Since 1967, Flash Art is synonym of a cutting edge perspective on contemporary art and global art landscape. Renowned for its iconic covers, currently active with International and Italian Edition, the magazine remains – after more than five decades – committed to analysing and reporting established but also experimental art practices and happenings in the art world, publishing essays by the most authoritative critics and observers together with artists statements and special projects exclusively conceived for the magazine.
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Images of incessant and graphic violence are taking over our lives. The violence is real, as well as our impotence to intervene. The title of this Winter issue, Failures of Influence, comes from Uzomaka Maduka’s Critic Dispatch, in which the American author considers the failures of influence in friendship and art. What still influences us today? Can images incite us to action? Are we empathy deficient? Are we living in a time of post-empathy?
We used to feel compassion for those lost in battle. We once found significance in thumbnail-sized images of wars, or even drawings depicting political assassinations or weapons of mass destruction. Now, we are so saturated with tragic, brutal imagery that we are almost numb to it. We are falling out of love with reality. We live in mentally dysfunctional times, when opinions are shaped via social media rather than first-hand experience or objective reasoning. Everyone has something to say about everything and anything.
The artists selected for this issue addresses these failures of influence, particularly our evolving — and devolving — relationship with the image in these troubled political times.
The first Cover Story is dedicated to Heji Shin, who was photographed wearing Givenchy by Richard Kern in his home studio. Shin’s work and world is brilliantly explicated by Dean Kissick, who — writing about the X-ray series — points out how the artist often tries to take us deeper inside her subjects: “Imagination, creativity, expression, freedom, strengths, individual agency, and subconscious streams of desire and association are to be found in the mind.”
Eric N. Mack’s tête à tête with fashion designer Kiko Kostadinov is the second Cover Story of the issue, a striking portrait of both artists. For the occasion, they have been photographed — both wearing Kiko Kostadinov — by Ari Marcopoulos in Mack’s studio during preparations for his solo show at Paula Cooper Gallery, in New York. Here they talk about where they draw inspiration and what they want to give back to their audience.
Hannah Black is the third Cover Story. Black was photographed by Lee Wei Swee at OCT0 — a nonprofit production office based in Marseilles — wearing Ferragamo. In conversation with Estelle Hoy, the artist reflects on work, life, maternity, and responding to systemic injustice. According to Hoy, Black “plays cultural agitator by going beyond the cataclysmic rowdiness of looting and smashing windows.”
The fourth and final cover was produced in posthumous collaboration with one of our era’s most influential American artists, Mike Kelley, to whom we dedicate this issue’s installment of TIME MACHINE. Here we present two conversations from the Flash Art archive, one between Kelley and American filmmaker John Waters, and another with photographer Larry Clark, who has also penned a new introduction reflecting on his relationship with Kelley and on “art as a form of self-therapy.”
Erik Morse’s essay on Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra spans her entire career, from the iconic “Beach Portraits” (1992–98) to her three-channel video installation Night Watching (2019), now on view in Dijkstra’s solo show “Night Watching and Pictures from the Archive” at Marian Goodman Gallery, New York. Opening her story is a portrait by Taryn Simon. In conversation with Ben Broome, Elle Pérez considers the challenges of depicting the ephemeral condition of living through photographic means. Sarah Chekfa delves into Farah Al Qasimi’s work and aesthetic tendency to include, generating an aura that the artist describes as “so-muchness.”
The latest installment of Letter from the City is penned by Moroccan-French artist Bouchra Khalili –– an impactful missive rising from the cracks and tears of Moroccan earthquakes. In The Curist, Gracie Hadland interviews Scott Cameron Weaver about his Los Angeles gallery O-Town House, a space characterized by its grit, purpose, and grassroots ascendancy. Alex Bennett’s research on emerging talents continues in the latest edition of Unpack / Reveal / Unleash, this time focusing on Toronto-based artist Lotus L. Kang, who is tracing genealogies of hormonal bodies and shifting subjectivities.
In this issue, we introduce a new column dedicated to the cities we travel to in order to seek new perspectives, influences, and art-world anomalies. The first installment of Focus On is dedicated to Tokyo and the third edition of its Art Week; and Kanazawa, where we met Yuko Hasegawa, Director of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art.
Rirkrit Tiravanija “A LOT OF PEOPLE” MoMA PS1, New York, by Chiara Mannarino / Kayode Ojo “EDEN” 52 Walker, New York, by Whitney Mallett / “Nonmemory” Hauser & Wirth, Los Angeles, by Sam Davis / Eleanor Antin and My Barbarian MCASD – Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, by Sampson Ohringer / Mary Ellen Mark “Encounters” C/O Berlin by Mitch Speed / Gray Wielebinski “The Red Sun is High, the Blue Low” ICA, London, by Frank Wasser / Nan Goldin “This Will Not End Well” Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, by Dagmar Bosma