Alan Michelson

Alan Michelson



Alan Michelson
* Wolf Nation

September 019

Alan Michelson: Wolf Nation presents four works in video, sound, print, and augmented reality that invoke place from an Indigenous perspective. New York based artist Michelson ((Mohawk, b. 1953) traverses local landscapes and temporalities in his art, treating geographical sites as archives and exploring territory typically bypassed in American history and largely absent from American memory.

Alan Michelson with Steven Fragale,  Town Destroyer , 2019.  Wallpaper and augmented reality, with video, color, sound; 5:57 min.  Soundtrack by members of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.  Collection of the artist.     © Alan Michelson

Alan Michelson with Steven Fragale, Town Destroyer, 2019.
Wallpaper and augmented reality, with video, color, sound; 5:57 min.
Soundtrack by members of Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.
Collection of the artist.
© Alan Michelson

The centerpiece of the exhibition is Wolf Nation (2018), an immersive video installation recently acquired for the Whitney’s permanent collection. Originally commissioned by Storm King Art Center, Wolf Nation transforms webcam footage of red wolves, a critically endangered indigenous species, into a poignant meditation on displacement.

Michelson commented,

“American landscape is complicated when you’re Indigenous. For example, this year is the 240th anniversary of the Sullivan-Clinton Expedition, George Washington’s brutal invasion and destruction of Iroquoia, the Haudenosaunee homelands which now comprise most of New York state. Sixty of our towns, and hundreds of our houses, farms, crops, orchards, and livestock were burned and pillaged in a scorched-earth campaign that forced our people from their lands as homeless refugees. This is only one of the tragic but unacknowledged legacies that underpin our contemporary landscape. That history needs to be confronted.”

Whitney: Alan Michelson - Wolf Nation
is on show from October 25, 2019 through January 12, 2020

Alan Michelson with Steven Fragale,
Sapponckanikan (Tobacco Field), 2019.
Augmented reality.
Collection of the artist
© Alan Michelson



Dustin Thierry

Dustin Thierry



Dustin Thierry
*Foam 3h

September 019

Amsterdam-based photographer Dustin Thierry (Willemstad, Curaçao, 1985) began documenting the Dutch ballroom scene in 2013. This underground phenomenon originated in 19th-century America, where LGBTQ people gathered for drag masquerade balls where they could freely express themselves.

Untitled , from the series  Opulence    © Dustin Thierry

Untitled, from the series Opulence
© Dustin Thierry

A contemporary manifestation of the ballroom scene is rapidly expanding on a global scale, with its epicentres in New York and Paris.

Following his ongoing series on ballrooms in the Netherlands, Thierry travelled to Paris, New York, London and Berlin to document the respective local scenes. His work testifies to a vibrant and timely revival of a centuries-old phenomenon, but also points to persistent discrimination and marginalisation of black and queer communities worldwide.

Thierry employs photography to empower, to reveal what is generally invisible, and to voice what is often muted. The balls he photographs are a ‘safe space’ for self-expression, but also a place where fierce competition forces its participants to stand up and defend their identity. Competitors engage in dance-off categories such as ‘voguing’: a highly stylised modern house dance inspired by hieroglyphs and modelling poses. The dance is said to have been invented by the inmates of Rikers Island, who were copying the poses struck by models in Vogue magazine in rapid succession. Others say it originated in ballroom culture of Harlem and downtown Manhattan in the early 1960s. The dance-style became popularised by pop-artists such as Jeannet Jackson and Madonna in her video clip for "Vogue" (1990), and by the 1990 documentary Paris is Burning, which chronicled the African-American, Latino, gay, and transgender communities of the New York City ball culture.

Thirty years later Thierry shows that the spirit of resistance, manifested in uncompromised self-expression, remains vibrant and resilient. The so-called ‘house structure’ (a social system of self-chosen families that compete with each other during balls) that was implemented in the 1970s, has since generated new generations of ‘mothers’ and ‘fathers’ around which the scene gravitates. The houses function to prepare contestants for the ball, while constituting informal support structures for those facing discrimination or hostility in daily life. Thierry created powerful portraits of various members of the Dutch House of Vinyard and the Parisian houses of Mizrahi, Revlon, LaDurée and Ebony that followed in the wake of the very first House Labeija.

Untitled , from the series  Opulence    © Dustin Thierry

Untitled, from the series Opulence
© Dustin Thierry

Thierry is a self-taught photographer and started employing photography as a means of empowerment after moving to the Netherlands from the Caribbean island of Curaçao as a teenager. Becoming increasingly exposed to racial issues, he sought a way to channel and convey his own awareness to others. A defining event in his personal life – which proved transformative for his career – was his stepbrother’s suicide: a consequence of ongoing mental struggles related to his sexuality and the stigmatisation he suffered in Curaçao. Thierry describes his series as “an ode to all people who are still not free to live and express their sexuality”.

Foam 3h: Dustin Thierry - Opulence
is on show from 18 October 2019 until 8 December 2019



Artist Talk. William LaChance

Artist Talk. William LaChance



.artist talk: William LaChance
* It’s all a function of color relationships

august 019
written Monica De Vidi

With a distinctive visual language, American artist William Lachance creates stories of ideas, places and people through paintings, sculptures, murals and design objects, all characterized by a signature style that have received the attention of critics and the wider public.


Lachance reads the world as a combination of vivid colors and graphic compositions and transmits a strength that is able to draw the audience to a superior meaning, such as with the St. Louis basketball courts, a project that demonstrates the social role of public art nowadays.

We had the
chance to talk
with the artist,
looking at recent
projects + digging
into the definition
of his work.


Your artistic path moved from figurative to abstract during the years. Can you describe your evolution?

Although my work started out as representational, I’ve always seen it as abstract. The world for me really is color relationships. When we see form and the space and the light that go along with that, it’s all a function of color relationships, so when you think of it that way, everything is two dimensional and inherently abstract and the formal characteristic are more like psychological notions. When I was painting figures and landscapes, in addition to the recognizable imagery, I always and simultaneously cultivated an abstract identity that would compete with the pictorial identity. I think all good painting tends to work that way, drawing energy from the simultaneity of disparate elements existing in the same space.

Critics and art historians classify different voices of contemporary culture. Do you think it ́s important nowadays to be defined by them?

As trends emerge and persist, I do think it’s valuable to identify and classify, at the very least as a way of marking culture. Despite the cacophonous digital culture, we live in, aesthetic hierarchies or tendencies do emerge and it’s important to recognize that, maybe more important than ever. Critics and curators ideally see this bigger picture and place artists in appropriate contexts with one another. At the same time, I recognize the value of critics discussing artists’ work on their own terms.

Let ́s talk about your series of basketball courts in St Louis. How did it feel to interact with your native town?

For the Kinloch Park Basketball Courts’ mural called “Garden for Kinloch” that I created with the LA based non-profit “Project Backboard”, I designed several paintings on loose canvas that I later transformed into a singular composition by sewing these elements together. By doing so, I hoped to achieve something that felt fresh and energetic, several simple paintings forming one large composition. The execution of the mural took just a week with several members of the community helping to roll out paint. The town of Kinloch was very responsive to the mural which was such a great surprise. Public art can be a difficult thing to agree on, so I didn’t want to make something figurative because that implies a narrative, either didactic or political. It was really rewarding to produce such a large painting and simply experience color on that scale, a truly color field painting in that it occupies your entire field of vision when standing in the middle of it. Since the mural’s completion, there have been more initiatives aimed at improving the city and I’d like to think the court has something to do with that. Not only is the court well-used for playing basketball since the renovation, but other social gatherings, such as giant pop-up roller skating parties or family reunions have taken place there. Young rap artists are shooting videos on the court. It has restored my faith in art!

Where does your visual language come from? How can design, graffiti, and murals co-exist? And how do your techniques adapt to different environments?

To me, painting and design are both the practice of communicating an image or idea. I think there used to be a gulf between fine and applied art technologically and psychologically, but it’s not such a large gulf anymore. Artists’ collaborations with designers, fashion designers, industrial designers broaden the audience. It requires artists to get over the 20th-century conceit that everything we do is sacred, but at the same time we lose the stigma of “selling out” and that opens a lot of opportunities in the marketplace. When I was teaching college, this was something I always included in my curriculum because it is still taboo and doesn’t appear in texts, the monetizing fine art practice.

What are the criteria for your compositions? What is the meaning of your colors?

The color choices differ depending on the materials, there’s meaning in the materials.
In terms of my compositions, the thing I always try and achieve is time, the way music or theatre or dance has time. Of course, painting technically doesn’t enjoy this luxury so I try and make compositions that move the eye around and create a unique narrative experience for the viewer. The colors themselves deploy a lot of color theory to create space, so they’re formal abstractions in the sense that chroma, value and hue are used in a way to create form. In addition to the nuts and bolts stuff, I also crib color combinations from all sorts of popular sources, such us logos, signs, automobiles and athletic teams to name a few. It imbues the paintings with an ambiguous yet familiar quality that I really like.

Black is really omnipresent in your work, what does it represent?

I use a lot of black in my work and it performs multiple tasks. Black, being cool in temperature and dark in value has the characteristic of receding, so when you are drawing the contour of a shape, you’re automatically creating pictorial space by virtue of the color black. In my sculptural abstract pieces, I cut up panel and reassemble it. That creates gaps between the components that read as black lines but are really the absence of material. These seams create a linear composition and establish a unity among all the pieces. This allows me to get away with a broader range of color, mark making and materials. There’s an implied relationship to the whole that wouldn’t exist without the black seams.


What’s your relationship with your audience?

When I’m designing murals or installations such as the booth for Expo Chicago with BEERS LONDON, I think of how the colors and forms can act as stage sets, so they are larger, simpler and really come together visually once they’re populated with viewers. The same with the basketball courts: an important consideration for me was imaging the brightly colored streetwear that the athletes would wear when playing on the court and designing the courts accordingly to create dynamic color relationships.

Do you have a team of people helping you? And how is your studio organized?

I’ve got a studio that allows me to adapt to different projects. There’s lots of floor space, so I have different ‘stations’. There are woodworking tools for the sculptural pieces, a sewing area and flat files and drafting tables for flat work and paper. When I’m putting together the sewn pieces, I can lay out a bunch of canvases on the floor and figure out compositions from a ladder. The building itself is a former corner tavern that dates to the 1930s, the old stamped copper ceilings are intact, but the walls have all been removed, so it’s open and there’s plywood floors; there’s a nice blend of old and new. I don’t have assistants or interns. I’ve considered it but I fear sacrificing the privacy would impact my process.

Can you tell us something about your future projects?

2019 will be a busy year – I’m working on a residential mural for the fashion designer Mira Mikati for her home in London and we’re also discussing a large public work in Beirut. A couple of art fairs: Urban Art Fair in Paris with Galerie 42b and Art Market San Francisco with Madison Gallery. I will also be having a solo exhibition at Madison Gallery in San Diego, California, in August and another solo exhibition at Haw Contemporary in Kansas City, Missouri, in December.

all works (c) William LaChance



Lana Del Ray

Lana Del Ray



*Norman Fucking Rockwell!

August 019

The official release date for musician Lana Del Rey´s forthcoming sixth studio album titled Norman Fucking Rockwell! is August 30.

Lana Del Ray  ©Pamela Cochrane

Lana Del Ray
©Pamela Cochrane

Norman Fucking Rockwell! is now available for pre-order on download, CD, vinyl and cassette in bespoke formats. The highly anticipated album was mainly produced and co-written with Jack Antonoff (Lorde + Taylor Swift). Both worked together for the first time.

Chuck Grant, the sister of Lana Del Rey, has shot the cover image and shows (next to the singer) actor and grandson of Jack Nicholson, Duke Nicholson who appeared most recently in Jordan Peele´s Us.

Full tracklist below_

  1. “Norman Fucking Rockwell”

  2. “Mariners Apartment Complex”

  3. “Venice Bitch”

  4. “Fuck it I Love You”

  5. “Doin’ Time”

  6. “Love Song”

  7. “Cinnamon Girl”

  8. “How to Disappear”

  9. “California”

  10. “The Next Best American Record”

  11. “The Greatest”

  12. “Bartender”

  13. “Happiness is a Butterfly”

  14. “hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it”

Norman Fucking Rockwell will drop August 30, 2019


Elfie Semotan

Elfie Semotan




July 019

“Trau dich doch”: I dare you. This provocative slogan, part of a late-1970s advertising campaign for the Austrian brand Palmers, appeared on posters featuring photos of models in seductive black lingerie—nothing short of scandalous at the time.

Untitled, Inspired by Diane Arbus, Vienna, 2019 from the series Americana, Motif for Out of Order Magazine   © Elfie Semotan Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain

Untitled, Inspired by Diane Arbus, Vienna, 2019
from the series Americana, Motif for Out of Order Magazine
© Elfie Semotan
Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain

The photographs by Austrian photographer Elfie Semotan bear witness to a new, hedonistic zeitgeist that was gradually challenging conventions through playful experimentation. To this day, her photographs have lost none of their cool elegance, imperfect beauty, and discreetly erotic subtexts. They often reveal much more than the subject matter suggests, and their astute references to iconic works of art history blur the boundaries between art and commercial photography.

Semotan started her career as a photo model in Paris. She was introduced to photography in the late 1960s by her partner at the time, Canadian photographer John Cook, who sparked her passion for working behind the camera. The art of photographic storytelling became her forte: photos that have the look of film stills; visual compositions and figural arrangements that tell stories extending beyond what is shown. This principle led to her years-long advertising campaign for the Austrian mineral water company Römerquelle with photos depicting diverse variations of a ménage-à-trois. Her advertising photos and her portraits of prominent figures from the worlds of art, film, and theater—Louise Bourgeois, Willem Dafoe, Elfriede Jelinek, Milla Jovovich, Maria Lassnig, Martin Kippenberger, Udo Kier, Jonathan Meese, and Daniel Richter—and not least of all, her exclusive artistic collaboration and friendship with fashion designer Helmut Lang brought her international renown. Just as Lang’s minimalistic design had a defining influence on international fashion, Elfie Semotan’s libertine advertising and fashion photos for him as well as for international magazines like Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview, The New Yorker, and Vogue created a new photographic aesthetic.

Like her German contemporaries Barbara Klemm, Herlinde Koelbl, and Sibylle Bergemann, Austrian photographer Elfie Semotan used the free spaces that existed within photography to conquer a medium that—like most other artistic disciplines—had long been dominated by men, and to assert her own feminine perspective.

Elfie Semotan – Contradiction, C/O Berlin
on display 07/09/19

Untitled, NY, 2003
From the series TV-Story
Motif for i-D Magazine
© Elfie Semotan
Courtesy Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne



Tyler Mitchell

Tyler Mitchell



*I Can Make You Feel Good @FOAM

may 019

This spring, Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam proudly presents I Can Make You Feel Good, photographer and filmmaker Tyler Mitchell’s (1995, US) first solo exhibition. Alongside a selection of images from the artist’s personal and commissioned work, Foam is also premiering two of Mitchell’s video works: Idyllic Space and Chasing Pink, Found Red.

(c) Tyler Mitchell   Untitled (Two Girls Embrace), 2018

(c) Tyler Mitchell
Untitled (Two Girls Embrace), 2018

Tyler Mitchell
is a photographer
and filmmaker living
and working in Brooklyn.
His career started at an
early age: filming skate
videos and documented
the music, fashion and
youth culture in Atlanta.

Tyler Mitchell’s work visualises a black utopia. Making use of candy colour palettes and natural light, Mitchell captures young black people in gardens, parks or in front of idyllic studio backdrops where they appear as free, expressive, effortless, sensitive and proud. He produces holistic imagery of individuals from his community and brings their humanity to the forefront.

In 2018, Mitchell wrote history with his photographs of Beyoncé gracing the cover of two different editions of American Vogue’s ‘September Issue. Only 23 at the time, he became the first black photographer to make the cover in the 126-year existence of the prominent magazine. This along with many other accomplishments has made him one of the most closely watched up-and-coming talents in photography today.

As a teenager, Mitchell spent a lot of time on Tumblr, a social media platform utilised by young photographers as a space to share their work. It’s a period of time which would become heavily influential on his vision, as Mitchell explained, “I would very often come across sensual, young, attractive white models running around being free and having so much fun – the kind of stuff Larry Clark and Ryan McGinley would make. I very seldom saw the same for black people in images – or at least in the photography I knew of then.”

In Idyllic Space – one of two video works in the exhibition – young black people enjoy simple pleasures, such as eating ice cream, hanging around the pool and playing tag. Mitchell cites the 2014 killing of Tamir Rice – a 12-year-old boy who was shot by Cleveland police while playing outside with a toy pellet gun – as an urgent call-to-action, Mitchell’s video installation highlights the mindless activities many of us take for granted, to the point of being overlooked, as a bold visual reminder that these moments have historically been denied or discouraged among black people.

The video installation Chasing Pink, Found Red leaves little to nothing for speculation. A camera pans over a group of young black youths in a park on a warm summer day. However, the scene is punctuated by commentary crowdsourced by Mitchell from his followers on social media. In these sound bites, their voices express frustrations about their own experiences of racism and prejudice. The contrast of the commentary with the video’s optimistic imagery raises the notion that since an early age it is commonly built into a black youth’s psyche that they should be careful about being too off-guard in public for fear of persecution and even violence.

Tyler Mitchell – I Can Make You Feel Good, Foam Fotografiemuseum Amsterdam
19 April – 5 June 2019

header image
(c) Tyler Mitchell
Boys of Walthamstow, 2018



Janine Kounellis

Janine Kounellis



*fondazione Prada, mostra Venezia

may 019

Developed in collaboration with Archivio Kounellis, the project brings together more than 60 works from 1959 to 2015. The show explores the artistic and exhibition history of Jannis Kounellis (Piraeus 1936 – Rome 2017), highlighting key moments in the evolution of his visual poetics and establishing a dialogue between his works and the eighteenth-century spaces of Ca’ Corner della Regina.

Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 2011 coats, hats, shoes  in the background  Jannis Kounellis Untitled (Giallo), 1965 oil on canvas

Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 2011 coats, hats, shoes
in the background Jannis Kounellis Untitled (Giallo), 1965 oil on canvas

The artist’s early works,
originally exhibited between
1960 and 1966, are
presented in the spaces
on the first floor of the
Venetian palazzo and
deal with urban language..

In an early phase, these paintings reproduce actual writings and signs from the streets of Rome. Later on, the artist transferred black letters, arrows and numbers onto white canvases, paper or other surfaces, in a language deconstruction that expresses a fragmentation of the real. From 1964 onward, Kounellis addressed subjects taken from nature, from sunsets to roses— these latter represented on canvases using automatic buttons. In 1967 Kounellis’ investigation turned more radical with the aim of overcoming the traditionally pictorial uniformity of his early production, embracing concrete and natural elements including soil, cacti, wool, coal, cotton, and fire.

Kounellis moved from a written and pictorial language to a physical and environmental one, where the conceptual process became interwoven with elementary materials. The elitist, aseptic and authoritative language typical of the art world is replaced by a more expressive one based on the primacy of vital elements and a terrestrial relationship with art. Thus the use of organic and inorganic entities transformed his practice into corporeal experience, conceived as a sensorial transmission and investigation. In particular, the artist explored the sound dimension through which a painting is translated into sheet music to play or dance to. Already in 1960, Kounellis began chanting his letters on canvas, and in 1970 the artist included the presence of a musician or a dancer. An investigation into the olfactory, which began in 1969 with coffee, continued through the 1980s with elements like grappa, in order to escape the illusory limits of the painting, embrace the world of the senses and join with the virtual chaos of reality.

Throughout his artistic research Kounellis develops a tragic and personal relationship with culture and history, avoiding a refined and reverential attitude. He would eventually represent the past with an incomplete collection of fragments, as in the work from 1974 made up of portions of plaster casts of classical statues laid out on a table and accompanied by a lit paraffin lamp. Meanwhile, in other works the Greco-Roman heritage is explored through the mask, as in the 1973 installation made up of a wooden frame on which plaster casts of faces are placed at regular intervals. This wooden support encloses a black canvas that evokes a theatrical space in which the mask, according to Greek tradition, establishes the role and identity of the character, defining its origins and destiny.

Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 1993–2008wardrobes, steel cables Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 2004lead rolls, fabric

Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 1993–2008wardrobes, steel cables
Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 2004lead rolls, fabric

The door, displayed in this exhibition in three different declinations dating from 1972 to 2004, is another symbol of the artist’s intolerance for the dynamics of his present. The passageways between rooms are closed up with stones, iron reinforcing bars and lead sheets revealing the historical interiority of the building and making several spaces inaccessible in order to emphasize their unknown, metaphysical and surreal dimension. Over the years Kounellis would present the door motif in various versions, sometimes accompanied by bells and plaster casts of classical statues, the stratified memory of a visual and sensorial legacy at once profound and impenetrable.

The retrospective is completed on the ground floor by documents 3⁄4including films, exhibition catalogues, invitations, posters and archival photographs3⁄4 that trace Kounellis’ exhibition history, and by a focus on his theater projects. 

JANNIS KOUNELLIS at Fondazione Prada, Mosta Venezia
from 11 May to 24 November 2019

curated by Germano Celant
seen by Agostino Osio
courtesy Fondazione Prada



Chloe Wise

Chloe Wise



Chloe Wise
*Not That We Don’t @Almine-Rech-Gallery

written Tagen Donovan
may 019

“Not That We Don’t” brings into focus the construction of self. Large rainbow-hued portraits with an unwavering painterly skill tower over office blue carpeting, charmingly installed throughout the entirety of the exhibition.

detail view  Tormentedly Untainted , 2019 (c) Chloe Wise

detail view Tormentedly Untainted, 2019 (c) Chloe Wise

Human extremities
dilute the Benneton-
esque scenes, hands
float around in gesturally
symbolic movements.

Taking time to put a pause on the general structure of portraiture, which relies vehemently on reading emotion and social information via facial expressions. Wise capitalises on the importance of hand gestures, an increasingly forgotten sign of communication within the context of our online culture.

Familiarity also sets the foundation for each painting. Wise incorporates commodities of popular culture, mundane items that bare a sense of kitsch irony. Focus is centralised around; hand sanitizer, soap and tissues. Well-known store-bought brands colourfully brandish each canvas, communicating something deeper than just their standalone purpose. Perhaps Wise is exploring social commentary? With each subject of her paintings illustrating millennials, a generation persistently famed for over-sensitivity or lack thereof.

installation view  Which Lake Do I Prefer , 2018 (c) Chloe Wise

installation view Which Lake Do I Prefer, 2018 (c) Chloe Wise

Another vital prop Wise plays with throughout her practice is produce. Be it; corn, cheese, leafy goods, milk and other earthly ingredients. Combined with each subject, one can't help associate with the 18th Century Eurocentric Art movement. Johannes Vermeer's' prolific painting The Milkmaid (c. 1657– 1658) which famously champions an emphasis of abundance and celebration of harvest. Similarly, Wise exemplifies these core illustrative qualities throughout her work, with painterly finesse and attentive technical skill.

“Not That We Don’t” Chloe Wise
10th April - 18th May 2019 at Almine Rech Gallery, London

header The Tedious Matter of Personal Will, 2019 (c) Chloe Wise
others as displayed