Ballet is a cruel art, not much less crueler now than what it was in Belle Époque Paris, but art nonetheless, and terribly inspiring as such. At the beginning of June, I went to see the Degas exhibition at the Museum of Art of São Paulo. The MASP has one of the largest collections of Degas sculptures in the world, paralleled only by the likes of the Musée d’Orsay or the Met, and I grew up knowing the ballerinas, admiring them, or knowing that I should. But they were also just there, and nobody asked me to think critically about
The Shed arts center opened in the spring of 2019 in Hudson Yards, a megadevelopment that ate up $25 billion dollars. This kind of rapid development and pushback is endemic to New York. Yet despite the unremarkability of the architecture or the complacency inherent in the development’s origins, The Shed uses a portion of its grandiose funding each year to spread the limelight to emerging, early-career artists in its Open Call show. I had the opportunity to see the second Open Call in person this year, and chat with three of the up-and-coming artists showcasing new work in the “shapeshifting” space.
It’s rare for a Zoom call to feel warm, welcoming. Navigating the digital realm is usually a cold game; lags and glitches are inherent to the connection, and speaking with someone, even over video call, often becomes a struggle against self-absorption. My face is right there—how can I not fixate on it? This hyperawareness of one’s own presence in physical isolation tends to wedge the distance between parties even further apart, detracting from meaningful conversation. However, when I met with scholar and artist Nnaemeka (Emeka) Ekwelum over Zoom at 9am on a Monday morning, that technologically-induced egotism slipped away. Emeka welcomed
If Alvar Aalto can be dubbed the ‘architect’s architect,’ I call Costantino Nivola the ‘architect’s artist.’ A Sardinian native, he fled Fascist Italy with his Jewish wife, finding himself happily ingrained in the explosive mid-century AbEx New York City ecosystem. He started his career as a painter — yet after sharing his Long Island studio with Le Corbusier, he abandoned the medium for concrete and wet sand, materials he gleaned out of frugality and acute observation of his surroundings: an architect’s sensibility of using place and space. Untitled [Maquette for William E. Grady Vocational High School, Brooklyn, NY] 1958. Collection of