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One thing Documenta curator Adam Szymczyk should without doubt be credited for is bringing Documenta to Athens. By situating half the exhibition in one of Europe’s presently crisis-plagued countries—in the midst of discussions about migration policy, continental cohesion, and moral obligations—an urgency that it could not have developed in Kassel alone is attained, and harnessed.
In the first room of Alice Neel, Collector of Souls at Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, displaying a dozen or so small-sized early paintings from the 1930s, one already can apprehend Neel’s legacy as a portraitist. Her asymmetrical portrait of a woman, Elenka (1936), and the calm and frontal Gerhard Yensch (1935) bring you close to her subjects.
Bridget Riley is one of the last living Modern artists. At the age of 83, her curiosity for the visible and for the art of the past keeps engaging her in new work, without loss of urgency.
During the opening days of the Venice Biennale, in a classic hotel on the Grand Canal, U.S. artist Mark Bradford was reflecting on the issue of inclusive art history. An interesting conversation evolved about how an artist can, against his will, be stereotypically tied to a generalized identity, and be excluded from institutions, or included in discourses where he does not feel at home.