Grimes gets into the groove at the James Turrell party BFA

Party politics

There was a battle of the art bashes earlier this week when White Cube and Pace galleries hosted their Frieze Week LA parties on the same night, drawing an impressive mix of pop stars, movie icons and art world royalty (naturally). White Cube guests such as the singer Usher and the UK aristocrat Lady Victoria Hervey thronged the corridors and hallways of the historic hotel, the Chateau Marmont, marvelling at the entertainment including a marching band from Compton High School. Meanwhile, the Pace party, nestled in the San Vicente Bungalows, garnered collective laughter when the gallerys chief executive Marc Glimcher took to the mike twice, after he “fucked up” the first time, forgetting to namecheck Kayne Griffin Corcoran gallery (both dealers have launched a crowdfunding campaign to support James Turrells Roden Crater in northern Arizona). Although White Cubes Marmont party was packed to the rafters, the celeb-to-pleb proportion was much higher at Pace/KGCs soiree in the San Vicente Bungalows, with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio mingling in his baseball cap, pop star Grimes playing the deck—later visited by her billionaire beau Elon Musk—and the presence of the tennis superstar Maria Sharapova. Game, set and match to Turrell.

Leilani Huggins of Pretend Plants and Flowers with a lei wrapped in tea leaves Nancy Kenney

Smells like entrepreneurial panache

An idealistic spirit reigns at Friezes new backlot artist street fair, where politics and philosophy inflect the entrepreneurial pitches of artist-run enterprises. Gyopo, a coalition of diasporic Korean art professionals, is hawking Shigenobu Twilight, tiny bottles of fragrance mixed by the conceptual artist Anicka Yi and enclosed in white resin skirts with a mushroom motif. Gyopo says the strong scent, which morphs depending on the wearer, is meant to challenge traditional notions of femininity. Artists for Democracy is selling “Dose Trump” bumper stickers, colourful “democracy mugs” and sets of ten silkscreen prints with political messages, all with the goal of getting the vote out this autumn. (“Make America Again,” Lisa Anne Auerbachs signed print implores.) And Pretend Plants and Flowers is offering a mix of fresh, dried and faux blooms, including a real flower lei in a traditional Hawaiian tea-leaf gift wrapping. “Its about the space between things that look real and things that look fake, and knowing whats what,” says the company founder Ezra Woods, who describes his venture as strictly “uncynical”.

Landon Wiggs's contribution to the fundraiser for High Desert Test Sites Nancy Kenney

Frieze really rocks

Like the inspirational Chinese objects known as scholars rocks, every stone in an offbeat display at Frieze Los Angeles has a distinctive je ne sais quoi. Each of them has been painted, adorned or otherwise manipulated by an artist, and all are for sale to online bidders, with the goal of raising money for the non-profit California arts organisation High Desert Test Sites, founded by Andrea Zittel. The auction began last weekend but gained momentum when the little rock stars made their fair debut in the backlot on Thursday. The artist Pam Lins decorated a rock to resemble what might be a schnauzers face, while Landon Wiggs attached his rock to a tiny toy car; Jim Kanters declares “NO I WONT,” with the letters outlined in yellow sand. “Im in love with this,” declared one fairgoer, Farhad Farman, admiring a rock encased in cling wrap by the artist Gerald Clarke. He let out a sigh. “Inverted pleasure.”

Would Miss Ellie approve? Vaginal Davis's makeover of Barbara Bel Geddes Courtesy of Vaginal Davis and Adams and Ollman Gallery


Chris Burden, How to Shrink L.A. (1999), Gagosian David Owens

Detroit might be Motor City but Los Angeles is the true home of the American automobile, its streets famously thronged with traffic and its air filled with the sweet smell of smog. And galleries at Frieze Los Angeles have been getting into the spirit of things, putting their pedals to the metal with car-themed works. Gagosian is in pole position with its entire stand dedicated to all things auto: a Chris Burden drawing called How to Shrink L.A. (1999)—where the artist suggests people drive at 250mph to ease congestion—is the inspiration behind the stand, which includes a life-size car sculpture by Richard Prince ready to drive off the lot. And before you tire of car-related puns, fasten your seatbelts and let us chauffeur you around the fair. Its going to be a bumpy ride.

Jaime Muñoz, LA Commute (2020), The Pit David Owens

Jaime Muñoz, LA Commute (2020), The Pit

The Pit Boys and their toys. Car culture is alive and kicking with this pimped-up painting of a Toyota truck, which is a “recurring motif” in the works of Jaime Muñoz, says The Pit gallery director Adam D. Miller. The car is perceived as a symbol of value and desirability by young Latinos, Miller adds, and the Pomona-based artist often restores trucks in his spare time. The acrylic painting, finished with flocking and glitter, sold for $9,000 to a local Los Angeles collector during the fairs VIP preview on Thursday.

Senga Nengudi, Ceremony for Freeway Fets (1978), Sprüth Magers David Owens

Senga Nengudi, Ceremony for Freeway Fets (1978), Sprüth Magers

The boom in availability of the car during the mid-20th century dramatically altered how cities were laid out and created new urban spaces, such as the underpass. In the late 1970s, Senga Nengudi choreographed a “shamanistic, ritualistic” performance under a freeway underpass in Los Angeles with performers including David Hammons and Maren Hassinger in elaborate headgear. Fittingly, the work was funded by the California Department of Transportation. The photographic series, in an edition of five, is on sale for $50,000, and there has been interest from a Los Angeles museum, according to Andreas Gegner of Sprüth Magers. “It would be great for it to stay here in LA,” he adds.

Alvaro Barrington, The Story of Coming (2020), Sadie Coles David Owens

Alvaro Barrington The Story of Coming (2020), Sadie Coles


James Turrell has been working on Roden Crater for over 40 years Florian Holzherr; ©️James Turrell

Are you keeping up with the Kardashians? It seems that James Turrell certainly is, after the model and reality star Kendall Jenner snapped up an L.E.D light-emitting work from his Glass series (2006-ongoing) on Thursday, from the immersive stand jointly organised by Pace and Kayne Griffin Corcoran. Proceeds from the sales of these colour-shifting works will go towards an ongoing fundraising and awareness-raising initiative for Turrells Roden Crater. The artist has been working on this ambitious land art project, which will transform the inside of an extinct volcanic crater in northern Arizona into a viewing observatory, since 1979. So far, a number of megawatt stars have made donations to help Turrell realise his vision, including Jenners brother-in-law Kanye West, who pledged $10m after shooting a music video in the crater last year, and the mobile game billionaire Mark Pincus, whoRead More – Source

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The DJ Young Wavy Fox at Patrisse Cullors's Fuck White Supremacy, Lets Get Free at Frieze Projects © David Owens

The Los Angeles-based activist, artist and writer Patrisse Cullors is an influential figure in social justice movements tied to imprisonment, mental health and violence against Black and other marginalised communities. She co-founded Black Lives Matter in 2013 shortly after the acquittal of 17-year-old Trayvon Martins murderer, and she is the founder of Dignity and Power Now. Cullors is also the co-author, with Asha Bandele, of When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

At Frieze Los Angeles, Cullors will offer up an iterative and participatory project in the Paramount backlot, Fuck White Supremacy, Lets Get Free. The performance, organised with the support of LTD Gallery, which specifically represents women and people of colour, was first conceived in the wake of the detainment and forced separation of child asylum seekers at the US-Mexican border.

We spoke with Cullors in Los Angeles about her upbringing, her involvement with numerous movements and how a line dance—the Electric Slide—can become a method for collective healing and fellowship.

Patrisse Cullors, who co-founded Black Lives Matter following the 2013 acquittal of Trayvon Martins murderer photo: Giovanni Solis; courtesy of the artist and LTD Los Angeles

The Art Newspaper: When I speak with Black artists, I like to get a sense of how their ancestors moved through this country. Where are your people from and when did they come to Los Angeles?

Patrisse Cullors: I love this question. I dont think any journalist has ever asked me this. On my moms side, her mom is from Des Moines, Iowa. My grandmothers father was from Cuba and her mother was also from Iowa. My great-grandmother on my moms dads side is from Arkansas and Oklahoma, and migrated to California in the 1940s. Then, on my dads side, both of his parents are from Louisiana: a small town called Eunice.

Since your family has been here for multiple generations, and Los Angeles is so embedded in your work and activism, can you tell me more about when you started working in performance?

I grew up dancing. My great-grandmother Jennie Endsley, whos from Arkansas, planted a seed—“You know you really should be in dance classes”—and I didnt know that was a thing. I ended up going to a performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California that really transformed my understanding of expression and creativity. I finally found a place where so much of my childhood antics became a thing that could be professionalised. From there, I put myself in a dance studio. When the Yellow Pages still existed, I looked through all the dance schools in my neighbourhood and cold-called them, and asked for scholarships because I knew my mom couldnt pay for it. A studio in Northridge actually accepted and I convinced my father to take me down there; I danced with that company for four years. By then, as I was becoming politicised, my dancing kind of shifted into performance.

We are in this moment where there are many artists who aim to blur the lines between art-making and having a social or radical practice. How do you feel about this idea that art can change the world?


Serge Attukwei Clottey: Solo Chorus. Installation View at The Mistake Room, Los Angeles, CA, 2019. Photo Credit: Injinash Unshin, Courtesy of The Mistake Room

The Underground Museum in Los Angeles began this year with the kind of visitor feedback that most community- rooted arts organisations only dream about. A Yelp user who goes by the name “Nik D” wrote: “The Underground Museum is a Black persons dream killer ration of all things melanin! It is also a great multicultural space for all things creative…Ultimately, its a great place to learn more about Black culture and the phenomenon of the Black experience.”

Co-founded in 2012 by the artists Noah and Karon Davis, The Underground opened at the site of a former Salvadoran pupuseria near the historically Black West Adams neighbourhood. In 2015, before Noah Davis died of cancer, it entered a partnership with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) to borrow pieces from its collection, and has since become a leading case study in how to create more access for more people to more art.

But it is far from the only non-profit alternative exhibition space in town with big ambitions to promote artists of colour, women and other historically underrepresented groups: LAXART (founded in 2005), The Mistake Room (2014), Art+Practice (2015), Joan (2015) and the ICA LA (the 2017 reincarnation of the Santa Monica Museum of Art) share this focus and are evolving in interesting ways to stand out in an increasingly crowded field.

“I think many of those spaces came up around the same time because of a need for more spaces for artists of colour in the city,” says Erin Christovale, the Hammer Museum curator who organised Art+Practices new show of work entirely by women of colour, including Adrian Piper, Lorraine OGrady and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, drawn from the philanthropist Eileen Harris Nortons collection. Norton founded Art+Practice with the artist Mark Bradford and the activist Allan DiCastro, and the museums location in the African American hub of Leimert Park is a big part of its mission: offering free museum-curated exhibitions to the community as well as a work programme for youth in the foster care system.

“Its extraordinary to see how many of these spaces opened in the last decade,” says Anne Ellegood, the new director of the ICA LA downtown, which is by many measures the biggest of the group. She said she was drawn to the institution because of its commitment to social justice and a mission statement that explicitly discusses “upending hierarchies associated with race, class, gender and culture”. She also points to the ICAs strength in showcasing “important artists with substantial careers who deserve more visibility” from the New York-based queer artist Nayland Blake (which ran last year) to the late feminist artist Ree Morton (16 February-14 June).

LAXART, near the Hollywood gallery neighbourhood, currently has a show by the Indigenous anti-capitalist art-world darlings Postcommodity—one sign of its shift from mainly promoting emerging and mid-career artists based in Los Angeles to what its director Hamza Walker describes as a “broader” and “more open-ended” mission. And plans are under way for a 2021 show of decommissioned Confederate monuments that Walker will co-curate with the artist Kara Walker (no relation). “Ive known Kara for a long time and said theres a show that needs to be done,” he explains. Right now, they are in the process of sourcing decommissioned monuments from cities like Baltimore and Austin. “This is not a show about Confederate monuments but a show of Confederate monuments,”he says, adding that it will include “breakout moments where artists are invited to make a response.”

Installation view of Some Reach While Others Clap by Postcommodity, 2019. Courtesy of LAXART and Ruben Diaz

Just south of downtown, The Mistake Room is shifting focus from solo shows to big, debatable, ideas-driven surveys. Last year, its director César García organised with curators Nicolas Orozco-Valdivia and Kris Kuramitsu Where the Sea Remembers, a complicated and compelling next-generation survey of Vietnamese contemporary art. Next year will bring a group show of Russian contemporary artists who make visible the “invisible power structures behind the political curtain”. But first, in time for the US presidential election in November, García will present a show of US-based Latinx artists that reflects a wide range of viewpoints generationally and geographically—“fractured, not cohesive”, he says.

“I get punked around a lot by colleagues and artists who ask: When are you going to do the big Latino show?” García adds. The 2019 massacre at a Walmart store in El Paso, Texas, by a white nationalist who told police he was targeting “Mexicans”, gave him the impetus. “The shooting broke me. Policy or political decisions can be overturned; we can survive that. Whats most difficult for me is how the rhetoric of the last few years shapes the way brown people are seen. This show is my modest attempt to create a different picture.”


The usually gritty streets of New York take on a decidedly more playful disposition in the backlot of Paramount Studios, with installations, performances and videos by 16 artists dotted around the set for Frieze Projects. The selection has been curated by Pilar Tompkins Rivas and Rita Gonzalez, with many of the artists making work “responsive to issues of the moment”, Tompkins Rivas says, but also inserting ironic elements that fit with the surreal setting. Examples include Sayre Gomezs phone tower disguised as a palm tree and Will Boones upscaled bronze sculptures based on “toy kits that were very popular in the 1950s and 60s, which may reference Hollywood films like Creature from the Black Lagoon or Frankenstein”, Tompkins Rivas says. Another work responding to popular culture is Mario García Torress film Falling Together in Time (2019), which plays with the intertwined events set in motion by a suicidal man who was about to jump to his death but was saved by the boxer Muhammad Ali, and the subsequent news event that inspired the hit song Jump by hair metal rockers Van Halen. The work is “about happenstance and the role of it in ones life”, Tompkins Rivas says. And happenstance is something the organisers were aware of as the backlot is “a space that already has its own particular set of parameters”, Tompkins Rivas says. For example, Barbara Kastens sculpture Intervention (2018), with industrial-looking steel and aluminium rods casting shadows against plexiglass, “makes perfect sense” inside the fake buildings with their complex support systems holding up the façades. Tompkins Rivas adds that although the buildings may look real on the outside, they are not watertight so the selected works had to be robust enough to take the rain. Thankfully, this years outlook is as sunny as a painted backdrop.

Words by José da Silva

Photographs by David Owens

David Owens

Will Boone, The Three Fates (2020)

David Owens

Mario García Torres, Falling Together in Time (2019)

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Fair visitors chat outside of Thaddaeus Ropac's booth at the second edition of Frieze LA. © David Owens

“Do you think you could live here?” It is a question repeatedly heard asked in Los Angeles for the second West Coast edition of Frieze Art Fair, always by a New York- or London-based dealer, adviser, curator, etc. It is no secret that the siren call of California sun in mid-February has anyone working in cooler climes reconsidering their life choices. But underlying the seemingly innocuous question at this years Frieze is a much larger one: does LA have what it takes to become the art trades next big hub?

The star-studded first edition of the fair last year was deemed a success, but whether the Endeavor entertainment agency-backed fair could pull it off again has been preying on the minds of many. Speedy sales during Friezes VIP day on Thursday, however, certainly seem to suggest there was little cause for worry: there is plenty of spending power and collector grace in the City of Angels.

In the opening hours of the fair, Pace Gallery and Kayne Griffin Corcoran sold four works from James Turrells recent Glass series from their joint booth devoted to the Pasadena-born artist, who has been embraced by the public and celebrities alike since his 2014 retrospective at LACMA. Most of the works reportedly went to local collectors, including Kardashian royalty—Kendall Jenner was among those picking up work by the Light and Space artist.

Hauser & Wirth sold all five of Avery Singer's new works, priced from $85,000 to $495,000, after recently announcing its representation of the artist. David Zwirners sales topped $8m during the first day with Neo Rauch's $2m Aprilnacht (2011); five paintings by Lisa Yuskavage, each priced between $120,000 and $1m; and two works by Carol Bove for $500,000. Early on at Thaddaeus Ropacs booth, Robert Rauschenbergs Bowery Parade (Borealis) (1989) sold for $1.3m.

At Lissons stand, a gold mirrored Anish Kapoor work sold for $700,000 and Allora & Calzadillas Electromagnetic Field (2019) went for $145,000. Lehmann Maupin reported that a number of works by Lee Bul, Liu Wei and Liza Lou sold, including a major work by LA-based Lou named Shelter from the Storm to a US collector for $275,000.

Local galleries cleaned up as well. Various Small Fires solo booth dedicated to Calinda Rawles, whose dreamy yet photorealistic pool paintings are also on view at the gallerys space in Hollywood, sold out within a couple of hours. Priced between $14,000 and $30,000 each, the gallerys co-founder Esther Kim Varet says she was surprised by the rapid-fire pace of sales. “It kind of feels like the next Miami—which has felt kind of stale to me over the past couple of years,” she says.

Next door at Chateau Shattos booth, co-founder Olivia Barret says its works by Aria Dean and Helen Johnson had sold by the afternoon. All priced at $9,000, Deans work will be included in in the upcoming Made in LA biennial opening at the Hammer Museum in May. Johnsons smaller paintings sold for $15,000 while Basic Needs (2020), the largest and the centrepiece of the booth, sold for $75,000. “Frieze LA is kind of condensed, its manageable,” Barret says, noting the fairs cap at roughly 70 exhibitors makes it easier to close sales.

At Felix, the homegrown hotel fair launched last year in response to Frieze by the LA dealer Al Moran and collector Dean Valentine, exhibitor numbers swelled by 50% for the second edition bringing its participant count close to Friezes. More was evidently better: the London gallery Alison Jacques sold $1.3m worth of work during the VIP day, also on Thursday—a sizeable sum for any satellite fair presentation, suggesting that Felix has plenty of its own gravity. Among the works sold at Jacquess stand was a number of works by Sheila Hicks, including a new installation, Amathyst Forest (2020), priced at $550,000, a woven panel for $135,000 and a series of new Comet sculptures for$90,000 each. The gallery also sold works on paper by Hannah Wilke ranging fromRead More – Source

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Adam Linder: Shelf Life, The Museum of Modern Art, New York (2020) Photo: Denis Doorly

Some of us are pleased, or at least are not surprised, when a gallery bets on mystifying new art. Who doesnt enjoy making discoveries? Because context is everything, it is a whole other proposition when a museum known best for its historical collections takes the same risks.

That is what the Museum of Modern Art is doing with its new Kravis Studio, a soaring gray cube dedicated to the presentation of media and the live arts. At the opening of the expanded building, the Studio gloriously housed a new variation of Rainforest V, a 1973 sound and sculptural installation by David Tudor that took supreme advantage of the gallerys advanced acoustics and lighting. People could wander through the “forest” of instruments (made of household junk) suspended from the ceiling or sit on benches; during performances a sliding door closed off access to adjacent rooms, totally immersing audiences in the environment.

No such luck for the Studios new, linked exhibitions, Shelf Life by the choreographer Adam Linder, and Force Life by the artist Shahryar Nashat. The Angeleno artists live together but usually do not work together. Not that this is a collaboration, exactly. The two works on view fulfill the Studios other purpose: to provide a workshop for younger artists to experiment and introduce new ideas, forms or technologies. (MoMAs media and performance curator Stuart Comer compares it to Fluxus group activities.)

At the 1 February opening, attended by a hardcore, inner-artworld group of artists, curators, dealers and critics, I did not respond well to Linders hour-long dance. Though a potentially transformative take on the tension between artificial intelligence and human intervention, ), I found the piece so deep in old tropes and so invested in the banal that I retreated to the adjacent gallery to watch the more precedent-setting film of Trisha Browns Man Walking Down the Side of a Building (1970), from a cushioned seat. During the live performance, there was room for a small number of viewers to sit on the floor along the sides; standing meant catching glimpses through heads.

I dont mind a little discomfort in art, but this piece tried my patience. The best part of Linders performance was the hinge action, when four dancers (out of six who rotate) made the changeover to Nashats video wall, accompanied by a disembodied female voice reminiscent of the robot that alerts the crew of a doomed spaceship of its imminent self-destruction.

I tried to think of the dancers as motion-captured, posthuman sculpture. It didn't help. Especially since Nashat had three actual, static sculptures of more visual interest right there, almost as stage props, with which the dancers did not engage. Yet I could plainly see that the Gen-Xers in the room were intently wrapped up in the proceedings. Because of that, and because Linder arrived with encomiums from performances in other institutions, and because this was MoMA, I went back a few days later with the Hammer Museum curator Aram Moshayedi to check my responses against his and the publics.

Moshayedi did not love the spoken text (a one-sided, morning-after phone conversation), but he and others were moved by the repetitive, robotic movements of the dancers, whom I still found unexceptional. If this werent MoMA, I might have expected less.

My companion appreciated Linders attempt to make dance about something other than a sensate human body. (Why bother?) And dismissed the pleasures of virtuosity when its displacement could reveal other truths. (Hmm.) Another curator judged the piece semi-successful, applauding Linders determination to imagine the Baudrillardian future in terms of dance. Point taken. But that is a future that doesnt interest me. And its here, now, anyway.

How effectively can a sanitizing museum of modernism—especially one with so storied a venue for the contemporary as PS1—mine the unsettled, or unsettling, art of this moment, about which most bets are off?


One should always factor in two things when attending an art fair in Los Angeles. Budget extra time for the traffic and expect to see big name celebrities.

Here are some of the stars who showed up to the preview day of the second edition of Frieze Los Angeles.

© David Owens

Jennifer Lopez and her fiancé, Alexander Rodriguez

© David Owens

James Corden poses with a friend

© David Owens

The "NBA superfan" James Goldstein

© David Owens

The actor Jason Statham

© David Owens

Statham was joined by his wife, the model Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley

© David Owens

The fashion designer Jeremy Scott

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One of the eerie photobooth images of Taliban soliders that Thomas Dworzak discovered in Afghanistan. © Collection T. Dworzak/Magnum Photos.

A large frieze of the artist John Coplanss naked body will open Masculinities, a major photography exhibition comprising more than 300 works at Londons Barbican. Coplans began taking black-and-white photographs of himself when he was 60 years old. Yet he never revealed his face in his images, instead contorting his body—loose and flabby, latticed with hair, skin the pallor of chalk—to create an abstracted representation of the male physique in the throes of age. The image works as an explicit example of the shows subtitle: Liberation through Photography.

The shows curator Alona Pardo hopes we will feel liberated to question the relative and pluralist nature of what is often talked of as the most binary of states: to be a man, as opposed to a woman.

The exhibition, Pardo says, “is calling for a total rethink of gender”. After reading Gender Trouble (1990) by the US philosopher Judith Butler, Pardo says “[I] really aligned myself with the idea that were not biologically defined. We learn to perform our genders, and those are determined by society. But masculinity is a plural thing; it changes and it varies according to historical periods, geo-political spaces.”

The show will include the work of more than 60 photographers active from the 1950s onwards, with the earliest images coming from Karlheinz Weinbergers Rebel Youth series, while the most recent will be by the US non-conforming trans artist Elle Pérez, completed in late 2019.

John Coplan's Self-portrait (Frieze No. 2, Four Panels), (1994) © John Coplans Trust

The photographs here expose masculinity as a malleable and fluid construct—one that morphs and changes across era, generation and culture. It explores how masculinity is often learnt through practice, communicated via performance and amplified through popular culture. But in reality, masculinity eludes simple definition through endless subtle variations. In that, Pardo says, the show acts a counter-balance to the established order of things.

“There is a gender hierarchy, and that is dominated by an ideal of masculinity which is defined by a white cis male,” Pardo says. “Absolutely everything around us, you begin to realise, is gendered in that way—so, of course, it has to be a social construct. But thats also something we can push against. Men are allowed to be humans, to be individuals, to express emotions, to be aware of mental health, to welcome in a much more inclusive landscape in which to present their identity and their gender.”

The exhibition will include images by some of arts most famous practitioners: Robert Mapplethorpes images of a then little-known bodybuilder called Arnold Schwarzenegger will be included, as well as masculine-centric images by Andy Warhol, Richard Avedon, Jeremy Deller, Richard Prince, Wolfgang Tillmans and Catherine Opie.

Yet the most interesting work comes from lesser-known names, not least the work of Thomas Dworzak, the current president of the Magnum Photos agency, who, a few months after the start of the US war in Afghanistan in 2001, discovered in the back rooms of the one working photo shop in Kandahar a trove of era-defining self-portraits. Under the Taliban, photography was forbidden throughout Afghanistan. But soldiers were allowed to take passport photographs. The Taliban militia took advantage of this liberty, using the privacy of the photo booth to create remarkably ambivalent variations on the kind of masculinity being imposed on them. They posed hand-in-hand in front of idyllic painted backdrops, with flowers in their hair and kohl lining their eyes. The resulting book, Taliban (2003), Dworzak notes, is popular in Berlins queer bookshops.