Cassie Packard

  • Nour Mobarak, Reproductive Logistics, 2020, Trametes versicolor, apple-wood pellets, kraft paper, watercolor, hair, sperm, acrylic, resin, 651⁄2 × 75 × 12 1⁄2". From “Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere.”

    “Symbionts: Contemporary Artists and the Biosphere”

    Life arises from difference. That’s what biologist Lynn Margulis (1938–2011) averred when she proposed that endosymbiosis—the nesting of one unlike organism inside another—allowed for the evolution of multicellular entities on earth, and that various symbiotic unions remain integral to the flourishing of existence. Now accepted as scientific fact, Margulis’s assertions suggest that we have been moving mosaics of interspecies communion from the very beginning. This paradigm elicits a reconsideration of the boundaries and possibilities of being “human,” an intellectual project that might serve as

  • Morris Hirshfield, Girl with Pigeons, 1942, oil on canvas, 30 × 40 1⁄8".

    Morris Hirshfield

    At age eighteen, Morris Hirshfield (1872–1946) left Poland for New York and joined a wave of Eastern European Jewish émigrés in the city’s garment industry: first as a pattern cutter maximizing the number of designs that could be extracted from a single piece of cloth, then as a tailor and partner in a women’s suiting shop, and finally as a manufacturer of orthopedic devices and embellished boudoir slippers, for which he garnered twenty-four patents. After retiring in 1937, he took up painting, electing to work directly on top of two pieces of art that he already owned. Angora Cat and Beach Girl

  • View of “Henrike Naumann: Re-Education,” 2022–23, SculptureCenter, New York. Photo: Charles Benton.
    interviews November 22, 2022

    Henrike Naumann

    Growing up in a newly reunified Germany, Henrike Naumann witnessed widespread transformations in visual culture, from popular television programming to the seating from which that programming was consumed. Working with furniture and video, the Zwickau-born, Berlin-based artist considers how seemingly innocuous aesthetic sensibilities align with and promulgate a host of political ideologies. Her first US solo exhibition, “Re-Education,” on view from September 22 to February 27 at SculptureCenter in New York, parses parallels between reactionary movements in the United States and Germany as it

  • Jessi Reaves, Cubbard with Barrel Doors, 2022, wood, metal, Plexiglas, paint, cedar, vinyl, sawdust, wood glue, 71 × 24 × 24".

    Jessi Reaves

    Enlarging upon the commodity fetish in Das Kapital (1867), Karl Marx characterized a simple wooden table as an animate monstrosity. “So soon as it steps forth as a commodity, it is changed into something transcendent,” he wrote. “It not only stands with its feet on the ground . . . it stands on its head, and evolves out of its wooden brain grotesque ideas, far more wonderful than ‘table-turning’ ever was.” For Marx, who likely had the then-recent innovation of mass-producible bentwood furniture on his mind, the “table-turning”—a form of séance popularized during the nineteenth century—that

  • Gerda Wegener, Venus and Amor, ca. 1920, oil on canvas, 31 3⁄4 × 45 3⁄4".

    Gerda Wegener

    An aura of sapphic resplendence inspirited a soigné Tudor Revival mansion on Long Island’s Gold Coast on the occasion of “Fashioning Desire,” the first substantial presentation of art by Gerda Wegener (1886–1940) in the United States. The show featured upward of sixty paintings, drawings, advertisements, and illustrations, the lion’s share of which limned lissome women. The works were installed throughout the residence, displayed in grand hallways and sumptuous boudoirs, or placed so that they coyly peeked out of stately powder rooms. Spanning Wegener’s career, these sybaritic images—in which

  • Karla Knight, Red Road Trip 1, 2021, Flashe paint, acrylic marker, pencil, and embroidery on cotton, 56 1/2 × 77 1/2".
    interviews June 21, 2022

    Karla Knight

    Over the past four decades, artist-conlanger Karla Knight has doggedly worked in an extraterrestrial idiom, cultivating an otherworldly iconography and an invented language so potent she dreams in it. Arriving on the heels of “Navigator,” her survey at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, “Road Trip,” on view from May 20 to July 1 at Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York, features recent drawings, paintings, and tapestries that hover between spaceship blueprint, geometric abstraction, and impenetrable abecedary. Below, Knight addresses her diverse influences, her relationship with paranormality and

  • View of “Gala Porras-Kim,” 2021–22. Photo: Shark Senesac.

    Gala Porras-Kim

    At the historic site of Teotihuacán, twenty-five miles northeast of Mexico City, two greenstone monoliths were dislodged from the caliginous interior of the Pyramid of the Sun as if they were bad teeth. Unearthed during an excavation that occurred between 2008 and 2011, the smooth colossi ended up being featured in a presentation of new archaeological findings from the ancient Mesoamerican city. When artist Gala Porras-Kim encountered the show in its 2018 iteration at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Bogotá-born Angeleno questioned the decision to displace the hidden megaliths, whose

  • Detail from Carmen Winant’s Instructional Photography (SPBH, 2021).
    books March 11, 2022

    Direct Action

    INSTRUCTIONAL PHOTOGRAPHY: LEARNING HOW TO LIVE NOW, BY CARMEN WINANT. London: SPBH Editions, 2021. 119 pages.

    “LET ME PAUSE HERE to say that ‘instructional photographs’ is a term that I have made up; there is no preexisting dedicated category for this kind of picture,” writes artist Carmen Winant in her slim, pocketable book Instructional Photography: Learning How to Live Now. On the opposite page, a woman gingerly pulls hardened plaster from her face; culled from a photographic “how-to” on mask-making, the black-and-white image has been shorn of captions and context, extricated from the words

  • Shigeko Kubota, Three Mountains, 1976–79, four-channel video, color, sound, approx. 30 minutes each. Installation view. Photo: Denis Doorly.

    Shigeko Kubota

    After studying sculpture at the Tokyo University of Education, Shigeko Kubota (1937–2015) relocated to New York in 1964 and quickly established herself within the city’s Fluxus community as a facilitator of events, a maker of objects, and a performance artist in her own right. Yet the groundbreaking 1969 exhibition “TV as a Creative Medium,” staged at New York’s Howard Wise Gallery (the artist reviewed the show for the Japanese art magazine Bijutsu Techo), and the invention of the Sony Porta-Pak (an affordable compact video camera with instant playback) irrevocably changed the way she would

  • Barbara Hammer, Double Strength, 1978, 16mm film transferred to video, color, sound, 14 minutes 38 seconds.
    picks October 20, 2021

    Barbara Hammer

    This presentation of Barbara Hammer’s work and archive, “Tell me there is a lesbian forever…,” begins in 1968, when the experimental cineast discovered 8-mm film. A few years later, she discovered women: A handwritten note on display here reads “COMING OUT”. Lovemaking was intertwined with artmaking, and Hammer’s partners appear in many of her photographs and films from the 1970s. Combining still and moving images, the film Double Strength, 1978, charts the arc of Hammer’s romance with aerialist Terry Sendgraff. At its exuberant heights, the two naked women soar on trapezes while the pair, in

  • Norman Lewis, Untitled, 1976, oil on canvas, 50 1⁄8 × 72 1⁄8". From the series “Seachange,” ca. 1973–78. From “Creating Community: Cinque Gallery Artists.”

    “Creating Community: Cinque Gallery Artists”

    This past summer, the Art Students League of New York held the first historic exhibition dedicated to Cinque Gallery, an artist-led nonprofit that operated between 1969 and 2004. The brainchild of Romare Bearden, Ernest Crichlow, and Norman Lewis, Cinque was founded to exhibit and promote the work of marginalized, primarily Black artists, while also serving as a training ground for young arts administrators of color. Cinque was to some extent an outgrowth of the Spiral group, which met regularly from 1963 to 1965 to debate the role of Black artists in the struggle for civil rights. The gallery

  • Jon Pylypchuk, Untitled, 2021, cast bronze, 15 x 19 x 12".
    picks July 09, 2021

    Jon Pylypchuk

    While grappling with grief after the death of a close friend, Jon Pylypchuk cast a number of bronze “ghosts,” which are currently haunting Petzel’s soigné townhouse space on the Upper East Side for the Winnipeg-born, Los Angeles–based artist’s solo exhibition “What have we missed.” Pylypchuk, a multidisciplinary bricoleur who is known for crafting pitiable creatures from poor materials such as mangy fake fur, bits of plywood, and copious amounts of hot glue, first explored metal casting in 2008. Made in 2020 and 2021, the pedestal- and wall-mounted sculptures on view, largely untitled, are cast