Alpesh Kantilal Patel

  • picks February 14, 2020

    “Unexpected Encounters”

    At least sixty tons of recyclable glass gravel cover the gallery floors of “Unexpected Encounters,” transforming the space into a veritable moonscape or postapocalyptic wasteland. Rarely exhibited graphic artworks by about a dozen Latvian artists from the 1970s and 1980s and a similar number of international contemporary pieces comingle in this uncanny tableau. Borrowing its name from a 1987 collection by the Soviet science-fiction writers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, the exhibition highlights local and historical contributions to this genre, while opening onto broader themes of gender, sexuality,

  • Natvar Bhavsar

    Natvar Bhavsar’s exhibition at Aicon Gallery, “Beginnings,” focused on seventeen numinous abstractions—paintings and works on paper—made between 1968 and 1978. The artist, born in 1934 in Gujarat, India, has been a New Yorker for more than fifty years. But the use of dry pigment in his work, often combined with acrylic and oil mediums, can be partially traced back to the ancient Indian spring festival known as Holi, where revelers douse themselves in a vivid spectrum of powdered colors to celebrate love and solidarity.

    The front half of the gallery’s ground floor included eight of Bhavsar’s paper

  • diary April 03, 2019

    From There and Back Again

    THE WEEKEND BEFORE the seventh edition of Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK), a smattering of related exhibition openings and events lit up the city. On Friday night, at Para Site, executive director Cosmin Costinas, who just days earlier was announced as the new director of Kathmandu Triennale, greeted visitors with his characteristic good cheer and signature elegant scarf wrapped around his neck. On Saturday night, Mimi Chun, founder and director of Blindspot Gallery, opened a solo show by Lam Tung Pang. Chun told me she didn’t want the exhibition to be lost among the many offerings the following

  • Chitra Ganesh

    As part of the Rubin Museum of Art’s yearlong exploration of the “future,” Brooklyn-based artist Chitra Ganesh took inspiration from the institution’s collection of Tibetan art to examine how the dystopic present can be changed for a better tomorrow in two separate, yet connected, exhibitions. The title of the core exhibition, “The Scorpion Gesture,” for which she created five animations (her first and, by my lights, rather successful foray into the medium) refers to a Tibetan Buddhist hand gesture, or mudra, that represents the endless possibilities of transformation embodied metaphorically in

  • picks February 08, 2018

    Ser Serpas

    In her first solo exhibition, Los Angeles– and New York–based artist Ser Serpas presents eleven works, many of which are amalgams of disparate objects. For instance, a glass tabletop, a vacuum cleaner, and a bookcase make up Load Bearing Allotment (all works cited, 2017), whereas In the Slightest comprises a carved door, a child’s tiny microphone stand, and a broom handle, among other items. To be clear, though, these works are not just formal experiments reminiscent of Robert Rauschenberg’s seminal combines.

    Rather, the pieces speak to the precarity of categorization; they work against the

  • picks January 08, 2018

    Christina Quarles

    About half of Los Angeles–based artist Christina Quarles’s thirteen canvases here are horizontally arranged. All from this year, the works range in size from three to five feet in height and four to six feet in width, and each typically includes two largely abstract bodies, which seem to bend and twist improbably around various forms. While the figures are not gendered or raced, an exploration of identity politics forms an undercurrent in the works, perhaps most evident in their titles, such as Tell Me Tell Me Yull Be Alright, When Yer in Tha Shade. Like that of the exhibition itself, the title

  • picks December 05, 2017

    Pepe Mar

    In this modestly sized project gallery, Miami-based artist Pepe Mar manages to present a survey of colorful assemblages and collages made over the last fifteen years as well as new work. The past and present blur here. Mar’s approach to this compilation is not straightforward: He has digitally reconstructed images of his previous pieces and printed them onto large, irregular pieces of fabric that were then stitched together, stained, and often appliquéd. The overall composition becomes the installation’s walls, from which pipelike forms, also covered in fabric, intertwine and spill out onto the

  • picks August 28, 2017

    Enrico Prampolini

    In 1930, Italian Futurist artist Enrico Prampolini donated his painting Tarantella, 1920–22, to the Polish artist group a.r., which was amassing a collection of international avant-garde artworks that would become the foundation of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź. It is perhaps fitting, then, that curator Przemysław Strożek uses the work as a symbolic point of departure for an exhibition that simultaneously serves as the first large-scale retrospective of Prampolini’s work since the early 1990s and as a portrait of the international character of the Polish avant-garde, the centenary of which is this

  • picks April 17, 2017


    In this solo exhibition comprising primarily live performances and installations, the Los Angeles–based and gender-nonconforming artist Cassils uses their naked body to explore the often pervasive violence against LGBTQI subjects. Their performance Becoming an Image, 2013–, pivots around the artist pummeling a 2,000-pound mass of clay in a pitch-black room. What the audience experiences, positioned around this main action, is chiefly aural: They hear Cassils breathing or the moments when their fists hit the clay. However, the artist has strategically positioned a photographer, whose camera’s

  • interviews June 07, 2016

    Frank Stella

    Frank Stella’s assemblage series “Polish Village,” 1970–74, is making its debut in Europe as part of the exhibition “Frank Stella and Synagogues of Historic Poland,” on view through June 20, 2016, at the POLIN Museum in Warsaw. Here Stella discusses the show as well as the genesis of the works, their exhibition history, and what it means to present his works in Poland, where the titular inspirational wooden synagogues once stood.

    THIS SERIES has been exhibited before: at the Fort Worth Museum of Dallas in 1978, the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1987, and the Jewish Museum in New York in

  • slant November 30, 2015

    On the Ground: Miami

    SOUTH FLORIDA has always been friendly to topless beachgoers. This past year, though, the city’s art museums gave new meaning to being topless in Miami. Four were without directors at some point: the Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami (ICA Miami); the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM); the Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum; and the Wolfsonian-Florida International University Museum. All of the positions have now been filled, but it will be several years before it’s clear how the newbies’ visions will shape programming. Meanwhile, the Bass Museum of Art closed for renovations in mid-May (although it

  • picks November 05, 2015

    Bik Van der Pol

    Reports emerged in early 2015 that Florida government officials had unofficially banned state employees from using phrases such as “climate change” and “global warming” or words such as “sustainability” in their communications. Bik Van der Pol, the Rotterdam-based artistic team of Liesbeth Bik and Jos Van der Pol, took this curious censure, which the government denies, as a partial point of departure for their installation Speechless, 2015, the result of a residency at PAMM.

    The work consists of a custom-made aviary, the walls of which contain letters that if unscrambled spell out the aforementioned

  • picks May 29, 2015

    “After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997”

    As suggested in the exhibition’s title, “After Midnight: Indian Modernism to Contemporary India, 1947/1997” launches a conversation between two discrete time periods. Curated by Dr. Arshiya Lokhandwala, the presentation begins with paintings from the era following India’s independence from Britain, primarily by those involved in the seminal Progressive Artists’ Group that jumpstarted modernism in India. These artists’ interest in diverse media beyond painting—output that is rarely exhibited—is worth noting. See F. N. Souza, who used diluted printer’s ink and magazine paper to create what he

  • interviews May 22, 2015

    Lyle Ashton Harris

    Lyle Ashton Harris’s current solo exhibition at Miami’s David Castillo Gallery features a series of unstaged pictures from his archive of Ektachrome slides from the past twenty-five years. As a curator, he recently cocurated—with Robert Storr and Peter Benson Miller—the group show “Nero su Bianco” (Black on White), which examines radical shifts in perceptions of African identity, subjectivity, and agency. It will be on view at the American Academy in Rome from May 25, 2015, through July 19, 2015. The exhibition at David Castillo Gallery, which Harris discusses below, is on view through May 30,

  • picks March 13, 2015

    Tameka Norris

    The centerpiece of Tameka Norris’s solo exhibition is the eighty-minute-film Meka Jean: How She Got Good, 2014. In it, Norris plays the eponymous character, an African American woman who hopes to become a singer and painter, against the backdrop of a similarly aspirational post-Katrina New Orleans. Based on Norris’s own life, the film is less a linear narrative than a series of vignettes, in which her alter ego embodies an array of characters: the confident artist, the overtly sexualized woman, the hip-hop groupie, and the hysterical victim, to name a few.

    Also on view, her short video Recovery

  • picks January 06, 2015

    Daniel Arsham

    For his latest site-specific installation, Daniel Arsham dug a large, circular trench in this gallery’s floor and filled it with nearly three thousand sculptures. The majority are made from molds of outmoded devices found on eBay, such as boom boxes, record players, VHS and cassette tapes, electric guitars, pianos, as well as corded telephones and payphones. Cast in crystal, volcanic ash, and other geological materials that give each work a charcoal-gray or chalky-white color, they are presented as eroded and timeworn artifacts of the recent past. However, the work's title, Welcome to the Future

  • picks December 17, 2014

    Josh Faught

    For his latest show, Josh Faught has produced a multivalent range of woven and crocheted work. Handwoven hemp has been dyed to match the hues of the past year’s fashion and then adorned with glitter, sequin trim, gold lamé, and bedazzled seashells, among other winking materials. Each work has been named after a past lover, and Faught has woven the name of the individual into the tapestry. In many, the woof and warp is so tight that it creates images and patterns, while in others, the fabric frays and spools, gesturing at the precariousness of the medium. At play are dynamics of desire for human

  • picks October 01, 2014

    Adler Guerrier

    In 1968, Amiri Baraka’s harsh sentencing for purportedly inciting civil unrest in Newark, New Jersey, was symptomatic of the racial discrimination that led to the riots. He was guilty of “formulating a plot”—the judge’s words that inspired the subtitle of Haitian-born Adler Guerrier’s first solo museum exhibition. While themes of racial iniquity loom large in his exhibition, truth and fiction are blurred, preventing the work from becoming didactic.

    For instance, the mixed-media installation Untitled (BLCK-We Wear the Mask), 2007–2008, is a collection of artifacts from a fictional artist collective

  • picks June 03, 2014

    Antonia Wright

    This survey of Miami-based Antonia Wright’s recent work includes a dozen videos; however, the body is the true medium she explores and pushes to the limit. For instance, Wright forces her own eye to register the sensation of touch in creating Lick of the Eye, 2012. The single-channel video is a close-up of her naked eye subjected first to blue eyedrops and then a brush applying wet yellow paint until her eye’s tissues turn green. As the title of another single-channel video Wet Tongue on the Dusty Floor, 2012, also underscores, the visual is deeply connected to the other senses—in that work’s

  • picks May 16, 2014

    Russell Maltz

    Each of the five works installed in the front room of Russell Maltz’s first solo exhibition in Miami is composed of stacked rectangular and square plywood plates suspended in the air by a single steel-post bracket. Their self-reflexive but coded titles refer to materials used and basic production details: “S. P.” in S. P./R#113 (all works 2013) is shorthand for “suspended”; “R” stands for red, the color of the acrylic, enamel, or Day-Glo paint applied to each plate; “#1,” the chronological order in which the work of the series was made in a year; and “13,” the year in which the work was completed.