Chloe Wyma

  • 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

  • Huguette Caland, Bribes de corps (Body Parts), 1973, oil on linen, 59 7/8 x 59 7/8". From the series “Bribes de corps” (Body Parts), 1973–81.
    March 09, 2021

    “Huguette Caland: Tête-à-Tête”

    Curated by Claire Gilman with Isabella Kapur

    Huguette Caland made her first painting, the boiling monochrome Soleil rouge (Red Sun), in 1964, shortly after the death of her father, Bechara El Khoury, Lebanon’s first post-independence president. Six year later, she left her husband and children in Beirut and moved to Paris, where she began the series “Bribes de corps” (Body Parts), 1973, abstract works replete with tumescences and fleshy mounds suggestive of kissing mouths, entwined limbs, and flopping genitalia. Arriving less than a year after Caland’s death last fall, “Huguette Caland: Tête-à-Tête”

  • Jean Katambayi Mukendi, Covid 10 Afrolampe X Cyclone Avril 2020 13h34, 2020, pen on paper, 39 1/2 × 27 1/2". From the series “Afrolampe,” 2016–.

    Jean Katambayi Mukendi

    “Geometric acrobatics characterize our lines of thought,” writes Jean Katambayi Mukendi. “In order to get to the end of a process of thought or emotion, one could resort to revolution, translation, dilation, parabolas, hyperbolas, ellipses, straight lines, parallels, points, sequences, static, dynamic, recurrence, accumulation, and traces.” The Congolese artist’s solo show at Ramiken—his first in the United States—followed a similarly meandering path. Mukendi was set to begin a summer residency at the gallery’s warehouse space in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, where he was to construct

  • Charles Henri Ford, Self-Portrait with Mirror, 1937, gelatin silver print, 12 × 12".

    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, Massacre in Boston, 1954, egg tempera on hardboard, 12 × 16". From the series “Struggle: From the History of the American People,” 1954–56.

    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, Tigres (Tigers), 1993, acrylic on blanket, 70 7/8 × 72 3/4".

    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, Bunkhouse, ca. 1985, oil on board, 35 7⁄8 × 42 1⁄8".

    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

  • Kristians Tonny, Sketch for a Mural in Avery Auditorium (Right Wall with Volcano), 1937, watercolor on paper, 21 3⁄4 × 37 1⁄4". From “Other Points of View.”

    “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

  • Agnes Pelton, The Fountains, 1926, oil on canvas, 36 × 31 1⁄2". Collection of Georgia and Michael de Havenon.


    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,