Coco Romack

  • Alix Vernet, Lady, Saint Marks, November, 2021, cheesecloth, latex, spray paint, 54 × 13".

    Alix Vernet

    Throughout Manhattan’s East Side neighborhoods, a certain type of building, constructed as the nineteenth century met the twentieth, still stands in all of its bygone grandeur. Architecture historian Zachary J. Violette calls these structures “decorated tenements” for the elaborate ornamentation marking their exteriors—scenes rendered in high relief in stone or formed on soaring sheet-metal cornices featuring gilded characters, now obscured by decades of smog and grime, declaring the builder’s name. So ingrained are these designs within the visual chaos of the city’s streetscape that, despite

  • Joey Terrill, Tom Gutierrez, 2001, acrylic on canvas, 36 × 48".

    Joey Terrill

    Joey Terrill’s Remembrance, 1989, a seminaturalistic stylized acrylic, appeared in “Once Upon a Time: Paintings, 1981–2015,” a modest but powerful survey of the artist’s work at Ortuzar Projects. In this canvas, Terrill and a former boyfriend are depicted within a lush tropical forest, foraging for birds-of-paradise while surrounded by towers of agave whose spiny tendrils cast black shadows that give the background a striking sense of depth. The painting was made the same year Terrill discovered he was HIV-positive, at a time when the diagnosis was considered a death sentence. In that somber

  • View of “Ruth Duckworth,” 2021. Photo: Dan Bradica.

    Ruth Duckworth

    Satellite imagery has evolved significantly in the decades since the first photographs of Earth were taken from space. Earthrise, captured in 1968 by astronaut William Anders, and The Blue Marble, snapped in 1972 by the crew of Apollo 17, would help catalyze the environmental movement—how revelatory and alien those initial renderings must have seemed at the time. This developing technology had a profound impact on sculptor and ceramicist Ruth Duckworth (1919–2009), who pored over weather-satellite pictures and topographical maps to create some of her seminal works, such as the monumental

  • Catherine Opie, Saints, 1995, C-print, 60 × 40". From left: Divinity Fudge (Darryl Carlton), Ron Athey, Pigpen (Stosh Fila), Julian Carter.

    GLORY IN OUR SUFFERINGS

    TAVIA NYONG’O

    IT SHOULD BE ASTONISHING that the artist Ron Athey has received his first retrospective, at New York’s Participant Inc, only now, in 2021. But the steadfast alterity of his aesthetic has made this extreme belatedness, although unacceptable, perhaps understandable. Since his rise to prominence in the early 1990s, Athey has generated a series of unforgettably transgressive tableaux and received backlash and been blacklisted on two continents for his pains. It is always a challenge to curate performance art for gallery and museum spaces, but Athey’s particular stripe of excess has led

  • Yuji Agematsu, Times Square Times (Kodak All-Stars), 2003–2007, 391 color and black-and-white 35-mm slides, 6 carousels, sound, dimensions variable. Installation view. Photo: Stephen Faught.

    Yuji Agematsu

    In one scorching 1973 performance, jazz drummer Milford Graves unleashes a maelstrom of thunderous high-speed slams upon his kit. This display, captured on black-and-white film and recirculated as the opening to the 2018 documentary Milford Graves Full Mantis, shows the recently departed percussionist thrashing wildly as he arches over a snare-stripped set of gongs and cymbals, holding his sticks tight at the center. At certain times, he strikes the tom-toms with such velocity and precision that no roll emerges; at other moments, he beats down with his elbows instinctively, as if playing a bongo.

  • Jonathan Lyndon Chase, lucky lovers, 2020, acrylic paint, spray paint, oil slick, and glitter on canvas, 72 x 60".
    picks October 02, 2020

    Jonathan Lyndon Chase

    The viral ascendance of Atlanta rapper Lil Nas X’s SoundCloud-born breakout “Old Town Road,” a hip-hop production dyed with Western clichés, rode a resurgent fascination with rodeo aesthetics that permeated pop culture. Largely propelled by Black musicians such as Solange and Megan Thee Stallion, the “yeehaw agenda” (a phrase coined on Twitter in 2018 by the content creator Bri Malandro) stirred a media-wide discourse about the conservative, racialized gatekeeping of country culture that controversially resulted in the removal of Nas X’s hit from Billboard’s genre-specific chart. In a new