Jennifer Krasinski

  • 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

  • Thomas Ostermeier, History of Violence, 2019. Rehearsal views, St. Ann’s Warehouse, New York, November 12, 2019. Édouard (Laurenz Laufenberg) and Reda (Renato Schuch).

    TRUE CRIME

    AT THE TOP of Thomas Ostermeier’s History of Violence, the German theater director’s adaptation of Édouard Louis’s 2016 autobiographical novel, three performers clad head to toe in protective hoods and coveralls mark the stage as a crime scene, placing numbered placards at points across the floor. As one begins to dust for fingerprints, another records the procedure on video, live-streaming it in close-up onto a stark white wall looming behind them. Soon, an ominous image of a brush stirring up a cloud of fine powder dissolves into one of falling snow. It is Christmas in Paris and Édouard is

  • Exhibition view of “The Wooster Group,” 2019–20.
    picks January 10, 2020

    The Wooster Group

    Negotiating posterity is a weird task for theater artists. Live performance may be impermanent by nature, but there’s limited virtue in being completely lost to time. Which is why this compact yet potent show from the archives of the mighty Wooster Group is so gratifying and compelling: It gives audiences glimpses—both onstage and off—into some of the most essential, influential, and ingenious productions from their nearly fifty-year run as a company.

    Vitrines offer up ephemera for the browsing: performance stills, Playbills, scribbled-in scripts, meticulous set drawings, and correspondence both

  • Hilma af Klint, Grupp IX/UW, Duvan, nr 9 (Group IX/UW, The Dove, no. 9), 1915, oil on canvas, 60 3⁄8 × 50 1⁄4". © Hilma af Klint Foundation.

    “Hilma af Klint: Artist, Researcher, Medium”

    Curated by Iris Müller-Westermann and Milena Høgsberg

    That she, a mystic—and a woman, no less—would one day draw record-breaking crowds to stand before her divine abstractions likely would not have surprised Hilma af Klint (1862–1944). “Non-Objectivity will be the religion of the future,” she once declared. Painting, for her, was more than a matter of aesthetics; it was a higher calling. Curators Iris Müller-Westermann and Milena Høgsberg will be the next to tackle af Klint’s prodigious output, filling the whole of the Moderna Museet Malmö with 230 of her works. Those who take the time to pore

  • Sarah Michelson, june2019:I/\, 2019. Rehearsal view, 101 Greenwich Street, New York, June 23, 2019. Sarah Michelson. Photo: Paula Court.

    Jennifer Krasinski

    A PERFORMANCE must be believed to be seen. I likely hang its appearance on an act of faith because I—raised Catholic in the Midwest—received my first exposure to theater by watching men in elaborately brocaded dresses conduct mass every Sunday. (As it turns out, church was also my primer on camp.) Applause was inappropriate, prayer was encouraged, and many years later the two otherwise adverse gestures still share a synapse in my head, one standing in for the other—sometimes.

    Which brings me to the frigid Friday in January when I arrived at a Shabbat dinner hosted by comedic singer-songwriter