The Easel

12th November 2019

Acting out

The performance artist Pope.L is basking in a survey show at MoMA. It highlights his most provocative act – crawling city streets. One such “intervention” covered 22 miles, done over nine years. Social justice is his major focus. But why crawl? Says one curator “He’s constantly putting pressure on symbols of success and aspirational behavior”. And is it art? Says another “it’s art because it’s reimagining something.”

5th November 2019

Hans Haacke, at the New Museum, Takes No Prisoners

A difficult show, leading to some clunky reviews. Haacke has spent his career documenting art’s entanglements with business and museums as “warehouses of wealth”. He famously had a retrospective at the Guggenheim cancelled because the director felt his art was too political. Haacke disagreed. “My works do not advocate any political cause”. Says this writer, Haacke has “often been a better activist than artist.”

Kirchner’s Colors

Colour, for Kirchner, wasn’t about subtlety. He wanted brute force. Colour reflected emotion and emotions, both personally and socially, were running high. Urbanization, the disfunction of German society, changing sexual norms, all made for a nervy big city environment. Add to this Kirchner’s addictions and wartime trauma, and you have a memorably bold, emotionally disturbing artist. Images are here.