December / January Issue
“Failure”
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Misinterpreting Satire

Misinterpreting Satire

Sally Frater reflects on The Black Letter, a project by “The N***** Bankzy.”

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Booked

An Interview with Sarah Lewis

Booked

An Interview with Sarah Lewis

New York–based curator, art historian, and Yale MFA Critic Sarah Lewis talks about her anticipated first book, The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery.

Robert Gober, Bag of Donuts, 1989; acid free hand cut paper, graphite, dough, synthetic resin; edition of 8 with 1 AP; 11 x 6 1/2 x 6 inches. Photo: Geoffrey Clements, Courtesy the artist and Paula Cooper Gallery

Eating Robert Gober’s Bag of Donuts

Eating Robert Gober’s Bag of Donuts

What happens when an art critic mistakes a sculpture for a free snack?

Yinka Shonibare MBE, "Scramble for Africa," 2003;
14 life-size fiberglass mannequins, 14 chairs, table, and Dutch wax printed cotton; overall: 52 x 192 1/10 x 110 1/5 inches
Installation view, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia, September 24, 2008–February 1, 2009
Commissioned by the Museum of African Art, Long Island City, New York
Collection of The Pinnell Collection, Dallas. Production still from the "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 5 episode, "Transformation," 2009. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London © Art21, Inc.

Flashback

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Welcome Guests

Flashback

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Welcome Guests

Yinka Shonibare MBE talks about his collaborative process, his vision for an artist’s residency and community, and the meaning of failure.

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Dr. YouTube, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying (About Failure) and Love My Viral Video

Dr. YouTube, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying (About Failure) and Love My Viral Video

What might viral videos tell us about the current sense of failure in the art world?

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The Feast of Detroit

The Feast of Detroit

Does Detroit represent a failed system or does the city defy traditional responses to notions of failure?

Wangechi Mutu (Kenyan, b. 1972). The End of eating Everything (still), 2013. Animated video, color, sound, 8 min., edition of six. Courtesy of the artist. Commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. © Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu on failure

Wangechi Mutu on failure

“In a sense, failure is a tail that’s chasing me. I’m running away from it, but it’s attached to me. It helps me project myself forward.”

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New Kids on the Block

Victoria Fu’s Five Attempts at a Palindrome

New Kids on the Block

Victoria Fu’s Five Attempts at a Palindrome

For San Diego-based artist Victoria Fu “failure as strategy is a nod to the delicate beauty and also complete absurdity of making.”

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Now Playing

Twenty-One Songs from Sam Gordon

Now Playing

Twenty-One Songs from Sam Gordon

A playlist featuring artists and musicians who “fail to draw within the lines,” including Yoko One, Steve Reich, and Men.

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Failing Productively: A Crash Course

Failing Productively: A Crash Course

How can we help students have a healthy understanding of failure?

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Queer Berlin

A Brief Introduction to the ff

Queer Berlin

A Brief Introduction to the ff

A visual profile of a feminist network operating mostly out of Berlin.

The Dowling Theatre, 1963, courtesy of Ray M. Boriski. Auditorium of the Dowling Theatre, c. 1960, courtesy of Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library, MSS 210. The Dowling Theatre, c. 2007. Courtesy arch-ive.org

Shifting Perceptions of Houston’s Third Ward

Shifting Perceptions of Houston’s Third Ward

Writer-in-Residence Sally Frater explores Unity Foto Bank, an online project and site-specific installation in Houston, Texas.

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Emergency Response

Emergency Response

Alicia Eler speaks with artists Phong Bui and Pinar Yoldas about their individual responses to environmental disasters.

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Nuanced Failure and Urban Space

Nuanced Failure and Urban Space

Urban architecture is no stranger to criticism and failure. Consider the work of Le Corbusier “whose legacy of urban plans…has been mythologized and often maligned.”

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I’m a failure. Now what?

I’m a failure. Now what?

How does the life of a boxer compare to the life of an artist?

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Copy That!

Free-Fail

Copy That!

Free-Fail

In reassessing the value of failure, consider Princeton computer scientist Ed Felten’s expression “the freedom to tinker.”

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From the Editor

From the Editor

What does failure mean? Art21’s Digital Content Editor introduces the sophomore issue of the Art21 Magazine.