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The Dreamers: 2017

We sang and danced our way into the New Year on the heels of La La Land, but while Emma Stone awaits her judgment at the Oscars, it’s time to get serious about the Dreamers to come. Here are our most anticipated movies of 2017.

The Shack

It seems like trailers for this mysterious entry have been popping up everywhere, including on our laptops and before the season’s other faith-based epic, Martin Scorsese’s Silence. Naturally, we’ve got a lot of questions — like where The Shack is, whether it’s bigger than Room, and if it has anything to do with What Dreams May Come.

Beauty and the Beast

Hermione moves on to a different castle in Disney’s latest live-action fairytale, but the box office should be about the same. Trailers have played well, and it’s good to see all those pots and pans from Mad Max: Fury Road working again.

Born in China

Disney’s annual documentary coinciding with Earth Day looks to be another highlight in what has become one of the studio’s most progressive franchises. But can this finally be the one to stand up to March of the Penguins as the highest-grossing nature documentary of all time?

Unforgettable

For those of you who can’t wait until July to see Katherine Heigl go a little mad in The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, you can catch her this April in the directorial debut of Denise Di Novi, producer of Monte Carlo, Ramona and Beezus, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, New York Minute, What a Girl Wants, A Walk to Remember and many more.

The Fate of the Furious

We could still smell the pavement of the movieplex parking lot as we sped away from our fourth or fifth viewing of Furious 7. “It’s never goodbye,” we whispered back, first eyeing the marquis in our rearview, then veering left at the fork. On April 14, 2017, we’ll hit our destination.

Alien: Covenant

Alien has the distinction of being the year’s second franchise to be following up one of the best movies ever made. We found God in Prometheus, and we’re still looking to the sky for this one.

Cars 3

In 2006, Cars held on to the top of the box office in its second week, hoarding millions from The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, which crashed that weekend in its debut. Based on the first trailer for Cars 3, it looks like we’ll finally get that long-awaited apology from the Cars franchise to our dear friend, The Fast and the Furious.

War for the Planet of the Apes

They’ve proven they can overcome the box office, but can they overcome us? The fate of the furious is to be determined for a second time this year in this installment of the Apes franchise. Regardless, we’ve already got our tickets for Apes of Earth.

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s The Straight Story opens on July 21. Someone let us know how it is.

Untitled Disney Fairy-Tale (2017) [Live Action]

Slated against Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel, we hope to at least get a first look at Emma Stone as Cruella out of this weekend.

It

This reboot of Stephen King’s classic hopes to capitalize on a highly successful guerilla marketing campaign in which clowns appear at random, terrorizing small towns along the East Coast. Paranormal Activity 3 still holds the crown for best opening weekend for a horror film, with $52 million, but it won’t be long before that crown turns into a fuzzy red wig.

Blade Runner 2049

Director Denis Villeneuve will follow Arrival, one of last year’s best, with this sequel to something from the 1980s that we never got around to during our Wedding Singer phase. As always, we’re counting on Villeneuve’s fresh approach: a continuation of the La La Land cinematic universe, this time following Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) into a near future where synth-pop threatens to replace jazz.

Logan Lucky

If you choose one Logan this year, make it Steven Soderbergh’s return to movies. Adam Driver and Channing Tatum will play brothers who are either wearing clothes or not.

A Bad Mom’s Christmas

The first Purge movie to open outside of the summer movie season looks to make a bigger splash in next year’s awards circuit. We’ve already made dinner reservations at Cebo.

That brings us to the end of the year, when Star Wars will swoop in again at the last minute to claim the annual box office crown from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as we watch from home under the spell of a Christmas classic, such as La La Land or It’s a Wonderful Life.

We’ll see you at the movies.

by Mike Spreter & Keaton Ventura (Film Fun)

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Review /

Wael Shawky Castello di Rivoli and Fondazione Merz / Turin

Wael Shawky forges alliances between antitheses. His practice is an incessant amble between the poles of past and present, mythology and reality, written and oral history, light and dark, and life and death. Castello di Rivoli and Fondazione Merz have dedicated two exhibitions to Shawky.

The former presents Al Araba Al Madfuna (2012–16), a filmic trilogy about a mysterious Egyptian village where alchemy and mystic experience are still embedded in everyday life, while the latter retrospective is dominated by another trilogy of epic films, Cabaret Crusades (2010–15), in which marionettes enact the Crusades from an Arab perspective in a surreal and mythical mise-en-scène. Despite their differences, these exhibitions share certain leitmotifs. While Al Araba Al Madfuna moves back through time in a process of gradual archaeological revelation, the Rivoli exhibition follows the Crusades forward, critiquing our Western illusion of history’s progress. Both works take inspiration from modern writings in Arabic, the first from the text of Dayrut al-Sharif (1983) by the novelist Mohamed Mustagab, the second from The Crusades Through Arab Eyes (1984), a book by Amin Maalouf. Shawky animates the two stories through an exquisite anti-naturalism, conveyed at Merz by young actors in fake moustaches reenacting ancient parables and, at Rivoli, by puppets whose heightened yet immobile expressions magnify the remorseless brutality of their actions.

By invoking the childlike realm of puppetry, the artist creates a distance that renders human tragedy tolerable. His poetic formula addresses modern relations between Western and Islamic worlds without the art spilling over into political manifesto.

These two shows reflect Shawky’s attempts at checking historical narratives that seek cultural hegemony through supposed “authenticity.” By illuminating different perspectives and micro-narratives, he exposes our distorted and partial vision of history.

by Giulia Gregnanin

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Beatrice Marchi Hester / New York

On the opening night of “Summer in the North with Loredana,” Beatrice Marchi clumsily donned a series of pink fiberglass forms (Loredana’s Claws, 2016) that covered her arms from the elbow down to form two gigantic chelae. Approaching a microphone, Marchi proceeded to sing a subdued ballad, gesticulating to the crowd and occasionally turning to her reflection in the window to adjust her hair with the oversized shrimp-claw arms.

The awkward performance — billed as a “concert with Loredana” — was a faithful realization of the campy introspection that characterizes this immaculate solo show, the artist’s first in the US.

The exhibition deploys a tactic familiar from Marchi’s previous work: offering the viewer a sparse and fragmentary portrait of a young protagonist, refracted through various works and media. In the video Amiche forever (2017), Loredana speaks with a friend — inexplicably, human buttocks with eyes and a mouth — through a tablet. The conversation is stilted: Loredana speaks Italian; the ass speaks English. (When questioned, it explains, “I want to be free. I want to be international.”) Loredana plays the less certain, less airy foil to the carefree ass, who gives Loredana a lesson in self-imaging, leading a makeup tutorial in which the angles of a face are confidently contoured onto the buttocks.

Elsewhere, in the video Loredana across the seasons (2017), the title character’s back is turned as she is put in the role of spectator to a quartet of landscape paintings that cycle — in order of the seasons — in and out of frame until Loredana appears to enter the image whose hues best match her dress and crustacean arms. On the adjacent wall, the painting F/W 2016 (in black) (2016) captures this transition, collapsing the seasons into a fashion calendar, and featuring Loredana’s silhouette haunting a hillside, as if dissolved into a landscape of her own design. Next to it, leaving both seasonal and fashion calendars unfulfilled, hangs the exhibition’s title work, Summer in the North (2016), a perfectly over-the-top ouroboros of listless but assured self-reflection. In it, Loredana, no longer bearing the restrictive weight of the claws, lies nude on a sunset-lit beach, her teary eyes locked firmly on her ass, whose own eyes — abyss, mirror, soul, whatever else — stare tearfully back at her.

by Jack Gross

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Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster MAAT / Lisbon

“Utopia/Dystopia” is the subject chosen by director Pedro Gadanho for the inaugural program of the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology (MAAT), for which Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster has conceived Pynchon Park (2016).

This site-specific installation occupies the Oval Gallery of the new building, designed by British architect Amanda Levete, and continues the series of immersive works the artist presented at Tate Modern in London in 2008 and at the Palacio de Cristal in Madrid in 2014.

Pynchon Park is a white arena of nearly a thousand square meters, strewn with balloons and colorful carpets resembling open books, enveloped by turquoise netting and accompanied by the sounds of the sea. Viewed from above, the space reveals its cosmic character: ruled by an overly short cycle of day and night, and crowned by a celestial body perpetually on the horizon, which turns from hot sun to cold moon when the lights switch off. For the artist it is a place where “extraterrestrials had decided to gather humans in order to observe and enjoy their behavior.”

Descending the curved ramp that gives shape to the Oval Gallery, viewers slowly diffuse throughout the atmosphere of the lower world, segregated by the net from that above. Depending on the viewer’s position, the net exists as both protection and trap, with the open weave allowing for the exchange of glances between inhabitants of both realms.

Closed into the arena, the visual and sonic stimuli are transformative, the sounds of ocean waves and seagulls intermingling with the real laughter of children playing. Marooned on one’s carpet/book, one forgets one is caged and under observation, in a space scoured by searchlights. Pynchon Park inscribes a field of existence between utopia and dystopia, of an uncertain future.

by Sara De Chiara

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Condo / London

Condo, the brainchild of Vanessa Carlos of Carlos/Ishikawa, is back to liven up an otherwise quiet moment in London’s art calendar. The format is simple: thirty-six international galleries are hosted across fifteen of the most progressive commercial spaces in London.

Information is kept to a minimum: a frenziedly flashing map is all there is to the initiative’s website, a red snake traversing the city’s geography and showing the way from newly bohemian Peckham in the South to Soho and to the old vanguard East End. Originally conceived as a collaboration among emerging galleries, Condo has doubled in size from last year, and endorsements by longer-standing galleries, such as Sadie Coles HQ, Greengrassi, Herald Street, Maureen Paley and The Approach, are a testament to the success of its inaugural edition.

The event kicked off with the heaving opening of “Room” at Sadie Coles HQ, an all-women show featuring sculptural installations and photographic works, juxtaposed with a solo presentation of Martine Syms by Bridget Donahue Gallery (New York). A group of photographs of varying sizes frames representations of black subjects distanced by partial views and reflections or by historical space. The short looped video Lesson LXXV (2017), embedded horizontally in a purple plinth, pictures the artist close up, her face and T-shirt drenched with white milk — a reference to recent footage of demonstrators using milk to counteract the effects of teargas. Syms’s personal reflection on the mechanisms of production of black identity resonates poignantly with the works in the group exhibition, which challenge, with a rebellious attitude, the boundaries — physical and psychological — of the space assigned to femininity.

In Peckham, Arcadia Missa and VI, VII Gallery (Oslo) opted for a collaborative presentation of London-based artists. Emma Talbot’s colorful open tent, suspended from the vaulted ceiling, creates the feeling of an intimate, sacred space at the center of the gallery. Through delicately hand-drawn vignettes and vibrant patterns, You Do Not Belong To You (Universal Story) (2016) narrates the story of the Red Tent, a traditional space for women to take refuge and find mutual support. A theatrical dimension was brought by Than Hussein Clark’s set of elegantly balanced enamel and hand-blown glass lampposts, which seemed to cast Eloise Hawser’s minimal stretched fabric screen — embedded with cryptic security patterns — and Brad Grievson’s abstract patchwork canvas as enigmatic characters on a stage.

At Emalin, the gallerists were planning a group exhibition about the deconstruction of the face as a site of identity, and the work of Shana Moulton — represented by Gregor Staiger (Zurich) — fitted the brief perfectly. Moulton’s video Sand Saga (2008) riffs on new-age motifs as the features of the artist’s alter ego, as well as the objects in her boudoir, undergo psychedelic transmutations. Two headless mannequins — their faces reproduced on video tablets attached to their derrieres — complement the presentation, one aptly titled Medusa’s Stare (2016). A number of sculptural works are lined up along the perimeter of the space, like a curious crowd looking in at the visitors. One is quickly caught scanning their shapes in search of the identifying markers of human features: welded from found steel objects, Melvin Edwards’s contorted mask Iraq (2003) was made in response to the war’s dramatic events; Nicholas Cheveldave created an uncanny medical cast of Kaspar, a robot with minimal facial expressions that helps children with autism; The Grantchester Pottery deconstructed the fragile outline of muse Dora Maar’s eyes, mouth, nose and tears in glazed stoneware gracefully suspended from hemp cords.

The last stop was at Carlos/Ishikawa with guests Tommy Simoens (Antwerp) and ShangART (Shanghai), where the gallery was transformed into an arena. One was invited onto stadium seating among Oscar Murillo’s life-size effigies of Columbian workers, their papier-mâché heads simultaneously highly detailed and expressionless. From time to time, a guest singer animated the scene, bursting forth with a cappella love songs in Spanish. Ouyang Chun’s heavy impasto triptych of prostitutes under a spotlight and Yutaka Sone’s crude scale model of an Aztec theme park reinforced a sense of discomfort with being the onlooker or the subject of display.

Although it is hard to define what Condo is, the strength of its proposition lies in its ability to mobilize like-minded people to create productive collaborations, both locally and internationally. In a city like London, dispersive by nature and driven by capitalist gain, it seems vital to nurture a sense of connection and to take action.

by Silvia Sgualdini

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ALAC / Los Angeles

Now in its eighth year, Art Los Angeles Contemporary presents established and emerging international galleries while maintaining a strong focus on Los Angeles. Founder and director Tim Fleming spoke to Flash Art about the latest edition, to be held January 26–29.

What was your vision for ALAC when you started it eight years ago, and how has the fair changed since then?

Over the past eight years we’ve invested considerable time to know our city and its evolving art community. The process of building the fair has been fascinating, forming the relationships that have sustained ALAC and allowed us to grow in step with the city’s expansion. Essential to this are the participating exhibitors that return each year to present work on an intimate and accessible scale. Our relationships with galleries have grown stronger every year and now form the foundation of our VIP and public program that includes private collection visits, curator-led museum tours, and performances and talks with members of Los Angeles’s cultural community. We invest in galleries and work to build them an audience that sees L.A. as a destination for learning about, experiencing and buying art in ways that have not been previously widespread.

As the founder and director of ALAC, you have a unique vantage on art in Los Angeles, as well a sense of the image of Los Angeles held by the rest of the art world. How these have changed over the past eight years?

What I love about L.A., which remains unchanged, is there are consistently new young spaces that are just starting out. People will rent a modest storefront and offer an interesting level of access to artists. I don’t see the proliferation of spaces like this in any other city. In a town that is fueled by its progressive art schools with incredibly strong fine-art programs, you find a really intimate relationship between gallerists and young, emerging artists. It’s possible come to L.A., start a career as an artist and explore so many incredible possibilities. What I think will continue to define L.A. is the dialogue between new international galleries, established local galleries and young galleries starting out. That’s truly where you find the momentum that moves the city’s creative current forward.

What can people expect at ALAC this year?

Each year we refine our vision of the fair, working foremost with our participating galleries and partners. Sotheby’s Institute of Art has put together a schedule of critical talks on the role of contemporary art with preeminent critics, curators and educators. Our programming schedule, ANYTHING YOU SOW, focuses intently on the legacy of performance art and time-based mediums, with screenings and performances by William Basinski, Roger Corman, Jasmine Nyende and Puppies Puppies. This year’s edition marks a change to the layout, as we’ve brought our young Freeways section in on the main floor to make it even more a part of the experience of the fair.

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