Jennifer Krasinski

  • Kembra Pfahler. Photo: Jean Toir.
    interviews June 16, 2022

    Kembra Pfahler

    I first heard about the work of performer, musician and artist Kembra Pfahler in the early ’90s when a friend told me she’d seen a Richard Kern film—Sewing Circle (1992)—that documented Pfahler getting her vagina sewn shut. I recall her gesture making me feel sad and a little sick, yet I mostly felt deep admiration for the extremity of her self-possession. Here she was taking on rape culture (among other violences), prohibiting the penetration of her body by means of needle and thread, the classic tools of “woman’s work.” Perhaps best known for her death rock project the Voluptuous Horror of

  • An interview with fierce pussy from Lauren O’Neill-Butler’s Let’s Have a Talk: Conversations with Women on Art and Culture (Karma, 2021).
    interviews March 04, 2022

    Lauren O’Neill-Butler

    As a writer, critic, and erstwhile senior editor at Artforum, Lauren O’Neill-Butler has made an art of the interview format, having conducted well over one hundred and fifty over the past thirteen years. Her latest book, Let’s Have a Talk: Conversations with Women on Art and Culture (Karma), collects many of them, in effect putting a disparate group of artists, writers, and thinkers including Adrian Piper, Alex Bag, Sturtevant, Lorraine O’Grady and others into a kind of dialogue with one another. Here the interviewee, O’Neill-Butler talks about the value of public speech, the formidable craft

  • Maria Lassnig, Selbstporträt als Tier (Self-Portrait as Animal), 1963, oil on canvas, 39 1⁄4 × 28 3⁄4".

    Maria Lassnig

    The great Austrian artist Maria Lassnig (1919–2014) lived in Paris from 1960 to 1968, having moved there from Vienna in search of possibility: to find a place where a woman’s art would be given the same thought and attention as that of her male peers, and to steep herself in the ongoing exploits of an electrifying avant-garde. Whatever she encountered in the City of Light—and whether despite or because of what and who surrounded her there—those years heralded a hefty shift in her practice. Lassnig expanded the playing field of her paintings beyond the reactive, rebellious surfaces of art informel

  • Suellen Rocca, Departure, 2012, oil on canvas, 30 × 30".

    Suellen Rocca

    In art, as in dreams, the everyday often finds itself transposed into the realms of the symbolic, the archetypal. Personal is the word Suellen Rocca (1943–2020) preferred for the simple enough stuff that appears throughout her paintings and drawings: Fish, birds, weeds, boats, chairs, houses, and more populated the twenty-eight works in this moving show, including three oil paintings and five drawings the artist made in the last year of her life. In the mid- to late 1960s, when the young Rocca made her debut alongside the other Chicago-based trickster talents who called themselves the Hairy Who,

  • View of “Michael Mahalchick,” 2021.

    Michael Mahalchick

    The unsung moment of real terror in classic Hollywood monster movies happens when the camera pushes in for a close-up on some bloodthirsty fiend, only to reveal a pair of human eyes peering through the prosthetics. It’s a momentary rip in the fiction, divulging the fact that a person, an actor no less, is at the center of the fear, mayhem, and death unfolding before us—proving that underneath it all, we ourselves are the monsters. Michael Mahalchick’s aptly titled show “US” starred approximately four hundred latex masks cast from the cheap store-bought kind, to which he then adhered still more

  • Laura Parnes, Tour Without End: Twenty-One Portraits and a Protest, 2014–19, digital video, color, sound, 92 minutes. From left: Cameron (Jim Fletcher) and Cookie (Kate Valk).

    Laura Parnes

    Guilt frames Laura Parnes’s feature-length video Tour Without End: Twenty-One Portraits and a Protest, 2014–19, on view as part of the artist’s multiplatform installation at Pioneer Works. In its opening sequence, Joan (played by musician Lizzi Bougatsos) sings a song on-screen in a voice that’s at once sultry and girlish: “I feel guilt / I feel guilt / Though I know I’ve done no wrong I feel guilt.” As her lament continues, Parnes cuts moments later to a view out a car window through which we see a sign declaring HILLARY FOR PRISON 2016, then to a white lifted truck flying an American flag,

  • Milford Graves, Spooky Jungle, 2020, acrylic and mixed media on paper, 23 × 18".

    Milford Graves

    The fundamental task of a musician, according to Milford Graves (1941–2021), was in many ways straightforward: “We’re here to make that eardrum vibrate,” he said, believing that music worked its substantial powers in this way, healing the human body, mind, and spirit. He started on his path as a percussionist who played rhythms that were so far out, so singular, that even his fellow free-jazz practitioners couldn’t always keep up. (“Play time, man,” he recalled being chided.) But Graves understood that, in the same way that a heart is not a metronome—its cadence is subject to subtle

  • Kathleen Ryan, Jackie, 2021, azurite-malachite, lapis lazuli, agate, black onyx, brecciated jasper, moss agate, malachite, calcite, labradorite, rose quartz, smoky quartz, Ching Hai jade, red aventurine, carnelian, citrine, amethyst, quartz, acrylic, polystyrene, fiberglass, nails, steel pins, wood, 66 × 90 × 86". From the series “Bad Fruit,” 2018–.

    Kathleen Ryan

    When working inside the belly of the beast—say, within an art market fueled by extreme wealth and its cultural and political influence—artists, or anyone for that matter, inevitably think about survival, about matters of shelf life. Most of the works in Kathleen Ryan’s recent show at Karma were part of her “Bad Fruit” series, 2018–, exquisite oversize sculptures of overripe lemons and cherries meticulously fabricated from glass beads, crystals, and semiprecious stones. Hers is a triumph of trompe l’oeil decay, rot rendered as intricately and seductively as a piece of high jewelry. Bad Lemon (

  • Moki Cherry, Painting About Life, 1968, lacquer on canvas, 24 3⁄8 × 30 3⁄8".

    Don and Moki Cherry

    Family, too, is a form, one that deserves an unbounded imagination as to its purpose and possibilities. From the end of the 1960s until the late 1970s, American avant-garde jazz legend Don Cherry (1936–1995) and his partner, Swedish artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943–2009), along with their two children, Neneh and Eagle-Eye, united the domestic, creative, and spiritual planes to model a way of being. Best known at that time for his work with Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane, Don knew all too well that clubs, while certainly sacred spaces, were often shaped by commercial interests that limited

  • Kazuko Miyamoto, Formation I, 1980, paper, twigs, wood, 97 × 55 × 4".

    Kazuko Miyamoto

    In a photograph of Kazuko Miyamoto’s 1981 performance Stunt (181 Chrystie Street), she is nude save for a dark mask over her eyes. In a shoulder stand on the ground, with her legs scissored overhead, she looks toward the camera, striking a pose of impish seduction. Looming behind her, oddly, are some serious id killers: a couple of Sol LeWitt grid sculptures that she, in her job as his fabricator, had built for him. This is the body that makes that work, she seems to say, the softness of her flesh kinking the Minimalist’s cool logic. Here she is both model and maker—an object of desire amid

  • Leopold Strobl, Untitled (2020–038), 2020, graphite and colored pencil on newsprint mounted on paper, 2 1/2 × 3".

    Leopold Strobl

    What distinguishes the work of an artist from the mere production of a work of art? Process, in part. And that of sixty-year-old Austrian artist Leopold Strobl—whose drawings were featured in “One,” his second solo show in New York—seems closer to meditation or prayer. He begins his day in the early hours, leafing through newspapers, looking for photographs of interest—not an easy task, by his lights. When he lands on one, he cuts it out, glues it to another piece of paper, and embellishes it with graphite and colored pencils. The result looks as though it could have been ripped out of the hands

  • View of “Shahryar Nashat: Force Life,” 2020. Foreground, from left: Brain (are you nervous in this system), 2020; Barre (when will you get rid of my body), 2020; Brain (you no longer have to simulate), 2020. Background: Blood (what is authority), 2020. Photo: Denis Doorly.

    Adam Linder and Shahryar Nashat

    CONTEXT MAY NOT BE EVERYTHING, but it is inescapable. And for the New York performance/art world, no context in recent memory was more highly anticipated than the Marie-Josée and Henry Kravis Studio, unveiled as part of the Museum of Modern Art’s celebrated $450 million renovation. The Studio was billed as a “new live space dedicated to performance, music, sound, spoken word, and expanded approaches to the moving image.” That seemed like a lot to relegate to what was revealed to be a modestly sized “state of the art” gallery (standing