At key moments in history, artists have reached beyond galleries and museums, using their work as a call to action to create political and social change. The Brooklyn Museum's exhibition Agitprop! explores the legacy and continued power of politically engaged art through more than 50 contemporary projects and artworks from five historical moments of political urgency. Agitprop! will be on view from December 11, 2015 through August 7, 2016 in the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art.
The term "agitprop"emerged from the Russian Revolution almost 100 years ago, combining the words "agitation" and "propaganda" to describe art practices intended to incite social change. Since that time, artists across the ideological and global landscape have adopted modes of expression that can be widely reproduced and disseminated. Agitprop! will feature a full range of these materials, from photography and film to prints and banners to street actions and songs, TV shows, social media, and performances. Connecting current creative practices with strategies from the early 20th century, these projects show artists responding to the pressing questions of their day and seeking to motivate broad, diverse audiences.
In keeping with the collaborative spirit of agitprop, contemporary artists participated in the selection of the exhibition's content, thereby opening up the process to reflect multiple perspectives and positions. Unfolding in three waves, Agitprop! kicks off on December 11 with five case studies in early agitprop and 20 contemporary art projects selected by the Sackler Center staff. The first round of participants will each invite an artist or collective whose work will be added to the installation beginning February 17; that second group will then invite a final round of artists, whose work will be incorporated on April 6. In total, more than 50 contemporary fusions of art and political action, involving hundreds of contributors, will be exhibited.
The first round of invited artists includes Luis Camnitzer (US/Argentina), Zhang Dali (China), Chto Delat (Russia), Dread Scott (US), Dyke Action Machine! (US), Friends of William Blake (US), Coco Fusco (US), Futurefarmers (US), Ganzeer (Egypt/US), Gran Fury (US), Guerrilla Girls (US), Jenny Holzer (US), Los Angeles Poverty Department (US), Otabenga Jones & Associates (US), Yoko Ono (Japan/US), Sahmat Collective (India), Martha Rosler (US), Adejoke Tugbiyele (Nigeria/US), Cecilia Vicuña (Chile) and John Dugger (US); and, in a collaborative work, The Yes Men (US) with Steve Lambert(US), CODEPINK (US), May First/People Link (US), Evil Twin (US), Improv Everywhere (US) and Not An Alternative (US), along with more than 30 writers, 50 advisers, and 1,000 volunteer distributors (US).
On view throughout the length of the exhibition, the historical examples explore the various ways that political aspirations took creative form in the early 20th century, from women as subjects and makers of Soviet propaganda to the cultural campaigns for women's suffrage and against lynching in America, and from individual practices such as Tina Modotti's socialist photographs in Mexico to the government-sponsored Living Newspaper productions of the Federal Theatre Project. The contemporary projects address urgent struggles for social justice since the second half of the 20th century, including anti-war demonstrations, AIDS activism, environmental advocacy, multipronged demands for human rights, and protests against mass incarceration and economic inequality.
"This exhibition continues the Brooklyn Museum's commitment to providing a platform for public dialogue around political and artistic issues and for placing contemporary work in the context of a vast collection that encourages audiences to make connections between the past and the present," said Anne Pasternak, Shelby White and Leon Levy Director of the Brooklyn Museum.
Agitprop! is organized by the staff of the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Saisha Grayson, Assistant Curator; Catherine Morris, Sackler Family Curator; Stephanie Weissberg, Curatorial Assistant; and Jess Wilcox, Programs Manager.
On the occasion of the current exhibition Hans Schärer: Madonnas and Erotic Watercolors, join us at New York's Swiss Institute on Wednesday, December 9 for an artist talk celebrating KALEIDOSCOPE's recentArt&Sex Edition, a special themed issue dedicated to all expressions of sexuality as addressed in contemporary art and visual culture.
The talk is based and expands on "Sex on Paper," a visual feature curated by New York-based painter Mathew Cerletty in the Art&Sex Edition, consisting of a selection of works on paper that "playfully reflect some of the many complications of human sexuality: fantasy, twisted obsession, unbridled lust, sweet vulnerability, and of course the simple beauty of a physical connection."
Alongside Cerletty, participants to the talk, moderated by KALEIDOSCOPE's newly-appointed associate editorAlexander Shulan, include featured artists Jonah Koppel, Emily Mae Smith and Betty Tompkins.
KALEIDOSCOPE's Art&Sex Edition will be available to browse and buy at the ARTBOOK @ Swiss Institute bookstore.
Featuring: Simon Baier on Anne Collier Matthias Reichelt on Helmut und Johanna Kandl Guy Mannes-Abbott on Ala Younis Cecilia Fajardo-Hill on Teresa Burga
Column: Cinenova—Feminist Film and Video Distributor
Processes that determine the distribution of political, social, cultural, and economic agency have long been playing out—not just starting with the events currently culminating around flight and migration in Europe—attesting to dislocation in terms of geography and politics. The current issue of Camera Austria Internationalfocuses on four artistic positions, exemplary and antithetical in equal measure, in an attempt to explore the issue of the construction and reconstruction of history, of remembrance, and of cultural memory. In the case ofAnne Collier, her work often deals with the re-representation of already published visual testimonials. AsSimon Baier notes, "most of the found objects originate from a past that, though not specified, usually goes back to the pre-digital era … [they] are obsolete media in our present day and age." But what does bringing supposedly obsolete material back into play mean, exposing it to a new gaze?
Helmut andJohanna Kandl have long engaged in travel, research, and photography, encountering a diverse range of people, friends of friends—in the Austrian Waldviertel, former Yugoslavia, former Czechoslovakia, and Ukraine. Memories, information, and pictures are arranged in an associative way, and banal motifs are constellated with world-historical ones—not as counter-narratives, but rather as a part of history, as commentary on and corrective of the grand narratives.
The contribution on Ala Younis in the present issue goes back to her participation in this year's Venice Biennale. In Plan for Greater Baghdad (2015), she references Frank Lloyd Wright's 1957 redesign of the city as "Persianate fantasia." Guy Mannes-Abbott takes a fragmented approach and contextualises the many misunderstandings and violations within history that were so fundamental to this modernisation.
We also invited Teresa Burga to present her work. Since the 1960s, Burga has been probing traditional conceptions of art, as well as the role and status of women within society. With her unconventional, critical stance towards gender and art issues, Burga is, as Cecilia Fajardo-Hill writes, one of those artists outside of the European and North American mainstream who "have, despite their invisibility in art-historical books, surveys, and key museum exhibitions, created some of the most radical and original art in the 20th century—works that we are only learning about now."
For this issue and the fourth and last part of this year's Column, the authors Madeleine Bernstorff and Sandra Schäfer, as part of the collective Cinenova Feminist Film and Video Distributor, explore "monocultures, asserting feminist objections, and liquefying dominant narrations through a mosaic structure" in films by Ruth Novaczek and Heiny Srour.
This issue is rounded off by Jan Wenzel's "The Revolving Bookshelf" and by responses to newly published books, as well as 15 reviews on 22 exhibitions from eight countries, including:  Places  Precarious Fields, Fotofestival Mannheim-Ludwigshafen-Heidelberg; Mark Leckey + Alessandro Raho: We Transfer, Secession, Vienna; Stadt/Bild.Image of a City, Berlinische Galerie, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Deutsche Bank KunstHalle, Nationalgalerie—Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin; The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe's Photographs of Angola and South Africa, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Hengameh Golestan: Witness 1979, The Showroom, London; The School of Kyiv, various venues, Kiev; Back to the Future: steirischer herbst 2015, various venues, Graz and environs; Telling Time: Rencontres de Bamako—Biennale Africaine de la Photographie, 10ième édition, Musée National du Mali and various venues, Bamako; Zofia Rydet: Record 1978–1990, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw.
Camera Austria International Published quarterly, 104 pages, German / English
White Cube is pleased to present 6 x 6 An Improvisation by Larry Bell, an off-site project organised to coincide with Art Basel Miami Beach. For this exhibition, Bell has installed a major "Standing Wall" sculpture, previously exhibited at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas (2014-15). 6 x 6 An Improvisation comprises 36 individual glass panels. Responding intuitively to the dynamics of the space, Bell, in the process of arranging the glass panels, allows the particular conditions of natural light at different times of the day to transform the installation.
One of the leading exponents of California’s "Light and Space" movement, Bell has consistently focused on the properties of light and its interface with surface throughout his 50-year career. His earliest works from the 1960s, paintings on shaped canvases, corresponded to the silhouette of a box drawn in isometric projection. This exploration of spatial ambiguity eventually evolved into sculptural constructions made of wood and glass, and then glass cubes and standing glass-panel wall sculptures, for which he has now become well known. From 1963 onward, Bell began exploring the passing of light through his sculptures, deploying a technique of vacuum deposition whereby thin films were added to the clear glass panels. The resulting glass cubes, presented on transparent pedestals, offered the viewer the essence of captured light, challenging notions of mass, volume and gravity in one single measure.
Bell continues to employ glass in his work, harnessing in particular the material’s special properties of transmitting, absorbing and reflecting light. He has said: "Although we tend to think of glass as a window, it is a solid liquid that has at once three distinctive qualities: it reflects light, it absorbs light, and it transmits light all at the same time."
In 6 x 6 An Improvisation, Bell combines three types of glass: grey, clear and partially coated panels that have been treated with a thermal evaporation process, depositing a thin layer of nickel-chrome on their surface. Architectural in form and reference, the panels function as mirrors, windows and doors. Bell describes his "Standing Walls" as "improvisational," since not only do they change with varying light but incorporate a degree of experimentation in their final forms, as the technical process of their making allows for many possibilities and permutations. Highly dramatic and visually complex, 6 x 6 An Improvisation creates a sequence of layered reflections and shapes, converging hues and densities, while maintaining the illusion of volume.
Commenting on the series, Bell says: "In some cases, it’s highly reflective where the glass parts come together; in others, it is highly reflective where the glass touches the floor, and so on. And I like the idea of being able to just combine these things so they’d stand up, since the parts were all the same size. The balance is in the weight of their own vertical thrust, and they are anchored to the floor and bound together with glue. So they hold each other up, and I could change it any way I want."
Recent installations of the "Standing Wall" sculptures, in addition to the Chinati Foundation installation (2014–15), include 6 x 8 An Improvisation at White Cube Mason’s Yard, London (2015). Bell’s work will also be included in a group show, LAX-MIA: Light + Space, at the Surf Club, Surfside, Miami, from December 1–12, 2015.
Larry Bell was born in 1939 and lives and works between Los Angeles, CA and Taos, NM. He has exhibited widely, including the group exhibitions Larry Bell, Robert Irwin, Doug Wheeler, Tate Britain, London (1970); 11 Los Angeles Artists, Hayward Gallery, London (1971); and Phenomenal, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2011). Solo exhibitions include the Pasadena Art Museum, California (1972); Fort Worth Art Museum, Dallas, Texas (1975 and 1977); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1986); Denver Art Museum, Colorado (1995); Carré d’Art Musée d’art Contemporain de Nîmes, France (2011); and The Chinati Foundation, Marfa, Texas (2014).
Quotes taken from an interview between Larry Bell and Marianne Stockebrand, White Cube Mason’s Yard, July 16, 2015.
Top: Park Kyong, City Mix: Exploding, 2015. HD digital video / audio, 43,681 x 3,340 mm, 2:05 minutes. Bottom: Park Kyong, City Mix: Connecting, 2015. HD digital video/audio, 43,681 x 3,340 mm, 1:30 minutes.
Imagining New Eurasia Project
A Project by Kyong Park
November 25, 2015–2018
The Asia Culture Center ACC Creation, Space 3 38, Munhwajeondang-ro Dong-gu, Gwangju Republic of Korea
For centuries, Asia and Europe were thought to be separate and distinct. But where exactly is the physical demarcation between them? Is it the Ural Mountains or Caucasus Mountains? Or do the linked bodies of water from the Sea of Marmara, Black Sea, and Caspian Sea to the Ural River separate Asia from Europe? The exact line of physical demarcation between Asia and Europe is still disputed and remains inconclusive.
The division of Eurasia is merely of a cultural construct, as history confirms. Rather than being defined by its supposed division, the horizontality of the Eurasian landmass has allowed various inventions, religions and languages to spread to the far reaches of East and West. Old Silk Roads, New Silk Roads, and the like are proof that the geography of the continent is a unifying force. Eurasia is a single continent, not only by its physical attributes, but also by its shared history.
Today, Eurasia is once again becoming one. Besides the Trans-Siberian Railways, now the New Eurasian Land Bridge connects Lianyungang with Rotterdam to allow shipments of materials from China to Europe. There are more proposals for new railroads and highways between China, India and Southeast Asia, while Russia has even proposed tunnels and bridges across the Bering Strait to North America. Furthermore, there are also many newly built and proposed oil and gas pipelines that will remake the Middle East and Central Asia a land of connections and exchanges, as they were during the Old Silk Roads era and beyond.
Imagining New Eurasia is a multi-year project to research and visualize the historical precedents and contemporary reconstructions of the continent as a union of Europe and Asia. The project imagines new relations between East and West, and a renewed identity for Eurasia. Through a narrative sequence of three distinctive chapters, each with different subjects, the Imagining New Eurasia Project will present the importance of cities, networks and territories. In so doing, the project envisions how the movements of commerce, migrations and cultural exchanges could bring about an age of balance, where greater relations and understandings between different societies could help avoid clashes of civilizations. Central to this project is the New Eurasian Pavilion, which will house panoramic projections of visualizations, accompanied by participatory exhibitions, publications and workshops.
Chapter 1 Here, There, and Everywhere: Eurasian Cities November 25, 2015–July 15, 2016
Director of Visualization: Jaekyung Jung Project Architect: B.A.R.E Curator: Jihoi Lee
The inaugural exhibition of the Imagining New Eurasia Project looks at the cultural terrain of Eurasia through the localized lens of different “cities.” The intention is to visualize the structures of cultural transitions, exchanges, and interactions between different places. Primarily consisting of three parts, “Atlas of a New Geography,” “City Mix,” and “Urban Poetry,” the exhibition seeks to animate a new way of understanding the relations between here, there, and everywhere of Eurasia.
Commissioned by the Asia Culture Center—the ACC Creation and Asia Culture Institute. Supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Office for the Hub City of Asian Culture, Republic of Korea.
In keeping with its ongoing policy of bringing the visual arts and music together, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts is presenting the Canadian premiere of from here to ear v.19 by French artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, from November 25, 2015 to March 27, 2016. For this immersive installation, the Contemporary Art Square will be transformed into a giant aviary, one of the largest ever created by the artist, who represented France in the 2015 Venice Biennale.
"This presentation is another in our programme of exhibitions where art and music intersect: following Imagine and Warhol Live, it was only natural for us to present the Canadian premiere of this magical, poetic work by artist and musician Céleste Boursier-Mougenot. It's another first for the Museum, which is being transformed into a musical aviary—complete with live birds! We invite visitors to come and marvel at their collective performance," said Nathalie Bondil, the Museum's Director and Chief Curator.
An unusual musical pairing of birds and electric guitars, from here to ear v.19 "stars" more than 70 zebra finches. These enchanting little birds, native to the Australian grasslands, "perform" in their aviary in the Square, where visitors can stroll around "bird territory." The finches perch on guitars and electric basses plugged into amplifiers, producing live sounds on instruments tuned to open blues tunings or rock power chords to create a lively, organic, ephemeral piece of music, which changes as visitors walk around the gallery.
The first version of from here to ear was presented at MoMA PS1 in 1999. Since then, various works have been exhibited under the generic title from here to ear. While these installations share a common principle—an aviary where visitors can get close to the birds, whose activity creates a live piece of music—each installation is to be considered as a unique work determined by the circumstances of the exhibition setting. After New York, Paris, Milan, Linz in Austria, and Brisbane, this is the 19th presentation of the installation.
Born in Nice in 1961, Céleste Boursier-Mougenot lives and works in Sète, France. After serving as composer for writer and director Pascal Rambert's Side One Posthume Théâtre company, the artist, a musician by training, began to give autonomous form to his music by creating installations. Since 1994, he has been combining visual arts and experimental music while making use of the codes of live entertainment. Starting with the most diverse situations or objects, he seeks out their musical potential, conceiving systems that extend the idea of a musical score to the unorthodox configurations of materials and media he uses to generate forms of sound that he calls "living" music. In recent years, Boursier-Mougenot has expanded his practice to include choreography, applying his composition process to moving objects. He is represented by Paula Cooper Galleries in New York, Xippas in Paris and Mario Mazzoli in Berlin.
The exhibition was installed with the assistance of Yves Théoret, Head of Curatorial Affairs, Sandra Gagné, Head of Exhibitions Production, Richard Gagnier, Head of Conservation, and Marie-Eve Beaupré, Curator of Quebec and Canadian Art (1945 to Today). The Museum is also working with a team of veterinary technicians, and an avian veterinarian visits regularly to ensure optimal living conditions for the finches are maintained.
Source and information: Elisabeth-Anne Butikofer Press Officer, The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts firstname.lastname@example.org