Saturday 31 July 2010


For the last two Friday's I've been going to Tate Modern where choreographer and dancer Michael Clark is teaching selected members of the general public a dance routine to perform at Tate Modern's Turbine Hall. Last Friday I went as a spectator, but this Friday I joined as a participant with my friends art historian Claire Bishop, curator Catherine Wood and artist Silke Otto-Knap in learning a routine with other 100 improvised amateurs, that we'll hopefully perform there by the end of August!

Press Release
Tate Modern Live: Michael Clark Company

Widely considered as one of the most eminent and groundbreaking choreographers today, Michael Clark and his dance company transform the Turbine Hall into a space for experimentation and practice while they prepare a new work created in response to this monumental space. This unique display of live art provides an extraordinary opportunity for Tate visitors to witness the artistic process behind Clark's choreography.

Michael Clark is also inviting 100 members of the public to join weekly workshops with the company in July and August. The group of 100 untrained dancers will learn a piece of choreography to be performed en-masse over the August Bank Holiday weekend in the Turbine Hall in free public performances.

A programme of films and videos by Charles Atlas is presented in conjunction with Michael Clark Company's Turbine Hall residency.

Friday 30 July 2010


Alexander Apostol
Modernidad Tropical
From the nineteen-twenties on, Latin America became a suitable terrain in which to apply the ideal embodied by the Modern Movement. This period is approached in the works of the Venezuelan artist Alexander Apóstol by exploring the remnants of that ideal of modernity from a critical standpoint. Through the texts by the architect Juan Herreros and the art critics and curators Julieta González and Cuauhtémoc Medina, various aspects of his oeuvre are analyzed alongside the context in which it arose. Whether from the perspective of architecture, art history or a political analysis of contemporary Venezuela, each author contributes to a comprehensive study of Alexander Apóstol’s production.

This volume is also the first title in the Art and Architecture AA MUSAC series, intended to provide a horizontal approach to the work of artists and architects whose output suggests a critical perspective on our contemporary world.

Published by ACTAR.
Editor: María Inés Rodríguez.
Series: Arte y Arquitectura AA MUSAC.
Texts: A la modernidad llegamos y de ella escapamos, María Inés Rodríguez; Sobre la fragilidad de algunas ambiciones, Juan Herreros; The Latin Americans…lost in translation, Julieta González; Venezquizoide, Cuauhtémoc Medina.
160 pages. Price: 27 €.

Look inside:

Thursday 29 July 2010


Yesterday I went to Chichester to see the 'Surreal Friends' exhibition at Pallant House, which presents the work of Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo and Kati Horna - an English painter, a Spanish painter and a Hungarian photographer, who met in Mexico City in 1943 when in exile from the War. While in Mexico the general public has always been aware of Leonora's work as a major surrealist painter and figure, most people in England, where she was born, are not aware of her and her work.

For me, the most interesting work in the exhibition was not one of her surrealist paintings, but the drawing 'A Map from Down Below', which formed part of her short story 'Down Below' from 1943, where she recounts her adventures in Spain "on the other side of the mirror", after escaping France from the advance of the Germans and being institutionalized and diagnosed mentally insane, and before fleeing to Mexico.

The drawing from a 'A Map from Down Below', anticipates and almost looks like a future footprint for the concrete tropical garden her friend and patron, eccentric English visionary Edward James would develop in the jungle of Xilitla in Mexico...

Sunday 25 July 2010


STH selected film programme

Mr. Billy Miller and Jan Wandrag

Tariq Alvi and Esther Planas

David Waddington reading out of the pages of STH

artist Sina Evil doing the ribbon cutting

Sina Evil inside the cubicle

boys outside the George!

Saturday 24 of July 2010, 8PM to Midnight
White Cubicle Toilet Gallery at The George and Dragon Public House
join White Cubicle group on Facebook

White Cubicle is beyond honoured to present an exhibition by STH (STRAIGHT TO HELL) The Manhattan Review of Unnatural Acts.

Conceived and founded by cult writer Boyd McDonald in the early 1970s, STH quickly gained a large following and underground notoriety due to a combination of graphic sexual content, radical politics and stinging wit. The unique concept of Straight To Hell remains unchanged until today: readers are invited to send to the magazine their accounts of true sexual experiences. Over the decades Straight To Hell has become an infamously comprehensive and uncensored library of homosexual practice and identity, resulting in a uniquely democratic and powerful collection of sexual, bizarre, funny, and raunchy stories documenting the real sex lives of a wide range of real men. For the exhibition at White Cubicle, STH Presents an Installation by Jan Wandrag. Wandrag will use specially created wallpaper as a backdrop on which to present a "brief" bibliography of Straight to Hell. The exhibition will create a space for the enjoyment of the reader-written sex stories featured in STH.

STRAIGHT TO HELL “The cumrag of the stars” A.K.A.; The Manhattan Review Of Unnatural Acts Also known as: The New York Review of Cocksucking, The North American Horndog Reader, The New Amsterdam Journal of Trade, The Manatus Raunch Gazette, The Uranian Spurting Times, Feeled and Creemed, Splorch Illustrated, etc. (THE official organ of: The Great East Ball Lickers Union - local 6942, W.H.O.R.E. International, and, The Society For The Preservation Of Quality Blow Jobs.) - Now in its fourth decade of service to the international pervert community. STH publishes true reader-written sex histories - and raunchy pics. Began in 1973 by cult writer Boyd McDonald (1925–1992), and continued by second editor Victor Weaver, STH is currently published and edited by Billy Miller.

NYC artist/writer/and independent publisher Billy Miller has exhibited his artwork internationally at; P.S.1/MoMa, D'Amelio Terras Gallery, John Connelly Gallery, L.A.C.E., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Edlin Gallery, Center For Book Arts NYC, Team Gallery, Kunstverein München, Dietch Projects, Gallerie du Jour Paris, Glory Hole at the Architecture Foundatation London, The Jersey City Museum and other galleries and cultural institutions. His writing has appeared in INDEX, BUTT, K48, WON, NY Arts, VICE, and elsewhere. And he is the publisher of S.T.H., When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, No Milk Today and numerous other independent publications.

Jan Wandrag was born in South Africa and currently lives in New York. He loves to collaborate and is currently working on a video project with filmmaker and BUTT editor Adam Baran. He also designed the independent publication When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again with Billy Miller - and has created installations for a number of group shows curated by Billy - including, "Straight To Hell: In Cock We Trust" at Exile Gallery Berlin, "Artist as Publisher" at The Center for Book Arts in New York, and this summer's blockbuster exhibit "Lost Horizon" and "Head Shop" also in Berlin. Additionally, Jan's art has been exhibited across the US, Africa, and Europe and featured in publications such as The New York Times, Kaiserin, The/End, Crush, Butt, NY Arts and K48.

THE WHITE CUBICLE TOILET GALLERY measures 1.40 by 1.40 metres, is located within the Ladies Toilet of the George and Dragon, and works with no budget, staff or boundaries. White Cubicle presents a discerning programme of local and international manifestations as an antidote to London’s sometimes extremely commercial art scene. Past exhibitions have included the work of Deborah Castillo, Gregorio Magnani, Butt Magazine, Federico Herrero, Terence Koh, i-Cabin, Steven Gontarski, Pixis Fanzine/Princess Julia and Hanah, General Idea and avaf, Basso Magazin, Carl Hopgood, Giles Round, Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Superm, (Brian Kenny and Slava Mogutin), Elkin Calderon, Wolfgang Tillmans, Calvin Holbrook/Hate Magazine, Husam el Odeh, Simon Popper, Fur, Dik Fagazine, Rick Castro/Abravanation, Jean Michel Wicker, Noki, Ellen Cantor, Karl Holmqvist, Julie Verhoeven, Aldo Chaparro, Esther Planas, Nikos Pantazopoulos, Luis Venegas, Twinklife, Rocky Alvarez, Benedetto Chirco...

Saturday 24 July 2010


Last year I was invited by Witte de With to participate in the symposium 'The Curators' as part of Rotterdam Dialogues. You can see my blog post from that occasion (which actually was a reposting of Matthieu Laurette's pictures!) here. Witte de With has now published some of the conversations from the Rotterdam Dialogues.

Press Release

On three occasions, between the fall of 2008 and the spring of 2009, Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art organized three symposia under the title Rotterdam Dialogues: The Critics, The Curators, The Artists. Each three-day event focused on one agent in the art world, looking at their expectations, positions and the contexts in which they operate.

If a book cannot capture the atmosphere of lively excitement of 35 international critics, 48 curators and 57 artists, not to mention the 500+ visitors who attended each symposium, it can highlight the individual tone and spirit of many discussions that remain, by necessity, unfinished. This book follows a chronological structure, containing selected transcriptions from each symposium and the outcomes of the associated workshops. After this comes a free-wheeling section titled 'What are you talking about now?', a question sent to all the guests in the months that followed the symposia. Their diverse reactions give a sense of the range of characters, ideas and practices that the symposia brought together.

Book contents:
Transcripts from The Critics featuring (in order of appearance): Tim Griffin & Edgar Schmitz, Sina Najafi, Sven Lutticken, Dieter Roelstraete, Mark Rappolt, Judy Freya Sibayan, Ho Tzu Nyen, Koen Kleijn and the workshop led by Melissa Gronlund.

Transcripts from The Curators featuring (in order of appearance): Bart De Baere, Hou Hanru, Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Adam Budak, Kitty Scott & Seth Siegelaub, Enrico Lunghi, Nicolas Bourriaud, Beatrix Ruf, Paul O'Neill, Ann Demeester & Jan Hoet and the workshop led by Raimundas Malasauskas.

Transcripts from The Artists featuring (in order of appearance): Piero Golia, Sarah Morris, Pierre Bismuth, Jimmy Robert, Danai Anesiadou, Spartacus Chetwynd, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Doug Fishbone, Willem de Rooj & Jeff Wall, and the workshop led by Judy Radul.

What are you talking about now? Contributors (in order of appearance): Rainer Ganahl, Gerardo Mosquera, Pablo Leon de la Barra, Oswaldo Macia, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Nicoline van Harskamp, Sarah Morris, Pierre Bismuth, Piero Golia, Olaf Nicolai, Gabriel Lester, Diedrich Diederichsen, Nedko Solakov, Andrew Berardini, Paul O'Neill, Kendell Geers, Pelin Tan, Jens Hoffmann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Rein Wolfs, Emmanuel Lambion, Judy Freya Sibayan, Doug Fishbone, Mark Boulos, Luis Jacob, Richard Hutten, Jan de Cock, The Salford Restoration Office, Josephine Meckseper, Plamen Dejanoff, Petr Bystrov, Dieter Roelstraete, Bik Van der Pol, Ulrike Ottinger.

Book information:
Editors: Zoe Gray, Miriam Kathrein, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Monika Szewczyk, Ariadne Urlus
Publishers: Witte de With Publishers and Post Editions, Rotterdam
Design: Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht
ISBN: 9-789460-830174
English, 272 pages, illustrated, soft cover, 29,50 eur


Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's
by Pablo Leon de la Barra
contribution to the 'Rotterdam Dialogues' publication
as part of 'The Curators' symposium

At the Curators Summit at Witte de With in Rotterdam I tried to trace the genealogy of the term 'radical chic' which was the title of our conversation 'Radical-Chic curating: Curatorial Practice vs. Curatorial Fashion?', a touchy subject because nobody wants to be branded as a ‘radical chic curator’, which produced a talk which avoided talking about the topic...

The term 'radical chic' was originally coined by Seymour Krim in a November 1962 article for The Village Voice where Krim wrote a critique about The New Yorker magazine, arguing that it was wrapped in a self-protective cocoon immune to the action on the streets. The term was later popularised by Tom Wolfe in his text 'Radical Chic: That Party at Lenny's' published on the June 8, 1970 issue of New York Magazine (1). Wolfe's text focuses on the cocktail held on August 1966 by composer Leonard Bernstein (principal conductor of the New York Philharmonic but also composer of the musical 'West Side Story') and his wife Felicia at their 13-room penthouse duplex on Park Avenue for some of New York’s high society to meet and raise money for the Black Panthers. A series of issues were at stake that night, including if the Black Panthers would eat the Roquefort cheese morsels wrapped in crushed nuts and asparagus tips in mayonnaise dabs served as canapés and if these were going to be served by black or white servants (actually they were white Latin American servants, as Felicia had grown up in Chile). As Wolfe wrote "Why not do without servants altogether if the matter creates such unbearable tension and one truly believes in equality?" Most of the guests gathered are there because of what Wolfe calls some kind of "nostalgie de la boue, a romanticizing of primitive souls", without being totally aware of the political implications of what was at stake. The Black Panthers would be invited to the Park Avenue penthouse and then would go back to their segregated neighbourhoods. At the meeting, Don Cox, Field Marshal of the Black Panther Party, read the 10 point manifesto, which included setting free all black men who were in jail arguing that they have not had fair trials because they been tried by predominantly middle-class-white juries. He also talks about the programmes they would like to implement, including taking their black kids on tours to the white suburbs so they could see how their oppressors live. Details of the party were afterwards published in the New York Times, and the Bernsteins were backlashed not because they were seen as frivolous supporters of radicals, but because as a Jew he supported a group who was supporting the Arabs against Israel. Bernstein was also thought to be homosexual, and it’s said that under recommendation by his 'mentor' Dimitri Mitropoulos who was conductor of the New York Philharmonic he had married Felicia to quiet the rumours and in order not to sabotage his opportunity of becoming director of the Boston Symphonic. Berenstein left Felicia in 1973 and went to cohabit with his lover Tom Cothran, who later died of AIDS, but all this is another story...

As Wolfe wrote: "Radical Chic, after all, is only radical in style; in its heart it is part of Society and its traditions. Politics, like Rock, Pop and Camp, has its uses; but to put one’s whole status on the line for nostalgie de la boue in any of its forms would be unprincipled." As curator Nat Muller noted in her text 'Masters of the Anecdotal: "The Curators" Have Little to Say' in her blog 'Passing in proximity...' (2): "Radical chic and elegant slumming is still about producing a legibility of otherness which remains safe and contained."

On her text 'The Geopolitics of Pimping' by Suely Rolnik (3), she discusses the effects of neoliberalism in somatizing culture: "One of the problems of the politics of subjectivation that artistic practices face has been the anesthesia of our vulnerability to the other – an anesthesia all the more devastating when the other is represented by the ruling cartography as hierarchically inferior, because of his or her economic, social or racial condition, or on any other basis." Further on Rolnik continues "(The) pimping of the creative force is what has been transforming the planet into a gigantic marketplace, expanding at an exponential rate, either by including its inhabitants as hyperactive zombies or by excluding them as human trash. In fact, those two opposing poles are interdependent fruits of the same logic; all our destinies unfold between them. This is the world that the imagination creates in the present. As one might expect, the politics of subjectivation and of the relation to the other that predominates in this scenario is extremely impoverished." Which brings us back to the question of if curatorial practices should be self reflective (exhibitions about exhibitions, artists doing work about other artists) or if exhibitions can become tools for future revolutions (even if it’s only an 'aesthetic' one)? But then again, that is another story...

1. You can read the complete text of Tom Wolfe's 'Radical Chic' at
2. For Nat Muller's blog:
3. For Suely Rolnik's text: