Abbe Schriber

  • Sondra Perry

    Data, and its attendant devices, ostensibly exist to help us live “better”: Eat cleaner, work harder, exercise more. But who has the ability to “be good” in the first place, and at what cost? Saturated in postproduction blue, Sondra Perry’s first institutional solo exhibition, which was organized by Lumi Tan and titled “Resident Evil,” foregrounded the following paradox: While the law circumscribes the banal, everyday motions of black Americans as evil, law enforcement’s fatal policing has itself become banal, commonplace. As Perry’s montaged videos and interactive, found object installations

  • picks December 18, 2015

    Jennifer Packer

    The two figures in Jennifer Packer’s painting Ain’t I?, 2013–15, emerge gradually from a dense, heavily chartreuse cartography of stains and scrawls. A boy sits atop someone’s shoulders, his form loosely sketched except for his hands and knees, which are rendered in rich chestnut shades. In “Breathing Room,” an exhibition of Packer’s new paintings—some quite large, some modestly scaled—Ain’t I, at eight feet high, is the grandest example of the way she constructs this state of perpetual becoming in her subjects. While Packer is close with many of the people she depicts, this seems to contrast

  • picks October 22, 2015

    “Catfish”

    Embedding the cropped data of found Instagram photos into woven skeins, the washed, striated surfaces of Margo Wolowiec’s textiles appear as images mid download, registering the staticky visual jitter of perpetual glitch. This temporal disorientation at first masks the weavings’ tactile handling, a medium-blurring sleight of hand at work more broadly in this exhibition, “Catfish.” If the titular term, popularized by reality television, refers to a porous, duplicitous person able to inhabit a fantastical persona, it might also indicate the ease and deferral of perceptual seduction. Glimpses of

  • picks August 24, 2015

    “In Part”

    In Robert Rauschenberg’s Cy + Relics, 1952, the eponymous Mr. Twombly is shown dwarfed by the massive, pointing finger of an ancient statue of Constantine. Suggesting both the reverence that such colossal remains of antiquity continue to elicit as well as the possibility of irreverence toward them, the photograph opens the Fondazione Prada exhibition “In Part,” curated by Nicholas Cullinan. In an elegant if familiar conceit, the show announces the formal language of the fragment as a gesture of refusal or as fetish. Man Ray’s delicate mannequin’s hand, displayed in a glass case, actualizes the

  • picks March 20, 2015

    Kevin Beasley

    To be among Kevin Beasley’s new sound installation, sculptures, and photographs is to negotiate a doubled sense of “here”—both the physical recognition of oneself, and the claim for recognition evoked by discarded materials, bound and shellacked in polyurethane, their histories unknown but deeply felt. In Beasley's debut at Casey Kaplan, these contradictory present-tense sensations come together in circular wall-mounted acoustic mirrors cast from satellite dishes. In Untitled (Focus Black Boy II), 2015, Beasley immobilizes an Air Jordan jacket amid outstretched white T-shirts in coagulated coats

  • picks October 14, 2014

    Derrick Adams

    For “Live and in Color,” Derrick Adams refracts the current nostalgia for all things 1980s and ’90s through arguably its purest form of expression: television. Bright, succinct, reveling in its own exuberance, a series of large-scale collages depicts familiar black characters from popular shows, whose genres are hinted at through the witty planar structuring of color and patterned textiles—swatches of kente cloth are transposed into a man’s shirt, bright Monopoly money printed fabric sets the stage for a game show. Each collage is framed by the facade of a television set made from flattened

  • picks July 17, 2014

    Trisha Brown

    Trisha Brown’s choreography is notoriously difficult to capture, with its swift turns and continuous transitional phrases. In early works such as Roof Piece, 1971, seen through the able lens of Babette Mangolte, multiple dancers transmit simple movements to one another across New York City rooftops, invoking both the performers’ and viewer’s capacities for recall. With each performance, Brown anticipated the way her work would be seen, questioning the disappearance so often ascribed to dance. The photographs, short films, videos, and ephemera that comprise this exhibition record Brown’s performances

  • picks April 16, 2014

    “Ruffneck Constructivists”

    Leave it to Kara Walker to fuse early-1990s hip-hop with the early-twentieth-century avant-garde in her most recent curatorial effort, “Ruffneck Constructivists.” Walker’s title references the song “Ruffneck” by protofeminist rapper MC Lyte, which affirms the rakish street fixture as one who “goes hard,” unafraid to take action, upending societal strictures in the process. Simultaneously, Walker invokes the Russian Constructivists, suggesting revisions to their modernist legacy. Reimagining the idealism of utilitarian form as social ideology, “Ruffneck Constructivists” recuperates a vitality