Chicago, July 2016: I spoke with artist Maria Gaspar about her upcoming project RADIOACTIVE: Stories from Beyond the Wall on the Fourth of July. We talked about mass incarceration, a central subject of Gaspar’s work, on a day that asks people in the US to reflect on freedom. Days after Gaspar shared her thoughts on art and disruption, names like Alton Sterling and Philando Castile started to break open the stitches of old and new wounds and raise questions about freedom. I couldn’t ignore the... [more]
We live at a time when an astounding amount of information is available to us at a shocking degree of immediacy. A netizen will regularly take deep-dives down wiki wormholes, eagerly grazing on masses of hyper-specific information related to a singular topic, all the while rhizomatically connected to and through a world of greater knowledge. No longer limited to a vocabulary of the phenomenological, we can pastiche together descriptions, criticisms, and comments that pull from the sciences, visu... [more]
April 2016, Philadelphia: On a Friday evening in Philadelphia, the ICA teems with people bending down, squinting, and getting up close and personal with the works on view in Louise Fishman’s latest exhibition Paper Louise Tiny Fishman Rock. The one-room show is filled with Fishman’s small-scale work, along with her better known large-scale works, plus collected objects and ephemera from throughout the artist’s impressive, decades-long career.
The main grouping of works in the show is installed in the center of the roo... [more]
Chicago, March 2016: Beatriz Santiago Muñoz is interested in questions of place: what do people make of places? How can we represent that? In the San Juan-based artist’s work the sense of place—and the embodied experience of social, ecological, and political histories—asserts itself in powerful ways. Her films and videos have an attachment to a sensorial reality and materiality, as well the imagining of possible futures, elements intrinsic to perceiving places in a new... [more]
We have discussed the rapidly growing intersection between new media art and feminism with a number of artists in previous columns. This week we take a deeper look at that phenomenon in an interview with artist, writer and facilitator Angela Washko who is at the forefront of the movement. She famously interviewed the notorious pick-up-artist Roosh V for her project Banged which resulted in an overload of attention for her, both positive and horribly negative. Washko’s work consistently tackl... [more]
Her mother taught Literature and Maya Lin often finds inspiration in poetry, the cadences of her childhood echoing throughout an enviable career that has spanned genres and generations. It seems only fitting, then, that a hefty Rizzoli retrospective of Lin’s work, out last October, unfolds less like a picture book and more like a literary text, with sketches, marginal notes, hand-written narratives, and critical essays coiling into a complex narrative.
It is hard to overstate Lin’... [more]
Brenda Goodman’s work has seen a resurgence in the past two years, with shows at Brooklyn’s Life on Mars Gallery and a retrospective at Detroit’s Center for Creative Studies, her alma mater. Goodman was part of Detroit’s Cass Corridor movement in the 70s and I first encountered her work and influence while living in Detroit in the 80s. I have followed the morphing styles of her paintings ever since. Continuing an ongoing conversation, held over multiple lunches, I recently... [more]
Visitors to The Armory Show this week will notice the image of a bouquet of yellow flowers stacked and repeated on catalogue covers throughout the fair. The golden, tasselled bouquet is more than a decorative flourish: it’s the work of Kapwani Kiwanga, from her ongoing series Flowers for Africa, and it references the floral assemblages that played witness to the independence ceremonies of many African nations.
Appointed as The Armory Show’s 2016 Commissioned Artist by Julia Grosse and Yvet... [more]
I recently spent some time visiting galleries in some of the UK’s northern cities: Liverpool, Manchester, and Newcastle. The UK is a reverse of most other countries, because the people are nicer in the north. It’s richer in the south, and by “south” I mean London, so people aren’t as friendly. There’s also not as much money for artists outside of London, creating a dire skewing of culture towards the capital.
During this time, I made a point of visiting Pat Flynn&rs... [more]
Rotterdam, February 2016: They’ve popped up at different occasions, ranging from Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels to the Abstract Myths show at Nest in The Hague, and they are now on display at Ellen de Bruijne Projects in Amsterdam: Kasper Akhøj’s photographs of the villa Irish architect Eileen Gray built in Roquebrune Cap Martin in 1929. They appear timeless: elegant black and white photographs shot in medium format showing the interior of a modernist icon. We see the dining room in a dismal state, the result of decades of ne... [more]
American artist Jen Ray’s work focuses on depictions of women in all their majesty: her intricately apocalyptic paintings portray landscapes filled with fierce, glamorous warrior commanders, motorcycle-helmeted bodyguards, and rock-climbing adventuresses in feathered neckpieces. Equally dramatic, fantastical, and fairytale, they show women in a variety of guises, from powerful commander to obedient foot soldier, from tenderly nursing the wounded to plotting Machiavellian destruction.
Zina Saro-Wiwa is a British-Nigerian artist and filmmaker whose body of work includes video installations, experimental films, and documentaries, including the widely acclaimed This Is My Africa (2009). Prior to developing her artistic practice, she was known for her work as a BBC journalist and a presenter for BBC Two's flagship arts magazine program, The Culture Show. She is the founder of the alt-Nollywood movement—kicked off with her films Phyllis and The Deliverance of Comfort (both 2010)... [more]
I recently saw a rare screening in London of Chick Strands' 1979 film Soft Fictions, considered the seminal work of the experimental Californian filmaker. It's an incredible piece, prescient in its style and approach to female representation. It mixes documentary, poetry, truth, and reality, never presenting either victims or victors, but instead the stories told by these female subjects give the idea that "ecstasy is knowing exactly who you are and still not caring."
Though Ann Hirsch, who is also base... [more]
Since 2010, when I first met Ed Fornieles, I've watched the artist somewhat like a private eye sitting in a greasy spoon cafe with eye holes cut out of a newspaper—at a safe hermetic distance. I went to my first ever performance night in London that he had curated at Paradise Row, and watched a man pour cornflakes and milk all over the floor. I read all the online tabloid furore over his debauched Animal House project and his former relationship with a British film star.
From afar, he oft... [more]
In Moffat Takadiwa’s work, the remnants of consumer goods—bright colored bits of plastic and metal, fragmented, emptied of their promise and their contents—make their way into shapes, shrouds, and clusters, into mandala-like patterns of consumption and waste. Spray tops, bottle caps, plastic lids, laptop keys: the detritus of late capitalism accumulated into strands, shapes, and forms, now hang from gallery walls. There’s a neat logic to this transformation of debris into... [more]
Berlin, September 2015: The boisterous commotion of a packed opening dimmed to a murmur as the door to the back office slid closed, leaving Cecily Brown and me a brief escape from her current Berlin solo exhibition at Contemporary Fine Arts. Both jetlagged, having departed JFK only 24 hours earlier, we were grateful for the momentary calm.
Often pigeonholed as what the artist herself facetiously refers to as some type of “fifth generation Abstract Expressionist,” London-born New Yo... [more]