Author: Christian Viveros-Fauné

  • A Protest Anthem Is Born

    By Christian Viveros-Fauné Words are things, like ink / falling like dew on rhymes / making thousands, even millions think.  My freestyle paraphrase of Don Juan, Canto III, by 19th-century rapper George Gordon Byron, aka Lord Byron, these words contain the seeds of every protest verse ever sung or uttered since. To the canon of […]

  • Nan Goldin Gets Your P.A.I.N.

    Flashbulb memory. The words came to me on a deserted New York street in March as I waited for an Uber ride to meet Nan Goldin. A term coined by psychologists James Kulik and Roger Brown in 1977 to describe remembering in the wake of collective traumatic events—think the Kennedy and Martin Luther King  Jr. […]

  • Our Time Begs for Goya 

    2021 Village Voice review by Christian Viveros-Faune of the Goya exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    “The mobocratic spirit.” Abraham Lincoln’s phrase could hardly be more apt. Nearly a year ago I stood inside Madrid’s Prado Museum staring at a spectacularly fearsome work of art. The small brushy drawing done in brown ink on beige paper by the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya depicts an open-mouthed, prone man screaming to fend […]

  • Art Crime Pays: Trump Pardons Helly Nahmad, the Art World’s Cartoon Villain

    It was April 30, 2014, and Hillel “Helly” Nahmad was doing his best courtroom grovel. “Your honor, I am ashamed,” the then 35-year-old art dealer told U.S. District Court Judge Jesse M. Furman inside Manhattan’s Thurgood Marshall Courthouse. “My family is a private family and I have brought dishonor to it . . . No […]

  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye Paints It Black At The New Museum

    To walk in to British artist Lynette Yiadom-Boakye’s current exhibition at the New Museum is to leave the downtown institution and enter an impressively elegant party. The reveal happens as soon as you exit the museum’s twin elevators: The loft-like gallery is painted burgundy; the lighting inside the space is nightclub-moody; beyond the visitors’ heads […]

  • Robert Rauschenberg Did Everything And Influenced Everyone (Yes, Everyone)

    Some artists leave an important mark; only a handful deliver the kind of legacy handed down by Robert Rauschenberg, the twentieth century’s art-gospel-spreading, medium-challenging, style-switching creative Johnny Appleseed. Born to a fundamentalist Christian family in 1925 in Port Arthur, Texas, Rauschenberg made transformational, age-defying artwork in New York City by age 25 in 1950. By […]

  • The Met Trots Out an Irving Penn Centennial Exhibition for the Instagram Age

    Short of a full-dress redux of Truman Capote’s 1966 Black and White Ball, few events appear less appropriate for modern-day New York than “Irving Penn: Centennial,” the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s latest shot at a tourist-friendly blockbuster. Lavish, elegant, and congenially retro, the exhibition consists mainly of black-and-white photographs of mid-century icons — among them […]

  • A MoMA Retrospective Reveals How Uruguayan-Born Joaquín Torres-García Turned the Western Art World on Its Head

    In 1920, after a brief stop in Paris where he bickered with Picasso and harmonized with Miró, the Uruguayan-born artist Joaquín Torres-García traveled from Barcelona to New York for two doleful years. “This is New York,” he wrote with laconic grammar a year after landing, “the city of seven million people — which crushes the […]

  • Fernando Bryce, One-of-a-Kind Copyist, on View in Chelsea

    Impressionable people, the Scottish historian Charles Mackay once said, think in herds, go mad in herds, and, unfortunately, recover their senses one by one. A crystalline thought for our conformist age, this observation cuts against the grain of our current copycat culture. For every thousand people who unthinkingly swear that social media trumps newspapers, Facebook […]

  • ‘Transmissions’ Finds MoMA Veering Blessedly Off Course to Eastern Europe and Latin America

    There are two principal ways to build a museum collection. There’s the old-fashioned way: Inherit it from museum trustees. The second method consists of buying targeted works of art to fill in where museum gifts leave gaps. But what happens when an institution’s prolonged inattention leaves generation-size holes in its collection? This is the pickle […]

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