New York, September 2016: This past Thursday, I arrived at Petzel Gallery amidst a flurry of installation activity, scissor lifts backing furtively out of the installed exhibition spaces, and the last of the vinyl lettering still going up on the walls and windows. Simon Denny, the New Zealand-born, Berlin-based artist was speaking fervently to Friedrich Petzel and a few others about his work, visibly excited and engaged about his latest exhibition, Blockchain Future States, due to open that evening.
New York, September 2016: Democratic Intuition—for those preoccupied by a tumultuous election season, the title has a timely ring. But Meleko Mokgosi’s expansive project, now halfway through its eight planned chapters, has little to do with the drama that is U.S. presidential politics. The artist, who painstakingly researches and storyboards his enormous paintings, had mapped out his newest works long before anyone had ever imagined a Trump/Hillary showdown in the cards.
Lerato and... [more]
I first met Magalie Guérin in the early 2000s in Greenpoint, Brooklyn—long before Greenpoint was made famous by the TV show Girls. She ran a small gallery called GV/AS, and curated shows that fused serious painting with something personal and quirky (Rodney Dickson's exhibition of paintings of Tanya Roberts still stands out as one of his most interesting exhibitions). One could always find Magalie sitting the gallery and working on drawings—in retrospect, combining elements of art... [more]
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]