Chloe Wyma

  • 2019 Whitney Biennial

    THE 2019 WHITNEY BIENNIAL will go down as one of the most consequential in the event’s history—though for reasons that, frankly, make reviewing the art, some of which nearly came off the gallery walls two months before the show’s close, a thorny undertaking. The Biennial is always a critical flash point, and indeed this year’s edition seemed curated to anticipate and respond to the conflict over representation that scarred its predecessor. But even before the 2019 exhibition began, anxious meta-discussion over art’s audiences, its subjects, its spokespeople, and its paymasters had overdetermined

  • Roger Brown

    “The mainstream art world hierarchy—a system of dealers, writers, artists, critics, and pundits—presumes to define what art is for the rest of us,” Roger Brown (1941–1997) wrote in 1990. “. . . Whatever category one chooses—folk, naïve, outsider, or so-called regionalist—it is very evident that real artists exist and continue to be nurtured outside the mainstream hierarchy. In fact I would venture to say that the only real artists are nurtured there . . . on the outside.” Known as one of the leading Chicago Imagists, Brown could hardly be called an “outsider artist.” He was, however, a voracious

  • picks August 29, 2019

    Deborah Remington and Davina Semo

    The steely, gradient-filled lacunae of Deborah Remington’s Saratoga, 1972, and Sussex, 1976, evoke busted TV screens and foggy windshields, beyond which noirish vistas might extend. The artist, who died in 2010 at the age of seventy-nine, was the sole woman among the half-dozen painters and poets who cofounded San Francisco’s Six Gallery, the beatnik haunt where Allen Ginsberg first read Howl in 1955. Five of her paintings, made between 1964 and 2003, hang alongside recent sculptures and wall works by Davina Semo at Parts & Labor, a new project space devoted to shows pairing works by one mid-career

  • MINOR VARIATIONS

    ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED in the left-leaning tabloid PM, Ad Reinhardt’s 1946 cartoon How to Look at Modern Art in America is a mordant and enlightening diagram of aesthetic positions and politics in the immediate postwar period. Rooted in the French Post-Impressionists and supported by a sturdy trunk inscribed with the names Braque, Matisse, and Picasso, the avant-garde tradition is represented as an enormous tree branching into discrete movements and tendencies. Foliated with leaves bearing names like Albers, Davis, Motherwell, Pollock, and Rothko, the left-hand, upright sprigs represent the

  • Ulrike Ottinger

    Taken on the set of filmmaker Ulrike Ottinger’s swashbuckling s/m fantasy Madame X: An Absolute Ruler (1977), the photograph Das perfekte Ebenbild und seine unaufthaltsame Mechanik (The Perfect Image and Its Unrelenting Mechanics) captures a saucy tableau on board the corsair Orlando. A female pirate—sporting fetishy, elbow-length gloves; a black bralette; and an irrepressibly blonde, Boris Vallejo–worthy mane—wields a stake over actress Tabea Blumenschein, cast as the flesh-and-blood, leather-clad figurehead bedecking the ship’s bow. Moments later, the pirate will ecstatically plunge her blade

  • Corentin Grossmann

    The graphite drawing The main gate, 2017, welcomed visitors to Corentin Grossmann’s first US exhibition with an architectural fabulation of elephantine columns, ball-shaped ornaments, and massive vaults enclosing depthless shadows. As the title suggested, we were looking at a threshold between two places. Behind the titular structure, the tops of palm trees were silhouetted against the sky, placing us in the tropics. In front was the nebulous gray void of our immediate foreground. The hazy gray scale, flat tonality and grainy surface texture of the drawing unsettled the exoticism of the scenery

  • Leonor Fini

    “Theatre of Desire, 1930–1990” is the first American retrospective devoted to the Argentinean-Italian painter and illustrator Leonor Fini (1907–1996). Across two floors and sixty years, precious Italianate portraits of friends and lovers morph into macabre fantasies of witches’ sabbaths and half-flayed bodies, crystallizing at last into kinky, acrid-pastel paintings of women and girls locked into flattened, compressed spaces and ambiguous erotic relations. Pornographic illustrations for works by Jean Genet and the Marquis de Sade, costume designs for operas and ballets, and extravagant photo

  • Gray Foy

    Gray Foy (1922–2012) didn’t require the aid of a magnifying glass to produce his intricate drawings—exquisite, Surrealist-inflected pieces made between 1941 and 1975—but they were handily on offer during the artist’s first major survey at Francis M. Naumann Fine Art. In a charming throwback to old-fashioned modes of sustained attention, delectation, and connoisseurship, visitors were encouraged to pore over his scrupulously rendered botanical and biomorphic images, many on view for the first time in fifty years. Yet even as they seemed to dwell in some etiolated genteel past, these

  • Dorothea Rockburne

    THE MORE ONE LOOKS at the deviously serene, austere works of Dorothea Rockburne, the more baroque and optically destabilizing they become. Locus, 1972, features six unframed sheets of white paper, marked by sharp orthogonal creases, which here hang across two of the gallery’s white walls. At various points, their monochromatic yet multiplanar surfaces appear to project into relief and recede into depth, throwing into doubt whether the eye is perceiving actual volumes in space or a restrained trompe l’oeil illusion. Made of folded paper run through a printing press, the Locus suite numbers among

  • Simone Leigh

    A ceramic female head crowned by a hollow receptacle met the viewer as she entered Simone Leigh’s exhibition. This hybrid object, 102 (Face Jug Series) (all works cited, 2018), conflates portraiture with functional pottery, playing on essentialist notions of the female body as a reproductive vessel and symbolic container. Themes of anthropomorphism and embodiment were amplified in Cupboard VIII, the largest of this exhibition’s three sculptures. More than ten feet tall, bare-breasted, and arrayed in a capacious, multitiered raffia skirt, the figure quotes the architecture of Mammy’s Cupboard,

  • Cecilia Vicuña

    Entering “La India Contaminada” (The Contaminated Indian), Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña’s first survey in New York, the viewer encountered Quipu Viscera (Visceral Quipu), 2017. Numerous swaths of unspun wool—dyed various shades of pink, peach, and heliotrope—cascaded from the ceiling, amassing in a fibrous, flesh-colored forest. While the first word of the work’s title refers to the intricate system of knotted cords used by pre-Columbian Andean cultures for accounting and record keeping (a concept that has motivated much of Vicuña’s fiber-based art since the mid-1960s), the second

  • Domenico Gnoli

    “A commodity seems at first glance to be a self-evident, trivial thing,” Karl Marx famously wrote in Das Kapital. “The analysis of it yields the insight that it is a very vexatious thing, full of metaphysical subtlety and theological perversities.” “Detail of a Detail,” Luxembourg & Dayan’s second exhibition devoted to the late Italian realist painter Domenico Gnoli, was riddled with superficially innocent, deeply vexing items: the prim knot of a red necktie, a tooled-leather brogue, a starchy white collared shirt, a floral damask duvet. Violently uprooted from their respective milieus and

  • Miyoko Ito

    In the painting Heart of Hearts, Basking, 1973, the viewer finds herself in an immensurable yet sensuous concrete space. In the extreme foreground, two molten pools of red paint swell upward, dammed on either side by brown embankments and above by a barrier of stacked elongated cylinders. A sweeping, prohibitive diagonal line girdles the picture, its upper register marked by a rectangular aperture that opens onto contiguous passages of tan and translucent blue that reflexively read as sand, sea, and sky. As this distant, elusive beach materializes, and categorical distinctions of abstraction

  • interviews May 09, 2018

    Nick Mauss

    For “Transmissions,” his first museum solo exhibition, New York–based artist Nick Mauss juxtaposes his own works with those from public and private collections to reinterpret New York modernism during the first half of the twentieth century. On view through May 14 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the show encompasses dance and visual art. Here, Mauss considers the connections to be found across artistic histories.

    I CONCEIVED OF TRANSMISSIONS as a new work for the museum that is continually in process. I wanted a title that immediately signaled away from received ideas about ballet, to open

  • PROJECT: EBECHO MUSLIMOVA

    IN THE FIRST IMAGE of this project, Fatebe emerges from the bivalve mold a disheveled, decidedly immodest Venus. She reclines in the nude, legs akimbo and pudenda proudly displayed, her rumpled flesh impervious to reification or containment. Born in 2011, Fatebe is the precocious child and loose-jointed alter ego of artist Ebecho Muslimova. Muslimova draws her perpetually naked, pleasantly zaftig second self into innumerable graphic scenarios, her elastic body functioning as a vehicle for dirty jokes and insuppressible energies. In a recent exhibition at Magenta Plains in New York, Fatebe

  • Jacolby Satterwhite

    Leather queens, club kids, and bare-breasted femmes writhe and vogue in crystalline enclosures overlooking churning purple galaxies. Bound to one another and to sinister machines by a network of multicolored intestinal tubing, pliable virtual bodies pleasure and punish each other in acrobatic scenarios, their mechanical gyrations powered by a sovereign libidinal clockwork. The factory and the dance floor, Fordism and fetishism, play and werk, collapse into undifferentiated opalescence. Across a torpid twenty minutes, titillation yields to monotony, anhedonia, alienation. In a rapacious feedback

  • Ilana Harris-Babou

    “Home decor corrals time,” Ilana Harris-Babou writes in her artist’s statement for “Reparation Hardware.” Through the delicate and strategic acquisition and display of objects, “we can conjure a perfect past and fold it into an aspirational future.” The show’s eponymous video parodied the slick, desirous collection videos of the upmarket home-furnishings retailer Restoration Hardware, juxtaposing the company’s breathless appeals to timeless quality and artisanal craft with the political demand for the delivery of reparations to African Americans in recognition of the stolen labor of their enslaved

  • Kathe Burkhart

    Elizabeth Taylor’s penis dangles beneath her coattails in Cunt: from the Liz Taylor Series (Raintree County), 2010, one of eight bold, brassy paintings selected by curator Piper Marshall and exhibited from Kathe Burkhart’s ongoing, decades-long series devoted to the superstar. The painting’s profane title is emblazoned across the top in red letters, polarizing the male member between Liz’s legs. Between the cock and cunt, an impertinent, flatly painted Taylor stands against a brick wall with her hands on her hips, her famous violet eyes gazing disaffectedly beyond the picture’s surface.

    Burkhart

  • picks February 23, 2018

    Bill Beckley

    According to Bill Beckley, “everything changed” in the 1980s. Reagan and AIDS cast intersecting shadows over the New York art world, where—as the official story goes—bohemian poverty, experimentation, and idealism vitrified into professionalization, cynicism, and knowing irony. In the essay “What Are You Doing After the Orgy?,” published in the October 1983 issue of Artforum, postmodernist oracle Jean Baudrillard frenetically adumbrated the zeitgeist: “viral contamination of things by images”; “the glazed extreme of sex”; “pornography of information”; a “state of radical disillusion which is

  • Brook Hsu

    “On an April evening in the year AD 1,” wrote British classicist Robert Graves, and quoted by Brook Hsu in the essay that accompanied her first solo show, “a ship was sailing to Northern Italy along the coast of Greece, when the crew heard distant sounds of mourning, and a loud voice from the shore shouted to one of them: ‘As soon as you reach the next port, be sure to spread the sad news that the great god Pan is dead!’ But how and why he had died nobody ever knew."

    Pan—the caprine god of wilderness, shepherds, and rustic music—died in the traditional Anno Domini 1, symbolically marking