Johanna Fateman

  • Hannah Black

    The five large screens of Hannah Black’s video installation Beginning, End, None—a new iteration of a work from 2017—were suspended from the ceiling of the long, darkened gallery. They formed an austere procession of loosely edited montages, assembled from images of motes, slowly churning like stardust: ghostly computer-generated architectural renderings, scientific illustrations, a scorpion illuminated by a UV flashlight, and other found or casually shot material. While the configuration lent the space a hallowed ambience and gave the fragmented work a sense of order, it also had a disquieting


    Curated by Rujeko Hockley and Jane Panetta

    THE WHITNEY BIENNIAL, always a flash point for controversy, is front-loaded with it this year. As we witness the rapid consolidation of America’s oligarchy, art institutions flush with its cash have become subject to fresh activist scrutiny. Whitney-board vice chair Warren B. Kanders’s ownership of Safariland—the maker of tear-gas canisters used by border agents against migrants this past November—is a high-profile, hard-to-swallow fact, even if it is only the tip of the iceberg. But the show must go on, and fortunately, among the seventy-five artists


    ONE MORNING IN FEBRUARY, Nicole Eisenman introduces me to the enormous plaster guys in her studio. Guys is her word; she clarifies right away that she means it in a gender-neutral sense. The first one we look at sits sideways, legs crossed at the ankle, on the back of another who’s on all fours, head down, hands and knees planted resolutely to form a stable seat. The sitting guy’s big palms are outstretched in a beatific pose; they (singular) have a diamond-shaped thatch of wormlike hair growing from their flat chest, and nothing definitive at their crotch. But the uneventful meeting place of

  • Johanna Fateman

    1 GARY INDIANA, VILE DAYS: THE VILLAGE VOICE ART COLUMNS, 1985–1988 (SEMIOTEXT[E]; EDITED BY BRUCE HAINLEY) Intellectually generous and casually eviscerating, Gary Indiana, in his three years as an art columnist, embraced the pretension and debasement inherent to the weekly gig. This demi-doorstop of uncensored observations, high compliments, and serious shade reads like Bleak House as much as it does a collection of criticism—it’d make a great Christmas gift for someone who loves the former and wishes they could make it through the latter, as well as for those mourning the Voice (may it

  • Ree Morton

    Ree Morton’s first large-scale US museum exhibition since 1980, “The Plant That Heals May Also Poison,” at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art, captures the unparalleled, heartbreaking hot streak, from 1971 to 1977, that constitutes her brief career. She got a late start: She was married with three kids by age twenty-five, and her subsequent pursuit of an art education was as arduous as it was anomalous. And then she died tragically, in a car accident, when she was just forty. So all of her work is early work, and in this show curated by Kate Kraczon, we see her in flux, forging her

  • “Cheryl Donegan: GRLZ + VEILS” 

    Gingham is both motif and material in Cheryl Donegan’s boundless multimedia oeuvre, which since the 1990s has famously included performance and video as well as object making. In her paintings—the focus of this exhibition—the workaday checked print conjures the modernist grid as well as a pixelated expanse. untitled⎽jade green⎽neon red, 2016, one of the forty or so canvases that will be on view, is representative of Donegan’s sensibility (and sense of humor): It takes the name of a digital file but, with its appealingly

  • Judy Chicago

    In one startling painting from Judy Chicago’s show “PowerPlay: A Prediction” at Salon 94’s Bowery space this winter, a proud nude—a muscled and hairless man with his dick out—pisses deep into the ground. Thanks to the psychedelic, multi-perspectival composition of the scene, we can see a cross-section of the earth and his amber stream of pee flowing and widening until it runs out of canvas. His silhouette glows as the sun sets on a strange desert. It’s almost as if he stands at the base of the viscous formation in Georgia O’Keeffe’s Rust Red Hills, 1930—as if, were we able to zoom

  • Yayoi Kusama

    The experience of standing in line for hours in the cold, on the blustery West Side, in order to be immersed for forty-five seconds each in three successive environments by Yayoi Kusama falls somewhere, culturally speaking, between waiting to skate beneath the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center and staying out all night at a club in the hope that Grace Jones will show up. On the one hand, it’s tiring, touristy, and probably not worth it; on the other hand, it’s Yayoi Kusama. When the eighty-eight-year-old phenom signs her name with the regal title Avant-Garde Artist after a comma—as she


    IN 1973, Ana Mendieta, then an art student at the University of Iowa enrolled in Hans Breder’s Viennese Actionist–inspired Intermedia Program, staged an imprecise reenactment of the aftermath, as reported in the press, of the brutal rape and murder of her fellow student Sarah Ann Ottens. Mendieta invited her class to her small apartment, where she had left the door cracked open, so they could walk in and discover her tableau vivant of a corpse. You could say she wanted to trigger them.

    Forty-five years later, it’s not news that our culture is suffused with sexual violence, but, suddenly, the news

  • Charles Atlas

    Since the 1970s, Charles Atlas has worked at the limits of video technology with a range of luminous collaborators, from choreographers such as Merce Cunningham and Michael Clark to nightlife luminaries including Leigh Bowery, Dancenoise, and, recently, the raunchy leftist drag queen Lady Bunny. The Migros Museum, however, will present five multichannel installations that represent Atlas’s interests beyond performance-based work. One gallery will juxtapose Plato’s Alley, 2008, featuring an orderly black-and-white grid, with Institute for Turbulence Research, 2008, a

  • Kara Walker

    Kara Walker made all of the works for her September show at Sikkema Jenkins & Co. this past summer. She offers this information as a kind of afterthought, along with a dry, technical description of her awesome, stomach-turning output (“This is a show of works on paper and on linen, drawn and collaged using ink, blade, glue, and oil stick”) in the concluding paragraph of her accompanying statement. The text, save for its matter-of-fact ending, is an artful paroxysm of frustration and despair. Walker, an African American woman artist, who has for decades merged historical fact and fable to depict

  • Carey Young

    The quiet of Carey Young’s video Palais de Justice, 2017—also the title piece of her recent exhibition at Paula Cooper Gallery—is, in fact, an unrelenting roar. Footsteps and murmuring voices bounce off the endless marble surfaces of the eponymous domed, nineteenth-century court building in Brussels, reminding us of its architecture’s fearsome grandeur even in her closer shots. With Young, we spy on people, catching unguarded moments in corridors and peering into closed courtrooms to watch female judges at work. Shown as a large projection in a darkened room, the transfixing, dialogueless

  • picks October 06, 2017

    “War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics”

    Hands with rifles in them seem like better playthings for the devil than just idle ones, but most of the devastatingly beautiful nineteenth-century quilts on view here are the products of assiduous busywork that likely kept the British Empire’s working-class soldiers and sailors out of trouble in their leisure time. Blood-red, blue, gold, and cream hues dominate the rich, matte mosaics, which are sewn from thousands of tiny hexagons, diamonds, triangles, and squares, excised primarily from the heavy wool of military uniforms. While some of these quilts are embroidered with heraldic or narrative

  • Travis Boyer

    A fan who became a friend and an employee—and then an obsessed, disgruntled ex-employee—shot and killed the singer Selena Quintanilla-Pérez (known as Selena) in 1995, at a Days Inn in Corpus Christi, Texas, when the beloved “Queen of Tejano” was just twenty-three, and the Texas-born artist Travis Boyer was sixteen. He was a fan, too. For his exhibition at Signal Gallery in Brooklyn this summer, titled “Ahora y Nunca” (Now and Never), Boyer mined a long-standing daydream to present an array of Selena memorabilia, including an only partially visible treasure trove of Selena-related


    DIAMOND STINGILY tells me it’s important to keep a journal in order to look back, to see how you’ve changed. And, she adds, it’s even more important to see how you’ve stayed the same. The New York–based artist, who was born in 1990 and grew up on Chicago’s West Side, began writing at age eight in a diary given to her by one of her grandmothers—a Christmas-themed volume with a tiny padlock and Victorian-era white girls printed on its cover. In 2014, the carefully penned cursive text within was published as a foldout poster as Love, Diamond by Dominica, a press run by the artist’s friend and


    Camille Henrot renders the dysfunctions and perversities of everyday life in an Umbrellas of Cherbourg palette that makes them all the more absurd. Her imaginative and often profound multimedia work—which includes such things as giant watercolors, cartoonish phones, and mesmerizing zoetropes—tends to be immersive and disorienting, so her takeover of the Palais de Tokyo’s entire exhibition space should be a thrill. Organized in seven thematic parts, one for each day of the week, her show promises frescoes, drawings, installations, sculptures, and video works,

  • Maureen Gallace

    “Clear Day,” Maureen Gallace’s serene and dazzling retrospective at MoMA PS1, spans twenty-five years and includes more than seventy small oil paintings, though it seems there might be more like seven hundred of them, winding through the exhibition’s second floor in an airy parade. As you wander from room to room, the succession of white walls dramatizes not just the light-flooded intensity of Gallace’s canvases and their compact proportions (which hover around the intimate, sketch-book scale of nine by twelve inches), but the inexhaustibility and expansiveness of her narrow project. The artist

  • Johanna Fateman

    THE 78TH WHITNEY BIENNIAL is full of beautiful, smart, and trenchant art. It unfolds as a series of crisscrossing conversations and exhilarating moments where things simply feel good together—and yes, everything feels better in the new building. Cauleen Smith’s glittering, handmade banners, emblazoned with poetically mournful slogans in protest of black lives lost to racist violence, announce both the museum’s most inclusive Biennial yet and curators Christopher Y. Lew and Mia Locks’s attunement to injustices that long predate Trump’s win, but that are sure to tragically intensify under

  • Allyson Vieira

    In her two concurrent gallery exhibitions, sculptor Allyson Vieira leveraged the kind of aghast grief induced by images of whale autopsies—when we’re shown the colorful array of plastic bags cut from their stomachs—with a dose of the approving wonder inspired in us by straw-into-gold recycling feats. There’s a sober classicism to her strange urns and square, tapestry-like works made from postconsumer waste, as well as an efficient, impersonal quality to their mysterious serial production. These qualities fend off the threat of discordant wackiness that often curses such found-material


    From the vintage virtual realm of Neopia (home to magical Neopets) to online communities of Columbiners (devotees of the 1999 Colorado high school massacre), the young multimedia artist Bunny Rogers mines the morbid, sentimental, and emboldening cybermythologies of girl culture to produce talismanic objects and sorrowful installations. Her sensibility is inimitable—she finds impossible, resonant connections between disparate images or events—and her exquisitely handmade or fabricated objects, as well as her videos, are united by a startling,