Beginning October 30, 2014, Shifting Connections introduces a new series: All That Is Marvelous—frequent shorts on books, exhibitions, and artworks that radiate Eros even as they face the darkest Thanatos of contemporary systems. The name is borrowed from Sam Durant’s recent exhibition at the Paula Cooper Gallery—Invisible Surrealists—whose inspiration originated with Robin D.G. Kelley’s essay, “Keepin’ it (Sur)real: Dreams of the Marvelous.” The artist in an elaborate time-line refers to Suzanne Césaire as a major voice for “All that is marvelous!” Durant’s exhibition was “marvelous” as was Fred Wilson’s September show at Pace but how to honor these achievements when my own time has been increasingly occupied writing longer essays?

After 3 1/2 years and 48 post of reviews and interviews on Shifting Connections, with the publication of my first monograph Tactical Response: Art in an Age of Terror (Agon Press, 2014), and as I begin work on my second monograph, On Reading, I will continue to intersperse longer reviews and interviews among the new and more frequent short teasers of art that I find “marvelous”—entertaining the pleasure we need to sustain our conviction that art can provoke a more civil imagination and humane involvement as we interact with each other in a landscape of political, social, ecological, and philosophical systems.


Shifting Connections began as a column for BOMBlog, the online venue of BOMB Magazine (now BOMB Daily), in March 2011 and ran for thirteen posts before moving to its own site at the end of 2012. Shifting Connections suggests that time, place, and subject are crucial moments in art rather than linear genealogies and that intersections of thought are more vital than fixed opinion. We are encouraged as viewers of art to be critical, even judgmental, but what of flexibility and openness? With alternating reviews and interviews, the column begins from a position that art can speak with—rather than about—its subject, through shifting connections.

While the column Shifting Connections draws attention to the concerns – socio-political, theoretical, and aesthetic – that artists bring to the surface through their work, the blog Shifting Conversations navigates more freely the creative process of the artist and writer. Where do my interests connect with yours? Whether by discovering connections or opening conversations, this space invites participation.


Kathleen MacQueen is an artist and writer based in New York City. She is a frequent contributor of essays, interviews, and reviews to Afterimage, Flash Art, BOMB Daily, The Art Book, Seachange Journal, Art Criticism, and the Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education. Her conversation with the South African photographer Jo Ractliffe is featured in Über(W)unden: Art in Troubled Times (Goethe Institute and Jacana, 2012). She has a Doctorate in Art History and Criticism along with a Certificate in Cultural Studies, both from Stony Brook University and recently participated in the 2013 Art Writing Workshop, a partnership between the International Art Critics Association/USA Section and the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant Program. Tactical Response: Art in an Age of Terror (Agon Press, 2014) is her first monograph.

Kathleen MacQueen participates in talks, panel discussions, and graduate studio critique sessions. She writes catalog essays as well as magazine reviews while supporting the W.A.G.E. Certification Program. You can contact her here.


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