Welcome, welcome! This issue we’re taking you to New York, where we find artist Tobias Spichtig’s new show at the Swiss Institute. Sunglasses! Vitrines! Mirrors! The relics of consumer culture never looked so claustrophobic. Elsewhere in the city, young expat photographer Marie Tomanova has recently released New York New York, her sophomore book. Featuring a foreword by Kim Gordon, the title both celebrates the city and gives us a who’s who of the free-spirited kids of downtown. Finally, we’d ask you to contemplate the simple pear – because the prince of fruit really needs our help…
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NYC #1: TOBIAS SPICHTIG AT SWISS INSTITUTE
Of the many ways to celebrate the impending lift of the US travel ban on EU citizens, Tobias Spichtig’s show at New York’s Swiss Institute is among the best. Its oh-so-American title, Good OK Great Fantastic Perfect Grand Thank You, might sound hollow to cultivated Europeans, and it’s hardly typical of Spichtig’s conversational style – but it is indicative of his work. The Swiss artist and No News News favorite, who lives in both Zurich and Berlin, likes to grapple with the supposedly superficial, with all the ornamentation and emptiness that lies behind it. His most impressive paintings to date feature large-format prints of sunglasses glued to canvas. “Look,” they seem to say. “There’s nothing to see here, not even your own reflection.” At the Swiss Institute, Spichtig complements these images with empty display cases – remnants of COVID-related store closings – along with two of his sculptures: angular figures made of resin-treated clothing that are simultaneously sad and scary. This claustrophobic effect is enhanced by surrounding large-scale mirrors; anyone else feeling the walls closing in on consumer culture? The fashion industry, ever open to irony, has proven partial to Spichtig’s art: A friend of the house at Balenciaga, he’s been commissioned to create sculptures for their stores and even made an appearance on the red carpet at their super-successful show in Paris two weeks ago. Yet the 39-year-old remains unimpressed, telling No News News that he is “not interested in fashion per se.” See this eternal nonchalance yourself at the Swiss Institute – detours via Mexico or Canada no longer necessary.
Tobias Spichtig’s Good OK Great Fantastic Perfect Grand Thank You runs at the Swiss Institute in New York until 9 January 2022.
NYC #2: MARIE TOMANOVA‘S NEW BOOK
Having grasped the baton as the chronicler of New York’s youth, Marie Tomanova has been hailed as the new Ryan McGinley – at least that’s what one interviewer concluded after speaking with them both for the release of her last book Young American (for which McGinley also wrote the foreword). For her new monograph, New York New York, the Czech-born photographer enlisted none other than Kim Gordon to describe what it means to come of age and find your way as an artist in the city. This exact experience shaped Tomanova as a young immigrant a few years ago, and it’s one she’s exploring through the faces of the urbane, free-spirited and ultimately good-looking kids she gets in front of her lens. Authored by Thomas Beachdel, New York New York celebrates the streets south (or just north) of Houston and across the Williamsburg Bridge – but it’s also a testament to the vibe of a generation used to crisis even before COVID; less debauched than McGinley’s drug-fuelled scenesters, and seemingly more aware of the pressing need to change the world when older generations just won’t. Given that the city is in the midst of a raucous re-awakening, it’ll be fun to see how all of this will develop in Tomanova’s next book.
Marie Tomanova New York New York, with a foreword by Kim Gordon, is available through publisher Hatje Cantz.
SAVING THE PRINCE OF FRUIT: PEAR MANIACS UNITE!
We love pears here at No News News, not least because our art director Enver Hadzijaj was born in Kosovo and stems from the Dardan people – who carry the pomaceous fruit in their very name. So it fills us with great sadness to read about pears being increasingly shunned due to their “perceived inconvenience of its juiciness and shape” (like, what?!). Throw in a poor spring harvest this year – too wet and too cold – and the prince of fruit is facing a steady decline. Stopping just short of an Avaaz campaign, we urge you: Save the pears! You can start by reading Bee Wilson’s ‘Mellow Fruitiness’ on FT.com. Then go out and buy yourself a bushel…
Editor: Hans Bussert (V.i.S.d.P.)
Art Director: Enver Hadzijaj
Copy Editor: Redfern Jon Barrett
Web Development: Bruno Meilick
© 2021 EX LIBRIS Hans Bussert
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