Chloe Wyma

  • 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 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 has been painting Taylor since 1982,

  • 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

  • Emma Amos

    In Tightrope, 1994, Emma Amos paints herself as a circus performer. In star-spangled underwear and a black duster, she tiptoes on a high wire over a woozy crowd of blurred faces and headless eyeballs. In her left hand are two paintbrushes; in her right, she holds a T-shirt emblazoned with a pair of pendant breasts over a platter of red mango blossoms. This fragment of a body belongs to one of the subjects of Paul Gauguin’s Two Tahitian Women, painted during the disaffected Frenchman’s Pacific sojourn in 1899. Amos’s vicious brushstrokes and high-key colors burlesque Gauguin’s colonial primitivism

  • 2018 Triennial: “Songs for Sabotage”

    Three long years ago, under Obama’s presidency and a seemingly boundless neoliberal horizon, the last triennial investigated “new visual metaphors for the self” in an expanding digital surround. Today, as institutions falter and certitudes crumble, the Janus-faced character of technology reveals itself. While enabling new modes of identity construction and self-broadcast, it is also accessory to the rise of demagogues and the impoverishment of discourse, yielding social anomie and networks of fascism. Whereas 2015’s triennial examined an

  • Sadie Barnette

    On the ground floor of Sadie Barnette’s solo exhibition, a group of five framed and enlarged COINTELPRO-era documents, sporadically misted with passages of black and hot-pink spray paint, reported that Rodney Ellis Barnette was observed wearing a postal uniform at a meeting of the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles on December 18, 1968. Barnette, we learned, was also “living with a woman to whom he was not married” at the time and, on June 6, 1969, received a letter from the US Civil Service Commission advising that he did “not meet the suitability requirements for employment in the competitive

  • Jess Johnson

    “What is being described here is in fact a machine,” Roland Barthes wrote of the Marquis de Sade’s pornographic scenarios, “ . . . a meticulous clockwork, whose function is to connect the sexual discharges.” While there is little if any, sex in Jess Johnson’s meticulous drawings, rendered in pen, marker, and gouache on paper, there’s more than a hint of the structuralist Sade in her unindividuated, compliant nudes, which function as fungible units in a fabulous and brutal visual grammar. Divested of sexual or psychological characteristics, they are arranged in esoteric diagrams in complex,

  • picks October 06, 2017

    Rosemarie Trockel

    In both German and English, the past perfect describes a time anterior to another moment in the past. Conjugating “to be” in the temporally aloof, twice-distanced “had been” abstracts the relation between subjects and their prior actions. Titled after the German word for this grammatical tense, “Plus Quam Perfekt,” a solo exhibition of Rosemarie Trockel’s photographs, ceramics, and sculpture made within the last decade, embraces this grammar of estrangement, materializing it into things of austere beauty.

    Entering the gallery, the viewer confronts the issue of time in Clock Owners (all works

  • Betty Blayton

    Ten circular canvases graced Elizabeth Dee’s upstairs annex in a jewel-box exhibition dedicated to Betty Blayton, the late abstract painter whose artistic achievements have been partially eclipsed by her roles as cofounder of New York’s Studio Museum in Harlem and as an advocate for African American artists. Housed at the original address of the museum she helped launch in 1968, and organized by independent curator Souleo, Blayton’s first solo show since her death in 2016 began to mend this imbalance. Works from the 1970s—heady, terrestrial abstractions turned out in spicy oranges, browns,

  • picks September 15, 2017

    Amy Yao

    At the entrance of Amy Yao’s exhibition here, the viewer is blocked by a chain-link fence draped with laser-cut, red-and-yellow, faux-silk brocade. Though the work’s title, Foreign Investments (Bottarga in Costa Mesa) (all works 2017), refers to a city in Orange County south of Yao’s Los Angeles home, the swags of low-rent chinoiserie index the gallery’s address at the crux of Manhattan’s Lower East Side and its rapidly gentrifying Chinatown. Two smaller draped fences—Foreign Investments (Good Ramen) and Foreign Investments (Baked Alaska)—likewise work as metonyms for the real and symbolic

  • Sonja Sekula

    “Everyone from the fifties in New York has a Sonja Sekula story,” Brian O’Doherty wrote in 1971, “yet, though she contributed to period mythology, she herself has no myth.” “Sonja Sekula: A Survey,” the first New York solo exhibition of the artist’s work in more than twenty years, begins to construct one after decades of relative obscurity.

    The daughter of a Hungarian philatelist and a Swiss confectionery heiress, Sekula was born into wealth and privilege in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1918, moving to New York when she was eighteen. In the 1940s, she showed with Betty Parsons and Peggy Guggenheim

  • picks June 16, 2017

    Jibade-Khalil Huffman

    “Due to my strong personal convictions, I wish to stress that this film in no way endorses a belief in the occult.” This disclaimer, lifted from Michael Jackson’s 1982 Thriller video, serves as the epigraph to Figuration (A), 2017, the title work of Jibade-Khalil Huffman’s exhibition. The single-channel video is a mediatic dumpster dive through the not-yet-historical past, its fantasia of purloined images flowing to an interruptive, channel-surfing logic. A petite Darth Vader superimposed on a young Seth Rogen’s audition tape; the opening credits of the 1980s African American sitcom Amen; Rick

  • picks May 07, 2017

    Honoré Sharrer

    This survey of Honoré Sharrer’s work recovers an artist long eclipsed by Cold War cultural politics, bringing her lapidary naturalism out from the overlapping shadows of Joseph McCarthy and Clement Greenberg. Workers and Paintings, 1942, places a group of men, women, and children against a low-slung townscape, its horizontal orientation and muddy monochromy reminiscent of Courbet’s Burial at Ornans. In the frieze, unidealized, hard-faced figures carry framed pictures by Bruegel, Daumier, Rivera, and Picasso (Sharrer delighted in burlesquing other artworks inside her own). But the relation between

  • picks February 17, 2017

    Lynn Hershman Leeson

    Seated in overstuffed leopard-print armchairs, visitors to Lynn Hershman Leeson’s second solo exhibition at the gallery navigate, via remote control, the dumpy virtual living room of Lorna, a middle-aged agoraphobe whose experience of the world is entirely mediated through her television. Clicking on various objects unlocks bits and pieces of a schmaltzy vernacular media culture, such as boozy cowboy ballads, daytime talk shows, televangelical sermons, and amateur music videos. In one of the game’s three possible endings, its lonely heroine commits suicide.

    The first interactive videodisk, Lorna

  • picks November 04, 2016

    Rosemary Mayer

    Between 1969 and 1973, Rosemary Mayer’s art underwent a dramatic transition. Abetted by the arrival of feminism, its investment in the body and the recuperation of craft, the laconic beauty of her early text-based works effloresced into the voluptuous fabric sculptures for which she is best remembered. Curated by art historian Maika Pollack, the gallery’s founder, with Marie and Max Warsh—Mayer’s niece and nephew—this exhibition tells the story of this sea change while also shining a light on a significant yet under-recognized figure in feminist and post-Minimalist art.

    During the late sixties,

  • picks October 21, 2016

    Aki Sasamoto

    Lodged in the cavity of a commercial-grade washing machine in Aki Sasamoto’s installation Washer (all works cited, 2016) is a copy of the Book of Insects (1921) by nineteenth-century entomologist John-Henri Fabre. The volume is open to a passage on the life and labors of the dung beetle, which is recited off-camera by the artist in the single-channel video Birds, Dung Beetles, the Washer looping overhead. “The peasant of Ancient Egypt,” it reads, “as he watered his patch of onions in the spring, would see from time to time a fat black insect pass close by, hurriedly trundling a ball backwards.”

  • picks September 16, 2016

    Marianne Vitale

    Handcrafted wooden torpedoes, suspended from the ceiling by wires, and souped up with American kitsch—a cow, a car, and camo—mark an intriguing detour, if not a new direction, in Marianne Vitale’s art. If the big, handsome sculptures made from salvaged lumber for which she is best known are strong, silent types, How’m-I-Doin’, 2016, her new installation of ten hand-painted projectiles, is comic, even a little snarky. Here, the splintery romance that characterized Vitale’s countrified totems of postindustrial wreckage is jettisoned for colorful, willfully naive Pop and playful satire. A bovine

  • picks August 05, 2016

    Alma Thomas

    Among her kaleidoscopic abstractions of botanical and celestial phenomena, a statement by Alma Thomas is stenciled on the museum wall: “Through color, I have sought to concentrate on beauty and happiness, rather than on man’s inhumanity to man.” Taken axiomatically, this might read as Pollyanna denial or cool aestheticism. But in their claim to universal subjectivity and transcendent beauty, there’s an indisputable if paradoxical politics in the paintings of the late Washington, DC, abstractionist, who—at the age of eighty, in 1972—became the first African American woman to have a solo show at