The Stubbornness of Space, the Forms of Fashion . . . And So On

“It’s Only the Beginning,” as Daniel Fuller wrote of the resurrection of the lost archives of Atlanta’s Nexus Press in an era in which the archive has not lost its fascination. But Robert Wiesenberger’s special issue on Architecture and Design took a different look at Art Papers’ favorite topics, as Shumon Basar discussed how the study of architecture made him “more neurologically wired to see the interconnectedness of things [and] predisposed to ignore the sovereignty of disciplines” before he lost interest. After that, subsequent issues’ interest in the political aesthetics of Carnival, informality and nomadism, “A Pilot for a Show About Nowhere,” animal-behavior robots, Colin Renfrew’s big-picture analysis of human history, a revisiting of cyberfeminism, and a look at the Mississippi-based collaborative YaloRun Textile Supply Workshop all seemed like different ways of approaching interdisciplinary topics that only Renfrew seemed inclined to put in a ten-thousand-year perspective. A “historically unreliable [but] culturally true” fiction based on a tour of 13 presidential libraries, juxtaposed with photographs of ancient Egypt as reconstructed in south Georgia demonstrated that not only are things seldom as they seem, sometimes it is impossible to determine what exactly they seem to be. Research into a lost sculpture park in Atlanta and the “karaoke self” of the phenomenon of fandom both revealed dimensions in which the seemingly simple rapidly devolved into depths and morasses. (Speaking of such topics, Howard Finster made a return appearance, by way of an interview with the High Museum’s new curator of folk art Katherine Jentleson.)