a museum retrospective

Opening Friday, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium is the Brazilian artist’s first full-scale U.S. retrospective in two decades. The exhibition captures the excitement, complexity, and activist nature of Oiticica’s art, focusing on the decisive period he spent in New York in the 1970s.

Members can experience Oiticica’s immersive installations first during preview days this Wednesday and Thursday. Join today!

[Hélio Oiticica in front of a poster for Neil Simon’s play The Prisoner of Second Avenue, in Midtown Manhattan, 1972. © César and Claudio Oiticica]

When he would be working on an exhibition, he cared 100% about every last detail of placement, lighting, graphic design.
—  MoMA curator Ann Temkin on the late artist Ellsworth Kelly in the Los Angeles Times

Detail of the installation for the retrospective ‘La Maison Martin Margiela (9/4/1612)’ at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 11 June — 17 August, 1997. 

Martin Margiela has already taken part in various exhibitions on contemporary fashion. His first solo exhibition was held in the Summer of 1997 in the Rotterdam Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum. It was a retrospective of his work, La Maison Martin MArgiela (9/4/1615). Eighteen dummies with Margiela creations, one silhouette from each collection, were arranged outside the Henket pavilion. The visitor stood on the inside and looked out: the opposite of window-shopping. 

The clothes had been treated with selected bacteria and moulds for four days. They had been stored in appropriate surroundings to enable the organisms to feed and multiply. Splendid discolorations were the result. The moulds, the discolorations and the wind brought the silhouettes to life. It was an extremely dramatic picture: the poetry of decay. 

I’ve been doing some thinking, trying to figure out why I think Kylo Ren is less innately redeemable than Anakin Skywalker, despite the fact that they’ve been guilty of the same crimes.  I still stand by what I said before, that Kylo Ren has openly rejected numerous chances for redemption, but I think it’s more than that.

The real problem that I have is that Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader.

I mean, think about that for a moment.  What kind of man idolizes DARTH VADER?

It’s not like Darth Vader is one of those villains with good publicity, like Prequels-Era Palpatine.  He didn’t have a long respected political career.  He doesn’t have a reputation for wisdom or kindness.  There are no legends of secret heroic or noble deeds performed by Darth Vader.  He didn’t save kittens from trees or donate funds to widows or orphans in his spare time.

There is literally no redeeming quality to Darth Vader that makes him worthy of veneration or even respect.  Darth Vader was an instrument of terror and destruction.  He murdered, tortured, and maimed his way across the galaxy.

(Please note that I do think Anakin Skywalker had qualities worthy of respect.  But Kylo doesn’t venerate Anakin Skywalker.  He doesn’t give a shit about Anakin’s history of heroism before his fall.  And he doesn’t give a shit that Anakin came back to the Light to save his son.  Kylo idolizes VADER.)

And there’s no way Kylo Ren would not be aware of what Darth Vader was.  He grew up in the New Republic, in the first generation after the Emperor and Vader’s reign of terror.  There would have been news programs, memorials, museums, documentaries, retrospective interviews from people who had direct experience with Vader’s violence.  There likely was video and documentary records.  Witness statements.  Cheap tell-all novels.  All of this input that would have made very clear: “Darth Vader was a monster.”

And from his own family, Kylo Ren would have learned that Vader tortured his mother and his father, that Vader had terrorized and mutilated his uncle.  Even if Han and Leia never talked about it, Luke would have as an important lesson on how anyone, no matter how many terrible things they’ve done, could return to the Light.

So Kylo Ren KNOWS how evil Darth Vader was.  He knows that there was no secret kindness or heroism during the time that Vader was Vader.  He knows that Vader was basically a walking weapon of fear.  He knows that Vader caused immeasurable pain to the members of his own family.

And he idolizes him.

He doesn’t feel sorry for Vader.  He doesn’t admire the man that Vader had once been.  He doesn’t believe that Vader was a good man, the way Anakin had believed in Palpatine’s good press for years.

Kylo Ren knows Vader’s a monster, and idolizes him anyway.

And that’s why I can’t buy this “Kylo Ren was twisted up by Snoke, he doesn’t know Light from Dark” shit.  This is not a man who is confused.  ANAKIN was confused.  ANAKIN had a mentor who seemed to be a good, wise man and respected politician, who listened to him and planted poisonous little fears in his mind.  Kylo isn’t like that.

Kylo isn’t insisting that Vader was a misunderstood hero.  Kylo isn’t insisting that the Emperor was controlling Vader.  He isn’t insisting that Vader never did the horrible things that he’s accused of.

Instead, Kylo is repeating the same crimes.  And I don’t care if you’ve been raised to think Light was Dark (a bullshit claim even before we found out that Kylo Ren studied with Luke until he was 23), it doesn’t take much to figure out that murdering people is an evil thing to do.

Kylo’s not a victim.  He’s a privileged kid who grew up with a family who loved him, who was trained in amazing powers, and he apparently decided that this wasn’t enough for him.  Now he’s joined the science fiction universe version of a neo-nazi organization.  (And for the record, calling Hux a nazi while sympathizing with Kylo, is like looking at a group of swastika tattooed skinheads and saying “Gross, but the one with the Hitler mustache…he’s clearly not one of them.”)

That’s the big difference between Anakin and Kylo for me though.

Anakin became a bully and a monster, but he didn’t start out that way.  He made a lot of bad decisions and trusted the wrong people, and then finally crossed a line of no return.

Kylo is a bully and a monster who idolizes a bully and a monster.  He might have started off as an innocent person too, but one has to ask exactly when did little Ben Solo decide that the man who hurt every single person in his family was worthy of admiration and respect.  And what does that say about him?

Frank Stella: A Retrospective—the most comprehensive presentation of the artist’s career to date—opens Friday. We’ll be posting live from the press preview on Twitter and Instagram starting at 10 am EST.

Frank Stella (b.1936), Gran Cairo, 1962. Alkyd on canvas, 85 9/16 × 85 9/16 in. (217.3 × 217.3 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 63.34. © 2015 Frank Stella/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Digital Image © Whitney Museum, NY

Detail of the installation for the retrospective ‘La Maison Martin Margiela (9/4/1612)’ at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 11 June — 17 August, 1997. 

Martin Margiela has already taken part in various exhibitions on contemporary fashion. His first solo exhibition was held in the Summer of 1997 in the Rotterdam Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum. It was a retrospective of his work, La Maison Martin MArgiela (9/4/1615). Eighteen dummies with Margiela creations, one silhouette from each collection, were arranged outside the Henket pavilion. The visitor stood on the inside and looked out: the opposite of window-shopping. 

The clothes had been treated with selected bacteria and moulds for four days. They had been stored in appropriate surroundings to enable the organisms to feed and multiply. Splendid discolorations were the result. The moulds, the discolorations and the wind brought the silhouettes to life. It was an extremely dramatic picture: the poetry of decay. 

Surveying Garry Winogrand’s American Epic

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928–1984). Coney Island, New York, ca. 1952. Gelatin silver print. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase and gift of Barbara Schwartz in memory of Eugene M. Schwartz. © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

In order to enter the Garry Winogrand retrospective that opened last month at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, you exit the main auditorium into the south wing, where you are greeted by a long corridor of Greek art from the sixth through fourth centuries BC. It mostly consists of statues in various poses—some at war, some lost in thought, some proclaiming, some brooding. By the time you reach the Winogrand show on the second floor and begin to survey the work, it may occur to you that the Greek gallery provided something of an anachronistic prologue. Known for his routine of tirelessly walking the streets candidly photographing city life, Winogrand was a photographer of people, from rodeo performers in Texas to socialites in Manhattan to the regulars at Venice Beach. Humanity—or perhaps American humanity—in all its iterations and range of expression, was his subject matter.

External image

Garry Winogrand (American, 1928–1984). New York, 1950. Gelatin silver print. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Fractional and promised gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein. © The Estate of Garry Winogrand, courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco

The Met is the third stop of the exhibition’s tour, originating at San Francisco MoMA. The project began when gallerist Jeffrey Fraenkel asked photographer Leo Rubinfien to help compile a large retrospective book of Winogrand’s work. Rubinfien agreed, but in his own words, “it was immediately clear you needed a museum.” So Rubinfien approached San Francisco MoMA Curator of Photography Sandy Phillips, who jumped at the idea of doing an exhibition, in which Rubinfien, who is not a curator by trade, would act as such. This iteration at the Met was reduced from the original SF MoMA show by Jeff Rosenheim, curator in charge of the Department of Photographs at the Met. It is the first Winogrand retrospective in 25 years, a virtual eternity for an artist of Winogrand’s renown, let alone an artist no longer living.

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