Domenick Ammirati

  • Cheryl Dunn, Moments Like These Never Last, 2021, DCP, color, 96 minutes. Dash Snow.
    film September 04, 2021

    Prodigal Son

    FOR THE UNINITIATED: Dash Snow was a New York City street kid, graffiti writer, and artist who died at in 2009 age twenty-seven of a heroin overdose, leaving behind an infant daughter, a partner, and many grieving friends. These are facts. He left behind little in the way of art-historical significance. This is an opinion, though one with which most presumptive experts agree. I mention this only to clarify the stakes of a new documentary about Snow. Moments Like These Never Last is a movie about a debatably compelling personality whose arc pierced an art world enthralled by youth, glamour, and

  • The Hotel Roosevelt’s Hockney-muraled pool. All photos by author.
    diary August 06, 2021

    A Bigger Splash

    AMONG THE MANY PROBLEMS the United States finds itself confronting in the summer of 2021 is a shortage of chlorine for its swimming pools. This shortage is not, as you might guess, because of ongoing hygiene theater or because you can cure Covid by injecting yourself with bleach. Rather it results from the (accidental) detonation one year ago of a chemical plant in Louisiana that produces half the US supply of chlorine tablets. Despite some workarounds, the explosion put a crimp in the sanitizing pipeline.

    Los Angeles is a town smitten with swimming pools, absolutely nuts for them. During the

  • Justine Kurland, Twilight, 2021, collage, 9 3⁄4 × 24 3⁄4".

    Justine Kurland

    Justine Kurland’s latest exhibition “SCUMB Manifesto” found her swerving for the first time from photography to a more plastic medium and a loosely conceptual framework, yet with her usual mode of expression still in mind. Kurland has taken up collage, but with a provocative and very specific set of raw materials: The artist culled her extensive photo-book library of its roughly 150 volumes by white men and went at them with an X-Acto. SCUMB (Society for Cutting Up Men’s Books) is, obviously, a tribute to Valerie Solanas’s hilarious, violent, and critically perspicacious SCUM Manifesto (1967).

  • A Mungo Thomson work in Karma Gallery’s booth at Frieze New York. Photo: Casey Kelbaugh/Frieze.
    diary May 12, 2021

    Yard Sale

    FRIEZE’S LITTLE CARNIVAL SNUCK UP ON US, much like Andrew Yang’s mayoral campaign. Fellow New Yorkers, I implore you, do not space on the primary election (June 22), and do not vote for this jovial empty suit. Perhaps his support for the recent Israeli violence in Palestine will have gotten your attention? The motherfucker will trade affordable housing for the Olympics or an Iron Dome. It will just be Bloomberg 2.0, which resulted in criminal offenses like Hudson Yards.

    Hudson Yards, coincidentally, was the site of this year’s Frieze art fair, which abandoned Randall’s Island for the first time


    WHITNEY CLAFLIN’S EARLY PAINTINGS were all ground, patterned found fabrics and weltering marks encrusted with street garbage and drugstore staples—a compact disc, a necklace, a club-entry wristband, eye shadow, psoriasis cream. Her 2014 exhibition “Crows” at Real Fine Arts in Brooklyn appeared to showcase a departure: Claflin filled the gallery with a suite of wide-open works featuring diaphanous clouds, drips, spatters, and clusters of spiky strokes arrayed on white backgrounds. From paintings that were all ground, she had moved to paintings that were all gesture, and in so doing she created

  • Taylor Swift performs during the 55th Academy of Country Music Awards at the Grand Ole Opry on September 16, 2020, in Nashville, Tennessee. Photo: ACMA2020/Getty Images for ACM.
    music April 07, 2021

    Taylor Made

    SPRING IS IN THE AIR, and with it the buzz of a new work by that most accomplished execrator of man-children, a musical artist who penetrates deep into the American psyche with ballads of love and loss: That’s right, Taylor Swift is dropping an album. Yes, there is that other icon with a record out, nostalgiste de la boue Lana del Rey, the voice that launched a thousand think pieces, but now is the time to give the author of “Dear John” the intellectual consideration she so richly deserves. It’s a love story—just say yes.

    Swift’s newest venture is to revisit an old one: a rerecording of her

  • Margaret Lee, B.I., 16, 2020, oil and news­-paper on linen, 68 × 50". From the series “B.I.,” 2020.

    Margaret Lee

    The visitor to Margaret Lee’s latest exhibition at Jack Hanley Gallery, her first New York solo show in five years, might be forgiven for having thought they’d walked through the wrong door. In the main gallery was a series of abstract oil paintings titled “B. I.,” 2020, each some five-and-a-half feet high by four feet wide, done in a calm restricted palette of lavender, gray, and black, with patchy rectangles the predominant motif. The canvases were simple, not overworked; sometimes the linen wasn’t even fully gessoed. A few featured large, ambiguous, and roughly geometric icons—what you might

  • Matt Keegan, 1996 (2020, Inventory Press).
    books January 20, 2021

    After Party

    IN FALL 2020, artist Matt Keegan produced an artist book called 1996, a compendium of ephemera, essays, and interviews circling around the year in question, which Keegan sees as a tipping point for the American left—the moment its capitulation to neoliberalism was complete. It also happens to be the first birth year for Gen Z, whose members have recently begun populating Keegan’s art-school classes. In trying to come to grips with shifts in American electoral politics, ensure that key histories are passed on to posterity, and chart changes in queer identity, the book provides a nonfatalistic,

  • View of “ART CLUB2000: Selected Works 1992–1999,” 2020–21, Artists Space, New York. Reinstallation of “Commingle,” 1993. Photo: Filip Wolak.

    ART CLUB2000

    THE YEAR: 1993. The Roaring Nineties had kicked off, Royal Trux and Mystery Science Theater 3000 ruled the airwaves, the taps ran clear with Crystal Pepsi. And in New York, a collective of undergraduates called ART CLUB2000 achieved a peculiar brand of low-key renown with a series of photographs of themselves sporting outfits from the Gap and posed in various locales around the city. The group slouched all over the tony furniture in a home-decor emporium, noshed in a doughnut shop, perused the library at the offices of Art in America,

  • James Luna, Half Indian/Half Mexican, 1991, gelatin silver print, 5' 4" × 12'.

    James Luna

    James Luna first performed Take a Picture with a Real Indian in 1991 at the Whitney Museum of American Art’s branch at Federal Reserve Plaza in New York’s Financial District. In the piece, Luna presents himself as if seen through the eyes of a tourist cruising past a reservation on one of America’s byways. The artist delivers a monologue in three parts while attired three different ways: First, he wears only a breechcloth and moccasins, offering himself up as a kind of noble savage; next, typical American street clothes: slacks and a black crew-neck tee; and finally a stereotypical war-dance

  • Gene Beery, What Is the Formula?, ca. 2000s, acrylic on canvas, 20 × 16".

    Gene Beery

    Gene Beery’s life is thoroughly imbricated with his art, so to fully understand this mini-survey, a little background is in order. In the early 1960s, Beery did the New York art thing: He worked at the Museum of Modern Art, became friends with Sol LeWitt and James Rosenquist, and with his text-centric neo-Dadaist paintings landed a 1963 debut at Alexander Iolas’s renowned gallery. Then, abruptly, he bolted to California, where he ended up settling in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas on a remote plot that he dubbed the Logoscape Ranch. He’s lived there with his family ever since, peppering

  • Works by Gene Beery at Bodega. Photo: Domenick Ammirati.
    diary August 03, 2020

    Low Relief

    I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, dear reader, but I really have not been getting out much. I hunkered down the second week in March, resurfaced briefly for some protests, and then resumed the shadowy, unproductive, vaguely counterfactual Covid-era life—a weird, slow-dripping speedball of paranoia and complacence topped off with knifing hangovers of despair. It’s gotten a little old. Therefore, when asked by the editors to report back from Thursday’s L.E.S. Summer Night—an evening of gently extended hours among some thirty-odd Lower East Side pandemic-parched galleries waiting open-mouthed for a quenching