The unstoppable takeover of the art world by the biennial form is evidenced by the nearly 250 biennials operating globally, listed by the Biennial Foundation’s Directory of Biennials. More than this number, it is the five-fold increase over the last ten years that warrants a certain slack-jawed response.
Whether all-women’s shows are an effective long-term strategy for achieving gender equity in the art world at large remains a subject of heated debate. At a panel discussion that accompanied the Studio School exhibit, some artists and curators argued that gender-based shows encourage tokenism and relegate women to the sidelines, while others argued that, after centuries of art shows that featured only men, all-women shows are a necessary corrective.
With mainstream institutions like the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Whitney Museum diversifying to engage wider and more representative publics, what becomes the role of so-called culturally specific institutions—like El Museo, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art—that were born out of efforts to compensate for such museums’ deficiencies?
In order to get their algorithm to produce a legitimately classical-looking portrait, Obvious’s members say they fed it a training data set of more than 15,000 portraits created between the 14th and 20th centuries. Using these images, the algorithm was able to “generate” new images similar to the ones it had been fed. These new portraits were then presented to another algorithm (the “adversarial” part of the GAN acronym) that was trained to distinguish between images produced by humans versus those by machines—a Turing-like test for artworks—until the generated portraits could fool this discriminator into thinking they were “real,” too. Since the announcement, many in the traditional art world have been losing their minds over this new movement, which Obvious has christened “GAN-ism.” But other artists making work via AI think the hype about what the technology can do on its own is premature.
Ilya Khrzhanovsky’s immersive installation DAU, scheduled to open on October 12 as part of the Berliner Festspiele, was to include a mini-East Berlin, complete with a checkpoint requiring papers, bounded by a replica of part of the barrier that once divided East and West Berlin. The city government says that it has refused permission for the project because there’s not enough time to build it safely, but many locals argue that they’ve had quite enough of walls, thank you.
When the show opened at the Serralves Foundation Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto last week, 20 of the 179 works intended for display were mot on view. “One day after the opening, on Friday, João Ribas, the museum’s artistic director, announced his resignation, and an open letter has circulated accusing the institution of censorship. The Mapplethorpe Foundation, in response, has pushed back against that claim.”
Jason deCaires Taylor’s suite of sculptures, called the Coralarium and touted as “the world’s first intertidal srt gallery” by the resort off whose beach it’s installed, was demolished last week amidst an election campaign which the incumbent president, who had been railing against Western influences, lost.
Coming to the Met at a time when nearly every aspect of the universal museum is coming into ethical question, Hollein has to confront daunting challenges including the re-evaluation of the colonial era, the advent of transformative technology, the changing nature of modern information consumption, the fusion of contemporary art with global capital, and the foregrounding of issues of identity in the cultural agora. It’s a sign of the times that the most frequently heard knock against the well-liked Hollein is that he is a white European male.