This week our art world hero is William Kentridge, who used his exhibition at Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin as an opportunity to speak out against the refugee policies in Europe. The artist delivered a scathing indictment in the German publication Art Magazin: “For 300 years Europe took everything it could get from its colonies and is directly responsible for the structures of these countries…From the outside it looks like incredible greed and selfishness.”
- Yinka Shonibare MBE unveiled a new mural commissioned by the Royal Academy in London in honor of the institution’s 250th anniversary. The 230-foot work features 160 black and white prints and photographs celebrating the Royal Academy’s history and leadership. (Learn the stories behind each photo on RA’s interactive webpage.)
- Carrie Mae Weems gave the commencement speech at the School of Visual Arts’ graduation ceremony, acknowledging representative disparities in the arts but encouraging students nevertheless: “By understanding what it is you commit to and how you pursue the level and the depth of that commitment, responding to this great shift, I believe, will require extraordinary imagination…This is really an extraordinary time. It is your moment and you really must, you really must, seize it!”
- In sillier art news, Laurie Anderson’s new documentary Heart of a Dog was screened for a dog audience, and Artnet published a quiz titled “Who Said This—Lady Gaga or Jeff Koons?”
Events & exhibitions
- Tuesday, May 31st | 6-8pm — Get Hiroshi Sugimoto’s new survey text, Black Box, signed by the artist at a book signing event at Aperture Gallery and Books. [Free with RSVP.]
- In the Hudson Valley, two hours north of New York, a new exhibition at Storm King Art Center features site-specific outdoor installations by New York Close Up artist Josephine Halvorson, as the fourth installment of the Outlooks series. [Read a review in Artinfo.]
- BUFFALO, NY — See Mark Bradford speak about his work on Tuesday and Wednesday this week at events held alongside Albright-Knox Gallery’s new exhibition of his work, Shade: Clyfford Still / Mark Bradford. The exhibition opens this Thursday and will remain on view till October 2nd.
- WASHINGTON D.C. — The work of Sammy Baloji, Theo Eshetu, Moataz Nasr, Berni Searle, Yinka Shonibare MBE, and Sue Williamson, are on view in a new exhibition at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art. Senses of Time: Video and Film-Based Works of Africa will run through January 2nd. [Read a review in the Washingtonian.]
- PITTSBURGH, PA — Ai Weiwei: Circle of Animals / Zodiac Heads opens this Saturday at the Carnegie Museum.
- SAN FRANCISCO — Ai Weiwei: Overrated is on view at Haines Gallery through July 2nd. [Read a review in SFGate.]
- LOS ANGELES — One of James Turrell’s Perceptual Cells—freestanding enclosures that immerse one viewer at a time—is on view at LACMA for a year beginning this Sunday. Light Reignfall requires that viewers wears special headphones as they lie down on a narrow bed that slides into a spherical chamber filled with dancing, saturated light.
Around the world
- MONTREAL, QUEBEC, Friday, May 27th | 7 p.m. — Joan Jonas is performing with jazz pianist and composer Jason Moran in an event that includes live piano, video projections, and improvisational actions. The lecture performance is being held at the DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art in conjunction with the exhibition Joan Jonas: From Away, on view till September 18th.