Closed until Further Notice

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For over two weeks this month, the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Gallery of Art, and other national memorials, parks, and zoos closed their doors and locked their gates because the United States Congress shut down the federal government. The National Museum of Serbia has been closed for fourteen years, the artist Saša Tkačenko told a small group that gathered for a salon at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in Brooklyn. And the Museum of Contemporary Art has been shuttered for six years.

Certificates of Authenticity

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The second and final panel on the symposium for the Jewish Museum’s exhibition Jack Goldstein x 10,000 featured presentations by two artists—Kathryn Andrews and Paul Pfeiffer—who emerged a couple generations after Jack Goldstein. Neither artist was directly influenced by Goldstein, as they arrived at their aesthetic approach prior to gaining knowledge of the elder artist’s work. One of two panel moderators, Claire Bishop, described the situation as “reverse engineering.” While hers was certainly a clever use of the phrase, the concept is standard operating procedure for scholars making connections between the art of different decades. That doesn’t mean artists don’t have a say, and here is what they said about Goldstein and influence.

Macho Man

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If a person wanted to learn more about an emerging artist, fresh out of graduate school, who caught the eye of an advisory board for the Brooklyn Museum, “Artist’s Talk: Caitlin Cherry” was not the place. Instead, an audience of several dozen mostly young artist types that gathered for tonight’s event was subjected to the opinions and interests of Nick Faust, an aspiring art writer with a following on Facebook who usurped the role of interviewer and relegated the artist to an uncomfortable sidekick status.

Reversing the Theory of Art

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Dennis Oppenheim and the Art of Survival, organized by Amy Plumb with Pamela Sharp and Aaron Levy, celebrated the legacy of the seminal New York artist who died this past January. Three interrelated “provisional seminars addressed three performance-oriented works: Lecture #1 (1976), Theme for a Major Hit (1974), and Radicality (1974)—perhaps purposely chosen, in memory of the absent artist, for their lack of the appearance of a physical performer in their initial iteration or regular presentation format.

Che c’è di nuovo? Non molto.

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The symposium’s middle part, “Agency of the Everyday,” was a disappointment. Covering Italy ca. 1970, the gregarious Romy Golan, professor of twentieth-century art at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, discussed a few important exhibitions in the country, such as Vitality of the Negative (1970–71), in which each artist received his own room to create kinetic, interactive art, often with elements of refraction, reflection, and projections (and thus without objects). The environments, Golan said, evoked a fun house or nightclub.

When Does a Stone Become a Boulder?

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Despite its alarming title, the symposium “States of Emergency: Objects as Agency circa 1970” was a placidly academic affair, in which discussions revolved around Lee Ufan: Marking Infinity, an exhibition concluding its summer run in the spiral of the Solomon R. Guggenheim’s Frank Lloyd Wright building in New York.