Chloe Wyma

  • Dorothea Tanning, Pour Gustave l’adoré (For the Adored Gustave), 1974, oil on canvas, 45 5⁄8 × 35".

    Dorothea Tanning

    The show here by Dorothea Tanning (1910–2012), “Doesn’t the Paint Say It All?,” was being billed by Kasmin as “the most comprehensive solo presentation of her work for US audiences in decades.” It was, however, by no means a retrospective. Absent were the romantic costume and set designs Tanning confected for George Balanchine’s ballets between 1945 and 1953; her underknown, fantastically perverse biomorphic soft sculptures from the mid- to late 1960s; and, perhaps most conspicuously, her tightly worked mythopoeic paintings of the 1940s, the most famous examples of which—including the preternatural

  • Martín Ramírez, Untitled (trains and tunnels) A, B, ca. 1958–61, gouache, colored pencil, and graphite on pieced paper, 20 × 89".

    Martín Ramírez

    Two locomotives billowing black smoke dart in and out of mountain tunnels, snaking through a psychedelic topography of strobing parabolas hatched with delicate traces of yellow pencil. The drawing, Untitled (trains and tunnels) A, B (all works cited, ca. 1958–61), was perhaps the most electrifying piece in “Memory Portals,” an exhibition of Martín Ramírez’s art at Ricco/Maresca. The train as motif, inset here with dark windows that echoed the punctured building facades appearing throughout the show, is a recurring feature of Ramírez’s work, an emblem resonant with the themes of itinerancy and

  • Genieve Figgis, Queens, 2021, acrylic on canvas, 61 × 76 1⁄4".

    Genieve Figgis

    Flanked by attendants bearing platters of grapes in a grand tepidarium, a naked baigneuse voluptuates on a velvet ottoman, proffering for our delectation her stippled pubes, spiraling breasts, and tight sphincter of a mouth. The setting—Matisse’s Morocco by way of Caesar’s Palace—is superintended by two porcine, friezelike visages placed into decorative roundels. In Roman lady with two servants (all works cited, 2021), Genieve Figgis serves up the Caligulan extravagance of the ancient baths with her signature painterly finesse and deflationary humor, right on time for our own age of imperial

  • Inventing Anna, 2022, production still from a TV show on Netflix. Episode 2, “The Devil Wore Anna.” Anna Delvey (Julia Garner). Photo: Aaron Epstein.

    FALSE PROFIT

    “THE ONLY THING worth a dime in here is her,” Anna Delvey says as she gestures, champagne flute in hand, toward a black-and-white photograph of a young babushka-clad woman—somewhere between gamine on the go and Hitchcock heroine—floating past a brick apartment tower, a look of cool determination fixed in her liquid-lined eyes. It’s the second episode of Shonda Rhimes’s Netflix caper Inventing Anna, and our protagonist, inhabited with steely grace by Julia Garner, is at a benefit auction with fictitious lifestyle mogul Talia Mallay (Jennifer Esposito), persuading her to buy Cindy Sherman’s Untitled

  • Shannon Cartier Lucy, Dinnertime (Self-Portrait), 2018, oil on canvas, 20 × 31".

    Shannon Cartier Lucy

    A pet Dalmatian cut open on a dissection table, six blackberries strung together with a needle and thread, four pairs of large white panties neatly aligned on an Anatolian rug: The paintings of Shannon Cartier Lucy present a magic realism of precise displacements, suffused with soft kink and macabre sentimentality. The exhibition here, “The Loo Table,” was a follow-up to her 2020 breakthrough debut at Lubov. It was titled after a type of eighteenth-century card table with a foldable top, but the press release encouraged a slippery associative logic: “Loo is the loser, the runaway, a lullaby.”

  • Paul Thek, Untitled (Meat Piece with Chair), 1966, wax, bronze, Formica, Plexiglas, 16 1⁄2 × 21 1⁄2 × 9 1⁄2". From the series “Technological Reliquaries,” 1964–67.

    Paul Thek

    A moldering loin of carrion glistened within a Plexiglas case like a precious geode in “Relativity Clock,” a small Paul Thek survey at Alexander and Bonin. Butchered to reveal an interior cavity of incarnadine entrails and pearlescent fat, Untitled (Meat Piece with Chair), 1966, is from the artist’s well-known 1964–67 series “Technological Reliquaries”—waxworks of severed body parts and chunks of flesh enclosed in sleek vitrines. This piece in particular had a unique feature: a top compartment that housed a miniature bronze chair—a premonition, perhaps, of Thek’s 1968 series of “Chair” sculptures,

  • Marcia Schvartz, Erinia (el misterio del arte) (Erinyes [The Mystery of Art]), 2003, mixed media on canvas, 59 × 78 3⁄4".

    Marcia Schvartz

    “Mom was an academic, but I had an irresistible attraction to the old Peronists,” Marcia Schvartz told an interviewer in 2012, “tough old ladies, very strong, with painted pearly nails and rollers.” One perhaps encountered such a figure—the pink, plump, peroxide-blonde materfamilias of Alegría, Alegría, 1976, for instance—in “Marcia Schvartz: Works, 1976–2018.” This vital show was the first US survey devoted to the Buenos Aires–based artist, who is best known for her unflinching paintings of individuals, subcultures, and classes in the time of Argentina’s Dirty War and its aftermath. The exhibition

  • View outside of “Ariana Papademetropoulos: The Emerald Tablet.” Photo: Chloe Wyma.
    diary September 12, 2021

    Planet Hollywood

    A BLUE 1969 CADILLAC COUPE DEVILLE is parked on North Orange Drive across the street from Jeffrey Deitch’s LA gallery, a flying saucer affixed to the roof. License plate: UNARIUS. The sidewalk is swarming for the opening of “The Emerald Tablet,” a group show organized by and starring local painter Ariana Papademetropoulos. The crowd stews in the hot sun, phones waiting to be deployed as two men slowly toil around the car; what exactly everyone is waiting for remains enigmatic, at least to me. Eventually it becomes clear we are watching thirty-three white doves being laboriously stuffed into the

  • Ming Smith, Sun Ra Space II (New York), 1978, ink-jet print, 40 × 60".

    Ming Smith

    In 1979, Ming Smith dropped off a portfolio of eighteen photographs in response to an open call at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. A few days later, the institution bought two images: a hand-colored print of her husband, jazz musician David Murray, holding a saxophone, and a black-and-white photo of a woman walking in front of a lighted Christmas tree at night. The sale, as she remembers it, wasn’t enough to cover her printing costs.

    Smith had been living in New York for six years when she quietly became the first Black female photographer in MoMA’s collection. Modeling to pay the bills, she

  • Charles E. Burchfield, Autumn to Winter, 1964–66, watercolor on joined paper mounted on board, 50 × 75".

    Charles E. Burchfield

    In a typewritten letter to one Mrs. Randolf, dated August 23, 1962, and displayed in a vitrine in Menconi + Schoelkopf’s modest but enlightening exhibition devoted to the art of Charles E. Burchfield (1893–1967), the venerable watercolorist reflects on a summer vacation forty-seven years earlier, when, seized by Romantic afflatus, he began ecstatically painting impressions of the woods around Salem, Ohio, where he grew up: “This artist in me was in the process of being born. . . . The beauty of the world almost drove me wild.”

    The young Burchfield’s work—a deft metabolization of William Blake,

  • Leonora Carrington, And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur, 1953, oil on canvas, 23 5⁄8 × 27 1⁄2". © Estate of Leonora Carrington/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

    Occult Classic

    The Tarot of Leonora Carrington, by Susan Aberth and Tere Arcq with an introduction by Gabriel Weisz Carrington. Lopen, UK: Fulgur Press, 2020. 120 pages.

    THE VOICE OF ART EDUCATOR Jackie Armstrong emanates from my MacBook, guiding me through the vaulted chamber of Leonora Carrington’s painting And Then We Saw the Daughter of the Minotaur, 1953, acquired by New York’s Museum of Modern Art in advance of their 2019 expansion. The track is part of the museum’s Covid-era playlist “Artful Practices for Well-Being,” a series of audio tours that forgo didactic synopsis in favor of visualization and

  • Ben Shahn, We Fight for a Free World!, ca. 1942, gouache and tempera on board, 13 × 30". From “We Fight to Build a Free World: An Exhibition by Jonathan Horowitz.”

    Jonathan Horowitz

    In 1942 Ben Shahn, employed by the United States Office of War Information to create propaganda in support of the Allied cause, borrowed imagery from his fellow artists for a series of five posters depicting the “methods of the enemy.” “Suppression” was represented by Edward Millman’s We Must Win!, 1942–45, a rendering of a gaunt visage gagged by a swastika-emblazoned cloth; Yasuo Kuniyoshi’s Torture, 1943, featured a scarred muscular figure whose hands are bound behind his back. Käthe Kollwitz’s 1923 lithograph of begging children allegorized “starvation,” while Bernard Perlin’s exquisite