Johanna Fateman

  • “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

  • FULLY LOADED: POWER AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

    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

  • OPENINGS: DIAMOND STINGILY

    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: DAYS ARE DOGS”

    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

  • BUNNY ROGERS

    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,

  • “CANDY JERNIGAN: A COUPLE OF PENCILS AND SOME PAPER”

    Candy Jernigan indexed tiny found things—including Cheez Doodles, crack vials, and chewing gum—in her drawings and assemblages, the faux dispassion of her intimate illustrational style (which extended even to her found-object collage work) somehow imbuing familiar, throwaway items with pathos and personality. This category-defying artist, who deserves far greater recognition than she has received to date, died of cancer at age thirty-nine in 1991, leaving behind a singular body of work documenting her short life, as well as the accumulation of drug paraphernalia

  • Wangechi Mutu

    Absent from “Ndoro Na Miti,” Wangechi Mutu’s latest exhibition at Gladstone Gallery, were her signature collage elements—the magazine lips, eyes, and limbs and the cut-up animal imagery that have previously marked the fantastical, hybrid female protagonists in her work. The only paper on view was in the form of pulp. The Kenyan-born, Brooklyn-based artist mixed it with wood glue and red soil to form many of the austere and otherworldly objects in her show, whose title translates from Gikuyu as “Mud and Trees.” With her striking installation of figurative and abstract sculptures, most of

  • picks March 10, 2017

    Ken Tisa

    For “Objects/Time/Offerings,” Ken Tisa has transformed the gallery into a magical grotto, decorated with all manner of beautiful and funny things from his extensive collections. Dolls, puppets, masks, devotional objects, trinkets, and artworks from every continent mingle in dense, layered arrangements along with campy ephemera, dollar-store treasures, and the artist’s own small colorful paintings from the 1980s and 1990s. A wall-spanning grid of more than three hundred of the paintings, each just eight inches tall, is the result of a long-standing daily practice, reflecting Tisa’s sponge-like

  • interviews March 02, 2017

    Becca Albee

    In her slyly personal, obsessively researched work, Brooklyn-based artist Becca Albee uses photography, video, sculpture, and scent to evoke overlooked historical figures and cultural moments. Her current solo show, “prismataria,” curated by Jeanne Gerrity, employs a custom rotating light fixture to bathe an enigmatic suite of photographs, many depicting feminist books, in cyan, magenta, and yellow while an energizing blend of essential oils is diffused in the space. The show is on view at Et al. in San Francisco through March 11, 2017.

    THE FIRST TIME I VISITED HILAIRE HILER’S PRISMATARIUM, an

  • Katharina Grosse

    The acclaimed German painter Katharina Grosse is known for her boundless approach to her chosen medium, spraying with an industrial paint gun not only canvases, but also mounds of soil, uprooted trees, architecture, sculptural elements, and—for the pleasure of beach-goers last summer—an entire one-story building, inside and out. In Rockaway!, 2016, a startling neo-Earthwork, superhuman gestures in wild sunset hues transformed a decaying structure, part of the old Fort Tilden army base on the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens, that was condemned in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation.