• (Nearly) Invisible Art: the Leiden University Medical Center Art Collection

    The Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) is a world-renowned university and teaching hospital. What few people may realize is that it boasts an art collection and free public gallery, which hosts five shows per year. The LUMC holds an exhibition of nominees and winners of the Hermine van Bers visual arts prize—a yearly award that stimulates the development of young…

  • Now Dig This! and the Ken Johnson Controversy: A Case For Pluralism in 20th Century Art History

    Ken Johnson’s controversial review of Now Dig This! Art and Black Los Angeles 1960-1980, currently on view at MoMA PS1 through March 11, has become nothing less than an art world scandal, sparking a deluge of denouncements from readers, an open-letter and petition against the New York Times backed by prominent artists, critics and art historians, and even an attempted…

  • Wade Guyton: X is to Y as

    Wade Guyton is, in many ways, an art historian’s artist. He engages with the questions that get us going: questions of aesthetics, medium specificity, and the iconography of modernism itself, not to mention the very directness with which he prompts his viewers to wonder what’s “relevant” in art today. Lots of ink has been spilled attempting to define Guyton’s artistic…

  • Melissa Chiu on ‘Generational Ruptures’ in Chinese Contemporary Art

    Dr. Melissa Chiu gave a lecture titled “Art + Politics in Chinese Contemporary Art” as a part of the Daniel H. Silberberg Lecture Series on November 27th, traveling the few blocks between the IFA and her role as Museum Director and Senior Vice President of Global Arts and Cultural Programs at Asia Society. Chiu has published many books and articles…

  • Caribbean: Art at the Crossroads of the World at El Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and Queens Museum of Art

    One would be hard-pressed to think of a more ambitious exhibition than Caribbean: Art at the Crossroads of the World, which opened this summer at El Museo del Barrio, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Queens Museum of Art. A sprawling, dizzying mess of a show that spans three institutions, over five hundred objects, and more than two centuries…

  • Everything is Interrelated: a conversation with Roxana Marcoci

    The following is an abridged transcript of a conversation between IFA alumna Roxana Marcoci, Curator of Photography at The Museum of Modern Art, and the author, which took place at MoMA on 7 August 2012. I was born in Romania, in Bucharest, and I left when I was 18 as a political dissident. I became a political refugee in Paris…

  • Moved by the Grandeur of Ancient Ruins,[1] the Artist Takes Notes – thoughts on three current, un-visitable London exhibitions [2]

    “[…] he mistook the curtains of the window of his room for a canvas, and he kept describing what he was painting: the colors, shapes, and shades.”[3] On broad empty surfaces, marks begin to show—indicative of fragility, a sense of loss? Or expectation? Thought-full? Thought-less? Mannerisms coincide. A type of gestural painting that emerges out of contradictions. Too much, I…

  • Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974 at MOCA

    Last summer I travelled around the American Southwest in search of Smithson, Heizer, and Holt. This summer MOCA’s “Ends of the Earth” exhibition made me rethink everything I thought I knew about Land art. Here’s why… It was a tumultuous summer for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), which became embroiled in controversy following the forced-resignation of highly…

  • A Pacific Standard Time Travelogue, Part 3

    Editor’s Note: This review was written in March 2012. It has been reprinted here in its original form. For someone interested in Los Angeles art, Pacific Standard Time (PST), the Getty Initiative that connects over 60 Southern California cultural institutions and museums in an 11-month exploration and celebration of postwar Los Angeles culture, feels like a limited-time offer for an…

  • Situation Aesthetics: the Chance Encounter of Two Sound and Light Eliminators on the Art Historian’s Table

    To my eye, the one often reproduced photograph of Robert Smithson’s The Eliminator (1964) makes it a rather awkward and curious object, its title unnecessarily macabre. If only Smithson had been a contemporary of André Breton’s, I could have easily imagined the piece in one of the impromptu Surrealist shows. Much of that mystique is gone, now that I’ve finally…