Issue 32

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“Perfection is the new mediocrity”—Andy Kassier

Social media provides us with an endless stream of images celebrating the perfect life—the perfect body, the perfect dinner, the perfect couple enjoying the perfect sunset in the perfect holiday destination. But are we living better lives as a result of this idealizing visual bombardment? In issue 32 of Elephant we talk to artists who are scrutinizing the onslaught, offering us glossy images of the perfection we crave and revealing the trick for what it is.

In addition to Encounters with Bill Viola, Nicola Hicks, Lynn Hershman Leeson and Tal R, we take up residence in that city of restless perfection, Los Angeles, to hear tales of “Sunshine Alchemy” from gallerist David Kordansky, artists including Nicole Miller and Sam Durant, and architect Frank Gehry.

This quarter Paper Gallery is dedicated to rebellious bodies—from Lisa Yuskavage’s cartoonishly voluptuous figures to Ebecho Mulimova’s wild amalgamations of orifices and office furniture, and there are columns from Mel Byars on how playing employees a recording of Mary Poppins can improve the atmosphere at work, and Ben Eastham on what we’re really doing when we take a selfie with the Parthenon.

Finally, in our Journal section, Elizabeth Fullerton charts another (art) revolution in Russia a century after Lenin’s dramatic coup while Jurriaan Benschop sets out in search of the “real America” of the US Midwest and Nicolas Bourriaud goes MOCO in the South of France.