STRIKE MOMA

The International Imagination of Anti-National Anti-Imperialist Feelings (IIAAF)—a coalition of artist and activist groups—has called for ten weeks of protest and action against the leadership of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, beginning on April 9. What follows is a brief excerpt from their Strike MoMA framework and terms for struggle.

Any day now, hedge fund billionaire Leon Black is likely to resign as the chair of the board of MoMA. [On March 26, Black reportedly told colleagues he would not stand for chair re-election in June, but is expected to remain on the board.] It has been six weeks since the deep financial ties between Black and Jeffery Epstein resurfaced in the headlines. Black has already stepped down from Apollo Global Management, but MoMA remains silent about his ongoing role at the museum. Artists and community groups have demanded that Black be removed, and calls for action have been circulating publicly for a month. Last week anonymous sources confirmed to the media that Black is facing pressure from other members of the board to step down. They know his  continued presence on the board is a recipe for crisis, but getting rid of him could set a precedent and put at risk MoMA’s use of his priceless art collection. The museum administration is in a classic decision dilemma.

Whether Black stays or goes, a consensus has emerged: beyond any one board member, MoMA itself is the problem. MoMA Divest offered a summary of its reasoning as follows:

“Five MoMA board members—Steven Tananbaum, Glenn Dubin, Steven Cohen, Leon Black, Larry Fink—have been identified and targeted by different groups over the last year for their ties to war, racist prison and border enforcement systems, vulture fund exploitation, gentrification and displacement of the poor, extractivism and environmental degradation, and patriarchal forms of violence. Board members also have ties and donate to the NYPD Police Foundation. In short, the rot is at the core of the institution, which includes PS1.”

We agree, and also point to Honorary Chair Ronald Lauder, the cosmetics billionaire who is also president of the Zionist lobbying group World Jewish Congress and a major Trump donor. Deserving of recognition as well is board member Patricia Phelps Cisneros, whose billions come from the right-wing Grupo Cisneros media-industrial empire in Latin America. Speaking of Latin America, let’s shine a light on Tananbaum, Jeff Koons enthusiast and chief investment officer at Golden Tree Assets, one of the hedge funds involved in extracting wealth from the people of Puerto Rico through the PROMESA debt-restructuring program. And how could we forget Paula Crown and James Crown of the General Dynamics armaments fortune, whose Crown Creativity Lab on the second floor of the museum hosts The Peoples Studio, an “experimental space where visitors can explore the art and ideas of our time through participatory programs.” This is the condition of modernity that we find at Modernism Central: death-dealing oligarchs using art as an instrument of accumulation and shield for their violence.

From top: Image from MoMA exhibition on home movies Private Lives, Public Spaces (2021); Strike MoMA, courtesy and © IIAAF.

LUCY MCKENZIE — NO MOTIVE

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. — Lucy McKenzie

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.

LUCY MCKENZIE—NO MOTIVE

Through April 24.

Galerie Buchholz

17 East 82nd Street, New York City.

*Beca Lipscombe is McKenzie’s partner in the fashion label Atelier E.B.

Lucy McKenzie, No Motive, Galerie Buchholz, New York, March 5, 2021–April 24, 2021, from top: Leaning Mannequin (Roman Statue/ l’Orage), 2021, fiberglass, acrylic and oil paint, silk dress with gold braid, gym shoes; Metal (Alan Potter), 2021, oil on board, and Quodlibet LXX, 2021, oil on board; Unfinished Mannequin Portrait III, 2021, oil on canvas; Ethnic Composition (Moldova, Russian Ethnographic Museum), 2021, acrylic and oil on canvas; Sitting Mannequin (Greek pottery/Quatre Mouchoirs), 2021, fiberglass, acrylic and oil paint, belted silk dress, gym shoes; No Motive installation view, (left) Unfinished Mannequin Portrait II, 2021, oil on canvas, (right) Leaning Mannequin (Polychrome/l’Orage), 2021, fiberglass, acrylic and oil paint, silk dress with gold braid, gym shoes; No Motive installation view, (left) Coloured textiles (Joseph Linley), 2021, oil on board, and Quodlibet LXXII, 2021, oil on board, (right) Beige textiles (attributed to Joseph Linley), 2021, oil on board, and Quodlibet LXXI, 2021, oil on board; Unfinished Mannequin Portrait I, 2021, oil on canvas; Leaning Mannequin (Polychrome/l’Orage). Images © Lucy McKenzie, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Buchholz.

ON WOJNAROWICZ

On the occasion of the streaming release of WOJNAROWICZ—F**K YOU F*GGOT F**CKER, filmmaker Chris McKim will join editor Dave Stanke and artist-activist Leo Herrera in conversation.

The film features commentary by Fran Lebowitz, Peter Hujar, Kiki Smith, Richard Kern, Nan Goldin, and Carlo McCormick. See links below for information.

WOJNAROWICZ Q & A—CHRIS MCKIM, DAVE STANKE, and LEO HERRERA

Film Forum

Tuesday, March 30.

4 pm on the West Coast, 7 pm East Coast.

WOJNAROWICZ—F**K YOU F*GGOT F**KER

Directed by Chris McKim.

Laemmle Virtual Cinema

Through April 1.

Chris McKim, Wojnarowicz (2020), from top: Untitled, David Wojnarowicz image courtesy of the David Wojnarowicz Papers, Fales Library and Special Collections, New York University; Wojnarowicz, image courtesy of Tom Rauffenbart; Wojnarowicz poster courtesy and © World of Wonder and Kino Lorber; David Wojnarowicz, Fuck You Faggot Fucker, 1984, image © the Estate of David Wojnarowicz, courtesy of the estate and P.P.O.W.; Wojnarowicz, image © the Estate of David Wojnarowicz, courtesy of the estate and P.P.O.W.

BLACK FUTURES SYMPOSIUM

Kimberly Drew, Jenna Wortham, and The Underground Museum present the Black Futures Symposium, a weekend-long series of online talks, readings, performances, and meditations. On the closing day, Joy Yamusangie and Ronan McKenzie will stream their 2020 film WATA.

See link below to register.

BLACK FUTURES SYMPOSIUM

The Underground Museum

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 26–28.

From top: Joy Yamusangie and Ronan McKenzie, WATA (2020), still, image courtesy and © the filmmakers; Jenna Wortham (above) and Kimberly Drew, Black Futures Symposium, image courtesy and © The Underground Museum; WATA poster, image courtesy and © the filmmakers; Black Futures, edited by Drew and Wortham, cover image courtesy and © One World.

DIAMOND STINGILY, PUPPIES PUPPIES, AND BRI WILLIAMS

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III-5:

Gender variance is not a psychiatric disease; it is a human variation that in some cases requires medical attention. For the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, because there is no other medical diagnosis available for transgender people to seek reimbursement of medical expenses under, we recommended that some version of gender dysphoria appear in DSM-5 as a stop-gap measure. There is a continuing need for the medical and insurance industries to update their procedures for reimbursement so that gender dysphoria can be removed entirely in the future. Yet, we must understand that as long as transgender identities are understood through a “disease” framework, transgender people will suffer from unnecessary abuse and discrimination from both inside and outside the medical profession. As long as gender variance is characterized by the medical field as a mental condition, transgender people will find their identities invalidated by claims that they are “mentally ill,” and therefore not able to speak objectively about their own identities and lived experiences. This has even been used to justify discrimination against transgender people, such as in child custody cases, discrimination in hiring/workplace practices, or justifying them to be mentally unfit to serve in the military. Even more alarming is the high rate of children—and adults— who will continue to be forcibly subjected to abusive “reparative” therapies designed to “cure” them of gender variance. While the “Gender Identity Disorder” framework of the DSM-IV did have some usefulness for accessing care, there is significant evidence that it has been gravely abused since its creation as a way to subject gender-variant children and adults to damaging “reparative” treatments against their will. (2020)*

This is the closing week of the Diamond Stingily, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Bri Williams group show in New York. See link below for details.

DIAMOND STINGILY, PUPPIES PUPPIES (JADE KURIKI OLIVO), BRI WILLIAMS

Through March 27.

Queer Thoughts

373 Broadway, #C9, New York City.

From top: Bri Williams, Prometheus, 2021, ceramic, wax, bra; Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Eve’s/Adam’s Apple (Adam’s Apple is a lump of cartilage that sticks out from the throat) (symbol of banishment) (clocked by my large Eve’s/Adam’s Apple) (Eve’s Apple) (Bitten), 2020, apple; Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), How many ribs does it take to make a trans Eve? How many ribs does it take to make a trans womxn? How many ribs does it take to make a trans person?, 2020, real human ribs; Diamond Stingily, Orgasms Happened Here, 2021, closet doors, shelf, hardware, towels; Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), *see opening paragraph; Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), download takeaway PDF; Bri Williams, The Roses That Grew From Concrete, 2021, soap, resin, roses. Images courtesy and © the artists and Queer Thoughts.