#60 Summer 2019
This issue of Spike is a response to the widely held idea that art needs to be more moral. The world’s fucked up, and the art world is guilty too, so in some ways that makes sense. It’s brought art closer to politics and activism, given it a social and political function. We want a better world too. But art is also a place for (self-)doubt and risk and questioning. Freedom of thought and expression is art’s indispensable foundation; we shouldn’t let that idea be hijacked by the right so they can kill it off. Focusing on questions of right and wrong is a way to slip out from under the burden of critique that’s run out of steam; it offers the consolation of moral belonging. But without some exposure to danger there can be no moral development. What a magazine like Spike can do is to investigate and reflect the contemporary condition; sometimes that means pushing on its sore spots and giving room to its discontents.
Zhou Tao “The Ridge in A Bronze Mirror”at Guangdong Times Museum by Shanzhai Lyric.
Cameron Rowland “D37” at MOCA Grand Avenue and Barbara Kruger at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA by Patrick J. Reed.
Martin Kippenberger “The Museum of Modern Art Syros” at MAMCO by Yann Chateigné.
“Motions of This Kind: Propositions & Problems of Belatedness” at The Brunei Gallery, SOAS by Harry Burke; “I, I, I, I, I, I, I, Kathy Acker“at ICA by Ella Plevin.
Trisha Donnelly at The Shed by Allison Hewitt-Ward.
Sam Lipp “Incest” at Bonny Poon by Charles Teyssou.
Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg “A Journey Through Mud and Confusion with Small Glimpses of Air” at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt by Alexander Scrimgeour.
Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz “Ongoing Experiments with Strangeness” at Julia Stoschek Collection Berlin by Kristian Vistrup Madsen; Frieda Toranzo Jaeger “Deep Adaptation” at Galerie Barbara Weiss by Dominikus Müller.
Krem's Donaufestival “New Society“ by Gianna Virginia Prein.
“Über Leben am Land” at Kunst Haus Wien by Klaus Speidel. Friedrich von Berzeviczy-Pallavicini: “Der Hausfreund” at Universitaetsgalerie im Heiligenkreuzer Hof by Maximilian Geymüller. “Peter Friedl: Teatro” at Kunsthalle Wien by Benjamin Hirte.
“Time, Forward!” at V-A-C Zattere. Eva Scharrer interviews Omar Kholeif.
“May You Live In Interesting Times” at the 58th Venice Biennial. By Jeppe Ugelvig
How to dress the devil? If there’s one thing we can learn from the canon of villainy it would be that evil rarely requires a stylist. The arts are populated with villains – on both sides of the screen, page, canvas – who know how to work far more dashing cuts than their heroic counterparts. By Ella Plevin
With or without the help of AI, attempts to end the proliferation of fake content and disinformation on social-media platforms are probably doomed to failure. Instead, our posts and likes will continue to exacerbate conflict, strengthen groupthink, and cause mental distress. Why current strategies for fighting harmful messages are unlikely to work. By Rob Horning
It is probably almost impossible for many readers to imagine how bizarre and threatening German and Austrian male student fraternities can be. Their politics typically ranges from nationalistic to extreme right-wing, and men form bonds that last a lifetime and reach into the highest levels of politics, while observing anachronistic rituals and dress codes. The Vienna-based Burschenschaft Hysteria, which is open only to women and claims to be the “ur-fraternity”, recasts the power structures of such associations with spectacular interventions and the demand for a “Golden Matriarchate”. By Sonja Eismann
For the past ten years, the German artist Jana Euler has worked an eclectic lexicon of styles to dissect the mechanisms by which value is assigned to art. For her recent exhibition at Galerie Neu in Berlin, she presented eight tall paintings of sharks. Swiss curators Tenzing Barshee and Fabrice Stroun met to talk about the ideological implications of her work and the unique place it occupies within the field of figurative painting.
Instead of jetting to Venice, Basel, Hongkong, or New York, you should probably stay at home and read a book, or look at Instagram if you must. Every flight bringing people to artworks and artworks to people adds to the art world’s enormous carbon footprint. Is the value of seeing art IRL really worth it? Nobody can live in the sky for ever. By Mitch Speed
Gallerists play a key role in the ecosystem of art and we are grateful to them: for supporting artists, putting on shows, hosting dinners. But swathes of the art market are driven by greed, lying, and back-room deals, all covered by a blanket of secrecy. A look at some of the less savoury tricks of this highly unregulated trade. By Kenny Schachter