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OKS: Toxic Vice at A+E Studios Tribeca, NY

Hurry NYers! Get to the TriBeCa gallery A+E Studios this week to see “OKS: Toxic Vice,” the surprising, funny, darkly domestic exhibit on view through November 4th.

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

Toxic Vice marks the first solo show by OKS (Oksana Todorova.) Now based in the East Village, the artist was born and spent her early life in the former Soviet Union.

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

The essay accompanying the show describes OKS’s works as “proponents of a feminist perspective that is all at once sexual and fierce, a particularly potent combination that she presents without a hint of shame or reluctance.”

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

All the ceramic vessels featured at the gallery are functional… have a sip from a bottle of Mr. Clean!

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

OKS takes inspiration from the painter Phillip Guston. Here are some of her works inspired by his single-eyed figures.

OKS: Toxic Vice at A + E Studios Tribeca, NYC

The essay and press release accompanying the show gives a thoughtful overview of the artist’s work. Download it here or read it below:

A+E STUDIOS is delighted to present the first solo exhibition from Oksana Todorova: Toxic Vice on view at 160 West Broadway from September 21 through November 4, 2016.

Even when viewed in person, contemporary art is most often seen from afar. Under Plexiglass boxes, sitting on custom crafted easels, and handled with white cotton gloves, the objects themselves seem removed in pursuit of the perception of value. Since time immemorial, art has come with cachet and also served a function whether as a vessel to drink out of, an ivory comb to detangle locks of hair, an instrument to be played, or an illustration allowing a potential suitor to envision his future bride—not merely an artifact wedged in the back of a Kunstkammer.

The work of OKS (Oksana Todorova) integrates life and “art” with no frills, debunking the notion that art is so fragile it shouldn’t be handled. Hand crafted glazed ceramic morphs into bondage themed tea sets or Drano and Anti-Freeze vessels, each embodying a palpable toughness and toxicity that is simultaneously frightening and enticing, familiar objects with a sardonic twist. The element of deception so prevalent in the works that constitute Toxic Vice furthers the definitional problem of how “art” should be perceived. If a ceramic bowl ribbed with teeth is considered a work of “fine art,” dare we sip coffee out of it or do we fear a stain or a chip on a hand-made, non-editioned mug fired twice, colored and worked with sublime dexterity?

OKS’ modest workspace occupies alcoves throughout the apartment she shares with her daughter in the East Village – a table here, tools there, a small kiln in the corner of the living room. The nature of the space, undefined, parallels both her disposition and practice as seamless parts of her life as she drinks and eats out of home-crafted bowls, jugs, and plates every day. Nothing but the categorically useless is out of bounds. She suggests that no thing is so precious and no one so impervious to life’s seductions – neither the work itself or her own personal proclivities – and as a result her work has a resonating authenticity. In all its dark and twisted glory, each object becomes an unabashed physical manifestation of her own mischievous mind, and what sets it apart is its ability to retain visual simplicity while touching on a multitude of complex ideas, a feat that can only be generated by an artist who is unafraid to reveal aspects of themselves oft-hidden from the public and relegated to the shadows and margins of their lives.

OKS stretches the limits of her imagination, creating technically masterful objects that confront increasingly taboo subjects: the forlorn activity of gross consumption with her consumer products and cups, vice with sex toys and vaginal references, sex ‘n’ booze with bottles of liquor thrown around as social lubricant as much as anything else. Her works are proponents of a feminist perspective that is all at once sexual and fierce, a particularly potent combination that she presents without a hint of shame or reluctance.

She makes it clear that there is no pity or sacrifice in being a woman, only power. OKS fixates on the “Vagina Dentata” or legend of the toothed Vagina, a metaphor for entrapment and the inescapable fate of the male devoured or destroyed, humiliated and emasculated. This mythology adds gravitas to toothed bowls with a sickeningly seductive hint. In a similar vein, her denture necklaces playfully feature the degradation of human anatomy strung up on gold chains, whilst her jewelry holders present precious stones with a long sinewy hand, pale and pasty with bright red polish.

Her ability to easily access the forbidden in the depths of her own mind is realized in bondage objects, lewd sketches, Phillip Guston inspired cycloptic visions, surrealism, the tradition of Japanese tea ceremony, and everyday consumer products from Drano and Tide to Stoli, to a black Dildo coined “One Eyed Jack.”

This push-pull methodology, repulsive yet enticing germinates from the work of Phillip Guston, a recklessly alcoholic genius whose single eyed smokers and odious images allude to certain perversions. OKS’ objects fight as weapons, agents of deadly poison and guilty pleasure. Literally and figuratively, she invokes a Clorox bottle, poisonous if consumed as a container to dole out another kind of poison amongst friends. This notion of irrational juxtaposition popularized by Surrealists in the early 20th century and visible in OKS’ domestic objects, harbors a distinctly dark and dangerous mystery, one that is distinctly female.

Why would a woman want to wear dentures around her neck or sip from a carafe of Tide? Would someone want to pluck his or her gold and silver rings out of a pasty hand or eat breakfast from a toothed vagina? Why not? These things are all part of the fabric of our lives. The objects exist as sculptures on display reflecting feminist attitudes or run through the dishwasher. OKS’ methods of fabrication exhibit accomplishment in the art of etching, coloration, form and allows the works to survive as they are, objects of utility based in conviction and fashioned by a humble but brilliant soul.

OKS (Oksana Todorova) was born in USSR to a father that worked as a propaganda artist and a computer programmer mother. As a child Oks attended art school. After the collapse of Soviet Union, OKS moved to New York and the city quickly became her home. OKS currently lives in the East Village with her daughter. This is her first solo exhibition.

OKS: TOXIC VICE, Curated by Alexander Adler in conjunction with A+E Studios
On view through November 4, 2016, Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-6pm
A+E Studios, 160 West Broadway, New York, NY 10013

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Pipilotti Rist – Pixel Forest – Video Preview

The first NYC survey of the great Pipilotti Rist opens today at the New Museum. It’s three floors of immersive multimedia installations that will take your breath away. The exhibit runs through January 15, 2017.

New Museum
235 Bowery

Pipilotti Rist - Pixel Forest - New Museum

Pipilotti Rist - Pixel Forest - New Museum

Pipilotti Rist - Pixel Forest - New Museum

Here’s what the New Museum has to say about the exhibit:

The New Museum is pleased to present the first New York survey of the work of Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist (b.1962). Over the past thirty years, Rist has achieved international renown as a pioneer of video art and multimedia installations. Her mesmerizing works envelop viewers in sensual, vibrantly colored kaleidoscopic projections that fuse the natural world with the technological sublime. Referring to her art as a “glorification of the wonder of evolution,” Rist maintains a deep sense of curiosity that pervades her explorations of physical and psychological experiences. Her works bring viewers into unexpected, all-consuming encounters with the textures, forms, and functions of the living universe around us.

Occupying the three main floors of the New Museum, “Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest” is the most comprehensive presentation of Rist’s work in New York to date. It includes work spanning the artist’s entire career, from her early single-channel videos of the 1980s, which explore the representation of the female body in popular culture, to her recent expansive video installations, which transform architectural spaces into massive dreamlike environments enhanced by hypnotic musical scores. Featuring a new installation created specifically for this presentation, the exhibition also reveals connections between the development of Rist’s art and the evolution of contemporary technologies. Ranging from the television monitor to the cinema screen, and from the intimacy of the smartphone to the communal experience of immersive images and soundscapes, this survey charts the ways in which Rist’s work fuses the biological with the electronic in the ecstasy of communication.

On view from October 26, 2016 through January 15, 2017, “Pipilotti Rist: Pixel Forest” is curated by Massimiliano Gioni, Edlis Neeson Artistic Director; Margot Norton, Associate Curator; and Helga Christoffersen, Assistant Curator. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue co-published by the New Museum and Phaidon Press Limited.

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Cai Quo-Qiang – Sky Ladder

“Sky Ladder” is the most recent fireworks based temporal artwork by Cai Quo-Qiang. The artist describes the art type as an “explosion event.” The duration of the piece was 2 minutes and 30 seconds and was accomplished at dawn on June 15th on Huiyu Island in Quanzhou, China.

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Photos by Wen-You Cai, courtesy Cai Studio.

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Cy Gavin – Overture

If you are in the city, don’t miss the first New York solo show of quasi-figurative paintings by Cy Gavin. Twelve mixed media pieces are currently hung at Sargent’s Daughters on the Lower East Side through August 20th.

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From the gallery:

Sargent’s Daughters is pleased to present “Overture”, the first solo exhibition of New York based painter Cy Gavin. The exhibition is comprised of a series of twelve mixed-media paintings and will be open July 15th, 2015 through August 20th, 2015.

In his debut exhibit, Gavin tackles a wide range of topics and influences- from the writings of W.E.B Du Bois to West African objects to his complex relationships with his family and his past. Gavin’s sexual orientation and artistic interests were an anathema to his Jehovah’s Witness family and his race set him apart in his rural hometown, making him an outsider even inside his own home. The sudden death of Gavin’s father, after a consistently bellicose relationship, caused Gavin to examine his family history and lack of documentation of his ancestry. His desire to depict his father and his relationship with him became a way to construct a past that only partially existed, just as the nebulous record keeping and mystery surrounding his origins allowed Gavin to explore the idea of a collective identity as well as an individual one.

Of major importance to Gavin is the “double consciousness” of black Americans lives. Du Bois describes this as “the veil” and the “two-ness” of being African American and American, writing in The Souls of Black Folk:

“One ever feels his two-ness, —an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

In Gavin’s paintings this idea appears as two images: the hovering outline of a ghost, and an enigmatic black figure, whose opacity absorbs rather than reflects the surrounding light. To achieve this density of color, Gavin creates his own tincture incorporating tattoo ink, umber and translucent blue. This ultra-black figure becomes both a positive form and a shadow: an allegory of the African Diaspora in all forms. Often these figures are supine or floating- creating an impression of weightlessness and uncertainty, while curious protrusions emit from them like a sinister aura. The surrounding landscapes are rendered in searingly bright colors that both isolate and consume the figures, who are clearly at odds with their dazzling terrain. Some of the figures have staples or pins piercing their bodies, a reference to the Nkisi Nkondi—spirit vessels of the Kongo peoples into which nails are driven.

In addition to the broad scope of his subjects, Gavin takes an unorthodox approach to materials and construction of his paintings. Working directly on unstretched canvas, Gavin works on the painting in an aggressive and occasionally ritualistic manner, listening to music to create a rhythmic motion. His scratching and erasure of the surface is a metaphorical reference to the erasure of African cultures in America’s history and challenges ideas of a mandatory assimilation to Western ideologies. This ceremonial method of creation extends to the materials in the paintings as well. Gavin incorporates his blood, hair, pink Bermuda sand and, in the case of Portrait Of My Father, his father’s ashes. The paintings thus become a carrier or vessel of these materials as well as Gavin’s work- giving credence to the first law of thermodynamics: matter cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change form. Exploring this same idea, Tolstoy writes in War and Peace:

“I feel I can never disappear because nothing disappears in the whole universe, and more than that, I always shall be and always have been in existence. I feel that other spirits exist, far above me, and it’s in their world that you will find truth.”

It is this same truth that Gavin brings to his paintings, and his expansive view of the human and spirit world draws together Gavin’s work and transforms it from a deeply personal expression to a manifestly universal one in which we are all, no matter our origins, engaged.

Cy Gavin was born in Pittsburgh, PA 1985 and received his BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in 2007. He currently lives and works in New York City, where he is an MFA candidate at Columbia University. This is his first solo exhibition in New York.

Cy Gavin
July 15 – August 20, 2015

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Star Wars – The Force Awakens – Behind The Scenes

A new behind the scenes trailer for the upcoming Star Wars film, The Force Awakens was unveiled at the San Diego Comic-Con. J.J. Abrams and crew are hard at work producing this new installment to the franchise that makes use of the latest in CG coupled with the old school physical effects that fans of the first three films enjoy. We will have to wait until December to see the finished product until then we will surely be treated to many teasers.

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Bruce Nauman – Retrospective Scheduled for 2018 – MoMA

Today, the Museum of Modern Art here in NYC announced the opening of a Bruce Nauman retrospective scheduled for September 2018.

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From MoMA:

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Schaulager, Basel, announce their collaboration on a full retrospective devoted to the work of American artist Bruce Nauman (b. 1941). Opening at Schaulager in March 2018 and traveling to The Museum of Modern Art in September of that year, the exhibition will be the first comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s work across all mediums in over 20 years, and will build upon the rich holdings of the two organizing institutions. Covering his entire career, from the earliest fully realized sculptures of 1965 to his most recent work, the exhibition will provide an opportunity to experience Nauman’s command of a wide range of mediums, from drawing, printmaking, photography, and neon, to performance, video, film, sculpture, and large-scale installations—including Days (2009), a 14-channel sound installation for which Nauman won the Golden Lion for Best National Participation at the Venice Biennial in 2009. The exhibition is organized by Kathy Halbreich, Associate Director, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, with Heidi Naef, Senior Curator, Schaulager, and Magnus Schaefer, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, The Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Bruce Nauman is widely acknowledged as a central figure in contemporary art and one of the most influential artists of his time. Throughout his career, Nauman has continuously explored how ways of understanding ourselves in the world are structured by our phenomenological and psychological experience of time, space, sound, movement, and architecture, as well as by power relations and language. Repetition and permutation, the sudden flashes (or breakdowns) of meaning in wordplays and rebus-like objects, and fundamental philosophical and ethical questions hidden in plain sight behind brash dichotomies (good/bad, life/death) are key to his approach.

Support for the exhibition is provided by Laurenz Foundation.

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Enoc Perez – Cut Shapes

Only one day left to see Cut Shapes by Enoc Perez at Danzinger Gallery here in NYC. Hurry!

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A word from the gallery:

Enoc Perez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1967. He currently lives and works in New York. Known primarily for his multi-layered paintings of modernist buildings, throughout his twenty year career the artist has nevertheless engaged with a variety of subjects that appeal to him from voluptuous nudes to still lives of Don Q rum bottles.

Enoc Perez’s new photo collages engage with social media, appropriation, and the artist’s consistent and inventive search for new forms. Sourcing images from the internet of minimally dressed or nude women, from amateur selfies to more professional photos, Perez adds hand painted and cut collaged forms to both obscure and enhance the picture.

The cutout shapes function as censor’s marks – thwarting our ability to see the original image in its entirety while making it all the more attention-grabbing and voyeuristic. At the same time the collaged bits make it into a happy game, playful colors and forms replacing a need for more visual information and reminding the audience of the artist’s role in directing and delivering fresh ways of seeing.

Enoc Perez’s work belongs to the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Art Gallery, and the Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami, among other significant institutions throughout the United States. The first complete monograph on his work was published by Assouline in 2013.

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Anish Kapoor – Château de Versailles

Anish Kapoor has taken over the Palace of Versailles. He’s installed 6 dramatic works, 5 in the gardens and one inside. Apparently there is some controversy but that is nothing new when contemporary art goes big. A quick glance at the works and the prudish problems of someone else fade quickly from the conversation.

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The contemporary art exhibition in Versailles always begins with a walk. The first encounter with the artist. Or rather the artist’s first encounter with Château de Versailles. Whether he or she already knows it or not, on that day they look at it differently, as if the prospect of setting up their works there opened their eyes.

How they look at it is more important than what they say: they take the measure of the unique architecture and size themselves in the light of this exceptional environment. From that first day, there is nothing other than that singular relationship where one is confronted to the other. We were walking with Anish Kapoor.

At a brisk step, with long land surveyor’s strides. Our long walk unfolded in a silence only interrupted by a few words about Le Nôtre, born on a 12th of March like Anish Kapoor – a small nod to history. When it finally came to an end, Anish Kapoor asked to think things over. How unnerving for us! What humility from an artist used to the grandest sites. A year later, Anish Kapoor proposed “his” itinerary in the gardens of Versailles. Like Giuseppe Penone, like Lee Ufan, he had secretly identified the works and the sites. Like them, with his sharp eye he had first calculated size and proportions. He magnificently inhabited the space of the Grand Palais in Paris in 2011 with his Leviathan, however he felt he needed to measure up to the 800 hectares of the Versailles grounds.

Beyond the topography of this territory conquered and disciplined by Louis XIV and his gardener Le Nôtre, the way Anish Kapoor, engineer and philosopher, architect and poet, grasps space, maybe takes us into his innermost thought. He has demonstrated here and there that the notion of space is uppermost for him; he has confided that he treats it as a “poetic idea”, not within its limits but with all it involves. What we see and do not see, the meanings accumulated in the course of history…

For Anish Kapoor, a work of art doesn’t exist alone but through its viewer. The visitor at Versailles will witness the dualities of artist’s work: heaven and earth, visible and invisible, inside and outside, shadow and light… This universe can be read through experience and imagination. The originality of this exhibition, what makes it unique, even to those who have long been familiar with Kapoor’s work around the world, is that in Versailles his vision meets an imagination set in stone by history. The very controlled landscape of Versailles is drawn into instability. The grounds become uncertain and moving. Waters swirl. Romantic ruins take hold of the Tapis Vert. Exposed interior orifices are hidden within the garden’s labyrinths. The mirrors that are so central to Versailles now distort it. This world is perhaps about to tip over. It is not by chance that Anish Kapoor was the first to push open the door to the Jeu de Paume, which he considers as a work of art in itself, to exhibit his installation.

Anish Kapoor draws us into a hidden history, within the boundaries of Versailles.

Catherine Pégard
President of Palace of Versailles


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Donald Judd Retrospective – MoMA – 2017

The Museum of Modern Art here in New York City has just announced the scheduling of a major Donald Judd retrospective exhibition for fall 2017.




Here’s the announcement from MoMA:

In the fall of 2017, The Museum of Modern Art will present the most comprehensive exhibition of the work of Donald Judd (American, 1928–1994) to date. Comprising more than 100 works of art gathered from public and private collections around the world, this retrospective aims to provide a multifaceted perspective on Judd. Organized by Ann Temkin, The Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, in collaboration with Judd Foundation, the exhibition will be installed in the Museum’s second-floor Contemporary Galleries. Building on intensive curatorial research, the exhibition will advance scholarship on Judd’s art and introduce his work to new generations of viewers. MoMA will be the sole venue for the exhibition.

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Cildo Meireles

It’s been more than a decade since Brazilian Cildo Meireles has had a solo show in the US. Galerie Lelong in Chelsea will open with his works tonight.

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Cildo Meireles
May 15, 2015 – June 27, 2015

More from the gallery:

Galerie Lelong is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition in the United States in ten years by internationally renowned Brazilian artist Cildo Meireles, on view from May 15 through June 27. In addition to the monumental work Amerikkka, new works will be on view for the first time. Meireles’s investigation of ideological, economic, and political systems through sculpture, installation, and sensorial experience forms the cornerstone of his practice, which spans the artist’s extensive forty-year career. The artist will be present for the opening reception on Friday, May 15 from 6-8pm.

The centerpiece of Meireles’s presentation at Galerie Lelong will be Amerikkka (1991/2013), the work’s first presentation in the United States. Transforming the gallery into a powerful, interactive experience, the work places viewers under a free-standing ceiling angled at forty-five degrees that is composed of 40,000 hollow golden bullets set against an intense blue background. Viewers stand upon a base of over 20,000 white wooden eggs set into a red floor. Juxtaposing sharp bullets and fragile eggs, Amerikkka simultaneously creates an uncertain and unsettled environment and calls into question whether the work is opening or closing, and if the threat of the bullets is real or perceived. The triple “K” in the title alludes to the Ku Klux Klan, the far right organization that espouses white supremacy and the use of extreme violence.

Like Amerikkka, Virtual Spaces (1967-68/2014), one of Meireles’s seminal works, is dependent upon participation and movement by the viewer. This work, in which Meireles looks to Euclidean geometry, is a corner within a corner, an installation trompe l’œil, that highlights the question of that which is virtual versus what is real.

Invisible Sphere (2012) demonstrates Meireles’s interest in and exploration of the visible/invisible. This work, in which Meireles has constructed, carved, and joined two pieces of aluminum, creates a hollow sphere when closed. As Meireles has said “I think there is something very interesting about things that we can imagine, but which are hidden.”

Like many of Meireles’s works, Aquaurum (2015) is in response to specific political situations. Meireles’s native Brazil produces approximately 12 percent of the world’s fresh water, however, there is a chronic shortage in the country’s most populous city, São Paulo. The cleverly titled Aquaurum, which combines the Latin for “water” and “gold,” is comprised of two crystal glasses. The first is filled with gold, appearing as though it is the lining of the glass itself, the other filled with water.

Beginning in Brazil in the late 1960s, Meireles’s practice was shaped by the social and political conditions during the dictatorship of the time, as well as by the Neo-Concretist movement. Meireles was among the first artists from Latin America to become internationally recognized, beginning with his participation in the 1970 landmark exhibition, Information, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Since then, Meireles has been recognized as a pioneer and leader among artists working in politically and socially engaged conceptual art. Most recently, his work was the subject of a retrospective at the Reina Sofía in Madrid, which traveled to the Serralves Museum in Portugal, and part of the exhibition was also presented at the HangarBicocca in Milan.

Additional monographic shows have been presented at Tate Modern, London; Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona; Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro; Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain de Strasbourg; New Museum, New York; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Institut Valencia d’Art Modern; and Institute of Contemporary Art, London; among others. The artist has received several prestigious awards, including the Velazquez Prize from the Ministerio de Cultura of Spain, and the Ordway Prize, presented by Creative Link for the Arts and the New Museum. Meireles was born in 1948 in Rio de Janeiro, where he currently lives and works.

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