Cat Kron

  • Nancy Holt, Ventilation System, 1985–92, steel ducts, turbine ventilators, shanty caps, fans, air, dimensions variable. From the series “System Works,” 1981–92. Photo: Mikael Lundgren.

    Nancy Holt

    For an artist whose career spans five decades, Nancy Holt (1938–2014) holds the dubious honor of being known primarily for one work. Holt’s 1973–76 Land art masterpiece Sun Tunnels keeps her linked in collective memory with the movement and its artists, among them her partner Robert Smithson and the couple’s friend Michael Heizer. Yet the stakes of her practice, predicated on reflexive structures that operate in collaboration with their surroundings, stand in contrast to the ethos of Land art itself. As Holt commented presciently in her notes for a self-interview (later revised for the April

  • Cleopatra’s storefront window, New York.
    interviews May 29, 2018


    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, Almost like Rebar No. 3, 2018, C-print in artist’s frame, 50 x 62 3/4".

    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

  • Artist unknown, Astrological birth chart used to name a baby, ca. late 19th century, gouache and ink on paper, 4 1/4 x 8 1/4".

    “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, Nightlight, 2017, oil on canvas, 16 x 20".

    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, Hump Hand (Paris, 2017), concrete, 11 1/2 x 5 1/4 x 4 1/2".

    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

  • Nene Humphrey, Transmission (detail), 2018, mixed media, dimensions variable.
    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, Untitled Timepiece (5 IN THE BOX), 2017, gesso, silkscreen, acrylic, gouache, coffee, wine, and graphite on canvas, 52 x 52".

    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, Probably Chelsea, 2017, thirty 3-D printed masks, dimensions variable. Photo: Paola Abreu Pita.

    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

  • Genesis Belanger, Something Fishy, 2017, porcelain, 3 x 6 x 4".
    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

  • View of “Rebecca Warren,” 2017. Photo: Sean Logue.

    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

  • Willa Nasatir, Conductor, 2017, C-print mounted on wood, 75 x 61".
    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