Cat Kron

  • interviews May 29, 2018

    Cleopatra’s

    The members of the creative and curatorial platform Cleopatra’s—Bridget Donahue, Bridget Finn, Colleen Grennan, and Erin Somerville (along with founding member Kate McNamara, who left the collective in 2011)—signed a ten-year lease on a narrow twenty-four-by-eight-foot street-level space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York, in 2008. From the project’s outset they were conscious of their long-term commitment to the space and of its mutability as a publishing house, a promotional structure, a means of archiving a local artistic community, and so much more. After a decade, the space closed this month.

  • Liu Shiyuan

    Replete with footage of cloud formations, bird’s-eye views of forest streams, and koi fish, all set to a kalimba-driven soundtrack, the initial shots of Liu Shiyuan’s twenty-two-minute video Isolated Above, Connected Down (all works 2018) reminded one of the gentle scene-setting of a David Attenborough documentary. But the tone of Liu’s video, which served as the cornerstone of the artist’s debut solo show in New York, quickly departs from that of the beloved British naturalist, devolving into a dark comedy of manners that showcases the inanity of human social interaction. The two protagonists

  • “Indian Drawings”

    Ritual acts—personal and parochial alike—are meant to free the practitioner’s mind from worldly concerns. The meditational Tantric scripts and yantras (mystical geometric diagrams) assembled for this jewel box of a show had the additional effect of producing a hushed calm that engulfed its viewers. “Indian Drawings,” curated by artist/collector Alexander Gorlizki with 33 Orchard’s Jane Kim, closely followed New York’s Outsider Art Fair (where Gorlizki had a booth), but it quietly sidestepped the burrs that tend to adhere to the term outsider (and to the dealers who position their wares

  • Leigh Ruple

    However improbable—given the bleak current national mood—the self-congratulatory strain of American modernist painting known as Precisionism is again in vogue. The Jazz Age movement, known for its sleek depictions of industry that tend to fall just on the romantic side of Photorealism—which mostly subsided in favor of more comforting figural works as the Great Depression (and American Regionalism) rolled in—is the subject of an upcoming survey at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. Less surprisingly, the aesthetic has popped up in contemporary painting, where its signature,

  • Jean-Luc Moulène

    The work of the erudite, Sorbonne-trained French photographer-sculptor Jean-Luc Moulène can seem to be machinated by an artist more interested in theory than practice. Yet this sprawling, diverse show full of tenderly handcrafted objects revealed a profound joy in making.

    For his second solo show at Miguel Abreu Gallery, Moulène presented eighteen new, midsize pieces in the venue’s main gallery, in addition to two earlier works on view in a smaller space a few streets south, both of which had been recently exhibited at the artist’s 2016 retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. While his

  • picks January 26, 2018

    Nene Humphrey

    Nene Humphrey’s Circling the Center, 2008–, an ongoing homage to her late husband, the artist Benny Andrews, is an apt title for an investigation into the ways death and grief affect the body and mind. Initiated two years after Andrews’s death, this project approaches its weighty subject at oblique angles. Her installation here, Transmission, 2018, is the latest iteration of this tribute, which features, among other things, a video of performers weaving mourning braids.

    Humphrey’s immortal coils—unlike delicate Victorian mourning braids, which were made from corpses’ hair—are constructed from

  • Amanda Ross-Ho

    Amanda Ross-Ho’s most recent exhibition, “MY PEN IS HUGE,” stated its larger-than-life conceit at the outset while simultaneously referencing the artist’s preoccupation with the process of artistic production. For this show, the artist put front and center the oversize items for which her studio practice about studio practice is best known. In the center of the gallery specifically, one encountered the dual installations Untitled Set #1 (August 1–September 7) and Untitled Set #2 (August 1–September 7) (all works 2017), which consist of platforms teeming with huge wineglasses, cutlery, and X-Acto

  • Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea E. Manning

    It’s difficult to gauge the merits of “A Becoming Resemblance” with anything resembling critical objectivity. The incendiary politics surrounding Dewey-Hagborg’s collaborator and muse, the US military intelligence officer turned hacktivist Chelsea E. Manning, and the controversial nature of the show’s subject matter (the diagnostically and morally murky territory of DNA-based profiling) overshadowed one’s reading of the project from the outset. This was not a conventional collaboration—not least because half of the partnership remained incarcerated, periodically in solitary confinement and

  • picks September 29, 2017

    Genesis Belanger

    Genesis Belanger’s first solo presentation at this gallery, with modestly sized porcelain, stoneware, and cast-concrete objects, is suggestive and strange. Most of her sculptures are methodically situated throughout the space on cement pedestals and a wall-mounted shelf, while a few occupy the floor. Many of her pieces feature slightly overscale fingers grasping a variety of things that reference oral consumption: bananas, a stick of gum, and a blue Oreo-like cookie with a copious amount of cream filling.

    Belanger’s suggestive foodstuffs are framed by a dark whimsy: A porcelain hot dog with a

  • Rebecca Warren

    In the Hadean period, the earliest geologic era in earth’s history, the planet’s defining characteristic was its hot, molten surface, which would ultimately cool and harden to create the relatively stable terra firma we enjoy today. Much later, following the arrival of Homo sapiens, the Bronze Age would see the advent of metal tools, after which the sturdier iron supplanted bronze; the alloy would thereafter become the medium of choice for artisans and sculptors. British artist Rebecca Warren recently produced a series of painted bronze sculptures titled “Los Hadeans” (all works 2017), whose

  • picks August 04, 2017

    Willa Nasatir

    Willa Nasatir’s photographs of her provisional and precarious studio assemblages reveal the artist’s ruminative tinkering—but the use of dramatic lighting demonstrates a tight control over her environment. Nasatir’s images are populated by the materials that frequently accompany artmaking, including hammers, stands, and brooms. And the interiority of these photos, whose configurations are distorted to the edge of recognition by her interventions, crucially echoes the personal nature of the studio itself.

    The artist’s high-contrast, theatrically lit work is visibly indebted to the eerily intimate

  • picks June 21, 2017

    “A Few Open Systems”

    The premise of the summer group show—that the adjacency of works by multiple artists will somehow inform and enhance one’s reading of them—is a slightly tenuous one, occasionally producing exhibitions that rely on superficial similarities. Instead, artist Noah Barker—this show’s curator—emphasizes a diffuse, collaborative mode of production that examines crosscurrents between the works on view, many of which bleed into one another. Centrally placed in the dimly lit gallery (the result of Ghislaine Leung’s gel-filter interventions) is Dora Budor’s Year Without a Summer (Judd), 2017, which features

  • Vikky Alexander

    What happens to a copy as it ages? This show of Vikky Alexander’s photographs from 1981 to 1983, produced at the apex of appropriation art, put the question front and center. Though Alexander’s work was not included in 2009’s lauded “Pictures Generation” overview at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, her photographic strategy from this period maps neatly onto that of the loosely affiliated group (most of whose members hailed from California and were slightly the Canadian artist’s senior). Alexander culled these photographic images—pictures of leggy women—from fashion editorial

  • GINNY CASEY AND JESSI REAVES

    A bulbous, raunchy anthropomorphism runs through the paintings of Ginny Casey and the sculptures of Jessi Reaves. Casey’s paintings, featuring cool-toned, swollen hands and vases, and Reaves’s furniture-based constructions both confront the life of the decorative object. While these emerging artists clearly share a fascination with the everyday, the most striking common aspect of their practices is an uncanny, subtly grotesque emphasis on the body as it assumes the forms of (or interacts with) household objects. This two-person show features more than thirty recent

  • “ANNABETH ROSEN: FIRED, BROKEN, GATHERED, HEAPED”

    CAMH brings together more than two decades’ worth of Annabeth Rosen’s work in the prolific ceramicist’s first major survey. Eighty-some sculptures will be accompanied by forty works on paper, all reiterating the artist’s longtime method of composition: aggregating discrete forms to produce a cohesive whole. While the two-dimensional ground in her flat works unites myriad small shapes, Rosen’s three-dimensional pieces evidence a pragmatic engagement with the dynamics of gravity. Her small clay pieces are bound with wire or pressed together prior to firing, allowing

  • Brandi Twilley

    The reclining female nude continues to extend her long arm over figurative painting. Formally agreeable and subjectively compelling, she sprawls languidly across the horizontal axis of the canvas—an alluring body in repose, inviting inquiry. The trope is also singularly affiliated with the legacy of male painters portraying female prostitutes. Brandi Twilley repurposed this art-historical motif as the locus of her most recent body of work, in which the artist re-creates fanciful figure drawings she made as a girl, inspired by the sex-worker protagonists of films such as Pretty Woman (1990)

  • diary February 18, 2017

    Oslo Peace

    THERE’S NEVER A GOOD TIME to travel under the auspices of cultural representation on behalf of a country with demonstrated fascist and xenophobic leanings. Three days before I embarked for Oslo, our president enacted the so-called travel ban; two nights prior to my departure, a Brooklyn federal judge issued an emergency block temporarily barring deportations as protesters demonstrated worldwide. But even now, with 45 promising a new executive order, the ordinance’s fate remains uncertain.

    Norway, nevertheless, was as reservedly gracious in its reception as its reputation would suggest. On the

  • Austė

    “So bad it’s good.” In his 1987 review of a show by Austė in these pages, critic Carlo McCormick cited this patronizing qualifier as one possible read on the artist’s darkly campy work. It is perhaps no surprise that her unabashedly treacly confections baffled many 1980s viewers, even as Austė herself secured her place in New York’s downtown nightlife scene. The artist’s most prolific decade was coterminous with the vying neo-geo and neo-expressionist movements, neither of which had much truck with the scrawled curlicues and unapologetic girliness of her acrylics and works on paper.

    For Austė’s

  • Talia Chetrit

    At first glance, the thirteen photographs in Talia Chetrit’s show seemed to be “about” genitalia. The artist’s vulva, memorably depicted in Untitled (Bottomless #4), 2015, was again the unambiguous subject of her work, alternately pictured in a full-frontal view, facing the audience from behind a gutted pair of pants in Jeans (all works 2016), or via not-so-subtle allusion, as in Legs, a portrait of a tripod-mounted camera pointing downward, coolly aimed at the artist’s crotch.

    Chetrit’s practice has always been marked by an acutely referential display of photographic apparatuses, and for these

  • performance October 07, 2016

    Time and Time Again

    THE ARTISTS, MUSICIANS, CURATORS, AND WRITERS that work in and support time-based art are a small, necessarily close-knit tribe. Performance is, after all, easily the least lucrative of genres, a fact that has consistently made it the repository for work that is less monetarily driven and less safe, but which has also sometimes made it feel insular and uninterested in courting an audience outside its fold. This is why the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival, one of only a handful of such festivals in the US, feels so consistently fresh, both in its programming and