In the 1920s, the scholar of art and culture Aby Warburg (1866-1929) created his «Bilderatlas Mnemosyne» tracing recurring visual themes, gestures and patterns across time, from antiquity to the Renaissance and beyond to contemporary culture. Viewing pictures in this nonlinear way, with no accompanying text and outside of a museum, was radical 100 years ago. This is what makes this Atlas so relevant over time, even more so today. HKW, in Berlin, presents an exhibition where all 63 panels of the Atlas are reconstituted for the first time from Warburg’s original, multi-colored images.
For Esvin Alarcón Lam, a young artist coming of age in present-day Guatemala, both his country’s and his own social, geographical and historical vantage points serve as the same points of departure for his creative practice. In the digital, ever-connected present, these perspectives serve Alarcón Lam as an impetus to mine both the physical and intangible traces of the past, its vestiges increasingly being covered over. This is not only to prevent a loss of history, but also a way to write his story, and the story of those who didn’t have a voice, within it.
Bergamin & Gomide and Fortes D’Aloia & Gabriel present «AAA – Anthology of Art and Architecture», an online exhibition curated by Sol Camacho, urbanist, architect, Principal at RADDAR Architecture, and Cultural Director of Instituto Bardi / Casa de Vidro. The show features more than 100 works by Brazilian artists, architects and designers, proposing a reflection on the social function, methods and history of architecture.
The Museum of Sex in New York presents «On Abortion: And the Repercussions of Lack of Access», Laia Abril’s first-ever solo show in the US, displaying her career-long research exploring the debate over abortion restriction worldwide. In Abril’s words, abortion has become “a political matter, rather than a question of rights.”
Ecofeminism is grounded in spiritual feminism, which insists that everything is connected –that nature does not discriminate between soul and matter. This exhibition presents some of the strategies of ecofeminist art, by its pioneers as well as the youngest generation of artists. It also provokes the question: if the ecofeminist art of the 1970s and 1980s was largely defined by Goddess art, ritual performances, anti-nuclear work, and feminist land art, what makes female environmental artists working today ecofeminists?
For Luis Camnitzer, the current global health crisis reveals how fragile the definition of museum has always been, how it helped create an art bubble by now held together by a flimsy web of financial threads. And worse, how the exhibition industry doesn’t help but is actually an obstacle to good education. New York’s MoMA letter firing its freelance educators illustrates a prevailing belief: if no people come to a show, there is no consumption and therefore, no education
Loie Hollowell’s pastel drawings for «Going Soft» explore the physical and psychological experiences of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Serving as abstracted self-portraits, each drawing reveals the artist’s interior psyche at the time of the work’s creation. Her online exhibition is at Pace Gallery (New York).
Carol Stakenas, curator at-large for the Social Practices Art Network (SPAN), talks to Chilean Amsterdam-based artist Martín La Roche (1988) about his three-month residency experience at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, as part of the Beautiful Distress Foundation (Amsterdam) program, whose mission is to raise awareness of mental distress under the belief that art is pre-eminently capable of articulating and representing the human condition.
Minia Biabiany’s exhibition approaches the issue of ecology from a non-Western, and more specifically Caribbean, perspective. Thanks to its poetic, ephemeral form, the artist’s work forces us to take a closer look at previously ignored aspects of French colonial history, which is perpetuated through pernicious acts of covert violence. Featured concurrently, an exhibition of Álvaro Barrios’s work brings the discussion to focus on the history of bloodshed in the Caribbean region.
To expose these ruptures, to create objects worth contemplating, artists will need time, light, water, and stability. They will need to get involved in long, thoughtful, experimental processes; being able to assemble and disassemble, to dream and lose hope, in order to achieve the perfect formula. Requiring immediate answers (beyond an opinion or a personal intuition) to a highly informal sector is grossly unfair and totally blinded. Crisis are not, at least as long as they spark off, educational opportunities. They are events that occur and hurt us. They indicate everything about us, included our learning and reflective abilities.