Chloe Wyma

  • Charles Henri Ford

    “Love and Jump Back” at Mitchell Algus Gallery, curated by photographer and writer Allen Frame, is an exhibition of photographs by poet, editor, and bricoleur Charles Henri Ford (1908–2002). The show takes its name from the working title of Ford’s 1933 novel, The Young and the Evil, which he coauthored with critic Parker Tyler. This banned chronicle of “mucilage [and] malaise”—to use writer Claude McKay’s memorable phrasing—at the queer fringes of New York’s Greenwich Village between the world wars is today recognized by many as the first gay novel in American letters. Ford, however, was better

  • Jacob Lawrence

    In 1961, Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000) spoke of his thirty-panel series “Struggle: From the History of the American People,” 1954–56, as a crux in his oeuvre: “Years ago, I was just interested in expressing the Negro in American life, but a larger concern, an expression of humanity and of America, developed. My history series grew out of that concern.” Shown in its near entirety for the first time since 1958 (the show opened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, earlier this year), the unfinished and under-studied “Struggle” reimagines roughly the first forty years of the United

  • Feliciano Centurión

    Que en nuestras almas no entre el terror (May Fear Not Enter Our Souls). This plea—the title of a piece by Feliciano Centurión—is as urgent today as it was in 1992 when the Paraguayan artist, diagnosed that year with HIV, delicately stitched the words in red cursive letters onto a scrap of fabric. “Abrigo” (Covering) is an exhibition at the Americas Society devoted to the extraordinary and intense textile-based works Centurión made in the last six years of his life. Curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, this show marks the debut of Centurión’s work in the United States. Its appearance here, nearly

  • Adrian Morris

    Three paintings of mullioned windows, precisely rendered but curiously off-kilter, hung in a row at Essex Street as part of the late British artist Adrian Morris’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Behind the imaginary glass there was nothing to see but a dim gray haze. The modernist grid and the Symbolist window (the former, per Rosalind Krauss’s influential reading, a traumatic displacement of the latter) were here collapsed, their metaphysics stunted by the opaque, abortive view. In Window Ledge II and Window Sill II, both ca. 1997, fenestration was party to a ruthless abstraction

  • “Other Points of View”

    “The anti-institutional, anti-formal, anti-aesthetic nihilism of the Surrealists,” Clement Greenberg wrote in 1944, “. . . has in the end proved a blessing to the restless rich, the expatriates, and aesthete-flaneurs in general who were repelled by the ascetism of modern art. Surrealist subversiveness justifies their way of life, sanctioning the peace of conscience and the sense of chic with which they reject arduous disciplines.” The implicit target of his words was View, an avant-garde magazine founded in 1940 by the Mississippi-born poet and flaneur Charles Henri Ford, the “last protégé” of

  • DIVINE REALITY

    AGNES PELTON was fifty years old when she left New York for the village of Cathedral City, six miles southeast of Palm Springs in the California desert. By 1932, a conspiracy of sun, sand, and settler-colonial ideology had made the state a mecca for visionaries and seekers, attracted by landscapes seemingly unspoiled by human intervention, temporalities seemingly unburdened by the past. In Pelton’s 1941 painting Future, obscure shadows part to reveal two stone towers. Suggestive of those that marked the town’s entrance, they float just above the horizon and flank a distant lavender hill. Overhead,

  • “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists”

    Growing consciousness of mass incarceration in the United States—the product of a bipartisan consensus that has seen the prison population, disproportionately represented by black, brown, and poor people, explode by 700 percent in the past fifty years—has motivated a surge of recent exhibitions devoted to art made by those serving time. While of a piece with this development, “The Pencil Is a Key: Drawings by Incarcerated Artists,” the Drawing Center’s first show under the direction of Laura Hoptman, is also unique in the way it uses the condition of imprisonment (broadly defined here to encompass

  • Tyree Guyton

    “Love, Sam,” Tyree Guyton’s solo exhibition at Martos Gallery, was titled in honor of the artist’s grandfather Sam Mackey. A housepainter by trade, he gave his grandson his first paintbrush when he was nine years old. Guyton, who is now sixty-four, would go on to study art at Detroit’s College for Creative Studies in 1980; six years later, he began painting candy-colored polka dots on the facade of Mackey’s house on Heidelberg Street in McDougall-Hunt, a predominantly black, working-class enclave on Detroit’s east side. This benignly eccentric act marked the beginning of the Heidelberg Project,

  • Tamara de Lempicka

    “Lempicka was a liar, a snob and a fraud from the off,” began the British art critic Waldemar Januszczak in his poison-pen Sunday Times review of her exhibition at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in 2004. Rarely has an artist inspired such moral condemnation and righteous disdain as Tamara de Lempicka, the rappel à l’ordre society painter who objectified, perhaps more than any other artist, the cold, metallic libido of Art Deco. Despite, or perhaps because of, her enduring popularity (she is the subject of several biographies, a stage play, and a forthcoming Broadway musical), major museum

  • George Tooker

    “Watching George Tooker paint is excruciating,” art historian Thomas H. Garver once remarked. “Stroke, stroke, stroke, it goes on and on, yet to an observer almost nothing seems to be happening.” Over months and months, his effulgent surfaces would accumulate thousands of delicate wisps in egg tempera—the medium favored by the painters of late-medieval Italy—to illuminate delphic modern genre scenes and allegories glowing with beatitude and despair. Tooker (1920–2011) learned his ascetic and “plodding” (per the artist) method in the mid-1940s, from his friends the painters Paul Cadmus (Tooker’s

  • Charlotte Posenenske

    Commanding one of the yawning depots of Dia:Beacon—a Nabisco box-printing factory turned postindustrial culture palace—the hollow sheet-metal and cardboard polyhedrons of Charlotte Posenenske’s Vierkantrohre Serie D (Square Tubes Series D) and Vierkantrohre Serie DW (Square Tubes Series DW) appeared to be fossils of use value. Designed in 1967 as the German artist was beginning to receive international recognition alongside proponents of American Minimalism, these groupings of unwieldy modular units were made to be manipulated and recombined by collaborating viewer participants. Produced in

  • slant October 21, 2019

    Loose Canon

    IN JUNE, NEW YORK’S MUSEUM OF MODERN ART WENT DARK to put the finishing touches on its contentious five-year expansion, which promised to put $450 million and 47,000 square feet of Diller Scofidio + Renfro architecture toward fostering a “deeper experience of art” across boundaries of media, geography, and identity. Today, MoMA emerges from its chrysalis a bigger, brighter, and supposedly more progressive institution. Gone—we are told—is the stiff, developmentalist progression from ism to ism, the residual investment in medium specificity, the instinctive parochialism, the cult of white male