|Trevor Paglen, “Contrails (R-4808N Restricted Airspace, Nevada),” 2012. C-print, 48 x 60 inches. Edition of 5.
Courtesy of the artist, Metro Pictures, Altman Siegel Gallery, and Galerie Thomas Zander.
Look up at the sky. You may finally see the sun peeking through, or catch a glimpse of a pretty cloud. If you scan the horizon a bit longer, though, upon closer inspection you may realize that what you see isn’t a cloud at all, but a contrail. An innocuous trace or something threatening, depending on your perspective.
Long before questions pertaining to the Obama administration’s use of drones in its military and covert operations, and debates about redrawing the legal limits on the domestic use of drones reached the headlines of U.S. media outlets, artists like Trevor Paglen or Omer Fast (reviewed here in January) have been engaging with the impact of the use of these technologies with a remarkable sophistication that is the antithesis of spin. Paglen’s abstractions of white traces on a blue sky (currently on view as part of his first show at Metro Pictures in New York) manage to propel us beyond simple questions of representation into a larger context where the relationship between art and politics is activated by the viewer. It’s about more than what you see, or think you see, because as Stephen Squibb reminds us in his review of Paglen’s exhibition, “what—and how—we see determines which trail we follow towards the future.”
Now, look back down. Or rather, look at NYC, where the strong offerings on view currently in local galleries are bolstered by the presence of upcoming art fairs with very different genealogies. On the one hand, we’ll be covering the four-year-old Independent fair for the first time. By contrast, this year marks the centennial edition of the Armory Show. On this occasion Media Farzin presents a special editorial on the development of art fairs over the last hundred years, beginning with the famed 1913 Armory Show. And later this month, art-agenda posts dispatches from further afield, with reviews of the much-anticipated 11th Sharjah Biennial, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, and the Art Dubai fair. Keep your eyes trained here.
Recently on art-agenda:
George Barber’s “The Freestone Drone” at Waterside Contemporary, London
Trevor Paglen at Metro Pictures, New York
Karl Holmqvist’s “EQ UI LI BR IU M” at Galerie NEU and MD72, Berlin
Camilla Løw’s “Spring Rain” at Elastic, Malmö
“39greatjones” at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich
Gerard Byrne’s “Present Continuous Past” at Lisson Gallery, London
Jack Pierson’s “The End of the World” at Regen Projects, Los Angeles
5th India Art Fair and Parallel Events, New Delhi
Svenja Deininger’s “One Second Balance” at Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York
Coming soon: reviews of Ragnar Kjartansson at Luhring Augustine, New York; a special editorial by Media Farzin looking back on 100 years of art fairs on the occasion of the Armory Fair‘s centenary edition; Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah; Art Dubai, Dubai; Aslı Çavuşoğlu at Galeri Non, Istanbul; Ed Atkins at Isabella Bortolozzi Galerie, Berlin; and many more.