoes

Lee Friedlander (1934 – ), Mt. Rushmore, South Dakota, 1969, gelatin silver print. Middlebury College Museum of Art. Purchase with funds provided by the Memorial Art Fund, 1998.028. © Lee Friedlander, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco How many ways has photography changed our view of nature and how has our overwhelming dependence on photography impacted… Continue reading Visual echoes

A decent photo of Montauk Point

Over the summer break, I visited Montauk Point on the easternmost end of Long Island and I was intrigued by the information written on a tourist pamphlet that lighthouses were the very first public works project undertaken by the United States. The lighthouse along with the one at Camp Henry, as pointed out in “Conjuring… Continue reading A decent photo of Montauk Point

Art writing needs to be activist

I find myself writing more frequently about photographs and writing about photographic exhibitions and the archive. Thinking about the photograph’s historical, theoretical, architectural, and urban contexts and attendant social issues became more insightful and rewarding in light of extended isolation from any art world experience. Time away from galleries and museums was good but I’m… Continue reading Art writing needs to be activist

Heaven in a wildflower

EILEEN QUINLANLookout Mountain, 2020gelatin silver print22 x 18 inches (55.9 x 45.7 cm)framed dimensions: 24 x 20 inches (61 x 50.8 cm)edition of 2 + 2 APs Miguel Abreu Gallery’s first post-COVID quarantine exhibition pits painting versus photography. Brooklyn-based photographer Eileen Quinlan captures the nightmare of being marooned in isolation while Cheyney Thompson’s stenciled paintings… Continue reading Heaven in a wildflower

Blindness and reflection

I recall Aristotle’s De Anima in Geoffrey Batchen’s article about his thrift store locket. A commercial photographic material, the locket was once deemed lacking in “intellectual and aesthetic qualities beyond sentimental kitsch,” thus making it unfit for purposes of official history (33). The invisibility of such low-cultural objects to institutional analysis nonetheless paved the way… Continue reading Blindness and reflection

Listening to Images

Campt, Tina, Listening to images. (Durham : Duke University Press, 2017) I found Tina Campt’s use of the term “vernacular photography” thematically apt. Though she never mentions it, the etymology of "vernacular" is linked to slavery. From the OED: "vernacular", early 17th century: from Latin vernaculus 'domestic, native' (from verna 'home-born slave') + -ar.* Used in… Continue reading Listening to Images

From the Secret Files of American History

A response to Black Reconstruction in America (1935) by W.E.B Du Bois There are significant parallels between the events following the American Civil War and our current political situation. Does this mean that history is repeating itself in some momentous way or is it just a case of the same old shit happening all along?… Continue reading From the Secret Files of American History

Feeling Photography/Penetraing Pictures

Parlor games with the Igorots, c. 1905 Elspeth H. Brown and Thuy Phy, Feeling Photography. Durham : Duke University Press, 2014  In his letters, Franz Kafka projected his uncertainties on the photograph of his fiancé and wrote how her "little photograph produces as much pleasure as pain.” Kafka continues: “It does not fade away, it… Continue reading Feeling Photography/Penetraing Pictures

Reading American Photographs (Alan Trachtenberg, 1989)

ALAN TRACHTENBERG. Reading American Photographs: Images as History, Mathew Brady to Walker Evans. New York: Hill and Wang. 1989. Pp. xxi, 326 Trachtenberg’s book begins with a good reminder that the concept of indexical images existed well before the invention of the first publicly available photograph in the mid-19th century. The fascination for projected images… Continue reading Reading American Photographs (Alan Trachtenberg, 1989)

Hospital ministry under coronavirus lockdown

My father, Gerry, is a veteran missionary for a small local Christian congregation in the Philippines that has held Sunday service at a hospital for the last fourteen years. Assisted by my mother Beth, he has done missionary work in various workplaces since the 1980s. His current post in the Palliative Care Unit, an office… Continue reading Hospital ministry under coronavirus lockdown