It’s complicate­d

- Artreview.magazine artreview_magazine @Artreview_ Arasia

Artreview is all for being popular. It has the popular touch. It can shake hands and kiss babies. Or kiss hands and shake babies. Whatever. Artreview’s readers say ‘Jump!’, Artreview replies enthusiast­ically ‘How high?’ And it doesn’t even do a risk assessment. Of course, popularity in art is a more complicate­d thing than showing how high you can jump. Which is why Artreview’s mission has always been to make the unpopular popular, and at the same time question whether or not whatever art that is popular should be less popular. Artreview knows that art isn’t always good just because lots of people like it, nor is it bad because only a few do, and it’s Artreview’s job to show you, its reader, what might be worth paying attention to, even if everyone else in this ‘artworld’ tells you otherwise.

As it happens, those di erent, diverging takes are what bump into each other all through this particular issue of Artreview. Choreograp­her Trajal Harrell’s work, profiled by Evan MoŽtt, has always been about who dance is for, and who writes its history, particular­ly when you’re starting out in a city like New York, home to the tradition of experiment­al dance shaped by the storied Judson Church Dance Theater. Harrell’s criss-crossing of the city’s ballroom vogue culture with the unexpected strictures of experiment­al dance, and then with other ‘outside’ dance cultures, speaks to how any ‘art scene’, however progressiv­e, can quickly become exclusive and self-repeating, needing ‘outsiders’ to shake it up.

Sarah Jilani asks who the objects being held in European museums are actually for: Western museums argue that they’re keeping items from other cultures for their own good which, as Jilani suggests, is just another way of saying they still think they’re better than everyone else. But as Oliver Basciano discovers, no artwork is safe when you have a mob running riot, as recently happened in Brazil following the defeat of its right-wing populist president Jair Bolsonaro. As Bolsonaro supporters trashed the Oscar Niemeyer-designed government buildings of Brasília, they damaged a sculpture by Brazilian modernist Frans Krajcberg, an artist whose journey, as Basciano discovers, went from fleeing Nazi Europe to fighting the deforestat­ion of the Amazon jungle.

Art museums – when they’re not tearing themselves up over whether to send their collection­s back to the places those objects came from – are also finding that, when it comes to famous artists, the art often refuses to stay in the museum anyway. In her column, Marv Recinto looks at the explosion in art merchandis­ing, as she traces how Jean-michel Basquiat’s street art-inspired canvases have made their way from the art gallery back into pop culture, ending up on everything from mobile phone cases to poop-proof rugs. And as Paris’s Musée Picasso relaunches, in a bid to be more appealing to younger audiences, J. J. Charleswor­th argues that while museums stress out about making old art accessible, younger audiences are getting their art- and Insta-fixes by flocking to the new wave of ‘immersive’ digital art experience­s.

Immersed in demonic smells and coated in lard, Rachel M. Tang enters the intoxicate­d installati­ons of Candice Lin to share some meaningful glances with cats, plague bacteria and sex demons. What she finds is a troubled and surprising web that connects us all, one that suggests that maybe all this isn’t just for our own pleasure, and art isn’t exclusivel­y for humans. If we’re thinking about popularity, why not consider the most populous cohabitant­s of our planet? Maybe the bacteria have di erent ideas about who art is for. Artreview

Sign up to our newsletter at and be the first to receive details of our upcoming events and the latest art news

 ?? ?? Dance / O
Dance / O
 ?? ?? Man has no understand­ing
Man has no understand­ing

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom