Geoffrey Mak

  • picks June 06, 2020

    Richard Kennedy

    Richard Kennedy’s paintings and sculptures might be seen as an avatar, or extension, of his operas. For his 2019 show “(G)hosting” at Peres Projects, the artist presented an opera showcasing his talents in choreography and scenography, and narrated in four acts a murderous queer romance that begins on a dating app (an iPhone doubles as the work’s filming device). Reflecting on the entangled, racialized subject positions of the two characters (played by Kennedy and Christopher Argodale) and the language that both describes and scaffolds intimate affairs, Kennedy’s presentations regularly probe

  • diary February 10, 2020

    Nacht Fever

    “I'M NOT FUCKING WITH THIS,” declared Lafawndah, as she rushed backstage, upstairs at Griessmuehle after an hour-long sound check before her Saturday-night performance at Berlin’s CTM Festival. “I want to go back to the hotel,” she told one of the managers trailing behind her. There wasn’t enough time. I had been sitting with the night’s other performers in the backstage lounge when one of the festival organizers came in and announced that everyone had to leave: Lafawndah needed the room to herself, “for her voice.”

    Banished downstairs, we watched an opening DJ warm up the floor. “I kind of want

  • “Christine Sun Kim: Off The Charts”

    Curated by Henriette Huldisch

    Shit Hearing People Say to Me, 2019, a drawing by Christine Sun Kim, displays a pie chart with one segment labeled “My neighbor’s dog is deaf. You two should meet!” In another, Why My Hearing Parents Sign, 2019, a segment reads, “To make sure I feel loved.” Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’s “data portraits”—the strikingly modern infographics he created in 1900 to communicate the effects of racism on contemporary African American life—Kim’s pie charts, eleven of which will be on view at MIT, diagram the “Deaf rage” brought about by her interactions with hearing people.

  • picks July 26, 2019

    Christoph Keller, Tao Hui, Hito Steyerl

    The poor image, Hito Steyerl famously opined, is a monad that bears the traces of its circulation, evidence of “anonymous global networks” that represent “a shared history.” In this exhibition, these pieces of digital debris populate Steyerl’s collages as well as her video The Tower, 2015, which considers Saddam Hussein’s efforts to recreate the Tower of Babel alongside the story of a Ukrainian design firm responsible for producing 3-D renderings of emergency simulations. Here, floating images function as autonomous forms within a fragmented and hypermediated reality.

    Contextual collapse also

  • picks February 22, 2019

    Kenzi Shiokava

    Most of Kenzi Shiokava’s sculptures consist of organic matter, like bark and dragon-tree fronds, combined with found materials, such as chicken wire or brooms. In Untitled (Urban Totem Series), 2000, an upright railroad tie narrows into two sharp prongs at the top. Of a similar shape, Untitled (Urban Totem Series), 2005, was carved from a discarded telephone pole. Each sculpture resembles a statuesque humanoid form.

    “For any discarded material that has gone through the process of history and humanization [there] is the potential of presence,” Shiokava wrote for the wall text. Such histories are

  • picks January 05, 2019

    Christine Sun Kim

    A thirty-six-foot-long mural greets the viewer at the entrance to Christine Sun Kim’s exhibition. Finish Forever, 2018, depicts five stacked symmetrical shapes, each resembling a double-sided ladle, face down. These forms are part of the notations that Kim, who is Deaf, has invented for the sweeping arm gestures used in American Sign Language (ASL). The ladle shape signifies the word finish. Its repetition here could mean, “It was finished a long time ago,” or “Please stop already!” or the titular neologism, “Finish forever.”

    In the eighteen drawings on view, Kim expands on her visualizations of

  • picks September 25, 2018

    Eugenia P. Butler

    Eugenia P. Butler’s The Kitchen Table, 1993, is a fifteen-hour collection of videos originally produced for the Art/LA fair in which various artists (including Allan Kaprow and Joan Jonas) have dinner and talk about art. In the context of the fair, Butler’s video presents talk itself as a medium—what she called “dialogic sculpture”—though the conversations are less serious than this description might suggest (much like Butler herself, who would smile and crack jokes in cartoon voices when filmed). Avuncular feels like the right word.

    The Kitchen Table is part of the Box’s wide-ranging exhibition