Brynn Hatton

  • View of “Gloria: Robert Rauschenberg & Rachel Harrison,” 2015. Foreground: Rachel Harrison, Slipknot (detail), 2002. Background: Robert Rauschenberg, Gloria, 1956.

    “Gloria: Robert Rauschenberg & Rachel Harrison”

    The choice to exhibit Rachel Harrison’s sculpture/painting hybrids and drawings of the past decade or so alongside Robert Rauschenberg’s Combines of the 1950s and ’60s has elicited resistance from more than a few critics. That resistance, in the opinion of curator Beau Rutland, is knee-jerk, stemming primarily from the notion that the pairing is “almost too good to be true.” And it would be too good to be true, were one to read the works of these artists in only the most basic of formalist and historicist terms. Both Harrison and Rauschenberg harvest the expendable, everyday materials of American

  • Titus Kaphar, The Vesper Project (detail), 2008–13, mixed media, dimensions variable. Installation view.

    Titus Kaphar

    The story goes that, while looking at a portrait by Titus Kaphar hanging in the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, a man named Benjamin Vesper suffered a sudden psychotic break and attacked the painting. The man was hospitalized but later escaped, and was eventually found squatting in an abandoned nineteenth-century house that he insisted belonged to his family. The history goes that the ancestral Vespers were a well-to-do, mixed-race family living in Reconstruction-era Connecticut. Their light skin allowed them to “pass” as white until an unplanned pregnancy thwarted the proposed marriage

  • Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors, 2012, nine-channel HD video projection, color, sound, 64 minutes. Installation view.
    picks March 27, 2015

    Ragnar Kjartansson

    This installation of Ragnar Kjartansson’s nine-channel video The Visitors evinces that rare ability to render an enveloping realm while highlighting the character of the space in which it is exhibited. Ambiance, so central to the work itself, is also deeply contingent on the architecture of the venue in which The Visitors is shown. A gleaming and impressive new space just three years old, MoCA sports a sleek, mirrored gunmetal exterior and clean, modular galleries. These contrast evocatively with the views of Rokeby farm, the lavishly dilapidated nineteenth-century estate in upstate New York