The NYT has a new piece on the Venice Biennale:
At Venice Biennale, Contemporary Art Sinks or Swims
This year’s event is a lopsided affair, with a forceful central exhibition but disappointing national pavilions. Stan Douglas (Canada) packs a punch and Simone Leigh (U.S.) stands out for her aspiration.
First of all, consider taking in the art just featured on the website. The event is on from April 23 – November 27.
Simone Leigh is representing the US (I’m trying to think of where I’ve last seen her work in person, and I’m thinking the Menil Collection, last year, but not at all certain); her work, incredible:
From the NYT:
,…Leigh remains most successful in ceramic works such as the large white “Jug,” an oversized reconstitution of a Southern face jug whose surface she embeds with enlarged cowrie shells, and “Cupboard,” whose stonewear shell atop a large raffia skirt builds on surrealism’s African appropriations and Caribbean afterlives.
She’s taken these Southern forms — the face jug, the cupboard which has been mentioned before, taken from the Mammy’s Cupboard building in Natchez:
here, photographed in 2005
and the shells on face jug — here are some in my collection:
really remind me so much, too, of the tradition of shells (though not cowrie in these examples) on cemetery monuments, like this on at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville, Alabama, that I photographed in 2008:
…and this one, at Pine Flat Methodist Church Cemetery in Butler County AL.