The Walker Curates the News: 05.04.15

Kehinde Wiley's exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo: WNYC

Kehinde Wiley’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Photo: WNYC

“There are so many kids in this country who look at places like museums and concert halls and other cultural centers and they think to themselves, well, that’s not a place for me, for someone who looks like me, for someone who comes from my neighborhood,” said First Lady Michelle Obama at the dedication of the new Whitney. WNYC used her words to open a discussion about “white spaces”: high-culture sites that too often prove intimidating or alienating for the masses, and people of color in particular. Inclusiveness is a theme others in the art world are focused on as well: ARTS.BLACK, represented in the WNYC piece by co-founder Taylor Alridge, is looking at racial privilege and the arts as monthlong guest editors of Temporary Art Review, and curator Okwui Enwezor says he aims to highlight emerging or under-represented artists from around the globe in the new edition of the Venice Biennale. “Art isn’t just made by white people in Europe with great patrons,” he says. “Sorry.”

  • In addition to thousands of people feared dead in the Nepal earthquake, many historical cultural landmarks—including the Dharahara, a 200-foot-tall tower built in 1832—have been destroyed. “I’d just bought tickets to climb the tower and was at its base when I felt a sudden shaking,” said survivor Dharmu Subedi. “Within minutes, the Dharahara had crumbled to the ground with maybe more than 100 people in it.” Also among the landmarks destroyed was Kathmandu’s Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dating back to the 5th century, it was home to Nepal’s royal family until the 19th century. An estimated 80 percent of its temples were damaged during the disaster.
  • In an attempt to bring international attention to the human rights crisis in Mexico, hundreds of artists from around the world are creating a virtual quilt of remembrance for the 43 students from a college in Guerrero who went missing last year. “It’s hard to gauge what effect these projects have, but this is what I can do,” said one of the co-founders of the project Victoria Roberts. “Everyone must do what they can. It is important to act. The sum of these actions, however small, makes a difference.
  • Just revealed, winners of the International Association of Art Critics US prizes include Kara Walker’s A Subtley, Pierre Huyghe’s LACMA survey, and honors for top criticism (Holland Cotter), art reporting (Jillian Steinhauer), and blog (Hyperallergic), among others. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on June 8 in New York City.
  • “It’s so funny to me that the phrase ‘life hack’ is associated with white tech bros, when to be a person of color and survive is constant life hacking.” New Inquiry editor Ayesha Siddiqi interviews comedian Aamer Rahman on art, satire, and racism.
  • Seven artists and one collective have been named 2015 Fellows for Socially Engaged Art by A Blade of Grass. Among those receiving $20,000 in unrestricted project support are Dread Scott, Suzanne Lacy, Sol Aramendi, and Adaku Utah. “These are artists who are changing what art is, who it’s for, and what it does.”

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