April 11 | Protests far and wide, from Athens to Los Angeles
Artists Against Evictions calls out Documenta 14 for its silence on the recent mass eviction of artists and refugees in Athens. Whilst on the other side of the Atlantic, Hysteric Curators stage a protest against the recent opening at Los Angeles’ MOCA of a retrospective dedicated to Carl Andre — who was charged with the murder of partner Ana Mendieta, the feminist artist-extraordinaire. In other news, Hilton Als wins the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.
Documenta 14’s silence on mass evictions in Athens called-out by Artists Against Evictions
With Documenta 14 opening in Athens on Saturday, April 8, the artist group — Artists Against Evictions — have penned an open letter protesting against exhibition’s silence following a series of evictions of artists and raids of buildings housing refugees in the city. The letter notes: “this violent act is dividing the legitimate bodies from the illegitimate ones by state force and Documenta has so far been silent.”
The 2017 edition of Documenta is the first to be hosted by two cities, with the second part opening in Kassel on June 10. The exhibition, “Learning from Athens,” features 160 artists, and will be staged at forty public venues. The letter by Artists Against Evictions comes after the government evicted artists from a shared space Villa Zografou, arrested 120 refugees squatting in Alkiviadou, and bulldozed refugee homes in Thessaloniki. The mayor of Athens, Giorgos Kaminis, responded by stating that the refugees were “degrading the city.” Read more on Artforum.
Protest in defense of the Prosfygika housing complex, threatened with sell-off and a massive forced eviction.
Hilton Als wins the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
The celebrated artist, curator, theater critic, and writer for The New Yorker, Hilton Als, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism on Monday, April 10. Commended for “his bold original reviews”, Als strove to discuss “stage dramas within a real-world cultural context, particularly the shifting landscape of gender, sexuality, and race.”
Als, in one of his most commended texts, “Worked: Real and surreal black life onstage,” heralds works by female playwrights of color such Alice Childress, Adrienne Kennedy, Ntozake Shange, Suzan-Lori Parks, Lynn Nottage, and Dominique Morisseau, stating that “those women playwrights of color made the recognizable unrecognizable — which is to say, they made it art.”
Als, whose expertise spans a significant number of creative fields, has long been regarded a prominent figure in art criticism. His career at The New Yorker began in 1989, where he wrote for its famous Talk of the Town column. Als also edited the catalogue for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s seminal exhibition “Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art” (1994–95); co-curated “Self-Consciousness” (2010) at VeneKlasen/Werner gallery in Berlin; and collaborated with artist Celia Paul on “Desdemona for Celia by Hilton” (2015) at the Metropolitan Opera’s Gallery Met. His previous awards include: the New York Association of Black Journalists’ first prize in Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment, 1997; a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation fellowship in nonfiction in 2000; and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002–03. More on Als on The New Yorker.
Illustrations from Als's nominated articles. Left: In “Oslo,” talk turns to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and tempers flare. Illustration by Edith Carron. Right: Daniel J. Wattas as Black Man with Watermelon in Suzan-Lori Parks’s play. Illustration by Paul Rogers.
Ana Mendieta’s widower, Carl Andre, sparks protests with new exhibition at LA MoCA
American minimalist sculptor, Carl Andre, unveiled his new exhibition “Carl Andre: Sculpture as Place, 1958–2010” last week, April 2, at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art. However there was no red carpet rolled out, but a long piece of white fabric with silhouettes of bodies stained in black ink. Protests filled the streets outside, with artists and cultural workers handing out postcards featuring images of Ana Mendieta, Andre’s deceased wife and the celebrated feminist artist, featuring the slogan “Carl Andre is at MoCA Geffen. ¿Dónde está Ana Mendieta? (Where is Ana Mendieta?).”
In 1985, Mendieta fell to her death from their shared 34th story apartment in New York after an argument with Andre. With fresh scratches on his body and inconsistent statements, Andre was charged with second-degree murder, but was acquitted three years later. In an open letter to the museum’s director, Philippe Vergne, Hysteric Curators — a group of Los Angeles–based artists who champion women’s issues and the representation of the female body in art — wrote: “The museum has no allegiance to women or victims of domestic abuse. We would like to remind you that symbols of power emanate from institutions and reverberate through society [and] you have an obligation to symbolically stem the tide of increasingly violent, racist, and misogynistic attitudes throughout the United States.” More on LA Times.