Even Magazine

Issue 6: Spring 2017

Four years: an eternity or an instant? Though the unimaginable presidency of Donald J. Trump is still in its infancy, its consequences seem already permanent, our history forever tarnished, our values junked for good. But as Ma Yansong, one of Beijing’s most trenchant young architects, tells us in an interview, four years isn’t even long enough to build an apartment block, let alone a future. It’s all so unprecedented that neither apocalyptic predictions nor assurances of continuity seem entirely credible. What we know from art is this: the times mark you whether or not you desire it, and dreams of withdrawal are as foolish from the president’s foes as from his make-it-great-again nostalgists. Artist or autocrat, you cannot take a pause from history.

Our sixth issue of Even is an uncommonly American one. Down in Washington, Lauretta Charlton revisits the Smithsonian’s heralded museum of black history and culture, whose forward-dawning narrative seemed on point in September but soured two months later. Up in New York, Allison Hewitt Ward picks apart our assumptions about art’s political efficacy, and wonders why we seem most confident in culture when it fails to make an impact. The role of art in times of crisis is not a new question for us, of course, and there are foreign lessons for this age of American unexceptionalism. Even no. 6 also plunges us into thrumming, wildly expensive Luanda, where music is all about who you know: Angola’s hip-hop stars drink with oil ministers in beachfront clubs, and MCs who rap about nepotism end up behind bars. We Americans had long thought of kleptocracy as a foreign art. It has come home, and all of us had better study.

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A year's subscription to Even includes three issues of solid writing on contemporary art worldwide. Each issue runs a hefty 184 pages, printed in an exquisite, collectible edition featuring multiple paper stocks. Join our growing community of international readers and we'll promptly send you Issue 6, our grand spring number. (Issue 7 will arrive in May, so you'll have time to read each substantial edition without the guilt of watching past issues pile up.) Over the course of the year, we'll also have exclusive content and events for our subscribers. And there's a rather swank tote bag that accompanies your inaugural issue.

Portfolio

In Occidente, a dreamy enjambment of Brazilian and Portuguese history by the artist ANA VAZ, grainy 16mm footage of surfers and Sunday lunches gives way to Google Street View renderings of Lisbon’s Praça do Comércio, the regal central square built after the famous 1755 earthquake. The Enlightenment ideals the square embodies are tied up with the colonial missions that embarked from its adjacent port — and in fleeting shots of china and porcelain, silver and furniture, the Old World’s commodities seem on the verge of crying out their foul play. More recently, in the sublimely assured Há Terra! (Land Ho!), Vaz’s camera races through the long grasses of the Brazilian backlands, where a young woman keeps evading view. It first recalls early ethnographic cinema, but here there is no privilege from being behind the camera. If this is indeed the Anthropocene, we are all both hunter and hunted.

Even, a new magazine about art, culture, and politics.

We’re tired of hearing about culture as opaque and unapproachable. Even positions art, music, architecture, and film within the context of the world’s biggest stories, from the current crisis in Brazil to the rise of Spotify and Uber. Our serious, at times irreverent writing bridges the misunderstood gap between culture and the world.

Even More

Florine Stettheimer.
Jewish Museum, New York. Opens May 5.

Quietly, she realized some of the strangest and grandest paintings in American modernism: airy, celebratory tableaux of Wall Street and seaside resorts, of ectoplasmically thin women floating across dance floors. A full-dress retrospective of one of New York’s true originals, Stettheimer gets her first proper American retrospective in far too long. (Her influence on contemporary artists is a major theme of Even no. 7.)

Fernand Léger.
Centre Pompidou-Metz.
Opens May 20.

The Cubist’s colliding cylinders, rhyming with the faceted compositions of Picasso and Braque, gave way to figurative paintings after the war, during which he was gassed at Verdun. But this exceptional show at the Pompidou’s satellite institution in Lorraine promises to rethink Léger’s legacy via a focus on his collaborations in film, architecture, and even the circus.

Richard Serra.
Kunstmuseum Basel.
Opens May 20.

The man of steel was also an adept experimenter with celluloid; his silent Hand Catching Lead, from 1968, is a simple, repeated action that serves as both a personal record and a professional manifesto. This show includes almost every one of Serra’s moving-image works in its original formats, all of which testify to his elevation of effort over final form.

Kerstin Brätsch. Museum Brandhorst, Munich. Opens May 20.

The big winner of “The Forever Now,” MoMA’s debated-to-the-heavens 2014 contemporary painting show, was this German artist and her large-scale marbled detonations. This retrospective unites Brätsch’s paintings and stained-glass works with some of her many collaborative projects, notably the wacky slideshows made with the group DAS INSTITUT.