Claudia Arozqueta

  • picks May 23, 2018

    “Dwelling Poetically”

    There is an inherent artifice in all representations. This exhibition, which offers a portrait of Mexico City by a dozen artists who live or have lived in the capital city, is no exception. Yet it raises an immediate question: While Mexico has attracted a diversity of foreign artists over time, how does one stage a show about the megalopolis and include only three Mexicans? Curated by Chris Sharp, this show is organized around the idea that a city’s identity is always in flux, that a city is almost impossibly composed anew each day by the millions who move through it.

    Mirroring how cities are

  • picks September 18, 2017

    Hilarie Mais

    The work of Leeds-born, Sydney-based artist Hilarie Mais is minimal and meaningful. Since the 1970s, she has achieved renown both for creating painstakingly handcrafted abstract structures that study the aesthetic possibilities of geometrical shapes, and for embedding her work with autobiographical facts. Throughout history, circles and spirals have been related to life cycles and energies, just as grids have been linked to rationality. These connotations are present in “Tempus,” an ongoing series of monochromatic and multifocal constructions that the artist has created yearly since 2006.

  • picks June 12, 2017

    Angelica Mesiti

    “Calling all, this is our final cry before our eternal silence”: This was the last Morse code message sent by the French Navy as a way to mark its retirement of the communication system in 1997. Twenty years later, Angelica Mesiti draws on these poetic words in her latest exhibition, “Relay League,” a journey following a message’s different stages of translation through nonverbal forms of communication.

    A conversion of the ciphered text into a material medium can be found in Appel à Tous / Calling All, 2017, a wind chime of metallic dots and dashes representing the message that, when slightly

  • picks March 20, 2017

    Biljana Jancic

    A glass box with a concrete column at its center is flanked by two windowed walls—this is the Brutalist-style space that hosts the most recent site-specific installation by Biljana Jancic, an artist who creates compositions that respond to the architectural features of a given environment. Surface Tension, 2017, uses projections and reflections, made with light and duct tape, to explore this cubic space. Plants and shadows of a louver extend over the central white wall. Combined with those of visitors, the shadows seem natural, as if coming from the distant brise-soleil of the courtyard, but

  • picks November 14, 2016

    “Fiona Connor, Sydney de Jong, Audrey Wollen”

    Three artists whose work seems both conceptually and materially dissimilar and five press releases with different interpretations can be found here, though the title of Fiona Connor’s All the Doors in the Walls, 2016, is to be taken literally. Each door in the gallery was stripped of its function; they no longer serve as mediators or passages from one place to another but as static objects of art, disposed toward admiration for their simplicity.

    Two women, two beds, and two scars intermingle in Audrey Wollen’s Objects or Themselves, 2015, a twenty-minute video with a voice-over monologue by the

  • picks September 13, 2016

    Eduardo Sarabia

    Eduardo Sarabia’s latest exhibition is a celebration of birds, including the quetzal, a sacred species in many pre-Hispanic cultures. The show consists of one work that shares the exhibition’s title, “Plumed Serpent and Other Parties,” and comprises hundreds of fiberglass reproductions of this iconic bird, as well as of the lovely cotinga, the squirrel cuckoo, and the roseate spoonbill. Centuries ago, feathers from all those species were used to create Montezuma’s headdress, now in Vienna.

    Installed in the gallery from floor to ceiling, evoking taxidermy at a natural-history museum, the bird

  • picks May 27, 2016

    Thomas Glassford

    A discrete but elegant forty-nine-foot-tall slender and white-colored structure floats in the museum’s central gallery. It evokes the formal features of Siphonophora, a type of marine animal from the order of Hydrozoa composed of various physiologically integrated polypoid and medusoid zooids all with specialized survival functions. Like the sea creatures, Thomas Glassford’s Siphonophora, 2016, is a single body made up of an amalgamation of individual entities. Leaf-like protruding shapes, little stalks, or trailing tentacles form a rhythmic colony, resembling at once both an animal and a plant

  • picks February 29, 2016

    Manfred Pernice

    This gallery inaugurates its expansion with a show by German artist Manfred Pernice. His first solo exhibition in Mexico City is rife with bright colors, found objects, and construction materials, which together result in ambiguous spatial constructions evoking Mesoamerican architecture with a modernist flavor. This manifests best in Cassette Lumex, 2016, an installation that recalls an ancient ball court with four trapezoid-shaped MDF bench-like structures—some trimmed with images of the artist’s works—that frame three rubber balls and the floor. This piece, which avoids the neatness of the

  • picks December 18, 2015

    José Carlos Martinat

    José Carlos Martinat’s current exhibition in Mexico City, “How to Explain the Unexplainable?,” takes its title from a federal governmental slogan that promotes national and international tourism in Mexico and is usually accompanied by images of beautiful beaches, blue waterfalls, and historical places. But these idyllic scenes are overshadowed by the inexcusable pandemonium of this country’s violent reality, as fed to international media around the world.

    This absurdity is the chief departure point of Martinat’s show, featuring a large site-specific installation also titled after the slogan.

  • picks October 01, 2015

    Alejandro Almanza Pereda

    This past July and August, Alejandro Almanza Pereda’s solo exhibition “Everything but the Kitchen Sank” at SFAI’s Walter and McBean Galleries presented a studio in which visitors could witness the creation of photographs and a video of subaqueous still lifes shot inside a eight-foot-tall Kevlar pool. The resulting pictures feature a plethora of found objects and offer ephemeral and preposterous arrangements that experiment with the behavior of materials underwater. Take, for example, the theatrical video Like Steaks and Salads, 2015, which is divided into a series of acts where different items—such

  • picks May 25, 2015

    Ignas Krunglevičius

    Ignas Krunglevičius’s work focuses on unmasking how language is marshaled into the service of power, from political rhetoric and demagogy to psychological persuasion. Interrogation, 2009, for instance, is a two-channel video installation based on an interview transcript from a 2004 murder investigation in the United States in which a woman was suspected of killing her husband with a shotgun. Similar to the way an interrogation room generates a power dynamic and tension from the moment a person steps inside, the layout of the installation is designed to maximize viewers’ discomfort.

    Upon entering

  • picks April 25, 2015

    Billy Apple

    When the young New Zealand artist Barrie Bates bleached his hair and eyebrows in 1962, he became a living brand: Billy Apple®. Encompassing more than five decades of Apple’s interdisciplinary practice, this show features documentation of his reinvention, alongside more than 150 works in which the boundaries of art and life, subject and object, are constantly tested. Particularly outstanding are Apple’s actions from the 1960s and ’70s, created in London and New York, where he was a key figure in the Pop and Conceptual art scenes. Through subtle or radical strategies, the works of this period

  • picks December 19, 2014

    “Teoría del color”

    “Teoría del color” (Color Theory) investigates social systems steeped in exclusion, racial differentiation, and discrimination, through the work of fifteen international artists in a variety of media, including posters, video, installation, photography, painting, and performance. These works reveal that there is no better testament to the racism deeply rooted in our time than the visual clues embedded in supposedly postracial societies. Take for example Daniela Ortiz’s 97 Empleadas domésticas (97 Domestic Employees) , 2010, a compelling photo album of snapshots documenting social and family

  • picks May 27, 2014

    James Beckett

    Dowsing, or divining, is a practice that stems from ancient times, in which one uses rods or sticks to find a diversity of hidden objects, such as metals, oil, archeological remains, or even missing persons, under surfaces. In 2013, Netherlands-based Zimbabwean artist James Beckett, whose practice centers on revealing the nature of found objects and historical narratives, invited two dowsers from the United Kingdom to explore the grounds of various educational institutions in Amsterdam.

    In this didactic exhibition, the results of the project are configured into an installation that investigates

  • picks April 18, 2014

    Simon Starling

    Simon Starling’s latest exhibition, “In Speculum,” brings together a selection of six projects—incorporating film, photography, installation, and texts—that orbit the themes of process and materiality as well as of artist and industrial workshops. Each individual work intricately connects to different historical events, tempos, and places. Take, for example, two eponymously titled recent works from 2013, a film and a series of photographs, which were inspired by the nineteenth-century’s Great Melbourne Telescope. Like the majority of Starling’s works, the black-and-white circular film, realized

  • picks November 21, 2013

    John Panting

    When the London-based New Zealand artist John Panting tragically died in a motorcycle accident in 1974 at the age of thirty-four, he left behind a vast number of sculptures in a variety of styles and materials that qualify him as an obsessive and experimental creator. His survey in Wellington titled “Spatial Constructions” brings together three abstract human-scale sculptures and seven smaller works in steel and aluminum—all made between 1972 and 1974—that evince his late interest in the nature of spatial relationships. 6.08 (Untitled VIII), 1973–74, was created by assembling red oxidized steel

  • picks September 05, 2013

    Shane Cotton

    Shane Cotton’s latest exhibition, “The Hanging Sky,” is a wily representation of Aotearoa’s hybrid culture. The thirty paintings and drawings on view—all made over the past six years—illustrate recent developments in the Kiwi painter’s practice. He has notably decamped from painting landscapes to vast vaults of sky and his palette has shifted from earth tones to rich blacks, blues, and reds. Within each, these darkened firmaments act as screens onto which a diverse mix of cultural-historical imagery is projected: Examples include toi moko (Māori preserved tattooed heads that were highly

  • picks May 17, 2013

    Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra

    For almost a decade, Indian artists Jiten Thukral and Sumir Tagra have been using different media—product design, graphics, sculpture, installation, and video—to explore identity and social problems that affect their homeland. For their first solo exhibition in Singapore, the artists have created a series of paintings and a site-specific installation that reflect on the diaspora in Punjab, a state located in northwestern India where more than twenty thousand immigrate illegally every year. This move is predicated on the widespread belief that living in the west (which in India is connotative to

  • picks December 12, 2012

    Teresa Margolles

    The 2012 recipient of the Artes Mundi award, Mexican artist Teresa Margolles is known for her poignant works that center around drug-related violence in her homeland. Her past work has explored the failures, victims, and unseen consequences of organized crime and its antagonist forces embodied by state security services. Her current exhibition, “La promesa” (The Promise), features a site-specific, eponymously titled 115-foot-wide mound of debris, which is shaped like a mass grave and consists of what once was a low-income house in the suburbs of the border city Ciudad Juárez. In the past decade,

  • picks September 12, 2012

    “True Stories/Scripted Realities”

    This group exhibition curated by Mercedes Vicente brings together five compelling video installations that use scripted narratives to question the dichotomy between fiction and documentary, as well as illusion and veracity. Criminal Case 40/61: Reverb, 2009, by Andrea Geyer, restages the 1961 trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann based on transcripts and other historical sources. This six-channel immersive installation features six characters, all played by a single performer, and can be viewed from six different stools located at the center of the gallery. Geyer’s work explores the configuration of