Colby Chamberlain

  • Rochelle Goldberg

    Let us remember the Chia Pet. This brand of terra-cotta animal and human figurines contained chia seeds that, with regular watering, would sprout to resemble fur or hair. Its advertising jingle, “Ch-ch-ch-chia!,” played during 1980s cartoons such as The Transformers and M.A.S.K., which were themselves little more than extended commercials for toys that also catered to a fascination with change. To my knowledge, the artist Rochelle Goldberg has never cited the Chia Pet as an influence, but the fact remains that the work for which she first came to prominence appropriated the novelty item’s key

  • Teresa Margolles

    In their book Mengele’s Skull (2012), Eyal Weizman and Thomas Keenan argue that the history of international criminal justice has two stages: the era of testimony, inaugurated by the capture of Adolf Eichmann in 1961; and the era of forensics, which arose from the discovery (and subsequent need to positively identify) the remains of Josef Mengele in 1985. In the former, witnesses spoke; now, in the latter, things are made to speak, through an activation of scientific, legal, and aesthetic strategies. Curiously, the cited dates sync almost perfectly with two key moments in the history of Minimalist

  • Jennifer and Kevin McCoy

    When the textbook history of contemporary art at the turn of the twenty-first century is eventually written, Jennifer and Kevin McCoy will likely appear under the heading “From Critique to Creative Disruption.” Citing the magazine Adbusters, Naomi Klein’s No Logo (1999), and Nato Thompson’s The Interventionists: Users’ Manual for the Creative Disruption of Everyday Life (2004), the chapter will explain how the critical postmodernism of the 1980s morphed into a neo-Situationism that advocated culture jamming and off-kilter annexations of public space. In part, this change flagged a reshuffling

  • Nicole Cherubini

    No single word suffices. To describe Nicole Cherubini’s sculptures as “urns” connotes antiquity’s lost grandeur, archaeological recovery, or the ashes of the departed. To call them “pots” implies decorative home wares, Sunday ceramic workshops, and that scene from Ghost. “Vase” is too elegant, “vessel” too vague. “Specific object” has the benefit of stressing a phenomenological dimension but is otherwise useless. In any case, volumes assuming the shape and material histories of clay containers have been the central motif of Cherubini’s work for more than twenty years. Here, the artist included

  • Howardena Pindell

    In the catalogue for “Autobiography,” her first solo exhibition since her 2018 retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Howardena Pindell tells the story of how, in 1979, a car accident on Long Island left her with a long-term concussion that impaired her memory. She turned to painting as a means of recovery, incorporating more of her personal experiences into her professional practice in order to close the gaps in her recollection. (Though not included in the present show, Pindell’s video Free, White and 21, 1980, sprang from the same impulse.) To inaugurate what came to be

  • “Christo et Jeanne-Claude: Paris!”

    Curated by Sophie Duplaix

    In 1958, the Bulgarian emigré Christo Javacheff met Jeanne-Claude Denat de Guillebon (1935–2009), the daughter of a French military general. Their improbable union led to a succession of logistically sublime outdoor installations that have been alternately reviled as media spectacles and celebrated as imaginative civic acts. This April, Christo is likely to stir up a debate over nationalism and its symbols when he swaddles the Arc de Triomphe in the red and blue of the tricolor. In parallel, this thematic retrospective of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s work will help to

  • Elaine Cameron-Weir

    Let’s get these out of the way: A BDSM dungeon for alchemist Bitcoin investors. A druid hideaway in the abandoned Palo Alto headquarters of the corporation Theranos. A crossover between Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, where Walter White cooks meth for White Walkers. I could go on. This is the kind of prose that the art of Elaine Cameron-Weir inspires. Her assemblage sculptures and their lengthy, loopy titles—e.g., at the end of the line an echo sliding downtown the mercurial reflective pool of a familiar voice and me a person it never made real in the mirrors of my own halls (all works

  • “HITO STEYERL: THIS IS THE FUTURE”

    Curated by Adelina Vlas

    The Dziga Vertov of finance capital? The Robert Smithson of JPEGS? Cyborg Agnès Varda? Harun Farocki, but funny? Hito Steyerl may be difficult to describe, but it is undeniable that her films, essays, and installations have supplied an off-kilter and incisive running commentary on the technological paroxysms and geopolitical crises of the past fifteen years. Steyerl’s first Canadian retrospective will occupy the entire fifth floor of the museum’s contemporary tower and feature eleven works, ranging from the elegiac November, 2004, to the algorithmically psychedelic This

  • “DAWN KASPER: THE WOLF AND THE HEAD ON FIRE”

    Curated by Christina Lehnert

    If you have ever met Dawn Kasper over the course of her decadelong couch-surfing occupation of major exhibitions, known officially as the Nomadic Studio Practice, 2008–, chances are you remember the encounter but can’t quite recall the particulars. Like the loquacious houseguest who keeps you up until 4 am, Kasper speaks in a hypnotic, wildly associative stream of consciousness that’s half comic, half cosmic. Her antic energy also permeates her bric-a-brac installations, whose maximalism borders on that of works by her former employer Jason Rhoades. At Portikus, Kasper

  • Dora Budor

    New York University opened 80WSE in 1974, initially as a showcase for student work and later as a venue for practicing artists. Currently under the direction of curator Nicola Lees, the gallery’s programming is heady, multifaceted and experimental, oftentimes incorporating the expertise of NYU’s diverse faculty. 80WSE is also—sorry to say—a challenging place to mount an exhibition. Its physical dimensions are awkwardly scaled, and its floor plan faintly resembles a coiled python digesting a family of antelope.

    Most artists commissioned by 80WSE learn to cope with this space; Dora Budor wanted to

  • Robert Morris

    In her autobiography Feelings Are Facts (2006), Yvonne Rainer recalls visiting Robert Morris’s installation Passageway, 1961, at Yoko Ono’s Chambers Street loft in New York. “I traipsed downtown and up the five flights expecting some kind of performance, only to be met, on opening the door, by a three-foot wide curving corridor with [a] seven-foot high ceiling that ended in a pointed cul-de-sac,” writes Rainer. “I was so outraged that I wrote on the wall ‘Fuck you too, Bob Morris.’” Notice the “too.” For those familiar with the indignities of Rainer’s subsequent relationship with Morris, this

  • Lorraine O’Grady

    Frames within frames: For a lecture in 1969, Jacques Derrida distributed copies of “Mimique,” a prose poem written by Stéphane Mallarmé in 1897 describing a theatrical scene involving the pantomime character Pierrot, whom Mallarmé had read about in a pamphlet purportedly authored by the mime himself. In the scene, Pierrot learns that his wife, Columbine, has betrayed him, and he resolves to murder her—by tickling her to death. Pierrot performs this fanciful deed onstage, playing the parts of both tickler and tickled, alternately wriggling his hands ferociously and giggling with helpless delight.

  • BROUGHT TO JUSTICE

    IF THE AUTONOMY of art was ever actually a thing, it ended with smartphones. The whole time I was visiting “Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the Justice System” at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston on October 6 of last year, I was painfully aware that if I pulled out the screen in my pocket, I might have to confront that inevitable, disheartening headline: SENATE CONFIRMS KAVANAUGH. The white cube was no antidote to the nausea of the present. If aestheticism’s belief in art’s distance from social and political concerns still endures, it does so only in the negative, as a sense of

  • Jes Fan

    At Recess, a roomful of strangers seated themselves around folding tables and sliced open dead squid. They sifted through viscera to locate the cephalopods’ ink sacs, which they then extracted, pierced, and squeezed, draining the organs’ viscous contents into jars. Artist Jes Fan led the autopsy. He circled the tables to lend each group hands-on help, and he distributed a DIY pamphlet with a diagram of squid innards and several pages of fun facts on melanin, the biomolecule that gives squid ink its dark hue. Melanin absorbs gamma radiation, which is why melanized fungal microorganisms can survive

  • Analia Saban

    Why did Analytic Cubism have to be so drab? All that black, ocher, and gray. Something about Picasso and Braque’s joint effort to pry apart the conventions of naturalist painting—linear perspective, chiaroscuro, modeling—drove them toward the dullest of hues. Analia Saban’s exhibition “Punched Card” betrayed a similar impulse. Her work waged a campaign to disarticulate painting in a muted palette of matte black and linen beige. But whereas Cubism targeted painting’s signs, Saban’s post-centennial update took aim at painting’s techniques.

    The exhibition centered on two principal bodies

  • Jack Smith

    In Artists Space’s final exhibition at 55 Walker Street, a hulking television monitor screened mottled, mid-1970s footage of Jack Smith standing outside the Cologne Zoological Garden, resplendent in a feathered turban. “The Museum is filled with a lot of stuff chosen from artists who represent the artist as the playmate of the rich,” he intones. “These artists suck art out of everyday life and transfer it to paintings and other kinds of crusts and sell it to galleries—who in turn sell it to museums and the rich so that the art eventually ends up in penthouses and storage warehouses of

  • QUEENS INTERNATIONAL 2018: “VOLUMES”

    In 2013, the Queens Museum completed a new wing that doubled the institution’s size and created a skylit interior plaza for public gatherings. A second phase of construction will incorporate a branch of the Queens Library. To consider what forms of community engagement might arise from the merger of museum and library, the eighth Queens International will explore alternative modes of reading, information storage, and archival research, with work by Gabriela Salazar, Milford Graves, Camel Collective, and other borough-based artists. Concurrently,

  • ADELITA HUSNI-BEY

    “REPEAT DARKLY,” said Adelita Husni-Bey: “‘There is no such thing as society, there are men and women.’” During an interview with Clara Schulmann in 2015, Husni-Bey uttered Margaret Thatcher’s famous words as if they were a sinister spell—in J. L. Austin’s terms, not a constative (“There is no society”), but a performative (“I, Thatcher, hereby abolish society”). Husni-Bey is hardly alone in ascribing a malevolent power to the Iron Lady. Across Britain, downloads of “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead” shot up when Thatcher passed away in 2013. And while the Munchkin effervescence was doubtless

  • Bogosi Sekhukhuni

    So much for small talk. For his solo debut in North America, Bogosi Sekhukhuni positioned the exhibition’s unwieldiest artwork at the gallery’s entrance. The video by NTU (Bogosi Sekhukhuni with Nolan Oswald Dennis and Tabita Rezaire) Thus Saith the Lord (Overunity), 2015, opens with a narrator arguing in voice-over that science’s rationalist paradigm fails to account for the multiple historical figures who have attributed their major discoveries to visions or dreams. Blurry jpeg portraits of Dmitri Mendeleev, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Albert Einstein flash across the screen, leading finally to

  • Sean Raspet

    While researching Soviet Constructivism for her book The Artist as Producer (2005), Maria Gough uncovered one of history’s great ironies: After the Russian Revolution, the avant-garde agreed on the common goal of integrating art with mass production. The artist who came closest to succeeding, Karl Ioganson, is now the least well known of his peers. Ioganson so dedicated himself to improving factory-floor efficiency that his records were not housed alongside those of Aleksandr Rodchenko or Lyubov Popova but were instead located in the Soviet Union’s archives of industry and labor.

    I sometimes