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Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible Ocula Report Havana Biennial 2019: Constructing the Possible 17 Apr 2019 : Federica Bueti for Ocula

I first visited Havana in November 2016, a few days after Fidel Castro died, and just under a year before Hurricane Irma hit Cuba in September 2017. Since then, much has changed, including the hand-painted signs that punctuate the journey from the airport to the city centre, which today do not celebrate the revolution so much as the 'Unidad y...

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Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui Ocula Conversation Andrew Stahl and Guo Xiaohui

The exhibition Beyond Boundaries at Somerset House in London (12 March–2 April 2019) marked the historic contributions of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA) and the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, on the occasion of their 100th and 150th anniversaries, respectively. Spread across several rooms of Somerset House's...

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The National 2019: New Australian Art Ocula Report The National 2019: New Australian Art 13 Apr 2019 : Elyse Goldfinch for Ocula

The National 2019: New Australian Art features work by 70 contemporary Australia-based artists split across three venues: the Art Gallery of New South Wales (AGNSW), Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia (MCA) (29 March–21 July 2019), as curated by Isobel Parker Philip, curator of photographs at AGNSW; Daniel Mudie Cunningham,...

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Among Things

Gordon Hall Art in America First published on 1 December 2018

Bruce Nauman, A Cast of the Space Under My Chair (1965–68). Concrete. 17 1/2 by 15 3/8 by 14 5/8 inches. Courtesy Sperone Westwater, New York. © Bruce Nauman/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

EVERY ONCE IN a while I get an artwork stuck in my head. Bruce Nauman's A Cast of the Space Under My Chair (1965–68) was one such work. For years, while sketching new sculptures or gabbing in a studio visit, I would remember it, though I'll admit that for the first few years this happened, I didn't consistently remember who made it. I didn't pause to figure it out. The sculpture just made intuitive sense to me and bubbled up every once in a while.

A couple of years ago, I did some research about a legendary piece of found furniture called the "slant step" while looking for an example of an object that was beloved because of, rather than in spite of, its ambiguous functionality. I was surprised to learn that the slant step had been purchased for Bruce Nauman in 1965 at a thrift store north of San Francisco by his graduate school mentor, William Wiley. Nauman, Wiley, and others in their Bay Area artistic circle latched onto the slant step as a sort of icon—a model for art-making or even a way of living. They organized an exhibition called "The Slant Step Show," published a book, and created a wide variety of artworks dedicated to it, including Nauman's Mold for a Modernized Slant Step (1966), a rough copy of the object in plaster with a groove down the middle.

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