Matthew Nicholas Biro

Matthew Biro is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art in the Department of the History of Art, where he also served as department chair between 2010 and 2016. He is an expert in modern and contemporary art and the history of photography; and the philosophical questions he investigates have to do with the relationships between art (in a wide variety of media), technology, and identity. He is the author of Anselm Kiefer and the Philosophy of Martin Heidegger (Cambridge University Press, 1998), The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), and Anselm Kiefer (Phaidon Press, 2013). In addition to publishing frequently in academic journals on a wide variety of subjects, he has also written essays and reviews on contemporary art, film, and photography for a variety of magazines, including Artforum, Art in America, The Brooklyn Rail, Contemporary, Art Papers, and The New Art Examiner. He is currently writing a book on the photographer Robert Heinecken; and since 2015, he has been Co-Director of the Michigan-Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis, a four-and-a-half-year series of symposia, courses, exhibitions, and publications, which is funded by $1.3 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

ALEX WEBB La Calle, Photographs from Mexico

My take on the new show by Alex Webb. Now traveling across the United States. Link below.


Alex Webb, Boquillas del Carmen, Coahuila, 1979

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Alex Webb, Ciudad Madero, Tamaulipas, 1983

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Alex Webb, Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, 1985

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Alex Webb, Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, 1996

© Alex Webb / Magnum Photos


Jonah Freeman on The Dada Cyborg

I’ve loved Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe since the late naughts. I was honored to read this profile a while ago, which suggests that they got a little inspiration from my book, The Dada Cyborg (2009).

Here is the part of the article that seems relevant:

Welcome to the scene behind the mise-en-scène of the next Freeman/Lowe installation extravaganza, “Stray Light Grey,” opening September 13 at Marlborough Chelsea, in New York. Today’s tableau is meant to evoke a private club in Weimar-era Berlin, where three groups of characters — monocle-wearing, cigarette-holder-puffing aristos known as Crème Brûlée; half-naked femmes fatales clad in wire-and-circuitry bustiers and their androgynous male counterparts, called the Dada Cyborg; and Haitian voodoo street gangsters capped with papier-mâché animal masks, called the Shade — engage in a polyamorous bacchanal before an industrialized war machine snuffs out their pleasure palace. “You can think of the Shade as the Hells Angels at a Leonard Bernstein party,” Freeman says. “It’s this hedonistic, nihilistic scenario.”

As for Weimar Berlin, “that was the beginnings of the Dadaist movement and the concept of the hybridized identity — cross-dressing, androgyny, and really the first inklings of the man and machine merger,” Freeman explains. “One of the main themes of this show is hybridized identities, spaces, environments, cities.” It’s Otto Dix meets cyberpunk, with Carnival-going thugs “reenacting their colonial oppressors at a ritualistic food banquet.”

I loved Stray Light Grey, 2012, when I saw it at Marlborough. Little did I know….