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Olivia B. Murphy

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“Best viewed without underwear,” reads the vinyl on the wall as you walk into the gallery. Below the text is a fishbowl full of what looks like other people’s underthings, left or “donated” to the exhibition. This is by no means a command, rather a “completely consensual suggestion,” says artist Faith Holland. Which is an apt descriptor of much of her show at TRANSFER Gallery in Bushwick. On the opposing wall is her recent collection, Queer Connections (2017). The installation is a punny... [more]
A cursory glance through the internet will return many results for that buzzy phrase “the female gaze,” from unlikable heroines finally getting their heyday on screen, to the hyper-feminine aesthetic of young women artists of Instagram, to gallery shows and museum exhibitions devoted entirely to women-identifying artists making work that deals with sexually explicit content. But it seems we’ve settled comfortably into using this moniker, this “female gaze,” to label just about anything made by... [more]
On an overcast morning in January, I arrived in Washington D.C. wearing a ratty old t-shirt with the words “My Body My Choice” emblazoned across the breast, ready to march with hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children. It was a t-shirt handed down to me from my mother, who first wore it in 1989 at a Mobilize for Women’s Lives March, organized by NOW. Walking down Independence Avenue almost thirty years later, with scores of protesters brandishing signs and pins and protest t-shirts of... [more]
I recently met with septuagenarian artist Lynn Hershman Leeson just after the opening of her latest solo show, , at Bridget Donahue Gallery. Her first solo with the gallery in 2015 sparked something of a rediscovery of her groundbreaking work, even though she has spent her decades-long career pioneering in the realm of technology in visual art. In 2016, a comprehensive retrospective entitled Civic Radar at ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, charted her career from its early performative days in the 70s... [more]
Entering the three-floor exhibition currently on view at the New Museum, everything immediately slows down. The lights are dim, colorful projections hitting almost every wall and surface, illuminating people and subsequently turning them into shadows. Some visitors sit, splayed out on a plush carpet to watch the wall-to-wall two-channel video projections, while others drift through flowing gauzy curtains, a soft warbling tune flooding the air. This digital playground is Pipilotti Rist’s the... [more]
Ruins and Rituals and Marilyn Minter’s Pretty/Dirty.   A woman just beginning to show the signs of a life well-worn, with deeply impressed laugh lines and a made-up face sagging ever so slightly, stares almost seductively, or maybe placidly at you from her bed. A cigarette burns in her liver-spotted hand, the strap of her nightgown barely hangs on to one shoulder. The photograph is titled Coral Ridge Towers (Mom Smoking) (1969/1995), and as titled, along with the eight other photos in the... [more]
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Coming to Power (Again): A 1993 Exhibition of Sexually Explicit Feminist Art Still Resonates   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Pnina Jalon Armour, Lynda Benglis, Judith Bernstein, Louise Bourgeois, Ellen Cantor, Patricia Cronin, Mary Beth Edelson, Nicole Eisenman, Nancy Fried, Nan Goldin, Nancy Grossman, G.B. Jones, Doris Kloster, Joyce Kozloff, Zoe Leonard, Monica Majoli, Marilyn Minter, Alice Neel, Lorraine O'Grady, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, Joan Semmel, Cindy Sherman, Nancy Spero, Hannah Wilke at Maccarone (Morton Street) September 9th, 2016 - October 16th, 2016
Posted 9/23/16
Entering Maccarone Gallery on the evening of the opening for , almost felt like walking into a reunion. This is possibly because the exhibition is a restaging of a 1993 show curated by Ellen Cantor at the then brand new David Zwirner Gallery, but also because there is a level of communal excitement that goes beyond the usual group show fervor. It’s an excitement indicative of the unprecedented effort on the part of Maccarone and six other New York institutions in celebrating the life and work... [more]
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. In a walkthrough,... [more]
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Flipping the Gaze: How Do Women Artists Look at Men?   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Berenice Abbott, Ellen Altfest, Ghada Amer, Diane Arbus, Gina Beavers, Lynda Benglis, Huma Bhabha, Louise Bourgeois, Katherine Bradford, Cecily Brown, Kathe Burkhart, Lois Dodd, Marlene Dumas, Tracey Emin, Katy Grannan, Grace Graupe-Pillard, EJ Hauser, Celia Hempton, Jenny Holzer, Chantal Joffe, Sarah Lucas, Catherine Murphy, Alice Neel, Catherine Opie, Collier Schorr, Dana Schutz, Joan Semmel, Cindy Sherman, Sylvia Sleigh, Betty Tompkins, Nicole Wittenberg, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye at Cheim & Read June 23rd, 2016 - August 31st, 2016
Posted 8/15/16
In 2009, Cheim & Read hung the provocative group show  Women Look at Women, which showcased women artists taking control of their own images. In an encore presentation this summer, women artists turn their gaze this time toward men, reversing one of art’s most long-standing power structures. The Female Gaze Part II: Women Look at Men brings together work from 32 artists, all utilizing the subject of men, or the male body, as a way to confront, or even turn the tables on the Male Gaze, which... [more]
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Three Shows on Deconstructing Main Street, Blackness, and the American Landscape   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Rodney McMillian at Studio Museum in Harlem March 24th, 2016 - June 26th, 2016
Posted 6/6/16
Upon entering at the Studio Museum in Harlem, brisk piano notes float out over the exhibition space followed by an almost euphoric serenade by Erykah Badu. Her voice is emanating from a video near the entrance of the gallery where a T-Rex puppet bops around a stage singing along, mouthing out every trill with his toothy jaw gaping open and shut. On the puppet-sized podium hangs a banner reading “The Neshoba County Fair Assc.—Giant House Party.” Then the loop starts over, and T-Rex/Erykah Badu... [more]
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 room... [more]
Last Thursday evening, with the sun setting and the air slightly chilled, I stood on the corner of 22nd Street and 8th Ave with a group of people all waiting to tour the two residential Chelsea blocks that had been turned into an outdoor exhibition by curator Lal Bahcecioglu. With her show entitled , Bahcecioglu turns four residential buildings and one commercial storefront into exhibition spaces by installing video monitors in the street-facing windows. The result takes the viewer out of the... [more]
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Amidst Political Unrest in Brazil, Zed Nesti's Pop Culture Paintings Trace a Dark History   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
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Zed Nesti at Bolsa de Arte March 16th, 2016 - May 7th, 2016
Posted 3/24/16
Days after the largest anti-government protests Brazil has seen in decades, with hundreds of thousands of protesters flooding Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, was the opening of Zed Nesti’s first solo show, , which takes a look back through the nation’s complicated past in an attempt to shed light on this tumultuous present. The title of the show, which translates roughly to “for English eyes,” or “just for show” is thought to trace back to 1831, when the Brazilian Parliament, under pressure... [more]
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