Ralph Lemon’s Scaffold Room is “one of the headiest and most beautiful things I’ve seen in I don’t know how long,” writes Claudia La Rocco in Artforum. Struggling to describe the work, she adds, “It’s shot through with grief, and dazzled (troubled?) by the fullness of existence.” In the performance installation, live actors reference archetypal black female personae through mash-ups of movements, texts, images, and video. “[It] exists across numerous platforms and disciplines: a theater piece in a gallery space and a sound and film piece in a theater and so on and so forth.”
- Inspired by 1960s civil rights activists, Dread Scott will attempt to walk forward as a firehose blasts him with water in an Oct. 7 performance under the Manhattan Bridge. The work’s title: On the Impossibility of Freedom in a Country Founded on Slavery and Genocide. “Fundamentally, it’s about the struggle for freedom,” Scott said. “The people who have fought for freedom have been battered and brutalized, and that struggle is vital and important.”
- “Visitors can experience Joan Jonas’s intense performing tension” in the artist’s new retrospective at Milan’s Pirelli HangarBicocca Gallery. Featuring the largest collection of Jonas’ work to date, the show will include a new site-specific installation as well as works never before seen in Europe—an apt survey of the artist, who will represent the US at the 2015 Venice Biennale. The exhibition runs until February 1.
- “Socially engaged art practice is not taken as a passing art style in Chicago,” says Mary Jane Jacobs, curator of Proximity of Consciousness. While displaying social practice work in a conventional art space can have its pitfalls, it demonstrates the growing institutional interest in art’s potential to bring social change. The Art Institute of Chicago show features 10 large-scale works by artists including Temporary Services, Pablo Helguera, and Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle.
- “NY artist creates ‘art’ that is invisible and collectors are paying millions” read the headline of a “news article” that spread widely last week. Though the news was a hoax, the story’s rapid circulation and accompanying responses highlight relevant issues in the art world: the ambiguity of what’s considered “art” and the inscrutability of the market.
- Critic Jerry Saltz muses on Robert Gober’s MoMA retrospective The Heart Is Not a Metaphor: From the hermaphroditic, severed limbs to dysfunctional sinks, “his work exhorts, annoys, lulls, lets boredom slip in. Yet it almost always radiates a disquieting radical strangeness and in its weird way heals.” The exhibition, which runs until January 18, is the first large-scale survey of Gober’s oeuvre to be shown in the US.
- Vanity is immortalized and commercialized: Richard Prince is selling canvas-printed Instagram “selfies” of celebrities and unknown people at the Gagosian, adding “commercial potency” to what made Instagram successful—allowing users “to know oneself as known.”
- Instagram amuses another artist: “We live in a representation of a world which we can influence in ways never imagined,” says artist Constant Dullaart who purchased 2.5 million fake followers to “equalize” certain accounts on Instagram. “Audience is a commodity,” he says, “they can be used to influence politics by supporting political causes online, and even add relevance to art.”