Alpesh Kantilal Patel

  • Didier William, Ma Tante Toya (My Aunty Toya), 2017, ink, collage, and wood carving on panel, 64 × 50".

    Didier William

    The title of Didier William’s impressive solo exhibition here, “Nou Kite Tout Sa Dèyè,”is Kreyòl, or Haitian Creole, for “We Have Left That All Behind”—fitting, as the artist’s family relocated to North Miami from Haiti during the late 1980s. While William’s genealogy and the name of the show evoke specific geographic locations, the “where” and “when” examined in the thirty-nine works on display—mixed-media paintings on wood panels, prints, artist books, and one sculpture—are never straightforward.

    Mosaic Pool, Miami, 2021, is a case in point: The titular basin, surrounded by orange-brown tiles

  • Joan Semmel, Purple Passion, 1973, oil on canvas, 48 × 80". From “Second Erotic Series,” 1972–73.

    Joan Semmel

    Joan Semmel’s “Skin in the Game” at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts—her first retrospective—evinced a sustained, fearless, and lively studio practice, which the artist has maintained for more than six decades. She joyously examines the body, and often her own. Hung chronologically, the exhibition included fifty-one paintings, all oil on canvas, as well as several works on paper. Despite the modest selection, the show covered a great portion of Semmel’s career.

    The presentation began with an Abstract Expressionist painting, Perfil Infinito (Infinite Profile), 1966. Her unabashed use of

  • Raúl de Nieves, Fina Vision, 2019, vintage military suit, sequins, metal bells, threads, glue, cardboard, plastic beads, tape, trims, mannequin, dimensions variable.

    Raúl de Nieves

    Walking into “Eternal Return & the Obsidian Heart,” Brooklyn-based artist Raúl de Nieves’s survey exhibition here, felt like entering a carnival-like space that was part Gothic cathedral, part queer dance club. The artist, like an alchemist, transforms the mundane into the marvelous. For instance, Celestial, 2007, an early sculpture, began as a pair of high heels de Nieves wore to sundry queer and art events while living in San Diego. But after some labor-intensive glamorizing, the shoes were now barely recognizable. In encrusting them with sparkling colorful beads and pearls, the artist had

  • Kirils Šmeļkovs, Poster for the Fourth Graphic Art Exhibition Science and Science Fiction, 1980, lithograph on paper, 35 5/8 x 25 3/8''.
    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, BEGIN, 1968, powdered pigment and acrylic medium on linen, 8' 1 1⁄2" × 12’.

    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

  • Temple Street Night Market in Kowloon, Hong Kong.
    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

  • View of “Chitra Ganesh,” 2018. Foreground: Artist unknown, Maitreya, the Future Buddha, ca. late 18th century–early 19th century. Background: Chitra Ganesh, Silhouette in the Graveyard, 2018. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle.

    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

  • View of “Dust Patterns,” 2017–2018.
    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

  • Christina Quarles, Yer Tha Sun in my Mourning Babe, 2017
, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72".
    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

  • View of “Pepe Mar: Man of the Night,” 2017.
    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

  • View of “Enrico Prampolini,” 2017.
    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

  • Cassils, Becoming an Image, 2013–. Performance view, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, 2017. Cassils.
    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