Joan Jonas‘s “triumphal exhibition” at the Venice Biennale “doesn’t simply look back on a long and fruitful career: It extends that career,” writes Roberta Smith of the 70-year-old artist’s US pavilion multimedia installation, They Come to Us Without a Word. Organized by MIT’s List Visual Arts Center, the installation is said to be “one of the best solo shows to represent the United States at the biennale in over a decade—an effortless combination of maturity and freshness.”
- Known for provocative performance works in the 1970s—including having himself nailed to the roof of a VW Beetle—artist Chris Burden has died at age 69. The artist’s Urban Light (2008), an installation of 202 street lights outside LACMA—has become an icon. Burden’s final sculpture, an homage to Alberto Santos-Dumont, the aviator who flew the first dirigible airship around the Eiffel Tower in 1901, will be shown in a special exhibit at LACMA beginning May 18.
- Iceland’s national pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale features an art installation that doubles as a functioning mosque, intended to highlight the absence of mosques in the city. Authorities believe, however, that “the mosque poses a security threat.”
- Art history meta-catfight: Robert Irwin and David Hockney imagined “where Picasso and Braque’s work would have gone if they’d lived longer, and both conclude that it would be precisely where their practices have taken them. Naturally, that’s where they diverge.”
- Abounaddara, a collective of anonymous filmmakers working to blur the global stereotypes about Syria, have withdrawn from the 2015 Venice Biennale’s central exhibition, claiming that their opening short film, All the Syria’s Futures was “censored” by not being screened on May 5, as initially promised. In a letter to the Venice Biennale, the group explains that their films would have been at risk of becoming “nothing more than entertaining distractions from the main Spectacle.”
- “No Hollywood sign. No panoramic views of downtown. No monumental freeway overpasses. Instead, it’s 100% odd bits of LA weirdness through and through.” On display at the Huntington, Robert Rauschenberg’s pictures from the early 1980s show a city’s unconventional side, writes Carolina Miranda. “He liked to look where the margins of the man-made environment met the [natural] environment. Others reflect his interest in surrealist play.”
- With all the criticisms MoMA has received of late around issues of art and celebrity, its new Yoko Ono show might be seen as yet another example. Ben Davis disagrees: “issues of celebrity and media are baked into her work from the beginning.”