The Furnace of Kings

The recent uprising following the police killing of George Floyd in May has provoked an old debate about the significance of colonial and Confederate monuments. Activists across the nation have called for their removal, emphasizing the role these symbols play in promoting ideas that are racist and undemocratic. President Trump, along with many other leaders,… Continue reading The Furnace of Kings

Brief notes on Teddy Roosevelt’s statue being removed from the steps of the Museum of Natural History

In the New York Times today: the equestrian statue of Theodore Roosevelt, the former president of the United States who declared the end of the Philippine-American War in 1902, will be removed from the steps of the Museum of Natural History. The Museum maintains that it is removing the statue not because of Theodore Roosevelt's… Continue reading Brief notes on Teddy Roosevelt’s statue being removed from the steps of the Museum of Natural History

The decollage we live in

It’s hard to explain, even to myself, why an artwork from more than fifty years ago can speak to our time without resorting to clichéd notions of the timelessness and universality of artistic language. I try to think of concrete experiences that can constitute a right mindset to write about Jacques Villegle, a Parisian artist… Continue reading The decollage we live in

Meaning over spectacle: Gerhard Richter retrospective online

The abrupt closing of Gerhard Richter’s retrospective at the Met Breuer, among other art world events in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic has refocused the energies of its curators to use online platforms. While it serves its purpose well of extending the reach and lifespan of art exhibitions, the Met Museum’s website is not… Continue reading Meaning over spectacle: Gerhard Richter retrospective online

A heap of broken images

In Villegle’s time, the ruined forms of affichées torn from post-war Parisian city walls gave the collage a dialectical energy: the ripped images negate aesthetic formality, mimicking the destructive nature of war. They serve as a reminder that art endures extreme social trauma. Reflecting on his work, I can’t help but wonder how art will… Continue reading A heap of broken images

Portrait of a lady on fire (Celine Sciamma, 2019)

Marianne must cross the rough seas when she is summoned by a countess (Valeria Golino) who would like to have a portrait of her daughter, Heloise. The portrait will be sent to Heloise's fiancé, an Italian aristocrat, as a confirmation of their arranged marriage. Hoping to save their crumbling estate or move back to an… Continue reading Portrait of a lady on fire (Celine Sciamma, 2019)

Poems in the shape of paintings

With a history of cultural iconoclasm, the Arab region has become a fertile ground for abstract art. Yet Arab artists remain marginal in the global conversation of modern abstraction. An ambitious project initiated by the Barjeel Art Foundation seeks to issue a long overdue corrective. Taking Shape: Abstraction from the Arab World, 1950s–1980s, slated to… Continue reading Poems in the shape of paintings

122 Rue du temple, 1968

122 Rue du temple, 1968 Jacques Villeglé torn-and-pasted printed paper on canvas 62 5/8 x 82 3/4" (159.2 x 210.3 cm) Museum of Modern Art  The words of French crime novelist Leo Malet comes to mind every time I encounter a work by Jacques Villegle: “The collage of the future will be done without scissors,… Continue reading 122 Rue du temple, 1968

Throw Away Day

A new documentary on the life and work of abstract expressionism's invisible man, Clyfford Still and the quest to reclaim one of his paintings in an auction at the Sotheby's Contemporary Evening Sale A few minutes after four and the day slipped into darkness, signalling stagehands at the Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Sale to finalize… Continue reading Throw Away Day

Defacement painting as memorial

The Guggenheim exhibition has achieved for Basquiat's Defacement (1983) a level of relevance achieved by few paintings: a memorial to violence with potency to comment on our current social crisis. Jean-Michel Basquiat – Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), 1983. Photograph: Allison Chipak/Collection of Nina Clemente, New York Picasso’s Guernica and Goya’s Third of May… Continue reading Defacement painting as memorial