Dawn Chan

  • Julian Charrière

    The earliest signs of nature gone awry in the classic 1954 black-and-white Godzilla are essentially moments of monochromatic abstraction: A glimmer of light roils the ocean’s surface from below, then a slick, rutted mound—ostensibly a reptilian back—emerges from the waterline. Towards No Earthly Pole (all works 2019)—the 104-minute video in Julian Charrière’s solo show at Sean Kelly Gallery—samples some of the cinematic language of this and other early creature features, using discomfitingly unrecognizable forms to evoke the sublime horror of untamed wilderness. But here, ambiguity never lets

  • Zoë Sheehan Saldaña

    In 1968, Stewart Brand founded the Whole Earth Catalog, a publication famously marked by its countercultural ideals. As Brand explained, it confronted Americans with a call to action: “Ask not what your country can do for you; do it yourself!” Brand’s ethos animates much of artist Zoë Sheehan Saldaña’s solo show at the Aldrich. Titled “There Must Be Some Way Out of Here,” Sheehan’s exhibition prods at the relationship between artisanal craft and industrial production, and posits that the pairing might be uniquely American at heart. At first glance, the show seems like a nondescript gathering of

  • picks January 09, 2020

    Odessa Straub

    Is that a figure? An organism? An ecosystem? An organ? Odessa Straub’s latest show holds back answers, with gratifying results. The materials of the thirteen pieces on view—wall works and freestanding assemblages—include wooden armatures, swaths of fabric, and glass cloches containing filtered water and aquatic plants. Somehow, the show manages to merge an abstract painter’s interest in shapes, a botanist’s preoccupation with closed systems, and a teenager’s crush on sex itself. In Fostering Freedom of Filth (thongƃuoɥʇ) (all works cited, 2019), for example, an LED grow light starts to look a

  • “Cao Fei: Blueprints”

    Curated by Joseph Constable

    Plenty of artists have drawn inspiration from their studios. But Cao Fei’s atelier will become uniquely fascinating fodder for two new installations appearing in her first major solo exhibition in the UK. One will draw on her work space in a former Soviet-era Beijing cinema—its decor and multifaceted functionality alike embodying the zeitgeist of a rapidly urbanizing China in the 1950s and ’60s. In the other, her studio kitchen will serve as the model for a self-contained room that will allow visitors to encounter real objects while also interfacing with augmented and

  • Chris Bogia

    Living coral, a “life-affirming” orangey-pink, is the color of the year, according to Pantone. Emerald dominated 2013, turquoise reigned over 2010, and 2016’s homecoming queen was rose quartz (also known, notoriously, as millennial pink). And while Pantone might not have explicitly been on Chris Bogia’s mind when he produced the sculptures for his first solo show in New York, variations of the aforementioned hues make bold appearances in several of the works on view.

    His sculptures portray decorative trees (rendered semiabstractly via crescents, cylinders, and other basic geometric forms), but


    Curated by Anne Barlow

    Otobong Nkanga prominently features materials in her artwork, and not just for their formal aspects: “The tangible makes it possible for you to believe your memory,” she noted in a 2014 interview. The Nigerian-born, Belgium-based artist uses everything from kola nuts to potted plants to trace the ways colonialism has intertwined the global flow of goods with the many fraught individual journeys that add up to mass displacement. One installation on view this autumn at Tate St. Ives, Tsumeb Fragments, 2015, is an assemblage of relics from Nkanga’s journey to the eponymous

  • Ian Cheng

    There seems to be a long, tongue-in-cheek tradition of giving machines with artificial intelligence monosyllabic names that hover somewhere between the casual sobriquets of garden-party guests and the vanilla acronyms of corporate lingo. Consider HAL 9000, the murderous AI in 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Or Tay, Microsoft’s ill-fated chatbot. Playing along, perhaps, Ian Cheng has dubbed his latest simulation Bag of Beliefs (BOB), 2018. A digital-age gargoyle with a catfish-like head and a spindly, segmented body textured like red coral, BOB was set loose in a beige-walled virtual vivarium, left


    YOU CAN NOW PLAY Bill Viola’s languorous first-person video game, The Night Journey, in your living room, from your own sofa, with your own PlayStation controller. Set in a dreamlike, largely black-and-white outdoor world, The Night Journey sends its protagonist on an adventure with no clear objective. Players might find themselves moving through Seussian vegetation or drifting, injury-free, down a cliff; wading into an ocean’s depths or venturing into isolated buildings that mysteriously turn into ruins once they’ve been explored.

    The Night Journey began in 2007 as a collaboration between Viola

  • Kishio Suga

    “I constantly think about how to confuse or distort the typical order of things,” artist Kishio Suga wrote for a 2005 essay anthologized in Kishio Suga’s Work from a Zen Perspective (2008). “Viewers would be rendered speechless before an artwork of this kind. In a matter of seconds or minutes, their thoughts would shift from established orders to new ones.” One might expect such an endeavor to require the use of jarring force or violence—anything other than the sanguine grace that permeated Suga’s latest show at Blum & Poe. But like an expert tour guide, Suga led the way down various side

  • picks April 06, 2018

    Jesse Chun

    “Language is not transparent.” The reality of that dictum (which has appeared in Mel Bochner’s colorful pieces across several decades) is on full view in Jesse Chun’s latest show, here. Indebted to various text-driven Conceptual practices, Chun’s exhibition nonetheless also functions as a reminder: Often, the chosen medium of text art’s most visible pioneers wasn’t just any old language. It was English—a fact that can easily slip past the notice of native speakers.

    Chun’s exhibition includes prints, drawings, sculpture, video, and an audio track of vowel sounds emanating from a waist-high, bulbous

  • Thiago Rocha Pitta

    For those growing fatigued by contemporary art’s ongoing invocations of the Anthropocene and its attendant aesthetics of detritus and scorched-earth urban sprawl, Thiago Rocha Pitta’s show “The First Green” offered something of a reprieve. The sculpture, video, photograph, and series of paintings in this Brazilian artist’s second solo endeavor at Marianne Boesky Gallery together formed an arcadian vision starring an unlikely subject: cyanobacteria.

    Before the Dawn, 2017, a video Rocha Pitta shot at Australia’s Hamelin Pool, features a sea of rock formations known as stromatolites, or layered

  • diary May 03, 2017

    Just Between Friends

    SOME FUND-RAISERS, you can tell, are held together by the type-A wrath of a corporate-events planner. But not the annual Friends of Artists Space dinner, which is sweeter and much more interesting. It is held at the beginning of Frieze Art Week at the Ukrainian National Home in the East Village. There is no assigned seating. Everything unfolds leisurely, under the grand Art Deco¬–esque, mirrored ceiling of a banquet hall above the main restaurant, where old New Yorkers decide if they want their pierogies boiled or fried.

    Last night’s dinner honored, in absentia, the artist, philosopher, and yogi

  • interviews March 13, 2017

    Porpentine Charity Heartscape

    Porpentine Charity Heartscape is a writer, game designer, and self-described dead swamp milf. In addition, she is a 2016 Creative Capital Emerging Fields and 2016 Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Story Lab fellow, a 2017 Prix Net Art awardee, and a 2017 Whitney Biennial participant. Here she speaks about her work on view at the Whitney, and discusses the origins of her hypertext narratives.

    THERE’S SORT OF A MINIRETROSPECTIVE of my Twine stories in the Whitney Biennial. With Those We Love Alive is projected on one wall of a room. People can play it on a computer and they can draw their responses

  • picks January 13, 2017

    Byron Kim

    Mulling over his American contemporaries and their shared reach for the sublime, Barnett Newman once wrote: “Instead of making cathedrals out of Christ, man, or ‘life,’ we are making it out of ourselves, out of our own feelings.” Years later, Byron Kim seems in part to be taking Newman’s sentiment to its next logical, almost literal conclusion: Kim’s latest pieces consecrate our flesh and its sensations, via large-scale abstract renderings inspired by the bloom and flush of bruises on skin. The results will either seem mournful or erotic, depending on who’s looking.

    To those familiar with his

  • “Aki Sasamoto: Delicate Cycle”

    Aki Sasamoto’s performances exist in a realm somewhere between Fluxus events, TED talks, and IKEA hacks. A delight in the physics of cause and effect seemingly propels the artist’s interactions within a landscape of MacGyvered devices. Sasamoto frequently implements repurposed housewares—mops, brooms, impossibly long forks—in her performances, and will continue that trend this fall at SculptureCenter for her first solo show at a US museum. Here, the artist will install washers and dryers as part of a new body of site-specific work centered on notions of cleanliness

  • 11th Gwangju Biennale: “The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)”

    “A place outside all places, outside of where.” This was, according to French philosopher and Islamic scholar Henry Corbin, the eighth climate—a realm first described by Persian theosophist Shahab al-Din al-Suhrawardi in the twelfth century as being accessible only via “psycho-spiritual senses.” Drawing inspiration from Suhrawardi’s antirationalist geography, this year’s Gwangju Biennale features projects by 101 artists, as well as lectures, discussions, and a publication accompanying the show. “The Eighth Climate (What Does Art Do?)” poses a question that has prompted

  • picks July 01, 2016

    Anna and Bernhard Blume

    If Hitchcock could have hired El Lissitzky as a set designer and cast Pee-wee Herman as a lead, the results might have looked a lot like Anna & Bernhard Blume’s oeuvre. In “Scenes from a Photo-Novel”—the couple’s first solo show in New York since 1989—grids of black-and-white photos and drawings storyboard the mounting terror of a priggish German couple, acted out by the Blumes themselves, as sculptural elements and household objects begin to run amok and hurtle through space, seemingly vivified by an unseen, vengeful telekinetic. The hyperbolic physical comedy of a Saturday-morning cartoon

  • diary June 05, 2016

    Land of Plenty

    WHEN IT COMES TO THE ARTS, Iceland has somehow figured out how to consistently punch above its weight. It may only have 323,000 residents. (Manhattan hasn’t been so small since 1820.) But it’s a country that, last year, managed to capture headlines and open international dialogue with its pavilion at the Venice Biennale, where Christoph Büchel set up a temporary mosque that was promptly shut down by Venetian authorities citing security concerns.

    As it turns out, a good many high-profile artists have Icelandic connections hidden in plain sight. Büchel lives in Iceland. Artist Roni Horn has a long

  • Asia-futurism

    IS IT POSSIBLE to be othered across time? For almost a century already, the myth of an Asian-inflected future has infiltrated imaginations worldwide. Vivid tableaux of the continent’s cities in hyperdrive, fueled by tech-enabled consumerism, come to mind with ease: Think of the vertical neon signs, the sleep-deprived gamers, the flesh-meets-machine of conveyor-belt sushi. Meanwhile, recent art history serves up examples of Asian artists (and East Asian artists in particular) whose pieces lay ground for even more fantastic futures to come: narratives populated by cyborg love and virtual-reality

  • John Gerrard

    “I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed,” Garry Winogrand once remarked. What sort of analogy results, and what are its limits, if photography is replaced with 3-D modeling in Winogrand’s oft-repeated dictum? Taking on such questions, John Gerrard chooses infrastructures stationed on far-flung sites as subjects of comprehensive documentation. With the aid of computer modeling and video-game engines, he compiles the results into something between digital time-lapse portraits and virtual tours. His first exhibition in China will