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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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Related Press

Kiki Smith and the Pursuit of Beauty in a Notably Unbeautiful Age

Nancy Hass New York Times First published on 26 November 2018

Kiki Smith. Photo: Jim Goldberg.

STROLLING WITH THE ARTIST Kiki Smith down the not-entirely-gentrified East Village block where she lives and works, in a townhouse with a cherry-red door, can take a remarkably long time. It's not that she isn't nimble — at 64, she has energy to match her famously prodigious output, able to navigate in a billowing black cotton shift around the occasional glob of garbage or a slab of broken pavement. It's that Smith courts distraction. Her 40-year career as an icon of figurative art has made her one of the most enduring creators of post-feminist imagery in mediums from sculpture and drawing to tapestry and printmaking, her very range demonstrating her constant restlessness. Some of her friends flatly refuse to walk with her anymore, she admits, in her halting, dreamy voice, shaking back her flint-gray hair. She completely understands. Who has the time?

A long tendril of ivy in shades of persimmon and ocher has detached itself from the building across the street; it catches her eye as it swings in the breeze. Next, she stops to ponder a blue jay, chattering madly as it flits between the flowering cherry and pear trees that line the block. And what about that light carpet of moss, like a chartreuse 5 o'clock shadow, making patterns on the steps of the brownstones? Are you aware that the spikes at the bottom of the wrought-iron banisters were invented a century ago to scrape the mud from your boots before coming to call?

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