Even Magazine

Issue 6: Spring 2017

Four years: an eternity or an instant? Though the unimaginable presidency of Donald J. Trump is still in its infancy, its consequences seem already permanent, our history forever tarnished, our values junked for good. But as Ma Yansong, one of Beijing’s most trenchant young architects, tells us in an interview, four years isn’t even long enough to build an apartment block, let alone a future. It’s all so unprecedented that neither apocalyptic predictions nor assurances of continuity seem entirely credible. What we know from art is this: the times mark you whether or not you desire it, and dreams of withdrawal are as foolish from the president’s foes as from his make-it-great-again nostalgists. Artist or autocrat, you cannot take a pause from history.

Our sixth issue of Even is an uncommonly American one. Down in Washington, Lauretta Charlton revisits the Smithsonian’s heralded museum of black history and culture, whose forward-dawning narrative seemed on point in September but soured two months later. Up in New York, Allison Hewitt Ward picks apart our assumptions about art’s political efficacy, and wonders why we seem most confident in culture when it fails to make an impact. The role of art in times of crisis is not a new question for us, of course, and there are foreign lessons for this age of American unexceptionalism. Even no. 6 also plunges us into thrumming, wildly expensive Luanda, where music is all about who you know: Angola’s hip-hop stars drink with oil ministers in beachfront clubs, and MCs who rap about nepotism end up behind bars. We Americans had long thought of kleptocracy as a foreign art. It has come home, and all of us had better study.

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In Occidente, a dreamy enjambment of Brazilian and Portuguese history by the artist ANA VAZ, grainy 16mm footage of surfers and Sunday lunches gives way to Google Street View renderings of Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio, the regal central square built after the famous 1755 earthquake. The Enlightenment ideals the square embodies are tied up with the colonial missions that embarked from its adjacent port — and in fleeting shots of china and porcelain, silver and furniture, the Old World’s commodities seem on the verge of crying out their foul play. More recently, in the sublimely assured Há Terra! (Land Ho!), Vaz’s camera races through the long grasses of the Brazilian backlands, where a young woman keeps evading view. It first recalls early ethnographic cinema, but here there is no privilege from being behind the camera. If this is indeed the Anthropocene, we are all both hunter and hunted.

Even, a new magazine about art, culture, and politics.

We’re tired of hearing about culture as opaque and unapproachable. Even positions art, music, architecture, and film within the context of the world’s biggest stories, from the current crisis in Brazil to the rise of Spotify and Uber. Our serious, at times irreverent writing bridges the misunderstood gap between culture and the world.

Even More

Friedrich Kiesler.
Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin. Opens March 11.

He was most famous for his unrealized projects; Philip Johnson used to call him, fondly, “the greatest non-building architect of our time.” Just last year, MoMA devoted an exhibition to Kiesler’s “Endless House” — a living organism of a home with no corners or interior walls — and now comes a substantial retrospective of the brilliant, kooky Austrian, whose ambitions ranged from Surrealist writings to the window display at Saks.

Grand Palais, Paris. Opens March 22.

He was was the quintessential modern sculptor, insofar as the proliferation of copies served to erase the pretense of any original. But even the most gleeful postmodernist must have cause to wonder about 25 Thinkers worldwide, and 319 copies of The Kiss. The blockbuster of the Paris spring season will feature, by and large, sculptures that pre-date Rodin’s death — and as such are as he intended, from form to detail, finish to patina.

Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker. Museum of Modern Art, New York. Opens March 29.

The exacting Belgian choreographer has carefully reworked “Work/Travail/Arbeid,” her first dance-as-exhibition, for WIELS, the Pompidou, and Tate Modern; now the living exhibition arrives at its last stop, where the dancers of her troupe Rosas will perform continuously in the atrium throughout MoMA’s nine opening hours. It’ll be hard for Beyoncé to rip off this one.

The National. Art Gallery of NSW, MCA, and Carriageworks, Sydney. Opens March 30.

A brand-new triennial spans the three leading arts institutions of a beautiful city, but its vocal restatement of the significance of indigenous art and immigrant voices to Australian culture is not just commemorative. Thanks to a recent, undiplomatic phone call between the new American president and the Australian prime minister, the status of Manus Island refugees is once again up in the air.