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Dan Ball’s Unseen Memphis Photos on Vice

If you were in a band that played a show in one of Memphis’s many clubs since the 90s, or if you were one of the many locals who made those clubs their second home, or even if you just caught some music while passing through the city, you might have seen Dan Ball standing in the front row with his camera.

Ball, a third-generation Memphian, has been taking photos of bands for three decades—while they performed, backstage, or wherever he could get them to sit for portraits. Some photos made their way into bands’ publicity materials, or appeared in one alt-weekly or another, but most ended up filed away in Ball’s house. When I first met Ball, he was somewhere in the midst of organizing and digitizing the past few decades of his work. We sat for hours in his living room, the blinds closed against the August heat, as he told me about how he went from studying film and photography at the University of Memphis to shooting some of the most influential musicians of the past 30 years—Alex Chilton, Jay Reatard, Three 6 Mafia, and Sonic Youth, to name a few—often in that very room.

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Jillian Mayer in Ocean Drive

Jillian Mayer’s first computer was on the bedroom floor, squeezed in a nook next to her bed. She remembers spending long hours basking in its light, her body folded over in some parody of prayer. “The computer is your shrine,” she says. “Think of the halo, Byzantine gold leaf—it’s now the glow of the screen.” But don’t expect egg tempera and mosaic. Mayer’s art is more Nickelodeon than Nicodemus. Using homemade props, Kid Pix colors, and the fonts, fades, and feel of predawn QVC infomercials, her work camps in an uncanny valley, a place just familiar enough to bring about some serious introspection as to how we should live in a world teetering above a digital abyss. And while you can find it on YouTube, or in David Castillo Gallery, her art is just as likely to be projected on the exterior of the Guggenheim, screened at Sundance, and confused with pornography on the streets of Montreal.

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Monte Laster for Bomb

On a hot day in May, Monte Laster and I drove an hour and a half out of Dallas to Castle Rock Mountain, a ranch he had purchased just two weeks prior to serve as the American base for his community engagement platform—the French American Creative Exchange (FACE). I was in town for the first edition of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra’s Soluna International Music and Arts Festival, which commissioned Laster to create a new project based on notions of place, identity, and dislocation. Although he was raised in Fort Worth, Laster has lived in France since 1989, primarily in the disenfranchised banlieue of La Courneuve, a fifteen-minute train ride north of Paris. “I’m 100% Texan and 80% French,” the artist said. Castle Rock was a bit of a homecoming.

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The Garage Museum of Contemporary Art for Condé Nast Traveler

The concrete was still wet when the new Garage Museum of Contemporary Art opened this week in Moscow’s Gorky Park, but that didn’t stop the crowds. Designed by Rem Koolhaas’s OMA for the expanding art space helmed by collector and magazine editor Dasha Zhukova, the Garage preserves Moscow’s architectural past, sets a new bar for the future of contemporary art, and revitalizes a park along the way.

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IST. Festival for Travel + Leisure

A few weeks ago, artists of different generations and pursuits gathered in Istanbul for the Istanbul International Arts & Culture Festival (IST.), a weekend of free conversations and art exhibits—the stuff that brings together luminaries from fields as diverse as architecture, literature, and millinery.

Once a small series of workshops, IST. is now an international affair; past guests include Zaha Hadid, Gore Vidal, and Courtney Love. And if this fifth annual event proved anything, it’s that the art scene in this timeless city is fresher than ever.

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Math Bass, "Newz!" 2014
Gouache on canvas.
44 x 42 in. / 111.8 x 106.7 cm. Courtesy of the artist and Overduin & Co., Los Angeles

Math Bass in Modern Painters

There is not a single right angle in
 the studio that Math Bass keeps in Los Angeles’s historic Filipino town. This architectural quirk might occasionally prove frustrating, but it creates a fitting locale for Bass’s art, which slinks between hard geometry and the curves of the body. Her practice takes several forms, occasionally in conjunction: paintings, sculptures, and performances in which the human element shifts in and out of both the space and the viewer’s mind.

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Interview with David Salle

I met David Salle in the crowded lobby of the Joule Hotel on Main Street in downtown Dallas. He was in town for the opening of Debris, a large show of his paintings and ceramics on view through August 23, 2015, at the Dallas Contemporary. David Salle: New Paintings, is on view at Skarstedt Chelsea from April 30 – June 27, 2015. This conversation took place upstairs in a quiet suite. There, for over an hour, he spoke with humor and fine acuity about a painter’s influences, the continuum of aging, and discovering Frank O’Hara on a rotating rack in Wichita, Kansas.

Read the interview at The Brooklyn Rail.

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Latent Vibrations in Oxford American

Several years ago, while walking home from a Little Caesars in southwest Miami, I came across a headless chicken, drained of its blood and abandoned in the middle of the street. I later learned that the bird was sacrificed in a Santeria ritual (its placement in the intersection was a suburban approximation of the crossroads: the portal between worlds). The encounter provided further evidence of something I learned the moment I moved to the country’s largest Caribbean city—and kept learning until I left. The tropics will reveal themselves to you, but without warning or explanation.

This was on my mind last month when I visited another Caribbean capital, New Orleans, to make sense of another street scene. Four years in the making, EN MAS’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean, an exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center, presents Carnival—dance, music, costuming; all of the inhaled and exhaled culture of the Caribbean and its leaky diaspora—in the context of contemporary art.

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Nicolas Lobo's "Napalm stone (Nexcite version #2)," 2014 and "A rebours/Against nature," 2014.

Nicolas Lobo in Modern Painters

“It’s a heavily diluted broth the human body soaks in for leisure,” says Nicolas Lobo of muriatic acid, a common swimming pool cleaner that he will use to scar the concrete walls of the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) for “Leisure Pit,” an exhibition opening April 16. “But if it were any more concentrated, it would dissolve that human body instantly.” This is not the first time the Miami-based artist has made art
 using a household chemical. Over the years he has used homemade napalm, clouds of Robitussin sprayed from a
 fire extinguisher, bootleg perfume, and expired energy drinks with purported aphrodisiac qualities. This is a man who once made soy sauce out of his own hair.

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Dallas Art Week for ARTnews

Sometimes art-fair weeks have an echo-chamber reverb—the same canapés, the same Instagrams, the same Damien Hirst spin paintings. But if you’re lucky, the stars align and bequeath you unique experiences. On Friday, at 10:30, the morning after the opening of the Dallas Art Fair, which is the centerpiece of Dallas Art Week, Christie’s gave me the keys to a 2015 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Grand Sport Vitesse—at 255 mph, the fastest car on the road, and at $2.5 million, just about the most expensive. At 11:30, I was in the home of Dallas collector Marguerite Steed Hoffman, watching as she delicately turned the pages of a medieval illuminated manuscript while standing next to one of Gerhard Richter’s candle paintings. And at 12:30, I ate a plate of fried alligator. Dallas made this all seem normal.

 

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