Johanna Fateman

  • Taylor Mead, Fairy Tale Poem, sheet 8 (They both lost!), 2012, ink and acrylic on paper, 28 1/2 x 20 5/8".
    picks January 26, 2012

    Taylor Mead

    A skull-sized dent in the canvas of Andy as the Odalisque, 1994, is just about level with Warhol’s head in Taylor Mead’s portrait of his influential friend and collaborator (Mead starred in a number of early Warhol films). But the painting loses none of its camp or neo-Expressionist charm to this accidental feature—Warhol’s dashed-off form is a rosy, abstract bulwark with a soup can and flowers perched nearby. His signature mop of hair is rendered in greenish iridescent plumes applied straight from the tube. The other paintings made between 1974 and 1994 grouped in the gallery’s back room—portraits,

  • Billy Childish, Lt. Sydney A. Cloman, First Infantry, on His Horse on the Wounded Knee Battleground, 2010, oil and charcoal on linen, 60 1/4 x 96”.
    picks November 15, 2011

    Billy Childish

    Foreboding skies, strange foliage, and shadowy figures are busy with swirling and knotted brushstrokes in “I Am the Billy Childish.” The whorls of unrealistic colors on these canvases unmistakably recall van Gogh, but Billy Childish’s sincere embrace of the post-Impressionist’s gesture is assimilated into his distinct, punk-painterly economy: The swaths of taupe in Lt. Sydney A. Cloman, First Infantry, on His Horse on the Wounded Knee Battleground, 2010, are unpainted linen; his dandy palette of avocado, robin’s-egg blue, and hot pink in the bramble of Russian Shepherd Boy, 2011, is very much

  • Joan Semmel, Crossed Legs, 2011, oil on canvas, 48 x 48".
    picks April 28, 2011

    Joan Semmel

    One could call Joan Semmel, icon of the 1970s women’s art movement, her own muse, if her ever-evolving tradition of feminist figuration did not so methodically refuse such romantic notions. Vanity is absent from her four decades of frank self-portraiture, as is introspection. Instead, Semmel’s paintings give the impression that she has pragmatically chosen the naked woman closest at hand to forward her interrogation of the female nude. Her latest exhibition features recent works where her body is older, of course, and she does not apologize for this semitaboo self-exposure. Semmel describes her

  • David Wojnarowicz, Untitled (Bread Sculpture),1988–89, bread, string, needle, newspaper, 13 x 3 x 6”.
    picks March 11, 2011

    David Wojnarowicz

    Controversy has introduced David Wojnarowicz—artist, writer, AIDS activist, and legendary figure of the 1980s downtown scene—to a new generation nearly twenty years after his death. Last November, the Smithsonian Institution removed a video excerpt of his unfinished 1986–87 film A Fire in My Belly from the National Portrait Gallery following objections from the Catholic League and members of Congress, whose outrage focused on a supposedly blaspheming detail from the film: a shot of ants crawling over a crucifix.

    As Internet versions of Fire went viral, misconceptions about the work also spread.

  • Johanna Fateman


    1. Kiki and Herb (Royal Albert Hall, London) Finally a venue grand enough to showcase the hallucinatory architecture of this duo’s masterful, genre-spanning medleys. Kiki and Herb—looking fantastic—delivered their coup de grâce (“Total Eclipse of the Heart”) to a confounded audience waiting patiently for headline act the Scissor Sisters.

    2. White Magic, Through the Sun Door (Drag City) Mira Bilotte’s voice is beautiful and the production is trippy. Perfect songs for feeling sad—or spending the night alone in a haunted house.

    3. Tracy & the Plastics, Culture for Pigeon (Troubleman