Global and Local Questions Continue to Surface

The year began with reports on biennials in Istanbul and Mercosur and ended with stories about environmental interventions by Olafur Eliasson poised between sculpture and critique, Yael Bartana on a Palestinian house built by the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, vegetable gardens as activist interventions by Fritz Haeg’s Edible Estates and various collectives, and Alabama artist Walton Creel’s creation of detailed drawings with bullet holes in his “Deweaponizing the Gun” series. This might suggest that although ongoing interests in activist interventions and conceptual experiments might be a unifying theme, little else would be amenable to tidy summation. Gender politics also appeared in K8 Hardy’s conversation regarding eclectic second-wave-feminist performance and in an essay on Mary Kelly’s “Love Songs” series, and less specifically in too many articles to enumerate. Christodoulos Panayiotou presented documentation of the hitherto unsuspected peculiarities of Carnival in Limassol, Cyprus. Ernesto Oroza discussed his intent in using found objects to create sculptural commentaries on the improvisational economy of day-to-day life in Havana. Jamie Isenstein discussed her sculptures completed only by becoming a hybrid with performance via the insertion of the artist’s body. (Katharina Grosse acknowledged in an interview in the same issue that her own work is “a notation for the absence of [her] body,” the presentation of the two opposing practices suggesting a subtle concern with embodiment unacknowledged in the editor’s preface to the issue.) An essay on Victor Man discussed the phenomenon of his emergence from the unlikely starting point of Cluj, Romania.