Ursula is the digital art magazine of Hauser & Wirth, featuring essays, profiles, films, interviews, original portfolios, and photography by some of the most thought-provoking writers and artists in the world.


Christina Quarles: In the Studio

We caught up with the artist during her residency in Bruton, Somerset


The Radar: Mary Manning

For this edition of The Radar, our regular column of cultural recommendations from friends and colleagues around the world, we got word from artist Mary Manning, who is still decompressing after their second exhibition at Canada Gallery this spring followed by a residency at Mahler & LeWitt Studios in Spoleto, Italy.

Eva Hesse in Her Own Words

Eva Hesse’s diaries from 1955 to 1970 served as a tool for the artist to analyze her experience of the world. They detail her refuge in books, including citations from Simone de Beauvoir or F. Scott Fitzgerald, and are a phenomenal glimpse into her traumas and delight in the fluctuating process of making art. The backdrop of the mid-20th Century is prevalent, serving as an important marker of the historical moments Hesse was pioneering in her sculpture and drawing. ‘Eva Hesse: Diaries’ was first published in May 2016 by Hauser & Wirth Publishers. Below is an excerpt from the book, focusing on Hesse’s time as a student at Yale in 1959, an important moment of formal development and transition in the young artist’s painting practice.

Land Mind

For more than three decades, Pierre Huyghe has elided contemporary categories of art-making beyond the bounds of common syntax. Sculpture, performance, video, film, sound and land art become, in his hands, unpredictably permeable and unstable—a retort to what he once called ‘hysteric objects,’ a pursuit instead of a kind of art ‘somehow indifferent’ to the viewer. A reclining female nude concrete figure accommodates a hive of living bees in its head (‘Untitled (Liegender Frauenakt),’ 2012); an upstate New York community parade and summer gathering becomes a loosely scripted performance piece and film about human ritual and civic rites (‘Streamside Day Follies,’ 2003); glass-tanked aquatic environments inhabited by crabs and other sea life become what Huyghe has described as ‘non-illusionistic fiction,’ sculptural arenas for living elements to enact uncontrolled narratives within the parameters of constructed conditions (‘Zoodram’ works, 2009–13).

Two years ago, Huyghe was invited to consider creating an outdoor work within the environs of the Kistefos Museum’s sculpture park in Jevnaker, Norway, north of Oslo, on lush, rolling woodland near the Randselva River, once the site of a paper pulp mill. After some exploration of the area, he chose a portion of the museum’s site that had never before been a location of artwork, a small island that has now become the environment for Huyghe’s largest work to date, ‘Variants’—a word that has recently taken on new and ominous meaning. The work, a commingling of sculptural and digital elements, utilizes the land and the water that sometimes rises over it as the foundations for a loop in which nature and artificial intelligence systems feed into each other, creating what, over time, could come to function like a hacked ecosystem.

Huyghe sat down recently for a virtual discussion about the work and the ways in which ‘Variants’ has allowed him to delve deeper into several themes he has been exploring over the last decade. These are edited and condensed excerpts of the conversation.

The Heart Has Its Own Intelligence: Legacies of the Gee’s Bend Quilters

A roundtable discussion on the occasion of the exhibition ‘The New Bend’


Leon Golub’s Unwavering Gaze

Art serves as a reflection of its time, uniquely able to channel the affective dimensions of the complex modes of relation among individuals and institutions—intimately and internationally—that animate our world. Politically motivated artists put this fact of art to good use, demanding that viewers enter into dialogue with the injustices and inequalities taken to task in their work.

Leon Golub is one such artist. The staunchly political subject matter of his work has found enduring resonance throughout the latter half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, with recent attention to local police violence and authoritarian abuses abroad underscoring its ongoing relevance. Golub’s work, along with that of his wife, artist Nancy Spero, is now on view at Tate Modern, London, as part of a special presentation highlighting the donation of new works by Jon Bird, an artist and one of the foremost scholars of Golub’s art-making. Tate Publishing has also just released ‘A Brief History of Protest Art,’ a new book by Aindrea Emelife that offers a history of protest art from Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ to today. Excerpted below is Emelife’s text on Golub’s ‘White Squad V’ (1984).

‘The intolerable is a climate we share’

Experiencing one artist’s work through the eyes of another offers a unique opportunity: the conceptual framework of the latter teases out certain elements in the oeuvre of the former, leading to richer interpretations of both practices. This is certainly the case with ‘The Violence of Handwriting Across a Page,’ an exhibition of Louise Bourgeois’ work curated by Jenny Holzer on view this spring at Kunstmuseum Basel. Holzer approaches Bourgeois with a focus on the role of writing in her practice—in her artwork as well as her diaries, letters, and psychoanalytic writings. On the occasion of the exhibition, Holzer corresponded with Sebastian Frenzel, deputy editor-in-chief of Monopol Magazine, discussing Bourgeois’ work and her legacy, art and politics, and—of course—language.

Instant Diamonds

On 12 September 2021, The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, opened ‘Pipilotti Rist: Big Heartedness, Be My Neighbor,’ a long-waited West Coast survey of more than three decades of Rist’s celebrated work, which served as a watershed for the museum for reasons beyond art: It was the first carbon-calculated exhibition to be organized by MOCA, aligned with the museum’s goal to reduce emissions by over 50%. With the exhibition, MOCA joined a small but growing group of pioneering American museums and cultural institutions that are reducing their carbon footprints in accountable ways.

Rist, whose studio has long practiced sustainable methods for shipping, travel, and other activities, sat down recently by Zoom with Johanna Burton, The Maurice Marciano Director of MOCA, for a wide-ranging conversation about both the practical and philosophical considerations of becoming better stewards and citizens of the planet.
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