The Ecology of Maya Lin: A Memorial for the Planet

by Philip Barash
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’s cultural significance. Lin reached celebrity status in a field where most toil in near-anonymity. Hers i... [more]
Posted by Philip Barash on 4/4

Brenda Goodman Talks 50 Years of Fearless, Introspective Painting

by Bradley Rubenstein
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 sat down with Goodman at her favorite New York restaurant to talk about her interests and work, and d... [more]
Posted by Bradley Rubenstein on 4/4

Unpacking the Gift: Armory Commissioned Artist Kapwani Kiwanga in Conversation

by Sharon Obuobi
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 Yvette Mutumba, curators of the Focus: African Perspectives sector, Kiwanga has developed the visual identit... [more]
Posted by Sharon Obuobi on 2/29

Where Consumption Meets Belief: Pat Flynn Exploits Our Desire to Be Fooled

by Char Jansen
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’s solo exhibition at the Manchester Art Gallery, Half-life of a Miracle. It was proof tha... [more]
Posted by Char Jansen on 2/16

Digging into Architecture and Design, Kasper Akhøj Uncovers Filters for History

by Edo Dijksterhuis
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 neglect and stalled restoration work. We s... [more]
Posted by Edo Dijksterhuis on 2/8

Jen Ray: “Beware of people who think women are goddesses. That's bullshit.”

by Josie Thaddeus-Johns
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. Ray’s practice also favors performance. In her most recent show at Albertz Benda, New York, Deep Cuts,... [more]
Posted by Josie Thaddeus-Johns on 1/12

Zina Saro-Wiwa on Art and Authentic Storytelling in the Niger Delta

by Sharon Obuobi
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)—which uses the creative conventions of the Nollywood film industry to communicate politically... [more]
Posted by Sharon Obuobi on 12/14/15

Shame, Narcissism, and Online Empathy: Ann Hirsch's Multiple Selves

by Char Jansen
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 based in California, is still at the beginning of her career, she is part of a new legion of exp... [more]
Posted by Char Jansen on 11/24/15

Ed Fornieles: Postcapitalism, Networks, and Tenderness

by Char Jansen
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 often seems to be part of that bright-young-next-big-thing group which is often an irksome identity to shake... [more]
Posted by Char Jansen on 11/10/15

Citing Decolonial Theory, Moffat Takadiwa Transforms Debris into Art

by Natalie Hegert
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 art. The Zimbabwean artist references the decolonial theories of philosopher Walter Mignolo—in... [more]
Posted by Natalie Hegert on 11/2/15