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BEST OF 2017.

OKWUI ENWEZOR

ANNE DRESSEN

HAL FOSTER

ZOE WHITLEY

RACHEL KUSHNER

WOLFGANG TILLMANS

JAMILLAH JAMES

BRANDEN W. JOSEPH

MANUEL BORJA-VILLEL

JACK BANKOWSKY

VENUS LAU

DANIEL BIRNBAUM

KAELEN WILSON-GOLDIE

MATTHEW HIGGS

VINCE ALETTI

KELLER EASTERLING

FOR THE BEST OF 2017 ISSUE, a renowned group of critics, artists, and curators from around the world take stock of the year in art--and of art's place amid social, judicial, political, and ecological shifts. Eleven contributors count down the exhibitions and events that stood out to them; four others highlight a single project; and theorist and scholar Keller Easterling assesses "The Year in Weather."

OKWUI ENWEZOR

OKWUI ENWEZOR IS DIRECTOR OF HAUS DER KUNST, MUNICH, WHERE HE RECENTLY COCURATED "POSTWAR: ART BETWEEN THE PACIFIC AND THE ATLANTIC, 1945-1965"; "FRANK BOWLING: MAPPA MUNDI"; AND "SARAH SZE: CENTRIFUGE." HE HAS HEADED NUMEROUS MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITIONS, INCLUDING DOCUMENTA 11 (2002) AND THE 56TH VENICE BIENNALE (2015), AND WAS AWARDED THE 2017 INTERNATIONAL FOLKWANG PRIZE BY THE MUSEUM FOLKWANG, ESSEN, GERMANY. (SEE CONTRIBUTORS.)

THE BEST OF TIMES, THE WORST OF TIMES

In a year that delivered no end of difficult news around the globe, curator and scholar Okwui Enwezor highlights 2017's seminal moments of reckoning and light.

1

KERRY JAMES MARSHALL (MET BREUER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY IAN ALTEVEER, HELEN MOLESWORTH, AND DIETER ROELSTRAETE) It seems more than appropriate that one of the year's most artistically rewarding and culturally meaningful exhibitions--the tour de force retrospective of Kerry James Marshall's paintings at the Met Breuer--opened in the short interregnum between the Obama and Trump presidencies. That contrast, in itself, is a momentous point in American history. Marshall's painting calls into question the very meaning of color, especially the way it functions as a sign of denotative and connotative intention; how images materialize and become present before the beholder and within culture as such. At a deep psychological level, Marshall deploys color to thematize figural blackness and, in so doing, to reframe the atopia of the black figure in the field of classical representation. On the other hand, color functions on a philosophical level in Marshall's painting in a restorative manner, for it binds the figures inside the frames of his pictures within the tongue duree of historical developments in Western painting, from which the presence of the black figure had long been expunged. The exhibition's most powerful effect was being in the galleries as they pulsated with those luminous presences in one knockout painting after another.

Co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

2

DOCUMENTA 14: "LEARNING FROM ATHENS" (KASSEL AND ATHENS; CURATED BY ADAM SZYMCZYK) and THE 57TH VENICE BIENNALE: "VIVA ARTE VIVA" (CURATED BY CHRISTINE MACEL) The last time these two major events coincided, in 2007, they both received lukewarm critical appraisal. Ten years on, Documenta 14 and the Fifty-Seventh Venice Biennale were each met with divided opinion. To my mind, however, both megashows are united by a curatorial mechanism that could be aptly described as the sheer persistence of archival recension, though this was more palpably so in Athens and Kassel than in Venice. Both exhibitions took stabs at how we perceive and organize history and memory. In the context of the corrosive white nationalism of the moment, the most salient attributes of these two stuttering exhibitions were their respective attempts to leave the West and its failed lessons behind. Documenta 14 surpassed my expectations with a relentless, stimulating, overarching program that could only be described as chronic, which is to say that its relevance bore no relationship to conventional historical progression, while Macel's more ludic exhibition portended the great unmaking of behavioral patterns, thread by thread, by which we judge the crazy quilt of the contemporary.

3

"SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER" (TATE MODERN, LONDON; CURATED BY MARK GODFREY AND ZOE WHITLEY WITH PRIYESH MISTRY) By the time 2016 reached its ignominious denouement, it had become clear that 2017 would be a year of reckoning for museums and art institutions. The reexamination of the convergence of a politics of form and a politics of representation seemed like a deep mine to explore. This was what made "Soul of a Nation" such an important marker in a year of political upheavals and retrograde appeals to ethnonationalism that threaten to surmount hard-won cosmopolitanism. With rooms full of art produced across the wild shores of experimental and formalist landscapes, curators Mark Godfrey and Zoe Whitley went back nearly sixty years to show us how impossible it is to constrain the humanist capacities of black genius in the face of the most incendiary forms of social deracination.

Co-organized with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, where it will be on view February 3-Aprii 23, 2018, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York, where it will be on view September 7, 2018-February 3, 2019.

4

"UPRISINGS" (JEU DE PAUME, PARIS; CURATED BY GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAN) Throughout a long career of insistent analytical probing of a wide variety of image regimes, the philosopher and art historian Georges Didi-Huberman has also made curating exhibitions a part of his critical approach to cultural analysis. "Uprisings" was not so much a call to arms as it was a narrative of how art, artists, writers, and activists (from the late-nineteenth to the twenty- first century) continuously challenge, resist, and blur the border between obedience and disobedience, while redirecting their energies toward placing art's agency on the historical record.

5

STUART HALL, CULTURAL STUDIES 1983: A THEORETICAL HISTORY (DUKE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 2016) The late Stuart Hall was more than an intellectual giant of postwar Britain. He was the great illuminator, whose farreaching insights into how the world is constructed show us why cultural studies is not about the manners learned from the masters, but a way of examining and understanding social reality as made by the people themselves. Argumentative, diagnostic, witty, and learned, the series of scintillating lectures contained in this volume presents Hall at the height of his fearless and generous scholarly powers, offering not only a history of cultural studies but a theoretical and politically engaged reading of our unequal centuries.

6

SIR DEREK ALTON WALCOTT (JANUARY 23, 1930-MARCH 17, 2017) Walcott was eighty-seven when he passed away under the Caribbean breezes of Saint Lucia, but it is inconceivable that the work of the great poet and Nobel laureate will ever really die. Yes, he is one of the immortals, like the wild parade of characters that people his Homeric poem Omeros. With language on parchment, Walcott limned and transformed the claustrophobia of island existence into a broad map of the world, where Africa, the Americas, and Europe intersect. In seven decades of writing, he worked and wrote across literary and poetic traditions, wringing meaning from both the historical and the everyday, while filleting the poem down to its luminous bones.

7

DANA SCHUTZ, OPEN CASKET (WHITNEY BIENNIAL, NEW YORK) The braveness of any artist isn't in how she survives a catastrophe. Rather, it lies in how she confronts her vulnerability in the face of sanction. I was reminded of this when I visited the Whitney as the debate surrounding Dana Schutz's painting Open Casket, 2016, in Christopher Lew and Mia Locks's otherwise admirable Biennial, was at fever pitch. My immediate impression of the work was that I was in the presence of what in photojournalism might be called a "carrion hunt": a type of pictorial voyeurism chasing the Pulitzer Prize. Such pictures unsettle us, and disturb our capacity for balance. This was what made Open Casket troubling: The peculiarities of the representation of the dead Emmett Till, built up in slatherings of lumpy paint, and the scarified scarecrow's head carelessly attached to the distended body inalterably transformed the image into an object of spectacle. For this reason, the painting disappointed according to the criteria by which we judge successful history painting. Beyond any heated discussions around who has the right or lack thereof to paint or represent whomever, Schutz's painting had other problems that exceed run-of-the-mill discussions of the principle of free expression and artistic freedom. Nevertheless, one has to give her credit for trying to engage a difficult historical episode in our own complex present moment--even if in the end she ultimately failed to do justice to the powerful subject matter with which she confronted us.

8

INAUGURATION OF DONALD J. TRUMP AND THE EVENTS IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA It did not take long after the dubious election of Trump to show that there will be a reckoning, politically, socially, and culturally, across the American historical landscape. The nation has long comforted itself with myths that remain conspicuously absent of its centuries of brutality and genocide, for which it has paid no penance. Throughout his campaign and inexplicable election, Trump's racial agitation has gnawed at the country's horrific and unhealed scabs, picking and tearing at the wounds to appease the hounds of white supremacy. People say that the events around August's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville were a watershed, and I say that the foundations were laid at the last stage of the campaign, when Trump arrived on the fields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spewing his rhetoric of white grievance on the grief-hallowed ground of the American Civil War.

9

RHODES MUST FALL (UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA) Just as calls for the removal of Confederate monuments and flags are slowly upending centuries of "tradition" and "culture" in the United States, in South Africa, old colonialist stalwarts such as Cecil Rhodes, who made a killing off of black bodies and labor, no longer sleep easy. The student movement Rhodes Must Fall first galvanized attention at the University of Cape Town in 2015 with the demand that the university remove the statue of the brutal imperialist profiteer from the campus grounds. From South Africa's Grahamstown, where Rhodes University is located, to Oxford University, where the "prestigious" Rhodes Scholarship is endowed, the movement now touches every conceivable monument glorifying an individual whose fortune was made through colonial exploitation and slavery.

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THE RISE OF ULTRA-RIGHT-WING NATIONALISM IN EUROPE What does it mean to live in a fugitive state? The irreducible nature of black and brown bodies as fugitive figures is a vexing global phenomenon, especially when such figures are placed beyond the protection of the law. Living in Europe today means waking up to the drumbeat of naked racial hostility. Virulent xenophobia is the immigrant's or refugee's current fugitive consciousness. He is today the dark figure of a tribal animus. One hopes, despite the recent surge of nationalism in Europe, that the bitter seeds that nearly destroyed the continent in the past are not sprouting again.

ANNE DRESSEN

ANNE DRESSEN IS A CURATOR AT ARC, THE CONTEMPORARY DEPARTMENT OF THE MUSEE D'ART MODERNE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS. SHE RECENTLY CURATED "MEDUSA: JEWELRY AND TABOOS," WHICH APPROACHED JEWELRY THROUGH ITS RELATIONSHIP TO IDENTITY, VALUES, ART, AND RITUALS. SHE IS CURRENTLY PREPARING A CERAMICS EXHIBITION.

1

VIRGINIE DESPENTES, VERNON SUBUTEXTRILOGY (EDITIONS GRASSET) Virginie Despentes is one of the best and boldest living French writers, and among the only ones I can also find at every train-station newsstand. I wish Vernon Subutex, her trilogy whose volumes came out one by one during the past three years, would never end. The titular main character and his entourage are contemporary antiheroes in the best sense of the term. Despentes succeeds in emphasizing the obscurantism, social crisis, and loss of humanity of the current times, inventing a new version of Balzac's La comedie humaine.

2

LEE LOZANO (MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFIA, MADRID; CURATED BY MANUEL BORJA-VILLEL AND TERESA VELAZQUEZ) This retrospective revealed the mind-blowing, disturbing work of an artist who stands on high alongside Sturtevant and Carol Rama in my pantheon. In a ten-year span, she not only invented a cartoonish surrealist expressionism, but also linked Pop art to Conceptual art and made haptic and sensual textile-like abstractions--all with a strong sexual charge and a critique of capitalist phallocentric machinery. By 1971, she had withdrawn from the art world and embarked on a "boycott of women" that was to last until the end of her life. Thankfully--and even though she chose to be buried in an anonymous grave in 1999--her extreme personal revolution was again visible.

3

OSCAR TUAZON, UN PONT (A BRIDGE) (BELFORT, FRANCE) Last November, I went to the formal opening of Un Pont, on a roundabout outside Belfort, France. A few years earlier, an association of World War II veterans lobbied for a memorial to the forgotten sacrifice of the Algerian commandos who fought against the Germans in 1944. Xavier Douroux, the passionate organizer behind the Nouveaux Commanditaires (New Patrons) project until he passed away last June, suggested Oscar Tuazon, who designed a wooden bridge with two crossing platforms oriented toward the Lion of Belfort in France and Staoueli in Algeria. It is the chasm in between that gives space for an urgent recognition of French colonial blind spots.

4

ZANELE MUHOLI (STEDELIJK MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM; CURATED BY HRIPSIME VISSER) I was literally hypnotized by the "brave beauty" (to quote one of her titles) of Zanele Muholi's film documenting the lesbian wedding of Ayanda and Nhlanhla near post-apartheid Johannesburg. Muholi is not only a talented photographer and filmmaker but also an engaged activist, whose online platform, Inkanyiso, is a sharp and systematic response to the lack of visual histories of South African LGBTQI community members, who are frequently victims of harassment and undocumented hate crimes. Her portraits show strong women, rarely smiling, facing Muholi and every viewer since: Through these images, they exist but also resist.

5

TONE VIGELAND (PINAKOTHEK DER MODERNE, MUNICH; CURATED BY PETRA HOLSCHER) A major figure in Norway since the 1960s, both for studio jewelry and, recently, sculpture, Vigelandjust had her first major European solo show outside Scandinavia. Though largely unknown to the art world, she is a pioneer of the so-called International Contemporary Jewelry scene, which redefines jewelry as "antistatus," or as more conceptually driven. Her work evokes ethnic jewelry as well as modernist sculpture, and reaches a state that is anything but accessory.

Co-organized by Die Neue Sammiung, Munich, and the Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum, Trondheim, Norway, where it will be on view January 26-April 1, 2018.

6

DANNY MCDONALD (HOUSE OF GAGA, LOS ANGELES) One of the most relevant contemporary artists, if too rarely seen, McDonald did not wait for Donald Trump's presidency to portray America's insane internal contradictions. His work now takes an even more biting tone. Covering the windows of the LA gallery space with red gels, he supplied an asphyxiating, bloody light for his new sculptures showcased inside. Nightmarish ready-made collages of cheap objects and action figures (Jesus, Santa Claus, Pee-wee Herman, Ronald McDonald), this art says so much about our confused, complacent world as it becomes more and more absurd and freaky.

7

"L'ESPRIT FRANQAIS: CONTRE-CULTURES, 1969-1989" (LA MAISON ROUGE, PARIS; CURATED BY GUILLAUME DESANGES AND FRANQOIS PIRON) With a willfully polemic title, this group exhibition took place in the midst of the violent xenophobic debates that preceded the French elections. It aimed to bring back the radical positions of the French intellectual left and underground of the 1970s and '80s, often influenced by Marquis de Sade's spirit, with magazine covers (from Hara Kiri to early Charlie Hebdo), Mft artworks (by Michel Journiac, Daniel Pommereulle, Pierre Klossowski, Marie France, and Pierre RH Zucca), and audio tracks (radio programs, Serge Gainsbourg, Berurier Noir). The show avoided both didacticism and fetishizing and acted as a safeguard against cynical apathy.

8

NICOLAS CECCALDI (LE CONSORTIUM, DIJON; CURATED BY STEPHANIE MOISDON) Knowing the artist's paintings are usually made under the influence of dark metal and goth aesthetics, Ceccaldi's show's title, "Ode to Joy," sounded perfectly ironic. Invited to sit alone with headphones in the middle of a large room, visitors could hear a soundtrack reinterpreting themes by Beethoven, Pergolesi, or Graveworm while viewing the twenty-four works aligned on the walls. Satanic inverted crosses, V for Vendetta masks, and avant-gardesque gestural representations at times gave way to authentic snail shells, a vivid Burgundian specialty, all encircled in kitschy baroque frames. The faiths of the Western world--in terms of religion, politics, and culture--were brilliantly delivered, backward and upside down.

On view through January 7, 2018.

9

BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE) (ROBIN CAMPILLO) This vibrant film commemorates the legacy of the French version of the direct-action group act up, which demanded immediate, largescale research in the fight against aids. If the fictional film, by a former insider, relates some internal and philosophical dissensions in the group's strategies, it does not include the crucial topic that critically divided it later: Guillaume Dustan's defense of bareback sex. Partial and personal, it is nevertheless a strong testimony of a time before PrEP medication was even thinkable.

10

DOCUMENTA 14 (KASSEL AND ATHENS) There was undoubtedly much to be seen but also learned from the massive project of doubling Documenta. Because of the nearly opposing contexts of Kassel and Athens, strict repetition never occurred, and artists were selected (mostly) from outside the market. I enjoyed encounters with some of my favorites: Annie Sprinkle (with Beth Stephens), Maria Lai, Christopher D'Arcangelo (whom I hesitate to list, to respect his will to disappear), Beau Dick, Hans Haacke, and les gens d'Uterpan. I also particularly liked Georgia Sagri's running performance, Koken Ergun's military video, Lorenza Bottner's queer drawings, and the narrative textiles of the Sami Artist Group. Thanks to the ambitious program of talks and publications, the experience went beyond the exhibitions.

BEST OF 2017

PAUL CHAN

Greene Naftali, New York

HAL FOSTER

FOR PAUL CHAN, "art is a lawless proposition." "The telos of artistic form," he argues, is a "spirit of irreconcilability." (1) As Chan well knows, this principle runs counter to traditional ideas of art as the mastering of composition and composure. He wants this irreconcilability because it keeps artistic form open and dynamic, and because this making and unmaking of the object might inspire a similar movement in the subject. Or so Chan believes: A lawless proposition is also a hopeful one.

Chan placed open and dynamic forms throughout Greene Naftali in March, a month when the Trump catastrophe had fully sunk in. The title of the show, "Rhi Anima," played on the Aristotelian treatise De Anima, which proposes that "knowledge is for that which moves by that which moves." Chan intended his pieces, which he calls "breathers," to evoke this "relationship between life (bios), consciousness or spirit [anima), and movement," as taken up by "a number of classical philosophers, from Heraclitus onward," some of whom he called out in his titles. Shaped from nylon and anchored with concrete and wood, these ghostly figures, some black, some white, were roiled by fans placed beneath them. With tubes for torsos and limbs, and hoods for heads, the breathers waved and writhed, upright and upside down, alone and in groups, at once bound and free. Sometimes they appeared to dance as if possessed, and sometimes to gesture compulsively, though what they signaled shifted as they did--a command, a cringe, a salute, a prayer? At first they looked like human figures and then like garbage bags caught in the wind. It was hard to shake the feeling that they were people become refuse, life stripped bare, or, conversely, the cast-out reanimated by fear and loathing, lumpenproles eager for the next fascist call to arms.

Over the past few years, another classical character has preoccupied Chan: Odysseus, whom Homer describes as polutropos, often translated as "wily." Chan advocates for Odysseus, who was disparaged by Adorno and Horkheimer in the Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944) as the first homo oeconomicus. The artist prizes his cunning in particular, which he opposes to the conning prevalent in the art world: Odysseus "survives and endures by the grace of what he knows and what he is capable of imagining and creating. Like an artist." "Nothing quickens the heart like cunning," Chan adds. "I like paradox. I need it." Polutropia literally means "many twists and turns," which the breathers in "Rhi Anima" act out literally, too. But the word might also point to a kind of cunning that uses multiple tropes in a critical performance of paradox, one that cuts against official ways of thinking (doxa). That is what "Rhi Anima" staged for me.

Take the multivalence of breathers. For Chan, the word evokes how pneuma--ancient Greek for breath--"'animates' the living in spirit and in form." In contemporary America, however, it also conjures the opposite, the desperate plea of Eric Garner, "I can't breathe," and all others whose spirits are choked, waterboarded, unjustly jailed or deported, run over, or simply shot. These breathers become spectral, even undead, for the rest of us. At the same time, in a further twist, the breathers arrayed in groups appeared to breathe together, which (a friend reminded me) is the etymology of "conspire"; in this respect they seemed cunning as well as uncanny. Such polutropia extended to the associations prompted by the breathers, which cross cultural lines, from the rituals of the KKK (a few titles called out the GOP) to the cartoons of Casper the Friendly Ghost, with the covens of Goya and the costumes of Halloween in between.

This is to say that Chan tapped into the iconicity of his spectral breathers. Like the torn hoodie that David Hammons first hung on a wall in 1993, this iconicity has an anachronic life that allows the image, never fixed in meaning, to be reanimated by each present that conjures it up. (Thus do some symbols remain potent and mnemonic today, even in a media ecology that is otherwise dispersive and amnesiac.) Amateur classicist that he is, Chan calls these anachronic images "kairological artworks" (kairos is time that is decisive, even epiphanic, as opposed to the sequential time of chronos). "They embody a desperate immanence, as if what is given is not good enough but will have to do," Chan writes. "They seize time the way a beat holds a song, to evoke the vertiginous feeling of seeing something emerge by being made and unmade at the same instant. They last as experiences by not staying whole as forms."

Freud once speculated about the antithetical meanings embedded in primal words, and often there is a similar volatility in anachronic images. "Rhi Anima" tapped into this energy, too, in a way that allowed us to reflect, early in the regime, on the awful absurdity of Trumpism, how it is both ridiculous and horrific, cartoonish and cataclysmic. Once we had Bush kitsch--yellow ribbons and decals of towers wrapped in flags--and today we have Trump kitsch; only, according to the new law that every rightist president outdoes the one before him, it is even worse: private jets for cabinet members and tiki torches for supremacists in the streets. In the first years of the Reagan era, Saul Friedlander was prompted to reflect on the "aesthetic frisson" created by Nazi juxtapositions of kitsch and death (Goebbels called his own toxic cocktail "a melodramatic song on top of a macabre dance"). For Friedlander, this frisson animated "a particular kind of bondage nourished by the simultaneous desires for absolute submission and total freedom." (2) Clearly this poltergeist is back, and with his breathers Chan aimed to at once represent it, parody it (or to paradoxify it), and detourn it (Breathers of the world, conspire!). He even held out for love among the ruins; one circle of breathers recalled the dancers of Matisse, and underscored the allusion with its subtitle: Le bonbeur de vivre dans la catastrophe du monde occidental. "To make something by subjecting it to the same forces that make life unlivable," Chan says, "and to do it as if its aesthetic life depends on it, charges what is made with an incalculable urgency." In a very bleak moment, "Rhi Anima" reanimated this spirit of irreconcilability.

HAL FOSTER TEACHES AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY. IN 2018, HE WILL DELIVER THE A. W. MELLON LECTURES IN THE FINE ARTS AT THE NATIONAL GALLERY OF ART IN WASHINGTON, DC. for notes, see page 222.

NOTES

(1.) Quotations of Chan are drawn from his Selected Writings 2000-2014 (New York: Badlands Unlimited, 2014); his press release for "Rhi Anima" (2017); a new translation of the Platonic dialogue Hippias Minor, introduced by him (New York: Badlands Unlimited, 2015); and a conversation between him and the classicist Brooke Holmes in Liquid Antiquity, ed. Brooke Holmes and Karen Marta (Athens: Deste Foundation, 2017).

(2.) Saul Friedlander, Reflections of Nazism: An Essay on Kitsch and Death, trans. Thomas Weyr (New York: Harper & Row, 1984), 19. On submission and freedom today, see my "Pere Trump," October, no. 159 (Winter 2017): 3-6.

ZOE WHITLEY

ZOE WHITLEY IS CURATOR OF INTERNATIONAL ART AT TATE MODERN IN LONDON, WHERE SHE COCURATED "SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER," WHICH TRAVELS TO CRYSTAL BRIDGES MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, BENTONVILLE, AR, AND THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM, NEW YORK, IN 2018-19. SHE WAS SPECIAL PROJECTS CURATOR FOR THE 10TH JOHANNESBURG ART FAIR (2017) AND SERVES ON THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR'S COUNCIL FOR PROSPECT.4 IN NEW ORLEANS.

1

OKWUI OKPOKWASILI AND PETER BORN, POOR PEOPLE S TV ROOM (NEW YORK LIVE ARTS, APRIL 16-22, 26-29) This astounding ninety-minute performance, with riveting choreography by Okpokwasili and a live-feed set designed by Born, traverses women's embodiment of memory and resistance, with references to the 1929 Women's War in Nigeria, in which Igbo women asserted their rights against colonial rule; the 2014 Chibok schoolgirls' kidnappings; and Oprah (here an acerbic metonym for aspiration). Undoubtedly the most affecting work I saw in the past year.

2

"THE INFINITE MIX" (THE STORE, 180 THE STRAND, LONDON; CURATED BY RALPH RUGOFF) This is how time-based media should be exhibited: sonically, visually, and experientially. Truthfully, I lost myself (and an entire day!) in this Hayward Gallery pop-up, between Jeremy Deller's hypnagogic collaboration with Cecilia Bengolea and works by Stan Douglas, Kahlil Joseph, and Ugo Rondinone. Without pretense, but with wit, verve, and originality, "The Infinite Mix" was an important reminder for all of us engaged in the work of cultural production that enjoyment is a lofty curatorial aim.

3

LUBAINA HIMID (MODERN ART OXFORD, UK; CURATED BY CIARA MOLONEY, EMMA RIDGWAY, AND STEPHANIE STRAINE) This long-overdue first major survey of a brilliant and sensitive oeuvre spans institutional critique, Himid's tireless championing of her artistic peers, and the artist's profound engagement with Western art history and material culture, from William Hogarth and James Gillrayto Bridget Riley and Marks & Spencer.

4

FRANK WALTER (ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA PAVILION, 57TH VENICE BIENNALE; CURATED BY BARBARA PACA) For me the unexpected highlight of Venice was this rigorously researched exhibition encompassing the prolific artist's paintings, sculptures, writings, and audio recordings. Alternating between a clear-eyed vision and an undeniable impulse for mythmaking, Walter embodies the lived postcolonial experience through remarkable abstract compositions, autobiographical constructions, and sublime landscapes.

5

WILLIAM KENTRIDGE (WHITECHAPEL GALLERY, LONDON: CURATED BY IWONA BLAZWICK AND SABINE BREITWIESER) The pacing of this exhibition was Kentridge at his best: genuine, generous, impressively methodical, and punctuated with pathos and humor. I made multiple visits and was never less than enthralled by the shadow play, the range, and the rhythm of the projected processionals.

Co-organized by the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, Denmark; Museum der Moderne, Saizburg, Austria; and the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK, where it will be on view in 2018.

6

LARA FAVARETTO, MOMENTARY MONUMENT--THE STONE (9TH LIVERPOOL BIENNIAL) Asserting itself in the midst of Rhiwlas Street's vacant homes in Toxteth, an inner-city section of Liverpool still perhaps best known as the site of a public outcry against unemployment and police brutality in 1981, Favaretto's piece extended her strong conceptual body of work with an emphatic statement about the ultimate impotence of memorialization.

7

"ALICE NEEL, UPTOWN" (DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK, AND VICTORIA MIRO, LONDON; CURATED BY HILTON ALS) "I hear you paint Spanish kids?" one of Neel's young would-be sitters is said to have asked the artist. Such anecdotes breathe from the walls in this genuinely affecting selection of portraits. Als and Neel--both inquisitive, lyrical provocateurs--are collectors of souls. The New York and London versions of this exhibition affirmed Neel's distinct vision of portraiture in ways we also discern in the oeuvre of esteemed photographers such as Nan Goldin and Dawoud Bey. Now there's a show I'd like to see next ...

8

"A LABOUR OF LOVE" (JOHANNESBURG ART GALLERY, SOUTH AFRICA; CURATED BY GABI NGCOBO AND YVETTE MUTUMBA) Hans Blum's 1986 purchase of South African art for Frankfurt's Weltkulturen Museum furnished the source material for an exhibition that fused scholarship with personal investment (hence the title) to urgently and insistently question artists' agency, then and now. A joy to behold, the show transcended the all-too-often hermetic confines of curatingthe archive.

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THEO ESHETU (TIWANI CONTEMPORARY, LONDON; CURATED BY EVA LANGRET) Video pioneer Eshetu took us on an engrossing, mythic journey elaborating the fraught histories of landscape and seascape in this kaleidoscopic jewel of an exhibition.

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JOHN AKOMFRAH (THE CURVE, BARBICAN ART GALLERY, LONDON) Is there a more overused word in contemporary curating than immersive? Still, it's my go-to descriptor for Akomfrah's latest, Purple, 2017, an ambitious six-channel work that baptizes the audience in sights and sounds that encompass melting ice caps, rising sea levels in the tropics, endangered folk songs, and biotechnology. David Lawson and Lina Gopaul's production is flawless, as is Trevor Mathison's score.

On view through January 7, 2018. Co-organized by Biidmuseet, Umea, Sweden; TBA21- Academy, Vienna; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and Museu ColeQao Berardo, Lisbon.

PAUL SCHRADER AND ANDREY ZVYAGINTSEV

RACHEL KUSHNER

PAUL SCHRADER'S First Reformed and Andrey Zvyagintsev's Loveless both feature pretty and guileless young blond women whose bellies swell with new life and who deliver babies, before the end of each film, into worlds that are maps of devastation--though the type of devastation varies slightly, as does the map.

Loveless takes place in suburban Moscow, where its miserable bourgeois characters live in symptomatic lack, as the title suggests. A divorcing couple bicker over how best to dissolve their life so they can go their separate ways. It's late autumn, and, as a voice from a radio news program casually announces, the shortening days, combined with a prediction that the apocalypse is coming, have resulted in an uptick in depression. People in this film constantly gaze out of windows, seen from outside, and the incipiently wintry scenes that they observe, beyond fogged and frozen glass, seem not idealizations into which they might dream of escaping but zones of gelid malevolence, of dispersed and multiple loci of unthinkable evil. The couple has an unwanted and ignored twelve-year-old child who appears only briefly, and then disappears. The nameless volunteers in safety-orange vests who search for him become a net of abstract moral conscience, roving the barren brown landscape, combing the bad and blank world. The camera lingers twice on a school, a shot that seems to borrow a cue from the final, obliquely mesmerizing frame in Michael Haneke's Cache (2005). Like Haneke, Zvyagintsev grips the viewer in a stranglehold of overwrought but thoroughly engrossing fiction. No deus ex machina is coming to save the child, and you can't, either. At the end, his mother gets on a treadmill perched on the balcony of her rich boyfriend's sleek, modern apartment block. Through the glass, we watch her take long strides toward nowhere in a red Team Russia tracksuit. All we have to hold on to is a single pounding piano note.

Do movies have to wager life, death, and destruction for greatness? Not always. But this year, maybe? First Reformed was described in a film-festival program as The Diary of a Country Priest meets Taxi Driver (1976). Laugh now, but you might cry later. Indeed, the film borrows quite heavily from Georges Bernanos's 1936 novel, famously adapted by Robert Bresson in 1951. Like the cure in Bernanos's book, Schrader's troubled minister, played by Ethan Hawke, is keeping a diary, which turns out to be a portrait of his own sainthood. Both men are in charge of obscure parishes (First Reformed is a Calvinist ministry somewhere in rural upstate New York; Bernanos's hero ministers to the denizens of a tiny village in northern France). Both are depressed and terminally ill, surviving on bread and wine alone--living, in other words, on the blood and body of Christ (although in Hawkes's case, the wine is mostly whiskey).

Schrader was raised and educated according to strict Calvinist doctrine, and given that biographical detail, this film, in its conception of grace, violence, and sacrifice, becomes suddenly inevitable, after everything else the director has made. The minister's feelings about the ruination of the planet from global warming and the corruption of the church by energy-industry billionaires result in his radicalization, bringing him into a realm that is closer to Bernanos the man--a conservative Catholic who later became an outspoken antifascist and attacked the Vatican for its support of Franco--than to the author's much gentler fictional creation, the country priest. Hawke's character lands on a new way to pray, a new form of prayer. If I were writing the promo I'd probably reference Yukio Mishima instead of Travis Bickle, but fewer people might remember that Schrader film's perfect conflation of death, life, action, and destiny into one fine point, the point of a sword. The highest form of hope, Bernanos wrote, in a critique of the feckless stupidity of optimism, is "despair overcome." The course of hopeful action, of lived prayer, that Hawke eventually takes doesn't go as planned; but he does find solace, at the end, in a glass of golden liquid. Not Christ's humors, but an earthly and everyday household product: liquid plumber.

RACHEL KUSHNER'S FORTHCOMING NOVEL, THE MARS ROOM, WILL BE PUBLISHED BY SCRIBNER BOOKS IN MAY. (SEE CONTRIBUTORS.)

WOLFGANG TILLMANS

WOLFGANG TILLMANS IS AN ARTIST BASED IN BERLIN AND LONDON. IN 2017, HE HAD SURVEY EXHIBITIONS AT FONDATION BEYELER, BASEL, AND TATE MODERN, LONDON. FORTHCOMING SOLO EXHIBITIONS INCLUDE A TRAVELING SURVEY THAT WILL OPEN IN JANUARY 2018 AT MUSEE NATIONAL D'ART CONTEMPORAIN ET MULTIMEDIAS, KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OFTHE CONGO, AND TOUR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA.

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HELIO OITICICA (WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY LYNN ZELEVANSKY, ELISABETH SUSSMAN, JAMES RONDEAU, AND DONNA DE SALVO WITH ANNA KATHERINE BRODBECK) Before seeing the Whitney's retrospective I had thought that I knew a lot about Helio Oiticica. However, this exhibition's vibrancy took me by surprise. The galleries were brimming with the energy of a multigenerational audience taking in the different facets of the artist's work, sensitively displayed and ranging from Concrete to Conceptual to participatory art to Happenings.

Co-organized with the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

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KERRY JAMES MARSHALL (MET BREUER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY IAN ALTEVEER, HELEN MOLESWORTH, AND DIETER ROELSTRAETE) Kerry James Marshall's application of paint-layered on, and at times encroaching on the beings in his paintings--is a perfect example of form following function. The anatomical complexity of the depiction of the deer in The Land That Time Forgot, 1992, is astounding. The painter's translation of the physical weight of the slain animal into psychological weight is heart-wrenching.

Co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

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ALBERTO GIACOMETTI (TATE MODERN, LONDON; CURATED BY FRANCES MORRIS AND CATHERINE GRENIER WITH LENA FRITSCH, ASSISTED BY MATHILDE LECUYER) This retrospective reignited my enthusiasm for Giacometti's work. The show was super-impressive in its depth, ambition, and comprehensiveness. The deliberate narrowing-down of an artist's palette of forms and shapes has rarely allowed for more eloquence than in Giacometti's case.

Co-organized with the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris.

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ALEXANDRA BIRCKEN (KUNSTVEREIN HANNOVER; CURATED BY KATHLEEN RAHN) Bircken creates an intersection between two-dimensional picture/fabric objects and uncomfortably real bodily sculptures, leaving the viewer disarmed in the best possible sense.

Coorganized with Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany, and the Centre d'art contemporain d'Ivry, France, where it is on view through December 17.

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VIRON EROL VERT (KUNSTRAUM KREUZBERG/BETHANIEN, BERLIN) Kunstlerhaus Bethanien (now Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien) has for decades been a venue known for the wide-ranging scope of its program. This summer, Viron Erol Vert created an ambitious exhibition of installations and individual works that was a proud continuation of this tradition. Drawing from a personal multicultural history, the Berlin- and Istanbul-based artist explores linguistic and cultural gestures, traditions, and differences, with a focus on the cosmopolitan capital on the Bosporus.

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"THE WHITE SHADOW" (PELES EMPIRE, BERLIN) Peles Empire is a nonprofit exhibition venue in London, Los Angeles, and, more recently, Berlin centered around artists Katharina Stoever and Barbara Wolff. Not shy about forging a space for their curatorial practice in the booming property markets of the aforementioned cities, Stoever and Wolff have managed to keep the spirit of a Transylvanian Eastern European gallery and faux palace alive. In this three-person exhibition, sculptural offerings were discomfitingly juxtaposed. Benedicte Gyldenstierne Sehested's slumped figures joined Mariechen Danz's pseudosphere in confronting two fantastical "beings" from the mind of Mark Barker. Together, these works, a group of objects made in uncertain times, created an atmosphere of unease.

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THOMAS EGGERER (PETZEL, NEW YORK) For his sixth solo show in New York, Eggerer shifted his focus to a mainstay of the visual experience of urban life: the manhole. Cast-iron covers, the central motif of each of the paintings in this exhibition, are the entrances to an endless, rhizomatic underground system of tunnels and pipes. Viewers were witness to a number of fictional social encounters, presumably taking place during the summer, on the city's pavements. Known previously for virtually two-dimensional renderings of the human body, Eggerer departed here to a nearly naturalist painting style.

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JAMIE HAWKESWORTH (HUIS MARSEILLE, MUSEUM VOOR FOTOGRAFIE, AMSTERDAM; CURATED BY NANDA VAN DEN BERG) In this major solo exhibition we see an eloquent documentarian's voice emerge. The warmth of Hawkesworth's C-prints speaks of the generosity the photographer brings to his subject matter. Far from the occasionally fingerpointing idiom of his countryman Martin Parr, and bypassing the detached gaze of some contemporary American and German photographers, Hawkesworth's pictures feel genuinely refreshing.

On view through December 3.

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"KITCHEN MIDDEN" (GRIFFIN ART PROJECTS, VANCOUVER; CURATED BY ANNE LOW AND GARETH MOORE) Group shows featuring more than fifty artists are often hard going--fun, yes, but difficult to make sense of. Located in a venue on the outskirts of Vancouver, Low and Moore's exhibition was a stimulating overload of sculptural and pictorial objects, all dealing with the kitchen, or the idea of it. The artists were local, and the variety of voices was a reminder of the simultaneity of artistic production. It gave me a sense of how we are connected not only in time but also through our concerns.

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BARBARA KRUGER (HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, WASHINGTON, DC; CURATED BY MELISSA HO) Of the many artists who emerged in the 1980s, Barbara Kruger has a particular relevance to me, largely because of her architectural text/image installations. Positioned right on the National Mall, her words are beautiful examples of her political poetry as well as a sign of the independence of the Smithsonian, which is giving a stage to voices of doubt in a time when caution and skepticism, in many parts of the world, are denounced as treason.

JAMILLAH JAMES

JAMILLAH JAMES IS CURATOR AT THE INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES. RECENT PROJECTS INCLUDE SOLO PRESENTATIONS OF ABIGAIL DEVILLE, SARAH CAIN, SIMONE LEIGH, AND ALEX DA CORTE. SHE IS CURRENTLY WORKING ON THE FIRST US MUSEUM SURVEY OF B. WURTZ, "THIS HAS NO NAME," OPENING IN FALL 2018.

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EJ HILL (PALAZZO CONTARINI POLIGNAC, VENICE; COMMONWEALTH AND COUNCIL, LOS ANGELES; HUMAN RESOURCES, LOS ANGELES) It's been a busy year for the young LA-based artist EJ Hill, whose primary practice of performance has been given a new and different life through the incorporation of painting and installation. Of these three shows, two--at Human Resources and in Venice--included hand-built wooden models of roller coasters, structures at once thrilling and terrifying. Navigating these unwieldy constructions slowly and gracefully, Hill turns his movements into transfixing meditations on the anxiety of lived experience.

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JIMMIE DURHAM (HAMMER MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY ANNE ELLEGOOD WITH MACKENZIE STEVENS) It should be lost on no one that the politics of representation in 2017's art world very much mirror the fissures in real-world politics. We are divided, left/right, farther left/farther right, and the identity politics of the 1990s find themselves on shaky ground in our fractured present. All of which is to say, sometimes one should let an exhibition and its objects do the work. I find myself feeling about this exhibition now just as I did when I attended its opening: thrilled by its complexity and humor, and deeply appreciative of the rigor and diligence of its curators. It is no easy task to stage a show of this scale with such a historically enigmatic--and controversial--figure.

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"SIGNIFYING FORM" (THE LANDING, LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY JILL MONIZ) This was a knockout exhibition with an intergenerational roster of black women artists who've lived and worked in Los Angeles, carefully organized by moniz and beautifully elucidated with texts written by an important group of curators, scholars, and fellow artists. Shows focused on work by women, including such earlier exhibitions as "WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution" and "Global Feminisms" and the recent "We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965-85" and "Radical Women: Latin American Art, 1960-1985" are not only eye-opening but clearly necessary. There is still so much work to be done.

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GET OUT (JORDAN PEELE) In a year when two greats of horror filmmaking have died (George Romero and Tobe Hooper), comedian turned director Jordan Peele's incredible debut tickles and stuns, ultimately turning the mirror back toward the viewer. Comedy has long been a way to talk about difficult subjects, but horror is deployed much less frequently. Peele's film encourages deep introspection in order to combat the specter of racist rage--the true horror of American life.

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"ARTISTS OF COLOR" (THE UNDERGROUND MUSEUM. LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY NOAH DAVIS) By founding the Underground Museum, the late artist Noah Davis left Los Angeles with a jewel box of ideas that continue to dazzle as they take shape. The most recent exhibition, "Artists of Color," plays with the expectations set by its title, delivering a brisk jaunt through post-Minimalist experimentations with hue, light, and form by a wide-ranging group of artists, including Carmen Herrera, Jennie C. Jones, Diana Thater, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

On view through February 4, 2018.

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CAULEEN SMITH (CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE; CURATED BY RHEA ANASTAS) This exhibition was a revelation. Smith's lush Lessons in Semaphore, 2015, features the Los Angeles movement artist taisha paggett teaching a young boy a flag routine in an overgrown abandoned lot on Chicago's South Side. Continuing the linkage between that Midwestern city and Smith's newly adopted home of Los Angeles are handmade banners used in a protest staged in the historically black Bronzeville neighborhood, sewn with text by the poet Gwendolyn Brooks. The gorgeous, thunderous soundtrack of Pilgrim, 2017--"One for the Father" by the late Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda--carries viewers from Coltrane's ashram in Agoura Hills, California, where she moved from Detroit following the death of her husband, to the Watts Towers and a Shaker graveyard, and suggests the necessity for withdrawal and rest alike in the practices of creativity and radical resistance.

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ANNE IMHOF (GERMAN PAVILION, 57TH VENICE BIENNALE; CURATED BY SUSANNE PFEFFER) It seems fitting that, in the German pavilion, Imhof's Faust followed Hito Steyerl's Factory of the Sun, 2015--a video installation positing dance as a mode of production and survival in an image-saturated technocapitalist hellscape. Imhof dialed back the digital and turned down the temperature in an extreme exercise in distantiation. A raised glass floor split the pavilion into two tiers, with performers in tattered, dingy athletic wear scurrying about or lying prone underneath. Standing on wall-mounted shelves, they alternated between aggressive fits of headbanging and discomfiting stares. Viewers were kept at arm's length, sometimes literally pushed back, blocked from the pavilion's entrance by a steel fence and prowling Dobermans, or forced to view the drama unfolding from behind a one-way glass wall.

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A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, WE GOT IT FROM HERE ... THANK YOU 4 YOUR SERVICE (EPIC, 2016) "It's time to go left and not right/Gotta get it together forever/Gotta get it together for brothers/Gotta get it together for sisters/ For mothers and fathers and dead n-ggas.... To make something happen, let's make something happen."

Completed following the unexpected death of founding member Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor--and released a few days after the 2016 election--the album drops a crucial call to action in the first breaths of its goose bump-inducing opening track, "The Space Program," setting the stage for sixty minutes of sonic brilliance.

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MERCE CUNNINGHAM (WALKER ART CENTER, MINNEAPOLIS; CURATED BY FIONN MEADE AND PHILIP BITHER WITH JOAN ROTHFUSS AND MARY L. COYNE) Cunningham's orbit and influence are writ larger than life, and with much grace and reverence, the Walker's presentation of "Common Time" showed this across disciplines and time. The show sets the bar for how dance can be thoughtfully presented by foregrounding its symbiotic nature, featuring works by Cunningham's cohort of fellow artists--some of whom, such as Robert Rauschenberg and Charles Atlas, enjoyed close working relationships with him as collaborators. Also included were former students, such as Yvonne Rainer and company members Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener--the last two performing live during the exhibition's run--and others considered to be in Cunningham's lineage, such as artist and choreographer Maria Hassabi.

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KERRY JAMES MARSHALL (MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES; CURATED BY HELEN MOLESWORTH, IAN ALTEVEER, AND DIETER ROELSTRAETE) Kerry James Marshall is- and has been, since well before this long-overdue blockbuster of a show--one of the most important artists working today. Black Painting, 2003-2006, depicting Black Panther Fred Hampton's apartment shortly before his assassination, is a master class in technique, an argument that no single color is monolithic. The same goes for culture: In his work, Marshall articulates the complexity and beauty of blackness--as a pigment, as the sum of all colors, and as a complicated, heavy idea.

Co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

MARTIN BECK

Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna

BRANDEN W. JOSEPH

ENTERING MARTIN BECK'S EXHIBITION "rumors and murmurs," curated by Matthias Michalka at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, you were implicitly presented with two routes. Taking a swift right before the almost imperceptibly subtle fabric wall rumors and murmurs (Polygon), 2012/2017, and continuing into the smaller galleries behind the stairwell, one came upon what almost appeared to be a conventional midcareer retrospective. From there, one proceeded past An Organized System of Instructions, 2016, a videotaped lecture from Beck's project at Harvard University's Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts in Cambridge, Massachusetts; toward all that is left, 2015/2017, a freestanding wall painted with a graduated color "fade," first exhibited at 47 Canal in New York; and on to About the Relative Size of Things in the Universe, 2007, a video installation revolving around designer George Nelson's "Struc-Tube" display system. This trajectory highlighted the past decade of Beck's production, as well as his interest in (and skill with) techniques and technologies of display that relate his practice to the historical move, as Craig Owens put it, "from work to frame."' Frequent visitors to the museum, which had recently highlighted the genealogy of institutional critique in the exhibition "to expose, to show, to demonstrate, to inform, to offer" (the title derives from Beck), would have been well prepared to assess and understand this aspect of the artist's development.

Visitors who traveled around the fabric wall in the other direction, by contrast, encountered a more nobly proportioned gallery with a less linear or historically guideposted array of works that seemed to reflect and/or refract one another. Sometimes the effect was literal, as in the two stainless-steel floor pieces, both titled 183 x 113, 2014, which mirrored their environments. "Folding reflected space into their surfaces," as Julie Ault perceptively described a related series, "they disappear, reappear, and vanish, messing with spatial perception."2 More prevalent, however, were what might be called the temporal refractions produced by Beck's canny palimpsests of present and past. Image sequences glimpsed throughout the room--moon shot ... geodesic dome ... countercultural handbook ... Canova sculpture--drew one's attention fitfully to years gone by, while a large vitrine displaying the boxed, loose-leaf catalogue of the show as a work forced one's notion of "retrospective" to encompass the smallest wrinkle in time.

A similar type of refraction, or deflection, befell the idea of the artist. This occurred not merely because Beck's work can sometimes appear almost author/ess in its self-effacement behind the mask of graphic design (although his sensibility is always palpable), but also because the exhibition included a number of pieces by artistic peers, both historical and contemporary, from Sol LeWitt and Robert Smithson to Ault, Danh Vo, James Benning, Louise Lawler, and Felix Gonzalez replicate one of Beck's early paintings, Benning's After Beck 11 x 25 1/4, 2013, took the form of a nearly empty wooden board. Emptiness played a significant role in the exhibition; indeed, certain sight lines revealed nothing but blank walls. Such moments called attention to the fact that spatial arrangement, and not simply the artifacts arranged, forms an integral part of Beck's work, a fact further emphasized by the manner in which his depictions of Dutch flower arrangements ("Flowers," 2015) recurred throughout the exhibition.

Whichever way one circumnavigated the larger gallery, one eventually spiraled in toward the black box containing the video installation Last Night, 2016. The work initially aroused curiosity by means of the carefully calibrated amount of sound bleeding through the light lock, which gave the acoustic impression of a distant late-night (perhaps extending into late morning) party. An immense labor of love, Last Night re-creates the entire thirteen-and-a-half-hour DJ set from one of the final parties hosted at the Prince Street incarnation of the Loft, an early New York disco presided over by the legendary David Mancuso. Recorded off a vintage Thorens TD 125 MK II turntable (lovingly depicted in Beck's photographic series "Sleeping Beauty," 2015) and played through two period Klipsch KP-360 professional speakers and a custom-built bass center, the sound quality far surpassed the capabilities of most museums. A Conceptual art-like listing of the set appeared in the artist's books Last Night, 2013, and Last Night: Errata, vols. 1-3, 2014-17, while a full collection of the vinyl LPs and twelve-inch singles, stacked to run perpendicularly away from the main gallery's wall like the bricks in Carl Andre's Lever, 1966, formed the sculpture Approx. 13 Hours, 2014. In the installation, the turntable's playing of each of the 118 tracks spun at the Loft on the evening of June 2, 1984, was documented via ten different camera angles, providing just enough visual variety to induce attentive listening over protracted periods of time. Functioning something like the exhibition's black hole, Last Night drew people in but did not allow for easy escape.

Including a comfortable couch, the installation resembled a typical club's chillout room. Yet this mise-en-scene did not so much displace the sterility of the rest of the museum as dialectically heighten it. In so doing, Last Night proved true to the insights and operation of Dan Graham's seminal video Rock My Religion, 1983-84. Often viewed as an early infiltration of popular music into the realm of art (paving the way for the recent vogue of popular-music concerts at art institutions), Rock My Religion actually relates to the gallery as what Smithson termed a "non-site," the "site" for which is not the abandoned quarries or railroad tracks of Smithson's New Jersey (although Graham's Homes for America, 1966-67, clearly revealed his intimacy with such suburban landscapes), but rather the rock club, with its communal ethos. "If art was only business," Graham noted of the aftermath of Pop, "then rock expressed that transcendental, religious yearning for communal, nonmarket aesthetic feeling that official art denied." (3)

The question "Is there a form to shared togetherness?" guided Beck's investigation into both the communes of the 1960s (abundantly featured throughout the exhibition) and the disco of the '70s and early '80s, two cultural poles most often perceived as in stark opposition to each other. (4) (This dichotomy is similar to that between the counterculture of the '60s and the management culture of the following decades, which Beck's work also deconstructs.) In attempting to "trace and project the connective tissue that constitutes togetherness," Beck effectively placed the ideals associated with his site, the Loft, into a productive tension with those of the museum. (5) "The Loft was not about celebrity," writes Vince Aletti of these ideals; "it was about community." "The Loft community also came to be known," Beck further emphasizes, "for its diversity of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, style, and dance capability." (6) That both remarks can be read as pointed references to the contemporary art world reveals Beck's continued engagement with the legacy of institutional critique.

In Last Night, disco--habitually regarded as one of the most ecstatically present-focused musical genres--receives a historical shadow not cast in stereotypical bell-bottoms and beads. It suggests the hazy realm of personal memory (as in, "What happened last night?"), while reflecting on the irrevocable nature of a past (the last night) that cannot be entirely recaptured even by those who indubitably were there. Given the fact that Mancuso passed away the year the video was completed, the work also cannot help but acquire certain memorial resonances. Yet if Last Night is powerfully haunted by the community associated with the Loft, it also implicitly, and optimistically, posits an image of artistic practice as similarly nurtured by communal interactions, such as those of Beck's friends and associates, whose work infiltrates the exhibition. And while Last Night successfully avoids becoming a mere nostalgia trip, the inescapable sense of loss or longing it evokes nonetheless bespeaks something of the fragility of community formations, which, like flowers, require care, arrangement, and replenishing, lest they wither and die.

Beck curated a concurrent exhibition of works from MUMOK's collection titled "watching sugar dissolve in a glass of water," on view through January 14, 2018.

BRANDEN W. JOSEPH IS FRANK GALLIPOLI PROFESSOR OF MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART AT COLUMBIA

NOTES

(1.) Craig Owens, "From Work to Frame, or, Is There Life After 'The Death of the Author'?" in Beyond Recognition: Representation, Power, and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992), 122-39.

(2.) Julie Ault, "The Conjunction of Martin Beck," in Martin Beck: rumors and murmurs, ed. Matthias Michalka, exh. cat. (Cologne: Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther Konig, 2017), 14.

(3.) Dan Graham, "Rock My Religion," in Rock My Religion: Writings and Art Projects, 1965-1990, ed. Brian Wallis (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1993), 94.

(4.) Martin Beck, "History and Love, Pleasure and Time," in rumors and murmurs, 39.

(5.) Beck, "History and Love," 39.

(6.) Vince Aletti, '"Ain't No Stopping Us Now,'" in rumors and murmurs, 16; Beck, "History and Love," 42.

MANUEL BORJA-VILLEL

MANUEL BORJA-VILLEL IS THE DIRECTOR OF MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFIA IN MADRID, AND FORMERLY SERVED AS THE DIRECTOR OF THE FUNDACIO ANTONI TAPIES IN BARCELONA (1990-98) AND OF THE MUSEU D'ART CONTEMPORANI DE BARCELONA (1998-2008). HE HAS CURATED MONOGRAPHIC EXHIBITIONS OF MARCEL BROODTHAERS, LYGIA CLARK, HANS HAACKE, LYGIA PAPE, MICHELANGELO PISTOLETTO, NANCY SPERO, AND ANTONI TAPIES, AMONG OTHERS.

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"DARK MATTER GAMES: A SERIES OF ARTISTIC INTERVENTIONS IN VENICE" (S.a.L.E. DOCKS, VENICE) This spring, Venice was trapped between a Biennale that, in an act of desperation, was proclaiming the long life of a living art and of Damien Hirst's zombie venture. "Dark Matter Games" presented a festival of artistic interventions focusing on the dark matter that, though invisible, constitutes the day-to-day reality of the art world. This reality has a lot to do with the precarious employment and the self-inflicted exploitation suffered by large segments of society and also, in the context of mobile elites, with the repressed imagination and creativity of the people. The title refers to the theses expounded by Gregory Sholette, whose book Delirium and Resistance came out earlier this year.

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PIERRE HUYGHE, AFTER ALIFE AHEAD (SKULPTUR PROJEKTE MUNSTER, GERMANY) For his work in Munster, Pierre Huyghe designed an ecosystem in which algae, bees, bacteria, mollusks, and peacocks coexist, in addition to cells from the immortal line known as HeLa. Huyghe succeeds in redefining the traditional notion of nature: The mechanical and the digital intertwine with living organisms, and it is often difficult to discern their boundaries. Visitors learn that the HeLa cells belonged to an African American woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951, and were harvested and later marketed without the permission of her family. And we come to realize that if once we imagined nature as a shared place, it is now one that no longer belongs to us.

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ANGELA MELITOPOULOS, CROSSINGS (DOCUMENTA 14, KASSEL AND ATHENS) This piece reflects, perhaps like no other at Documenta 14, the delirious and schizophrenic condition in which the great recession of 2008 left Greece. What was once the cradle of Western civilization has recently become the epicenter of two of the most important conflicts in Europe: the refugee crisis and the debt crisis. The work bears witness to the impossibility of any positive collaboration between the abstract world of financial capital and the concrete reality of the people, and to the historical roots of the conflicts, but it also makes clear that the new world order engenders new subjectivities, which, in turn, allows for unprecedented modes of resistance and change.

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ROSA BARBA (PIRELLI HANGARBICOCCA, MILAN; CURATED BY ROBERTA TENCONI) For almost five months, an old hangar in which locomotives, boilers, and aircraft were built and repaired housed an exhibition in which the machine was the central element. Although today our lives, experiences, and affections are articulated more than ever by devices and gadgets of all kinds, contemporary art is often guilty of being overly discursive and of ignoring the machinic dimension of social domination. This show, on the contrary, immersed us in and made us aware of this ineluctable circumstance.

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"LUA CAO" (MOON DOG) (GALERIA ZE DOS BOIS, LISBON; CURATED BY NATXO CHECA) This collaborative project could be said to have been the reverse of the Barba show. The device was also very important here, but while history and the machine are essential for the Italian artist Alexandre Estrela, what particularly interests the Portuguese artists Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva are sensory experiences in which there are continual interferences between physical and mental images.

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THE DEATH OF LOUIS XIV (ALBERT SERRA) Albert Serra, in what is possibly his best film to date, takes us back into the past once more (as he did in his reworkings of the tales of Don Quixote and Casanova), the better to understand our own time. The persona of the Sun King was infinite and all-powerful, but Serra situates him at a moment when that absolute power was confronted by the implacable decadence of the body. The death of Louis XIV brought an exceptionally long reign to an end and marked the beginning of a period of uncertainty that has more than a few parallels with the present.

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OSCAR MASOTTA (MUSEO UNIVERSITARIO ARTE CONTEMPORANEO, MEXICO CITY; CURATED BY ANA LONGONI) Over the past few decades, Latin American art has ceased to occupy a peripheral position, but this does not prevent it from still being subject to simplifications and commonplaces, and if one thing has remained absent from our vision of it, it is its intellectual character, which is indispensable for any understanding of the reality of the region. Here, a genuinely unclassifiable author such as Oscar Masotta--who championed the practice of theory as a mode of political action, who defined himself as an existentialist, a Marxist, and a Peronist, and who first introduced Lacan to Argentina--is a key figure.

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NO INTENSO AGORA (IN THE INTENSE NOW) (JOAO MOREIRA SALLES) Through a masterful use of archival material, Moreira Salles describes the convulsive revolutionary world of the mid-1960s. Beijing, Rio, Paris, and Prague are some of the cities in which popular revolts took place. Each of these had something of the nature of an event--that is to say, an unforeseen irruption of history--and each constituted for an instant an uncontrollable movement in which, as the author says, "everything was possible, except the seizure of power."

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GERMAN LABRADOR MENDEZ, CULPABLES POR LA LITERATURA (GUILTY OF LITERATURE) (TRAFICANTES DE SUENOS) Collective experience is not unitary, but the writing of it is. This tends to erase everything that challenges unity. This book recounts not the official history of contemporary Spain but that of the forgotten, those who sought the simultaneous transformation of society and their own lives. Rather than resorting to sociology or history, Labrador Mendez turns to literature, which is capable of evading established narratives and entering into existence itself.

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C17--THE ROME CONFERENCE ON COMMUNISM (ESC ATELIER AND GALLERIA NAZIONALE, ROME) Five days in January. A huge success in terms of numbers, considering the subject: communism. A word that had been forgotten, misinterpreted, or hated, now catapulted back into the thick of things. The conference was significant not only for the quality of the debates and the participation of a great number of activists and thinkers, but also for the fact that it was held in two apparently mutually antagonistic places: ESC, a very dynamic social center in the heart of Rome, and the Galleria Nazionale. The duality of spaces and publics expressed a different political and social situation. At the present moment, the political is transversal and manifests itself in a diverse multiplicity of subjects and situations.

JACK BANKOWSKY

JACK BANKOWSKY IS A CRITIC AND CURATOR AND ARTFORUM'S EDITOR AT LARGE. HE CURRENTLY ORGANIZES THE SPRING SEMINARS FOR ARTCENTER COLLEGE OF DESIGN, A SERIES THAT BRINGS NOTABLE ARTISTS AND WRITERS TO THE PASADENA, CA, CAMPUS. HIS NOVELLA-LENGTH PROFILE JORDAN WOLFSON: THE ONLY LIVING BOY IN NEW YORK IS FORTHCOMING FROM RIZZOLI/STEDELIJK MUSEUM.

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BENJAMIN H. D. BUCHLOH AND ANNE IMHOF (ARTFORUM) Adding to her Golden Lion and Absolut Art Award, Imhof brings home the art world's most coveted honor: a thoroughgoing evisceration by the Marxian eminence that made the arrival of this magazine's September issue the highlight of my autumn season. The critic's nuanced refusal (I think of his famously ambivalent attentions to Andy before Anne) provides all the tools we need to appreciate just what made the artist's Venice spectacular last summer's motherlode symptom!

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SPF-18 (ALEX ISRAEL) I mean, this movie is totally ridiculous! I mean, I cried three times. I mean, just who is this shiny, happy teen dream of empowerment through creativity meant to please? One infrathin remove from an after-school special, the latest exploit in the artist-entrepreneur's multi-tentacled network of cross-fertilizing operations has bypassed the art system altogether, going straight to iTunes--followed by a multicity tour of high-school auditoriums timed to anticipate its Netflix release. They say that "young adult" is the demographic that matters ... young adult, and graying art critic!

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GEORGIA O'KEEFFE (BROOKLYN MUSEUM; CURATED BY WANDA M. CORN AND LISA SMALL) Rei Kawakubo, eat your heart out--Cristobal Balenciaga, too! Bringing together the wardrobe of this inspired designer-seamstress (and world-class shopper!) with her indelible paintings, this sleeper of a survey chronicles a single-minded self-creation that I would cheer as high camp if it weren't pure genius.

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"ALICE NEEL, UPTOWN" (DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK, AND VICTORIA MIRO, LONDON; CURATED BY HILTON ALS) If a case can be made for the slightly wince-worthy inclusion of Alice Neel (with Andy Warhol) as one of two white artists in Tate Modern's otherwise Top Ten-worthy "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power," then this improbable jewel of a gallery show has made it. Delicately curated by Hilton Als, this selection of portraits of Neel's Harlem friends and neighbors-famous or no, politicized and less so--punctuated with literary and civil-rights- movement artifacts from the artist's own library pays moving tribute to Neel's commitment to painting her urban compatriots in all their diversity--African American, Asian, Latino--and to the empowering role her direct, deeply seen likenesses played in the young writer-critic's self-constitution as a protagonist on the Manhattan scene.

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"SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER" (TATE MODERN, LONDON; CURATED BY MARK GODFREY AND ZOE WHITLEY WITH PRIYESH MISTRY) Opening with five unforgettable speeches from five history-changing activists, "Soul of a Nation" had this American in its thrall before I'd even entered the galleries proper. What followed was a turbulent, deeply affecting tale eloquently told by its curators both at the level of their hang and the pithy didactics. I could single out Sam Gilliam's Carousel Change, 1970 (that big? That bold? And at that date?), or Lorraine O'Grady's classic Mile Bourgeoise Noire, 1980-83, the artist's potent (and sidesplittingly funny) long-running performance. And then there's everything by David Hammons, but that you already knew.

Co-organized with the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonviile, AR, where it will be on view February 3-April 23, 2018, and the Brooklyn Museum, New York, where it will be on view September 7, 2018 February 3, 2019.

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"THE MYSTERIOUS LANDSCAPES OF HERCULES SEGERS" (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY NADINE ORENSTEIN, HUIGEN LEEFLANG, AND PIETER ROELOFS) On this one, I'm going to have to go with Rembrandt. Clearly covetous of the art of his Dutch Golden Age peer, the better-known master acquired eight paintings and an etching plate from his remarkable colleague, which, in a telling act of agonistic tribute, he worked back into, claiming Segers's indelible landscape as his own! Judging by the cultish devotion inspired by this first major US exhibition dedicated to the sorcery of this undersung innovator, the scales of history may be rebalancing. Co-organized with the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam.

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"MARSDEN HARTLEY'S MAINE" (MET BREUER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY RANDALL GRIFFEY, ELIZABETH FINCH, AND DONNA M. CASSIDY) I know, I know. There're the gay bits--plus my beloved Maine--but, honest, it's more than that. Painted in front of (or inspired by) that most poetic stretch of Northeastern coastline, these paintings, the best of them, are just about the toughest bunch of modern masterpieces our country had, by the 1940s, mustered. Is it?--was it ever?--possible to paint a close-up of crashing surf that does not devolve into Sears Roebuck kitsch? Yes. Crashingly yes!

Co-organized with the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterviiie, ME.

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BRIAN CALVIN (ANTON KERN GALLERY, NEW YORK) In his latest solo at Kern's swanky new uptown space, the thinking man's Alex Katz again dazzled with his painterly Esperanto. At once keenly observed and cartoonishly abstract, Calvin's twin-peaked lips and how-to-draw-'em eyes play foil to the wiliest and wittiest of painterly inventions.

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FLORINE STETTHEIMER (JEWISH MUSEUM, NEW YORK; CURATED BY STEPHEN BROWN AND GEORGIANA UHLYARIK) Forget about the irresistible high-bohemian backstory; ignore the faux-na'if hand and teeming narrative incident: What one can miss in reproduction, and what this massively welcome survey makes abundantly plain, is just how replete these paintings are qua paintings, how dazzling their palettes, how inspired the play of scale and incident.

Co-organized with the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, where it is on view through January 28, 2018.

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A. WALTER HOPPS WITH DEBORAH TREISMAN AND ANNE DORAN, THE DREAM COLONY: A LIFE IN ART (BLOOMSBURY)

One night in the early 1950s, Dizzy Gillespie picked the jazz-smitten young Hopps out of an audience, called him up onto the stage, hugged him, and invited him to pick the next number. Another day, an unwitting bookseller gave up a copy of Duchamp's Green Sox to a certain budding bibliophile for twenty-five bucks! So things tended to go under the lucky star of the mythic curator-in-the-making. But it was a serendipitous encounter with the fabled art-collecting Arensbergs that would cement Hopps's destiny. When the eccentric patricians opened their Hollywood home, chock-full of quite probably the then most important modern art west of the Mississippi, there was no turning back. Based on interviews conducted by artist Anne Doran and shaped by beloved New Yorker editor Deborah Treisman, the colorful tale of this natural-born curator gets told in his own gift-for-theyarn cadences.

B. ARENSBERG OPEN HOUSE, 7065 HILLSIDE AVE., LOS ANGELES

They say that houses turn over twice as fast in fickle LA as anywhere else in the country, but this mysterious Hollywood Hills ruin has known just one other owner since the Arensbergs entertained Duchamp beneath his Nude Descending a Staircase. "You fellows interested in art, are you?" queried the affable, high-volume Hollywood broker. "You know, this place has a bit of art history to it ..."

VENUS LAU

VENUS LAU IS A CURATOR AND WRITER BASED IN SHANGHAI. SHE IS CURRENTLY THE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF Kll ART FOUNDATION, AND HAS SERVED AS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR OF OCT CONTEMPORARY ART TERMINAL IN SHENZHEN. SHE IS THE EDITOR OF CAO FEI: SPLENDID RIVER AND ZHANG PEILI: CERTAIN PLEASURES, AMONG OTHER PUBLICATIONS. (SEE CONTRIBUTORS.)

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"GHOSTS AND SPECTRES--SHADOWS OF HISTORY" (NTU CENTRE FOR CONTEMPORARY ART SINGAPORE; CURATED BY UTE META BAUER AND KHIM ONG) Apparitions are a common metaphorical medium for an unspoken and unmourned past, and the works in this show, which addressed various traumatic Asian histories of the postwar period, featured ghosts in myriad guises. The video installation The Nameless, 2015, by Singapore-based artist Ho Tzu Nyen, comprises clips of the Hong Kong actor Tony Leung, edited together so that he appears to inhabit the persona of Lai Teck--one of fifty aliases used by the phantomlike secretary general of the Malayan Communist Party from 1939 to 1947. Meanwhile, the work's murmuing Vietnamese and Mandarin narration brings to mind the Cantonese phrase for slurring one's words: gwai sihk naih, literally "ghost eating dirt." The cultural geology of ghosts in this show added welcome nuance to the language of horror in Asia, where the massive successes of Ringu (The Ring, 1998) and Ju-on (The Grudge, 2002) propagated a homogeneous iconography of the supernatural--long hair and white gowns, devoid of cultural specificity.

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"HERE'S LOOKING AT YOU! A GENERATION OF CHINESE PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS BEFORE THE SELFIE" (SHANGHAI CENTER OF PHOTOGRAPHY; CURATED BY KAREN SMITH) In her essay "In Plato's Cave," Susan Sontag likens the camera to a gun. Now, lenses are more like mirrors, reflecting the subject into labyrinthine social platforms. (In China, MeituPic, a photo-editing app popular for its filters, attracts millions of active users per month.) This exhibition traced the transformation of self-portraiture in China, tracking, among other things, shifting conventions of framing and the effects of changing technology. In one set of images, spanning the 1930s to the '80s, the dimensions were particularly narrow, like bookmarks; the subjects pressed their arms against their torsos, ensuring their entire bodies would be seen in the frame.

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LIANG SHAOJI (SHANGHART GALLERY, SHANGHAI) Rather than work near the metropolitan centers of Beijing or Shanghai, Liang lives his hermit life on Tiantai Mountain, surrounded by silkworms. The exhibition's title, "Liang Shaoji: Sha Sha Sha," evoked the sounds of his strand-producing larvae's movements, suggesting an effort-via the foregrounding of pure noise--to dismantle stereotypical associations with these creatures. At ShangHART, Liang's raw-silk-wrapped "soft sculptures" punctuated the space--mesmerizing studies of translucency and its degrees.

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ZHENG GUOGU (VITAMIN CREATIVE SPACE, GUANGZHOU) "The Winding Path to Trueness," an extension of Zheng's ongoing Yangiiang, China-sited project Liao Garden, 2005-, signaled a shift in the artist's areas of interest: from an online game involving virtual civilizations to the invisible energies in the overheated wellness economy. Images derived from Thangka paintings--sourced from the internet--hung alongside canvases featuring hexagonal shapes taken from visualizations of chakras.

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FIRENZE LAI (CENTRAL PAVILION, 57TH VENICE BIENNALE; CURATED BY CHRISTINE MACEL) Lai's signature human figures--with their unbalanced head-body ratios, and immersed in landscapes rendered in a gloomy, opaque palette--reproduce the stagnant affective space of Hong Kong, a territory whose unique psychogeography emerges from the political residue of the 1997 handover, endemic spatial scarcity, and a ubiquitous pessimistic malaise. In Venice, the corporeal heaviness of these canvases conversed impactfully with Senga Nengudi's panty-hose sculptures on view nearby.

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NADIM ABBAS (ANTENNA SPACE, SHANGHAI) At Antenna Space, Abbas sutured visible and invisible worlds. Titled "Chimera"--in reference both to the hybrid creature of Greek mythology and to a piece of software used for visualizing molecular structures--the exhibition features works that entwine the human and the machine, bodily sight and microscopic vision. In Human Rhinovirus 14, 2016, Abbas projected images of the cold virus on giant floating beach balls, which were batted around by industrial fans. Nearby, two carpeted lab-like chambers seemed pristine and clinically sterile, yet carefully draped rolls of toilet paper suggested the disturbing presence of unseen contamination.

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HIGHER BROTHERS FEAT. KEITH APE'S 2017 VIDEO WECHAT, DIRECTED BY SEAN MIYASHIRO

Released by 88rising, the music label founded by Miyashiro that focuses on Asian rappers, this video tosses together elements from the user interface of WeChat, an app that has standardized the collective experience of social networking in China, a country where Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube are blocked. Banner notifications, emoji stickers, and visual motifs familiar from video calls and photo transfers form the visual backdrop for trap music by the Chengdu-based Higher Brothers, who surf smoothly in the territory of Chinese mumblecore.

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"MUSE FOR A MIMETICIST: WANG WEI AND KO SIN TUNG" (EDOUARD MALINGUE GALLERY, SHANGHAI) Formal echoes filled this exhibition, from Wang Wei's bathroom-tile mosaic to Ko Sin Tung's video comparing the aspect ratios of various video formats. Together, the works on view explored the ways in which the parallel processes of urbanization and technological obsolescence shape our perceptual faculties.

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ALICE WANG (CAPSULE SHANGHAI) With this show, the Chinese-born, LA-based artist kept asking a simple question: What is a sculpture? The spare and elegant works she presented--incorporating materials such as mist, moss, and the plant mimosa pudica--provided only the barest answer.

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YU YOUHAN (POWER STATION OF ART, SHANGHAI; CURATED BY GONG YAN) This retrospective tracked the seventy-three-year-old painter's fifty years of artistic practice. Although the presence of his colorful Mao paintings may have perpetuated the epistemological short circuit that has equated the artist's works with "political Pop," the dazzling mix of styles on display here--from Picabian collage to experimental Chinese ink drawings--kept the reductionist view at bay. Ultimately, the show was a powerful survey of competing modernisms.

DANIEL BIRNBAUM

CONTRIBUTING EDITOR DANIEL BIRNBAUM IS THE DIRECTOR OF MODERNA MUSEET IN STOCKHOLM AND THE ADVISER FOR INTERNATIONAL PROGRAMS OF THE HILMA AF KLINT FOUNDATION, WHICH IS COPRODUCING LARGE SURVEY EXHIBITIONS THAT WILL TRAVEL TO THE PINACOTECA DO ESTADO, SAO PAULO; THE SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, NEW YORK; AND THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES IN 2018-19.

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JASPER JOHNS (ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON; CURATED BY ROBERTA BERNSTEIN AND EDITH DEVANEY) Before I knew anything about Jasper Johns, I encountered his work in a class taught by the late, great Nelson Goodman, who seemed to appreciate the painter's work mainly as a demonstration of the riddles at the center of his own philosophical investigations. The most dramatic of these concerned the legendary "grue paradox": Professor Goodman would point at a projected slide of a green target painting and say something puzzling like, "All these paintings by Jasper could be grue," explaining that grue was a new predicate, defined as the property of being green before the year 2100 and blue afterward. We were all very confused by this notion of color-shifting paintings, but we learned the fundamental lesson: Art could be about problems of truth and language and about how signs refer to things in the world. Moving through '"Something Resembling Truth,'" the Royal Academy's massive Johns exhibition, I was propelled back to that class twenty-seven years ago, and I found plenty of works that confirmed the artist's intense interest in signs and their workings. Then, toward the end, I came across Painting Bitten by a Man, 1961, a grayish rectangle that appeared different, less precise but more visceral: Its thick encaustic surface bears tooth marks.

On view through December 10.

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"DALI/DUCHAMP" (ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON; CURATED BY DAWN ADES, WILLIAM JEFFETT, AND SARAH LEA) "A painting is such a minor thing compared to the magic I radiate," said Daif, who must have been unbearable as a companion. Yet unbelievably enough, Duchamp sought and enjoyed his company. And in this show, juxtaposed with a few of Duchamp's paintings and a plethora of his indefinable objects of desire, obsession, worship, and possibly magic, Dalf's works were, I have to admit, intriguing. Notes and letters, photographs and film clips--all created a web of fascinating connections between the two artists: one of whom I have studiously avoided, and the other of whom I've spent years trying to fathom. Am I finally warming up to the fascist with the funny moustache? "There comes a moment in every person's life when they realize they adore me," Dalf once said. Maybe, but not quite yet.

On view through January 3, 2018. Co-organized with the Salvador Dali Museum, St. Petersburg, Florida (where it will be on view February 5-May 27, 2018) in collaboration with the Gala-Salvador Dali Foundation and the Association Marcel Duchamp.

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VALENTIN DE BOULOGNE (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY KEITH CHRISTIANSEN AND ANNICK LEMOINE) I had only come across his name in learned old treatises on Manet and Courbet, which describe him as a naturalist avant la lettre--an artist's artist from the Baroque era. The organizers of this show say that there is no doubt that his paintings were studied by Velazquez, and looking at his unbelievable renderings of textiles and folds, I believed them. Supposedly the artist's very first one-person exhibition in any museum, this grandiose and totally overwhelming survey proved that the so-called canon is never a definitive narrative: It can always be retold from a new angle or with a new chapter added. Not that Caravaggio or Velazquez are ever likely to appear lackluster, but now we know that a brilliant yet lesser-known associate created an inspirational bridge between them.

Co-organized with the Louvre, Paris.

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MOLLY NESBIT, MIDNIGHT: THE TEMPEST ESSAYS (INVENTORY PRESS) The arrival of the second volume in her Pre-Occupations series makes clear that Nesbit has found a way to combine her expertise as an art historian with her interest in experimental modes of display. I like everything about these delicious books, not just the writer's observational skills or the subjects of her essays--from Dewey and Alexander Dorner to Godard and Gabriel Orozco--but also the way the pictures become operational. They are no mere illustrations. "I'm interested in how ideas function in the world, in questions of practice," says Nesbit. The way her books are curated rather than edited seems to exemplify this approach to the domain of incarnated thinking that is art.

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REI KAWAKUBO (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY ANDREW BOLTON) Although creativity is a word that, according to Deleuze, we should leave to the hairdressers, here it seems to have real significance. Says Kawakubo, the genius fashion designer, about her relationship to the world of art, "If founding my company on the values of creation means I am an artist, then so be it." I couldn't agree more.

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JENNY WIKLUND, "JOURNAL--RECONSTRUCTION OF BODY AND MEMORY" (KTH ROYAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, STOCKHOLM; CURATED BY JAN AMAN) Deep down below this university, hidden in a secret grotto, the first Swedish nuclear reactor was built in the 1950s, when it wasn't entirely clear whether or not the peaceful little nation would develop its own nuclear bomb. I have been skeptical of academic research as art, but Wiklund's bizarrely ambitious installation filled this historically weighted space with a reconstruction of her medical journey back to life after an accident erased her normal sense of time and space. The forensic aesthetic of her objects is sometimes reminiscent of Matthew Barney or early Robert Gober, but in her almost megalomaniacal determination to create visual impact she seems more comparable to the set designers of Blade Runner 2049.

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"KOBRO AND STRZEMINSKI: AVANT-GARDE PROTOTYPES" (MUSEO NACIONAL CENTRO DE ARTE REINA SOFIA, MADRID; CURATED BY JAROStAW SUCHAN) Here it was Katarzyna Kobro who made my day. "When the spectator moves," she and Wtadystaw Strzeminski said, "certain forms present themselves, others hide." Although I have often seen images of Kobro's seemingly rudimentary models, I had never actually studied them closely in the way that this exhibition made possible, and I found them to be quite elaborate. Remembering Yve-Alain Bois's conclusion that they render visible the invisible object that is depth, I also understand that I will never fully understand them. They are flawless. And yet their fullness, their perfection, does not stop them from transmuting in inexplicable ways. In spite of their geometric rigor, they seem to be alive.

Co-organized with the Muzeum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland.

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VIVIAN SUTER (DOCUMENTA 14, KASSEL AND ATHENS) The artist says that her paintings "are about the wind, the rain, the volcanoes, and the vastness and clarity of the tropical landscape." I wish the entire exhibition had exuded similar energy.

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"ART WITHOUT DEATH: RUSSIAN COSMISM" (HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT, BERLIN; CURATED BY BORIS GROYS, ANTON VIDOKLE, AND ARSENY ZHILYAEV) I agree with Anton Vidokle, one of the initiators of the exhibition, that cosmism, a philosophical and artistic movement that emerged in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century, sounds almost too good to be true. But the rumors are all accurate, and if you are inclined toward speculative thought, you will get all you crave and more: Vidokle promises "vampiric blood transfusions, corpses frozen in cosmos, resurrection of the dead communist leaders." Want eternal life? Join the cosmic club.

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ANNE IMHOF (GERMAN PAVILION, 57TH VENICE BIENNALE; CURATED BY SUSANNE PFEFFER) If the capacity to polarize critics and audiences is any measure of artistic significance, then this year's German contribution to the Biennale certainly marked a major breakthrough. Is it time to reread not only the German classics but also a critical essay titled "Fascinating Fascism"? There are reasons to be curious about Imhof's next step.

WALID RAAD AND BERNARD KHOURY

Sfeir-Semler Gallery, Beirut

KAELEN WILSON-GOLDIE

WALID RAAD'S LATEST EXHIBITION at the Sfeir-Semler Gallery in Beirut features three solid bodies of work spanning the artist's two well-established long-term projects, the Atlas Group, 1989-2004, and Scratching on Things I Could Disavow, 2007-, and including material from the lesser-known but equally clever series "Sweet Talk: Commissions (Beirut)," 1987-, a repository of sorts for Raad's creative, off-kilter thinking about photography in relation to the endless cycles of destruction and construction afflicting his hometown of Beirut. It is a perfectly interesting and accomplished show, even if audiences both local and international are by now abundantly familiar with his forms (dislodged walls, fractured artifacts, borrowed artworks) and concepts (that fiction can be more truthful than fact, that war has tangible and intangible consequences, that art history is often as violent and complicit as everyday politics). The thing that pushes the exhibition into the realm of the unexpected, uproarious, and urgent is a work sequestered in a darkened room at the far end of the gallery--Raad's collaboration with the architect Bernard Khoury, Beirut's persistent enfant terrible of the reconstruction era.

If you've read anything about Beirut's cultural life in the past few years, then you've probably heard that the city is in the midst of a magnificent boom in museum building. This is news to anyone who actually lives in the city, where no new museums have in fact opened or even broken ground, and where residents are being held in the white-knuckled grip of some of the most severe economic anxieties and environmental catastrophes since Lebanon's civil war, confronted every day with the horrific fallout from Syria's ongoing conflict. It's true that there aref museum projects in the works--the most visible is the Beirut Museum of Art or BeMA, an idea taken up by the patrons of the philanthropic association known as APEAL (Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon). A number of foundations associated with fortunes both great and occasionally suspect--in banking, real estate, consulting, and retail fashion--have also built collections, showcased them in shopping malls, and announced the construction of private museums bigger than anything in the public or nonprofit sectors. The strength of Raad and Khoury's project is that it calls all of this into question and says, quite forcefully, that no museum proposal is innocent, that few of them in Lebanon are civic or even beneficent in nature, and that many may actually do more harm than good, especially to the precarious on-the-ground ecosystem of artistic production that made them conceivable in the first place.

A Proposal for a Beirut Site Museum.: Preface (2016-2026), 2017, is the realization as art, and as sculpture, of Raad and Khoury's actual submission to the architectural competition for BeMA. Khoury was one of thirteen architects short- listed by a jury from a pool of sixty-six (one of the rules of the competition was that all entrants be of Lebanese origin, making this something of an ur- nationalist endeavor from the start). He teamed up with Raad to propose a theoretically brilliant, conceptually crystalline justification for what is essentially a hole in the ground. In a way, their submission is a joke, and one grasps immediately why it failed, our proposal proceeds from and begins to answer the following

QUESTION: HOW CAN WE DESERVE LEBANON'S MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ARTS? ARE WE AND HAVE WE BEEN ATTENTIVE TO THE IDEAS, FORMS, LINES, VOLUMES, TEMPORALITIES, COLORS MADE AVAILABLE TO US BY MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY ART AND ARTISTS OUR ANSWER IS: NOT YET. So reads a block of white text introducing, along with five other ink-jet print rencjmags, a sizable maquette of an underground institution, a museum lodged in Betrut's archaeologically rich striations of earth, rock, schist, and soil. No museum director or board of trustees would go for this, of course, but then again, few of the museum projects currently on deck in Lebanon have so much as assembled a board, hired any staff, or given a single thought to programming. A, joke, a shovel tunneling down into the mess and muck of a place that has buried so much- --this may be the best response imaginable, the highest level politically engaged artistic and intellectual critique, to the seductions of so much vanity on display.

"A Proposal for a Beirut Site Museum: Preface (20! 6-2026)"-is on view through Beceniber 30.

KAELEN WILSON-GOLDIE IS A CRITIC BASED IN BEIRUT*AND NEW Y(JRK, WHERE SHE TEACHES AT THE SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS.

MATTHEW HIGGS

MATTHEW HIGGS IS THE DIRECTOR OF WHITE COLUMNS, NEW YORK'S OLDEST ALTERNATIVE ART SPACE, AND A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR TO ARTFORUM. IN SPRING 2018, WHITE COLUMNS WILL RELOCATE TO A NEW HOME AT 91 HORATIO STREET IN NEW YORK'S MEATPACKING DISTRICT.

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JOCHEN LEMPERT (IZU PHOTO MUSEUM, NAGAIZUMI, JAPAN; CURATED BY YOSHIE KUNITA)The Izu Photo Museum, set among the foothills of Mount Fuji, with interior spaces and surrounding gardens designed by the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, was an apposite and empathetic setting for Lempert's closely observed images of the natural world. Printed in the darkroom by the artist and installed directly on the gallery's walls without any form of framing, Lempert's deceptively modest pictures of birds, insects, plants, and the open sea--some no more than a few inches wide--were, like nature itself, things of wonder. Co-organized with the German Embassy, Tokyo.

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"THINGS ARE WHAT WE ENCOUNTER: DR. CHARLES SMITH + HEATHER HART" (JOHN MICHAEL KOHLER ARTS CENTER, SHEBOYGAN, Wl; CURATED BY KAREN PATTERSON) Since 1986, Dr. Charles Smith, a self-taught artist and Vietnam veteran, has worked on the African American Heritage Museum and Black Veterans Archive, his extraordinary and continually expanding universe of figurative sculptures that chronicle African American lives, culture, and history. At the Kohler Arts Center, artist Heather Hart presented a group of the Hammond, Louisiana-based artist's sculptures in an ingenious and open-ended architectural framework, establishing a stage set of sorts--a performative mise-en-scene--on which Dr. Smith's art and the museum's visitors acted out their respective roles. On view through January 21, 2018.

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LOUISE LAWLER (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY ROXANA MARCOCI WITH KELLY SIDLEY) Lawler's retrospective deftly eluded the kind of closure that often accompanies such career-defining enterprises. Eschewing strict chronologies, and underscored by her work's mordant humor, the exhibition was divided into two discrete presentations: The first focused on her now-signature images of other artists' works, photographed in situ, and the second on her long-standing engagement with printed matter-- matchbooks, postcards, letterheads, posters, and the like. Together, these two interconnected aspects of Lawler's practice amplified her persistent interest in, and questioning of, the nature of art and the systems that condition art's production, commodification, distribution, and display.

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ROB PRUITT (GAVIN BROWN'S ENTERPRISE, NEW YORK) On each day of Barack Obama's two-term presidency, Pruitt created a twenty-four-inch-square portrait of the president based on imagery drawn from that day's news (his process would eventually result in 2,922 individual paintings). Ten days after Donald Trump's (still shocking) election win, Pruitt presented more than twenty-five hundred of these works at the Lower East Side outpost of Gavin Brown's Enterprise. The artist's nearly decade-long investment in this simple idea read as a powerful paean to Obama's achievements, and his plaintive exhibition felt like a wake for a more optimistic time in recent American history.

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MARTIN BECK, LAST NIGHT (THE KITCHEN, NEW YORK, MARCH 22-25) Over thirteen hours long, Beck's Last Night, 2016, is an immersive and exquisitely shot film that documents the 118 songs, via on-screen playback on a vintage turntable, that David Mancuso (1944-2016) played on June 2, 1984, on one of the final nights of his influential, by-invitation-only dance party at the Loft at its 99 Prince Street location. Beck's poignant film speaks not only to Mancuso's far-sighted and wide-ranging musical vision, but also to the sense of community that the Loft engendered over almost five decades of music, friendship, and dancing.

6

MCDERMOTT & MCGOUGH (THE CHURCH OF THE VILLAGE, NEW YORK; CURATED BY ALISON GINGERAS) McDermott & McGough's Oscar Wilde Temple, located in the basement of downtown's progressive Church of the Village, is a functional, secular space created not only to honor and celebrate Wilde's life and work, but to acknowledge the "centuries-long struggle for gay liberation" and the universal "fight for equality." Known for their embrace of earlier, outmoded styles and manners, McDermott & McGough furnished the room in appropriately Wildean nineteenth-century decor, with low lighting, ornate moldings, draped curtains, and a stained-glass window. But given the current hostile social and political climate in the United States (and indeed elsewhere), Temple couldn't feel more timely. On view through December 2, 2017.

7

"ALICE NEEL, UPTOWN" (DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY HILTON ALS) Curated by Als, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and theater critic for the New Yorker, "Uptown" was a revelatory exhibition that was also notable for having the best wall texts I have ever encountered in a gallery. Structured around the denizens of Spanish Harlem and the Upper West Side, the two Manhattan neighborhoods where Alice Neel lived and worked for nearly fifty years, "Uptown" focused on Neel's portraits of people of color and served to underscore Als's astute observation that Neel was "attracted to a world of difference and painted that."

8

MARK LECKEY (MOMA PS1; CURATED BY PETER ELEEY AND STUART COMER WITH JOCELYN MILLER AND OLIVER SHULTZ) Leckey's work, with its melancholic form of retrofuturism, might well be the most influential art practice of the twenty-first century. This exhaustive--but never exhausting--midcareer retrospective, titled "Containers and Their Drivers," after a song by the stubborn English band the Fall, delineated the elastic boundaries of Leckey's wistful imagination. Like Mike Kelley's before him, Leckey's art is driven by an investment in the autobiographical, evidenced here by the exhumation of his adolescence and early adulthood in the late 1970s and throughout the '80s, an era that continues to haunt his worldview.

9

THE MEOW, LOS ANGELES The Meow is a shed in the backyard of the Los Angeles home belonging to artists Lisa Anne Auerbach and Joel Kyack. Over the past year and a half, Auerbach and Kyack have invited independent, artist-run businesses, including a tattoo parlor and a psychic, to temporarily set up shop at the Meow, rent-free, to provide goods and services to a public made up of friends, neighbors, and strangers. On my visit, Dave Muller and Ethan Swan had established P&B Records, a fully operational record store selling used vinyl, CDs, cassettes, and music-related books. Offering an alternative to the algorithmic efficiency of online marketplaces, the Meow makes a straightforward case for a return to a more personable form of social and commercial exchange.

10

JESSICA VAUGHN, AFTER WILLIS (RUBBED, USED, AND MOVED) #005 (MARTOS GALLERY, NEW YORK) The single artwork that has stayed most in my thoughts this past year is Jessica Vaughn's After Willis (rubbed, used, and moved) #005, 2017. Presented in "Invisible Man," a group exhibition curated by Martos Gallery director Ebony L. Hayes, Vaughn's work consists of a wall-mounted grid of thirty-six used seats and seatbacks from a Chicago transit train. Each section of upholstered fiberglass displays traces of its former life, the accumulated impressions made by the bodies of innumerable passengers. Vaughn's work was a rich meditation on the passage of time, the movement of people, and, quite literally, the journey of life.

VINCE ALETTI

VINCE ALETTI, A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR TO THE NEW YORKER, PHOTOGRAPH, AND APERTURE, IS CURRENTLY WRITING A BOOK ON PHOTOGRAPHY IN FASHION MAGAZINES FOR PHAIDON. (SEE CONTRIBUTORS.)

1

"UPRISINGS" (JEU DE PAUME, PARIS; CURATED BY GEORGES DIDI-HUBERMAN) I saw this exhibition the day after the US elections, so its photographs, prints, posters, and videos on the theme of rebellion, protest, and disruption could not have seemed more urgent. But Didi-Huberman wasn't just trying to agitate viewers; for all its provocations, his installation was shrewdly modulated, subtle, and surprising. From Goya to Tina Modotti, John Heartfield to Lorna Simpson, his choices resonated, and every passage of the show felt electric, invigorating. Although a history of insurrection--ongoing, unending--risks winding down into futility, I left furious, ready to storm the barricades.

2

ARTHUR JAFA, LOVE IS THE MESSAGE, THE MESSAGE IS DEATH, 2016 (GAVIN BROWN'S ENTERPRISE, NEW YORK) and KAHLIL JOSEPH, FLY PAPER (NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK) Taking the black experience as cultural common ground, these two filmmakers bring viewers along on a deep dive through our collective image bank and into fraught emotional territory. Both mine the visual history of dance, oppression, and resistance and suggest the past is ever present. Joseph, inspired by Roy DeCarava, explores the social landscape of Harlem, both public and private, with Ben Vereen providing an impassioned commentary in dance. Jafa's film is shorter and so more compressed, agitated, and allusive. Cutting between pleasure and pain so quickly that some images feel subliminal, he leaves the viewer breathless, devastated.

3

CAROL RAMA (NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK; CURATED BY HELGA CHRISTOFFERSEN AND MASSIMILIANO GIONI) I wasn't prepared for Rama's New Museum show. I went knowing nothing; I left wired, overwhelmed. Rama's range and energy--manic, unhinged--were astonishing. Bicycle-tire inner tubes, animal claws, human teeth, syringes--she made art out of anything she could put her hands on and turned Arte Povera into something raw and fetishistic. Dubuffet, Hans Bellmer, and Louise Bourgeois came to mind, but Rama was clearly in a world of her own, where she was outrageous, obsessive, and fearless.

4

REI KAWAKUBO (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY ANDREW BOLTON) The Met's Costume Institute survey of garments by the Japanese designer was the year's most surprising sculpture show. Displayed in a series of bone-white huts and closets or perched on overhead scaffolding and draped on mannequins that were often no more than mummy-like torsos, Kawakubo's outfits looked less like clothing than like appendages-- freakish, alien growths, gorgeously grotesque. The best of the work seems entirely independent of the body-any body--but it's never empty.

5

KERRY JAMES MARSHALL (MET BREUER, NEW YORK; CURATED BY IAN ALTEVEER, HELEN MOLESWORTH, AND DIETER ROELSTRAETE) Marshall's densely worked, vivaciously detailed visions of America--the beauty parlor, the barber shop, the community garden--never try to resolve the tension between the real and the ideal. His most expansive pieces are history paintings whose grand sweep always acknowledges intimate, ordinary moments--and the people too many histories leave behind. At a time when it's hard to recognize this country, Marshall's town--Our Town--is where I want to live.

Co-organized with the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

6

TWIN PEAKS: THE RETURN (DAVID LYNCH) Maddening, repetitive, and certifiably insane, Lynch's reboot of his cult TV series was also the best avant-garde film I've seen in years. Part 8, with its long, hallucinatory descent into a nuclear firestorm and the series of horrifying tangents that follow, was the one that clinched it for me. But Twin Peaks was also an endurance test. All but plotless, with long, wordless, pitch-dark scenes followed by bursts of gibberish and shattering noise, it didn't just fuck with our expectations of broadcast TV, it existed on a whole other plane. And the soundtrack, with music from the likes of Otis Redding to Angelo Badalamenti to Nine Inch Nails, was beyond genius.

7

"QUEER BRITISH ART 1861-1967" (TATE BRITAIN, LONDON; CURATED BY CLARE BARLOW WITH AMY CONCANNON) It may not be possible to make a major show of mostly minor art, but this was a brilliant one--smartly conceived and utterly engrossing. With the door of Oscar Wilde's prison cell for punctuation and work by Duncan Grant, Cecil Beaton, Claude Cahun, and Francis Bacon to ground us, a host of less familiar artists helped to fill out a history extending from the era of strictly coded desires to gay liberation. I left dreaming of a similarly enlightening exhibition of American art.

8

"THE COFFINS OF PAA JOE AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS" (THE SCHOOL, KINDERHOOK, NY, AND JACK SHAINMAN GALLERY, NEW YORK) and "IF I HAD POSSESSION OVER JUDGEMENT DAY: COLLECTIONS OF CLAUDE SIMARD" (FRANCES YOUNG TANG TEACHING MUSEUM AT SKIDMORE COLLEGE, SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY; CURATED BY IAN BERRY) Both of these exhibitions drew on collections so diverse that they were hard to pin down to a single sensibility. Maybe that's because this wildly idiosyncratic taste was shared by Jack Shainman and Claude Simard, erstwhile gallery partners whose enthusiasm for the art of Africa, India, and the international avant-garde knew no bounds. Simard, who died in 2014, was celebrated at the Tang with a lively installation that ranged from works by Nick Cave and Malick Sidibe to Tantric drawings and Ghanaian patchwork flags. Shainman's upstate outpost the School overflowed with a similarly eclectic mix of historical and contemporary work, including seventeenth-century Spanish religious paintings, a Tibetan Buddha, and a spectacular El Anatsui assemblage.

9

PAUL MPAGI SEPUYA (YANCEY RICHARDSON, NEW YORK) Although there were a few straight-ahead portraits in Sepuya's show, most of the photographs were about his subjects' elusiveness and the slippery nature of representation. Shooting from behind a black cloth or into a mirror collaged with other photographs, Sepuya is a directorial presence: the artist at work. But because he and the boys he's photographing are seen only in naked, tantalizing fragments, his pictures often turn into precariously balanced, wonderfully satisfying still lifes.

10

"AVEDON'S FRANCE: OLD WORLD, NEW LOOK" (BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONAL DE FRANCE, PARIS; CURATED BY ROBERT M. RUBIN AND MARIANNE LE GALLIARD) Richard Avedon made many of his most famous fashion photographs in Paris after the war, in the hope of reviving that city's badly bruised joie de vivre. Those fantasies of French glamour and sophistication were at the heart of this show, but the curators had something much more wide-ranging in mind. One gallery was devoted to portraits--of luminaries from Jean Genet to Jeanne Moreau-hung floor to ceiling; another was wallpapered with his late-career contributions to the oversize culture-and-fashion magazine Egoiste. Every page of Diary of a Century (1970), the book that introduced (Avedon's inspired edit of) JacquesHenri Lartigue to the American reader, filled yet another wall, suggesting that Avedon's influence wasn't limited to the photographs he made.

Caption: John Akomfrah. Purple. 2017. six-channel HD video, color, sound, 60 minutes.

Caption: 1. Kerry James Marshall. Bang, 1994, acrylic and collage on canvas, 103 x 114". 2. Alicja Kwade, WeltenLinie (One in a Time), 2017. powder-coated steel, mirror, stone, bronze, aluminum, wood, petrified wood. Installation view, Arsenate, Venice. From the 57th Venice Biennale. Photo: Andrea Avezzu. 3. Wadsworth Jarrell, Liberation Soldiers, 1972, acrylic and foil on canvas, 50 x 48". From "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power." 4. Tina Modotti, Bandolier, Cob, Sickle, 1927, gelatin silver print, 9 x 7 Ye". From "Uprisings."

Caption: 5. John Akomfrah, The Stuart Hall Project, 2013, digital video, color and black-and-white, sound, 103 minutes. Stuart Hall. 7. Dana Schutz, Open Casket, 2016, oil on canvas, 39 x 53". 8. Melania Trump, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, and Karen Pence during the presidential inauguration ceremony, Washington, DC, January 20, 2017. Photo: REX/Shutterstock. 9. Graffiti denouncing Cecil Rhodes on a war memorial. University of Cape Town, South Africa. April 8, 2015. Photo: Nic Bothma/Epa/REX/ Shutterstock. 10. Members of the nationalist movement celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of the creation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, Kiev, October 14, 2017. Photo: Alexandr Gusev/ Pacific Press/Alamy.

Caption: 1. Cover of Virginie Despentes's Vernon Subutex 2 (Editions Grasset, 2015). 2. Top: Lee Lozano, No Title, ca. 1962. oil on canvas, 42 x 46". Inset: Lee Lozano, No Title, n.d., graphite, colored pencil, and crayon on paper, 23 x 14%". 3. Oscar Tuazon, Un pont(A Bridge), 2016, wood. Installation view, Belfort, France. 4. Zanele Muholi, Nathi Dlamini, Grand Beach, Cape Town, 2017, ink-jet print, 393 3/8 x 26 3/8".

Caption: 5. Tone Vigeland, untitled, 2006, iron, stainless steel. Installation view, Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, 2017. Photo: A. Laurenzo. 6. View of "Danny McDonald: Nightmare Scenarios," 2017, House of Gaga, Los Angeles. From left: Trigger Finger, 2017; Trolling, 2017; Questionable Se/fie, 2017; Science Fiction vs. Comedy, 2017; Political Junk Food, 2017. Photo: Jeff McLane. 7. Michel Journiac, Hommage au putain inconnu (Homage to the Unknown Whore), 1973, lacquer on human skeleton, acrylic on clothing, metal, flag, 70 7/8 x 94 1/2 x 9 7/8". From "L'esprit frangais: Contre-cultures, 1969-1989." 8. Nicolas Ceccaldi, Euphoria Noct/s, 2017, snail shells and acrylic on canvas, plastic frame, 23 5/8 x 15 3/4 x 4 3/4". 9. Robin Campillo, BPM (Beats Per Minute), 2017, 2k video, color, sound, 144 minutes. Nathan (Arnaud Valois). 10. Lorenza Bottner, untitled, ca. 1985, pastel on paper, 50 3/4 x 61 3/4". From Documenta 14.

Caption: Above, left: Paul Chan, Baigneurs sans rien, 2017, nylon, fans, fabric. Installation view. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

Caption: Right: Paul Chan, Pentasophia (orLe bonheur de vivre dans la catastrophe du monde occidental) (detail), 2016, nylon, metal, concrete, shoes, fansjaper. Installation view, 2017. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

Caption: Right: Paul Chan, Le baigneur 1, 2016, nylon, fan, concrete, shoes, cords. Installation view, 2017. Photo: Elisabeth Bernstein.

Caption: Opposite page, from left: Paul Chan, Pillowsophia (after Ghostface), 2016, nylon, wood, concrete, shoes, fans. Installation view, 2017. Paul Chan, De Se Moerae, 2017, nylon, fans, artificial grass, flagpole, metal stage. Installation view, 2017. Photos: Elisabeth Bernstein.

Caption: 1. Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born, Poor People's TV Room, 2017. Performance view. New York Live Arts, April 18, 2017. Okwui Okpokwasili and Katrina Reid. Photo: Ian Douglas. 2. Kahlil Joseph, m.A.A.d., 2014, 35 mm transferred to two-channel digital video, color, sound, 15 minutes 26 seconds. From "The Inifinite Mix." 3. Lubaina Himid, Metal/ Paper, Beach House, 1995, acrylic on canvas, 83% x 601/!". 4. Frank Walter, Moon Voyage Toy. 1994, wood, mixed media. Installation view, Antigua and Barbuda pavilion, Venice, 2017. From the 57th Venice Biennale. Photo: Andrea Avezzu. 5. William Kentridge. 0 Sentimental Machine, 2015, five-channel HD video (black-and-white, sound, 9 minutes 55 seconds), four megaphones.

Caption: 6. Lara Favaretto, Momentary Monument--The Stone, 2016, hollowed granite. Installation view, Rhiwlas Street, Liverpool. From the 2016 Liverpool Biennial. Photo: Mark McNulty. 7. Alice Neel, Alice Childress, 1950, oil on canvas, 30V4 x 20Vs". 8. View of "A Labour of Love," Johannesburg Art Gallery, South Africa. From Left: John Muafangejo, They are meeting again at home, 1982; Gabi Ngcobo, Untitled, 2015. Photo: C&. 9. Theo Eshetu, The Slave Ship, 2015, video, color, sound, 14 minutes 28 seconds. 10. John Akomfrah, Purple, 2017, six-channel HD video, color, sound, 60 minutes.

Caption: Paul Schrader, First Reformed. 2017, 2K video, color, sound, 108 minutes. Ernst Toller (Ethan Hawke).

Caption: Andrey Zvyagintsev, Love/ess, 2017, 4K video, color, sound, 127 minutes.

Caption: 1. Helio Oiticia, Tropicalia, 1966-67, plants, sand, birds, poems by Roberta Camiia Saigado on bricks, tiles, vinyl. Installation view, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2017. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans. 2. Kerry James Marshall. The Land That Time Forgot (detail), 1992, acrylic and collage on canvas, 97 x 75". Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans. 3. Alberto Giacometti, The Dog, 1951, bronze, 18 x 39 x 6Vs". Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans. 4. Alexandra Bircken, Storm, 2013, motorcycle suit, cotton and felt stuffing, 51% x 20V2 x 20'/s". Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans. 5. View of "Viron Erol Vert: Born in the Purple," 2017, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/ Bethanien, Berlin. Photo: Eric Tschernow.

Caption: 6. View of "The White Shadow," 2016-17, Peles Empire, Berlin. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans. 7. Thomas Eggerer, ConEd. 2017, oil on linen, 75 x 74". 8. Jamie Hawkesworth, untitled, 2011-15, C-print, 2 x 17". 9. View of "Kitchen Midden," 2016-17, Griffin Art Projects, Vancouver. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans. 10. Barbara Kruger, Belief+Doubt, 2012. vinyl. Installation view, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, 2017. Photo: Wolfgang Tillmans.

Caption: 1. EJ Hill, Pillar, 2017, wood, PVC. Installation view, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice. From "The Future Generation Art Prize @ Venice 2017." Photo: Sergey lllin. 2. Jimmie Durham, La poursuite de bonheur (The Pursuit ot Happiness), 2002, 35 mm transferred to digital, color, sound, 13 minutes. 3. View of "Signifying Form," 2017, the Landing, Los Angeles. From left: Betye Saar, Cage (In the Beginning), 2006: Brenna Youngblood, I. 2011. Photo: Joshua White. 4. Jordan Peele, Get Out, 2017, 4K video, color, sound, 104 minutes. Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya).

Caption: 5. Lita Albuquerque, Sirius, 2006, salt, fiberglass, pigment, sphere: 4x4', salt base: 8x8'. From "Artists of Color." 6. Cauleen Smith, Conduct Your Blooming, 2015, sequins, felt, cotton, rayon, velvet, seven panels. Installation view, University Art Galleries, University of California, Irvine, 2016. Photo: Jeff Mclane. 7. Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017. Performance view, German pavilion, Venice, May 7, 2017. From the 57th Venice Biennale. Photo: Ugo Carmeni. 8. Cover of A Tribe Called Quest's We Got It from Here... Thank You 4 Your Service (Epic, 2016). 9. Jasper Johns's costumes for Merce Cunningham's Second Hand, 1970. installation view, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2017. Photo: Gene Pittman. 10. Kerry James Marshall, Black Painting, 2003-2006, acrylic on Plexiglas, 72 x 108".

Caption: Above, left: Martin Beck, all that is left, 2015/2017, freestanding wall, paint. Installation view, 2017. Photo: Hannes Bock.

Caption: Left: View of "Martin Beck: rumors and murmurs," 2017. Photo: Hannes Bock.

Caption: Above: Martin Beck, Approx. 13 Hours, 2014, record albums, 123/s x 12% x 14V2n.

Caption: Right: Martin Beck. Last Night, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 13 hours 29 minutes. Installation view, 2017. Photo: Hannes Bock.

Caption: 1. View of "Dark Matter Games," 2017, S.a.L.E Docks, Venice. From left: Emily Eliza Scott, Art Historians Against Fascism, 2017; Committee Against Big Cruise Ships of Venice, Banner from San Marco's Tower, 2014. Photo: Veronica Badolin. 2. Pierre Huyghe, After ALife Ahead, 2017. concrete ice-rink floor, sand, clay, phreatic water, bacteria, algae, bees, chimera peacocks, snails, aquarium, black switchable glass, textile cone, incubator, human cancer cells, genetic algorithm, augmented-reality program, automated ceiling structure, rain, ammoniac, logic game. Installation view, Munster, Germany. From SkulpturProjekte Munster. 3. Angela Melitopoulos, Crossing, 2017, four-channel video, color, sixteen-channel sound, 109 minutes. Installation view, GieShaus, Universitat Kassel. From Documenta 14. Photo: Nils Klinger. 4. View of "Rosa Barba: From Source to Poem to Rhythm to Reader," 2017, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan. Photo: Agostino Osio. 5. Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paiva, Washing Machine (camera test), 2014-15,16 mm, color, silent, 2 minutes 40 seconds. Installation view, Galeria Ze dos Bois, Lisbon, 2017. Photo: Lais Pereira.

Caption: 6. Albert Serra, La mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV), 2016, HD video, color, sound, 115 minutes. Madame de Maintenon (Irene Silvagni), Blouin (Marc Susini), and Padre Le Tellier (Jacques Henric). 7. Oscar Masotta, El helicoptero (The Helicopter), 1967. Performance view, Buenos Aires, 1967. 8. Joao Moreira Salles, No intenso agora (In the Intense Now), 2017, HD video, color, sound, 127 minutes. 10. Claire Fontaine, Untitled (Paris 11 April 2006), gesso, pencil, and smoke on cardboard, 12 x 30". From "Sensible Comune," C17--The Rome Conference on Communism.

Caption: 1. Anne Imhof, Faust. 2017. Performance view, German pavilion, Venice, June 23, 2017. From the 57th Venice Biennale. Stine Omar. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski. 2. Alex Israel, SPF-18. 2017, HD video, color, sound, 75 minutes. Ash Baker (Jackson White). Production still. 3. Georgia O'Keeffe's linen blouse, ca. 1935. 4. Alice Neel. Two Girls, 1954, ink and gouache on paper, 29% x 21%". 5. Sam Gilliam. Carousel Change. 1970, acrylic on canvas, leather, dimensions variable. From "Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power."

Caption: 6. Hercules Segers, Landscape with a Plateau, a River in the Distance, ca. 1615-30, etching on paper, 5% x 4Vs". 7. Marsden Hartley, The Lighthouse, 1940-41, oil on hardboard, 30 x 40 1/8". 8. Brian Calvin, The Silent Treatment, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30". 9. Florine Stettheimer, Birthday Bouquet (Flowers with a Snake), 1932, oil on canvas, 30 x 26 1/8". 10a. Walter Hopps, ca. 1969. Photo: John Gossage. 10b. Arensberg home, Los Angeles, 1945. Photo: Fred R. Dapprich/Getty Images.

Caption: 1. Ho Tzu Nyen. The Nameless, 2015, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 21 minutes 51 seconds. From "Ghosts and Spectres--Shadows of History." 2. Thomas Sauvin. Beijing Silvermine--E-0707-20.1985-2005, ink-jet print, 26% x 39%". From "Here's Looking at You! A Generation of Chinese Photographic Portraits Before the Selfie." 3. Liang Shaoji, In Silence, 2015-16, twelve plastic barrels, silk, cocoon, dimensions variable. 4. Zheng Guogu. 6 Two Dimensional Ends = Key of Life, 2016, oil on canvas, 53 x 75 5/8".

Caption: 5. View of works by Firenze Lai, 2017, Central Pavilion, Venice. From the 57th Venice Biennale. From left: Stargazing, 2013; Autism, 2013; Happily Ever After, 2013. Photo: Chandra Glick. 6. Nadim Abbas, Human Rhinovirus 14, 2016, centrifugal blowers, beach balls, projectors, sandbags, galvanized steel. Installation view, Antenna Space, Shanghai. 7. still from Higher Brothers feat. Keith Ape's 2017 video WeChat, directed by Sean Miyashiro. 8. Left: Ko Sin Tung, Sunflower and Safety Helmet, 2017, ink-jet print, 69 1/2 x 54 1/2". Right: Ko Sin Tung, One day, workers replaced the traditional high pressure sodium street lights with the new LED ones, 2017, enamel, acrylic, and ink-jet print on vinyl on aluminum plate, 50 1/4 x 47". 9. View of "Alice Wang," 2017, Capsule Shanghai. Foreground: Untitled, 2017. Background: Untitled, 2017. 10. View of "Yu Youhan," 2016-17, Power Station of Art, Shanghai.

Caption: 1. Jasper Johns, Painting Bitten by a Man, 1961, encaustic on canvas mounted on type plate, 9x 67/a". 2. Salvador Dali and Edward James, Lobster Telephone (red), 1938. telephone, steel, plaster, rubber, resin, paper, 7Va x 12 x 4'/a". 3. Valentin de Boulogne, Saint John the Evangelist, ca. 1621-22, oil on canvas, 38% x 53".

Caption: 5. View of "Rei Kawakubo Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between," 2017, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo: Pacific Press/Alamy. 6. Jenny Wiklund, Aproprioceptia (detail), 2017, polyester resin, artificial eyes, ink-jet print, podium, stainless-steel plates. Installation view, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Photo: Mathias Johansson. 7. Katarzyna Kobro, Spatial Composition (5), 1929, paint on steel, 9 7/8 x 25 1/4 x 15 3/4". 8. Vivian Suter, N/syros (Vivian's Bed), 2016-17, mixed media. Installation view, Kurt-Schumacher-Strasse, Kassel, 2017. From Documenta 14. Photo: Fred Dott. 9. Ivan Kliun, Red Light, Spherical Composition, 1923, oil on canvas, 26 7/8 x 26 5/8". From "Art Without Death: Russian Cosmism." 10. Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017. Performance view, German pavilion, Venice, May 14, 2017. From the 57th Venice Biennale. Eliza Douglas. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski.

Caption: Left: Walid Raad in collaboration with Bernard Khoury, A Proposal for a Beirut Site Museum: Preface (2016-2026), 2017, wood, stone, paint. Installation view.

Caption: Opposite page: Walid Raad in collaboration with Bernard Khoury, A Proposal for a Beirut Site Museum: Preface (2016-2026) _6 Plates (detail), 2017, six ink-jet prints, each 46 7/8 x 33 1/8".

Caption: 1. Jochen Lempert, Un voyage en mer du Nord (Voyage on the North Sea) (detail), 2009, six gelatin silver prints, each 40 x 32 5/8". 2. Dr. Charles Smith. Serpent, ca. 1985-99, concrete, paint, mixed media, 21 3/4 x 19 x 19". 3. View of "Louise Lawler: Why Pictures Now," 2017, Museum of Modern Art, New York. Wall: Produced in 1988, Purchased in 1989; Produced in 1989, Purchased in 1993 (adjusted to fit), 1995/2010. Photo: Martin Seek. 4. Rob Pruitt, The Obama Paintings (detail), 2009-17, acrylic on canvas, 2,922 panels, each 24 x 24". 5. Martin Beck, Last Night, 2016, HD video, color, sound, 13 hours 29 minutes.

Caption: 1. Lorna Simpson, Easy to Remember, 2001, 16 mm transferred to digital video, black-and-white, sound, 2 minutes, 35 seconds. From "Uprisings." 2. Top: Arthur Jafa, Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death. 2016. video, color and black-and-white, sound, 7 minutes 25 seconds. Bottom: Kahlil Joseph. FlyPaper, 2017, HD video, color, sound, 23 minutes, 17 seconds. 3. Carol Rama, Maternita (Maternity), 1966, mixed media on canvas, 35Vi x 27%". 4. View of "Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garpons: Art of the In-Between," 2017, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Caption: 5. Kerry James Marshall, Untitled, 2008, acrylic on fiberglass, pine frame, 79 x 116". 6. Twin Peaks: The Return, 2017, still from a TV show on Showtime. Part 8. 7. Duncan Grant, Paul Roche Reclining, ca. 1946, oil on canvas, 22 1/2 x 30 3/4". From "Queer British Art 1861-1967." 8. View of "The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness," 2017-18, the School, Kinderhook, NY. Photo: Roger Archer. 9. Paul Mpagi Sepuya, A Sitting for Matthew, 2016, ink-jet print, 51 x 34". 10. View of "Avedon's France: Old World, New Look," 2016-17, Bibliotheque National De France, Paris.
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