Chloe Wyma

  • 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

  • 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