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 Furnace of Kings

Carlos IV monument in Plaza Mayor, Intramuros c. 1898. Photo: John Tewell Collection. The statue of Carlos IV is one of few colonial era monuments that stand today in the old city of Manila called Intramuros. The original purpose of its commission, who made it, and the story of its construction have been largely forgotten,… Continue reading The Furnace of Kings

The Myth of a Degree Zero Moment

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, the exhibition freshly examines the commonly perceived… 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

The Waves

I first saw The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Katasushika Hokusai (1760–1849) ten years ago during his first retrospective in Europe at Berlin’s Martin-Gropius-Bau. I had to line up early on closing day to see an exhibition that was always packed. I saw the print again this year at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in… Continue reading The Waves

Notable Lectures on Zoom

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 the effects of Cold War strategies and policies of the United States on Southeast Asia as an extension of my research interest which focuses on the cultural legacies of American… Continue reading Notable Lectures on Zoom

The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

on Karl Ove Knausgaard’s profile of Anselm Kiefer 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 Times article published last February 2020. Exhibited inside the Hamburger Bahnhof, the… Continue reading The Metamorphosis of Narcissus as a Great Artist

Social Documents

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 shaping perception for a particular milieu. Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” has been argued to be authentic… Continue reading Social Documents