Art October 29, 2010 By Alaina Claire Feldman

filler176 Allora and Calzadilla

Images courtesy of Allora and Calzadilla.

Images courtesy of Allora and Calzadilla.

filler176 Allora and Calzadilla allora title Allora and Calzadilla
On September 8, 2010, the United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced that the artistic team of Puerto Rico-based Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, who have been working together since 1995, will represent the United States at the 2011 Venice Biennale.
     Allora and Calzadilla’s work playfully explores relationships among art, politics and international identity through performances, video, sculpture, photography, sound pieces, and social interactions. It’s interesting to note that they will be the first collaborators, rather than a single artist, to represent the United States and the first time that a combination of performance and installation will occupy the pavilion. This shift toward, a more interdisciplinary art, one hopes, will provide a new space for contemporary artists working outside traditional realms of the art world.
     This year marks the 54th Venice Biennale, which in many ways can be compared to the Olympic games of the contemporary art world. More than seventy nations are present. In 2009, Bruce Nauman represented the United States, before that, a posthumous Félix González-Torres. Allora and Calzadilla’s project for the Biennale will consist of six new site-specific works in a display curated by Lisa Freiman, chair of the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s contemporary art department. According to El Nuevo Día, Allora & Calzadilla will prepare six pieces to be placed inside and outside of the U.S. pavilion and will create works that “analyze contemporary geopolitics through the lens of spectacular nationalistic and competitive enterprises such as the Olympic Games, international commerce, war, the military-industrial complex, and even the Biennale itself”.

1 2 3 4


Art, Books October 28, 2010 By Sarah Coleman

filler181 Street Photography Now

Images courtesy of Thames & Hudson

Trafalgar Square, London, 2007. © Matt Stuart. Images courtesy of Thames & Hudson

streetphotographynow title Street Photography Now
Street photography goes back at least to the 1930s, when Henri Cartier-Bresson roamed the streets of Paris with his lightweight Leica in hand. But it really came of age in the 1950s, when photographers like Garry Winogrand, Lee Friedlander, and Joel Meyerowitz made a point of spending all day on the streets, catching quirky, serendipitous moments of everyday life. The challenge, always, was to be in the right place at the right time, alert and perfectly positioned to capture what Cartier-Bresson called “the decisive moment” — when background, subject, and mood came together in surprising and revealing ways
     In Street Photography Now (Thames & Hudson), authors Sophie Haworth and Stephen McLaren have put together a survey of some of the world’s best street photography at this particular moment. That’s no easy task, of course. The advent of sites like Facebook, Flickr, and Twitpic has made almost all of us into street photographers of one sort or another. To narrow down the task, Haworth and McLaren sought out “the strongest work by the most committed practitioners”, choosing forty-six photographers to represent the genre. Included are are some long-established names — such as Meyerowitz, who’s still going strong fifty years after his debut — but most of the photographers are up-and-coming, in their late thirties and early forties. In other words, they’re old enough to have developed a signature style, but young and energetic enough to pound the pavement every day.

1 2 3 4 5

Music October 27, 2010 By Areti Sakellaris

filler180 Systema Solar: Systema Solar

OneRPM

OneRPM

systemasolar title Systema Solar: Systema Solar
Playing with dynamite isn’t for everyone, but this music-video collective from Colombia’s Caribbean coast harnesses the blaze into an impressive debut. With backgrounds as DJs, producers, dancers, and rappers, the ambitious bunch gathered in 2006 to connect disparate styles with a reverence for electronic music and the jubilation of rave culture. They share a deep love for the verbena, which is the carefree and footloose spirit of revelers along the coastline. “Bienvenidos” aptly welcomes everyone to the party with Afro-Latin percussion and dizzying claps and raps. Like the mobile pikos sound systems, Systema Solar is a sprightly jaunt zipping through the airwaves. It’s not all partying, however. Systema Solar tackles Colombia’s stigma as a land overrun by drug dealers on “Quien es el Patron?” and the inequities between north and south. No one is left untouched and the old-school hip-hop flavor of “El Amarillo” gives voice to a populace coerced into upholding the status quo.

Next

Books, Music October 26, 2010 By Eugene Rabkin

Photography by Kevin Cummins, courtesy of Kevin Cummings,  Joy Division, Rizzoli, 2010. (Click images to enlarge)

photography by Kevin Cummins, courtesy of Kevin Cummings, Joy Division, Rizzoli, 2010. (Click images to enlarge)

joydvision title Joy Division
I came to Joy Division through Nine Inch Nails, after hearing their brilliant cover of “Dead Souls” on The Crow soundtrack. I was immediately attracted by the emotional energy that bubbled up under Curtis’s somber, meditative voice. His introspection was way more attractive than the screams of the Sex Pistols. This lack of ostentation was what put the “post“ in “post-punk” for me.
    Much has been said about Curtis’s suicide thirty years ago. Sometimes it seemed inevitable — his lyrics were permeated with existential crisis. I am writing this as drums cascade on “Heart and Soul”, and Curtis sings, “Existence, well, what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can”. But to write another eulogy seems pointless. Sometimes images do more by allowing us to simply absorb, without interpreting and analyzing.
    Joy Division never made it big during its short life, and so the band was rarely photographed. A new book, Joy Division (Rizzoli, $45), by the band’s photographer, Kevin Cummins, aims to fill this void. For the truly obsessive, the book begins with shots of various Joy Division paraphernalia, including the original instruments and Curtis’s notebooks. But the book really unravels in the following photo session that depicts the band walking through dreary Manchester, including the famous shot of the band standing on a snowy overpass. Other photo sessions (they function like small stories) depict the band rehearsing and performing. The black and white images look raw and vivid, harking back to the pre-digital photography world, and they make the band come alive again.

1 2 3 4 5


Art, Books October 25, 2010 By Virginia Smith

Photography courtesy of Chronicle Books

Photography courtesy of Chronicle Books

mcsweeny title Art of McSweeneys
With this summer’s release of Art of McSweeney’s, Dave Eggers and co. may have provided the most compelling reason yet to hold off on buying a Kindle. Though Art of McSweeney’s is technically an anniversary tribute to the unfailingly original visuals in the pages and on the covers of all publications under the McSweeney’s umbrella — The Believer magazine, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, all four imprints of McSweeney’s Books — the über-illustrated tome is a typically large McSweeney’s undertaking, a tribute to the very existence and possibilities of print media.
     “We spend a good deal of time editing books, and producing books of the highest quality we’re capable of, in the hopes that in doing so, we’ll keep people mindful of the pleasures of the book-as-object,” explains Eggers in the book’s early pages, alongside his dedication to “these physical books that purportedly have no future”.
     True to their mission, the McSweeney’s team has created an object that can only be properly experienced in hard copy. From diagrams to illustrations to behind-the-scenes photos (Joyce Carroll Oates playing Sega stands out as a highlight) Art of McSweeney’s reads like a 264-page love letter to all things printed and bound, complete with a muse board of old school book covers that would make Kanye West proud.

1 2 3

Books, Greenspace October 25, 2010 By Jordan Sayle

Cover courtesy of

Cover courtesy of The University of Chicago Press

thepowersthatbe title The Powers that Be
This was supposed to be the year when the powers in Washington came together to pass new legislation on energy. Instead, it is a year that may best be remembered for an unprecedented oil spill and a missed opportunity at seriously addressing climate and energy security concerns. The announcement that the White House is being fitted for new solar panels comes as a potential sign of newly recharged aspirations, but for now the lack of a clear forward strategy simply means that these issues will only gain greater urgency. This places even greater relevance on the recently published tour de force of an energy guidebook, The Powers That Be (The University of Chicago Press, $35) by geologist and science writer Scott L. Montgomery. While conceding that a precise picture of the future is still impossible to draw, the book presents an encyclopedic account of the current landscape and a preview of the transformations and challenges awaiting us.
     The decades ahead will be ruled above all else by energy pluralism, according to Montgomery, given the fact that a greater set of options now exists than ever before and with advancements continuing to take place in each case. Yet in our energy present, 80 percent of the globe is still powered by fossil fuels. There is a tremendous upward trend in demand, mollified only temporarily by the recession and led primarily by developing nations, such as China and India, which are relying to an alarming degree on their domestic coal reserves. The issue is not one of resource depletion.

Next

Art October 22, 2010 By Jennifer Pappas

Caption (Click images to enlarge)

Arch 4 (Summer), Susan Derges Images courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum (Click images to enlarge)

shadowcatchers title Shadow Catchers
Made famous by the likes of Man Ray and Moholy-Nagy, camera-less experiments can be traced back to the genesis of photography. Beginning in the 1830s, artists continually broke new ground toying with light-blocking, shadow-casting and chemical manipulation, accidentally creating photogenic drawings, or photograms. Unlike virtually everything we know of today, camera-less images are truly unique and cannot be reproduced the same way twice. Often crafted to scale, the results are ephemeral, transient, and mysterious, offering a more intimate look at the object or figure being captured. Steeped in metaphor and reliant on the ‘unseen’, each image is an exploration — of life and death, time and timelessness, disappearing and emerging. The paradigm of normal perception is questioned as discoveries are made in the shadows.
     This month, five leading contemporary artists of camera-less fame will be featured in Shadow Catchers, a new exhibit opening at London’s V&A. The exhibition includes an impressive array of enigmatic images that marry the effects of light, movement, science, and art. Eerie silhouettes, spectral forms and magical traces of smoke, air, and water leave the viewer in a perpetual state of suspended disbelief. Five short films and a beautiful hardback book published by Merrell Publishers accompany the exhibit. Together, Pierre Cordier (Belgium), Susan Derges (UK), Adam Fuss (UK/USA), Garry Fabian Miller (UK), and Floris Neusüss (Germany) have done more for the art form than any group of contemporary artists that came before them.

1 2 3 4 5 6


Music October 21, 2010 By Lily Moayeri

filler175 Andreya Triana: Lost Where I Belong

Ninja Tune

Ninja Tune

triana title Andreya Triana: Lost Where I Belong
Andreya Triana has gainfully been trying to make her voice heard as guest vocalist on records by Flying Lotus, Theo Parrish, and Mr. Scruff. It is Bonobo’s Simon Green, however, who decided to shine the spotlight on this soul torch singer by producing her debut, Lost Where I Belong. Green brings modern day trippy touches to Belong, but it is Triana’s beleaguered character and expert songwriting that is its draw. Husky delivery and bearing lyrics set Triana apart from soul artists who keep their innermost feelings hidden. Triana takes cues from some greats: Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Nina Simone, and Billie Holiday. But rather than imitating, she allows their styles inform hers by developing something all her own that owes as much to jazz as it does to soul. Triana’s songs have a haven’t-I-heard-this-song-before quality to them — the sign of a hit. Front-loading Belong are a couple of stellar tracks, the painful ripper “Draw The Stars” and the revealing title track. Shuffling beats and Portishead-esque cracking tones keep Triana — and the listener — on the brink of tears on “Daydreamers”. The only drawback of Belong may be that it doesn’t explore Triana’s varied vocal styles as much as it could.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Buy this at Other Music or iTunes. After the jump, check out the video for “A Town Called Obsolete”.

Next

Events October 21, 2010 By Nika Knight

Click image for more details

Click image for more details

saladdays title Salad Days
Salad Days, a group show comprising 49 emerging and established contemporary artists, opens tonight at The Journal Gallery in Williamsburg. Featured artists include Tim Barber of tinyvices.com, Agathe Snow, Lizzi Bougatsos, Jack Pierson, Kathy Lo, Carlos Valencia, and many more. Details of the show are sparse, but the laundry list of participating en vogue downtown artists seems to indicate a show worth seeing. The opening, from 6-9pm tonight, should shed some light on the mystery — be sure to check it out.

The Journal Gallery: 168 North 1st Street, Brooklyn. The gallery is open from 12 p.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday – Sunday.

Features October 20, 2010 By Alex Shephard

Director Gaspar Noé , An IFC Films release (Click images to enlarge)

Director Gaspar Noé , An IFC Films release (Click images to enlarge)

gaspar title Gaspar Noé Interview
Of contemporary filmmakers, perhaps only Lars von Trier could claim to be more divisive and controversial than Gaspar Noe. There are the hostile reviews, walkouts at Cannes, and the scene in his second feature, Irreversible, in which Monica Bellucci’s character is savagely beaten and raped — the origin of much of the controversy.
     But to focus too much on Noe’s reputation is to ignore that he is one of the most gifted, original, and, yes, provocative filmmakers working today. His newest film, Enter the Void, is his most experimental and also his best. Set in Tokyo, much of the two-and-a-half-hour film is shot from the perspective of the disembodied spirit of its protagonist, Oscar, a young American drug dealer who is shot by the police during a bust. The film’s plot, which explores reactions to Oscar’s death, his past, and his arguably incestuous but definitely Freudian relationship with his sister is ultimately less important than Noe’s suggestion that death is the biggest trip. To talk about blasts of light or shaky cameras would blunt the impact of what is, formally at least, one of the most inventive psychedelic films in recent memory. PLANET spoke with Gaspar Noe about critical reaction to his movies, psychedelic films, and one of Enter the Void’s most memorable scenes.

1 2 3 4 5 6