Daily Pic: A still from Fiona Tan’s “Rise and Fall,” a 2009 video in her new show of the same name at the Smithsonian’s Sackler Gallery. It’s very attractive, but it left me doubting whether its fine production values didn’t detract from its content. An early piece that was more documentary seemed to have more weight. Read my full review in the Post.
Daily Pic: “Grand Diagonal,” a 1990 work by Venezuelan artist Rolando Pena, in one of my new favorite spots: The sculpture garden in front of the Organization of American States, just off the Mall a few blocks west of the White House. Almost no one ever visits the dozen or so works in the garden, and they are in varying states of disrepair. They somehow seems a fitting, elegiac metaphor for the institution itself, with its strong dose of League of Nations optimism — in equal disrepair these days.
Daily Pic: Arlene Shechet’s new works at Jack Shainman gallery in New York are interesting hybrids between fine ceramics and current trends in sculpture. They really poke and prod at how high craft might energize contemporary art, and how that art might raise the stake in craft. Funny thing is, when I ran into Shechet at her show, she said she only started working with clay about five years ago, and didn’t mean to engage with craft traditions when she did.
Daily Pic: Thierry Jeannot, a Frenchman practicing in Mexico City, designed this deluxe Venetian-style chandelier — but built it entirely of recycled plastic water bottles, collected and prepared by the poor. It’s one of the highlights of an easily overlooked show called “Rethinking Tradition: Contemporary Design From Mexico” on display in the lovely building of the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, designed in 1910 the redecorated with Mexican motifs over following decades.