I never really had a plan, except to express myself as purely as possible… I still make work on my own body first, as I always have. I can only understand it from the inside. — Michael Clark
MICHAEL CLARK—COSMIC DANCER, recently at the Barbican, was the first comprehensive retrospective of the British dance artist. Interrupted by the pandemic shutdowns, the exhibition lives on in the catalog, edited by Florence Ostende.
Bringing together materials from his choreographic work and collaborations with artists—including Elizabeth Peyton, Silke Otto-Knapp, Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans, LeighBowery, Peter Doig, Cerith Wyn Evans, and Duncan Campbell—the book is a beautiful complement to MICHAEL CLARK, a 2011 monograph edited by Suzanne Cotter and RobertViolette.
A more collaborative and sharing practice has always been important to me as a counterbalance to the more studio-intensive things that I create on my own. It can be super lonely just making these incredibly detailed paintings. So I have always needed that balance of also doing things that have a different set of criteria, where you are not just relying on your own set of ethics or style. And I would say working closely and productively with someone from a different discipline—as is the case with Beca and me—is a brilliant experience.* Sometimes it can be complicated collaborating with another fine artist, but with design, there is just so much more flexibility and space for each person to come to the fore at different times. — LucyMcKenzie
Painting, design, installation, Madeleine Vionnet, and Zoya Kosmodemyanskaya all come together in NO MOTIVE, the new show by McKenzie now on view in New York.
In 1999 Mark Leckey released his video-montage FIORUCCI MADE ME HARDCORE, a dreamscape vignette that communes with the rapturous promises of youth. Putting archive material to uncanny use, Leckey entwined purloined footage of underground dance and street culture in Britain with sampled and recorded audio. Completed on the eve of mass online file-sharing, FIORUCCI MADE ME HARDCORE is ingrained with memories of subcultures, fleeting, rare, and precious.
In his print study of the work—a recent publication in the Afterall Books: One Work series—Mitch Speed “argues that by interweaving personal and collective memory, FIORUCCI MADE ME HARDCOREgives voice to class and cultural transformation during the Thatcherite era. Oscillating between local and expansive resonances, it manifests as an homage, a love letter and an incantation.”
I came upon the word transmissions while thinking about how the ethereal, corporeal, and technical dimensions of ballet resonate in the artworks and souvenirs it produces. Transmissions are subject to interference and interruption. Ballets are conveyed to us through mediations, anecdotes, and bodies. And often when I’m watching ballet in its contemporary manifestations, I wonder how these transmissions have occurred.
I started looking into the history of ballet in the twentieth century… Through a web of genealogies, I eventually arrived at the flamboyant intersection of ballet and art in New York, beginning in the 1930s. There the avant-garde experiments of the previous decades in Europe incited a particularly intense cross-contamination, an overt articulation of homosexual erotics long before the emergence of a public language around queerness. Looking at modern American art of this period through the prism of ballet reveals a tangle of interrelationships, collaborations, derivations, and hybrid aesthetic programs that still feel surprisingly contemporary. — Nick Mauss*
Two years after the close of TRANSMISSIONS—Nick Mauss’ multimedia installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art—the museum and Dancing Foxes Press have published an exhibition catalog that beautifully extends the show, combining performance and exhibition images from the Whitney with an extensive selection of new illustrative and textual documentation.
I drew multiple webs of interrelationships, elective affinities, and echo waves of influence, focusing as much on the social, professional, sexual, and collaborative points of contact as on transhistorical resonances that were in some cases perhaps fantasy—eschewing standard mappings of modern art… [embracing] anachrony and distortion over apparent objectivity…
My decision to insist on ballet as the fulcrum in TRANSMISSIONS was also a response to the ubiquity of postmodern dance derivations within the contemporary museum environment and the reductive version of modernity that these prequalified dance idioms signify and cement. Contemporaneity is reduced to a “look” of modernity. Modernist ballets make for engaging historical documents precisely because their own relationship to history is a kind of suspension of disbelief; they are intrinsically modernist, even if they don’t “signal” modernity to contemporary eyes.— Nick Mauss*
The world of the spectator, the receiver, was a primary lens through which I constructed TRANSMISSIONS, and the flux of the exhibition’s daily audience over the course of two months took on a central role within it. This book is similarly directed at the wholly different—private, rather than social—negotiations of the reader. — Nick Mauss*