Julia Bryan-Wilson

  • Cheryl Dunye, Mommy Is Coming, 2012, still from a color video, 65 minutes. Hans Eberhardt (Wieland Speck) and Helen Eberhardt (Maggie Tapert).

    Cheryl Dunye’s Mommy Is Coming

    “BLACK FEMALE FILMMAKER” might be the most obvious label with which to describe Cheryl Dunye, but it fails to capture the way in which she explodes categorical pieties, not only regarding medium but also in terms of sexual and racial politics. In the early 1990s, Dunye became known for experimental videos that frankly and humorously addressed black lesbian sexuality, such as She Don’t Fade, 1991, and The Potluck and the Passion, 1993. These short videos were shown in art contexts (including the Whitney Biennial) and played in queer film festivals around the world. Dunye’s breakthrough mock

  • Zoe Strauss, Mom Were OK, 2005, color photograph, 12 x 18".

    “Zoe Strauss: Ten Years”

    From 2000 (when she bought herself a camera for her thirtieth birthday) until 2010, untrained photographer Zoe Strauss documented the strangers and architecture she encountered in her hometown of Philadelphia and in her travels.

    From 2000 (when she bought herself a camera for her thirtieth birthday) until 2010, untrained photographer Zoe Strauss documented the strangers and architecture she encountered in her hometown of Philadelphia and in her travels. The resultant bracing images reflect the harsh realities of late capitalism and at the same time capture glimpses of love. Each May, Strauss would hang the prints and sell color photocopies of them for five dollars in a one-day-only exhibition under an I-95 overpass. This show, the artist’s first major retrospective, revisits that decadelong

  • Asco, Asshole Mural, 1975, color photograph. From the series “No Movie,” 1973–78. From left: Patssi Valdez, Gronk (Glugio Nicandro), Willie F. Herrón III, Harry Gamboa Jr. Photo: Ricardo Valverde.

    CLOSE-UP:

    FOUR STYLISHLY DRESSED FIGURES stand around the gaping mouth of a storm drain. Core members of the East Los Angeles Chicano collective Asco—Patssi Valdez, Gronk (Glugio Nicandro), Willie F. Herrón III, and Harry Gamboa Jr.—they face the camera with unsmiling, cool expressions. The men have tucked their hands into the pockets of their natty suits, while Valdez, clad in beige slacks and a floral bustier, leans back casually against a concrete barrier as if posing for a fashion spread. The picture’s title, Asshole Mural, turns a scatological joke into a high-concept variation on muralism,

  • Asco, Termites y Guerrero, 1975. Performance view during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), East Los Angeles, 1975. Photo: Ricardo Valverde. From “Asco: Elite of the Obscure, A Retrospective, 1972–1987.”

    “Pacific Standard Time”

    “PACIFIC STANDARD TIME: ART IN L.A., 1945–1980”

    VARIOUS VENUES · October 1, 2011– April 2012

    WHAT IS THE STORY OF POSTWAR AMERICAN ART? When it’s told as a fabled West Coast–versus–East Coast matchup, Los Angeles is typically cast as a brash, vulgar upstart, pitted against a sleeker, more cosmopolitan New York. Familiar episodes are trotted out to emphasize an aesthetic of dazzle and doom ostensibly unique to Southern California—say, the early debut of Pop art, with Andy Warhol’s soup cans premiering at the Ferus Gallery in 1962; the finish-fetishists’ embrace of industrial luster; Chris

  • Asco, Termites y Guerrero, 1975. Performance view during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), East Los Angeles, 1975. Photo: Ricardo Valverde.

    “Pacific Standard Time: Art in L.A., 1945–1980”

    What is the story of Postwar American art? When it’s told as a fabled West Coast–versus–East Coast matchup, Los Angeles is typically cast as a brash, vulgar upstart, pitted against a sleeker, more cosmopolitan New York.

    What is the story of Postwar American art? When it’s told as a fabled West Coast–versus–East Coast matchup, Los Angeles is typically cast as a brash, vulgar upstart, pitted against a sleeker, more cosmopolitan New York. Familiar episodes are trotted out to emphasize an aesthetic of dazzle and doom ostensibly unique to Southern California—say, the early debut of Pop art, with Andy Warhol’s soup cans premiering at the Ferus Gallery in 1962; the finish-fetishists’ embrace of industrial luster; Chris Burden being shot in the arm. It has become a tired tale.

    About a decade ago, in 2002, the Getty

  • Adrian Paci, Centro di Permanenza Temporanea, 2007, still from a color video, 5 minutes 30 seconds.

    “The Workers”

    “The Workers” proposes that the status of labor in our current economic climate is still up for debate, bringing together roughly forty pieces by twenty-five international artists and collectives including Allan Sekula, Emily Jacir, Harun Farocki, Laboratorio 060, and Yoshua Okón.

    That ain’t working”: The refrain from the 1985 Dire Straits hit sums up the widespread demotion of cultural production from the ranks of honest labor to mere fun and games. According to this worldview, artists get “money for nothing,” not to mention “chicks for free.” “The Workers” proposes that the status of labor in our current economic climate is still up for debate, bringing together roughly forty pieces (some made specifically for the show) in a wide range of media, by twenty-five international artists and collectives including Allan Sekula,

  • Crafting session for Stephanie Syjuco’s The Counterfeit Crochet Project (Critique of a Political Economy), 2006–2008. Installation view, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, 2008.

    craft and commerce

    AT AI WEIWEI’S EXHIBITION at Tate Modern in London this past October, visitors tromping around in his installation of a hundred million handpainted porcelain sunflower seeds allegedly kicked up dangerous clouds of ceramic particles, prompting museum administrators to cordon off the work only a few days after its unveiling. Though the proverbial dust seems to have settled, the specter of outsourced labor that hovered over the masses of individually crafted seeds (made in Jingdezhen, China, a city known for its porcelain production) continues to inform debates about the ethics of hand-making in

  • INSIDE JOB: THE ART OF CAREY YOUNG

    IN AN OFT-QUOTED SPEECH FROM 1969, Fred Hampton, deputy chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party, proclaimed: “When I leave, you can remember I said, with the last words on my lips, that I am a revolutionary, and you are going to have to keep on saying that.” British artist Carey Young appears to take up this charge, but in a very different tenor, in her 2001 video I Am a Revolutionary. Here Young has hired a business-skills trainer who patiently coaches her to say the phrase convincingly. Clad in a business suit, the artist begins: “My name is Carey Young. I am a revolutionary.” With the

  • Cristóbal Lehyt

    From Gustave Courbet’s stone breakers to task-based dance, artists have variously attempted to depict the laboring body. Chilean-born, New York–based Cristóbal Lehyt’s latest solo endeavor also references industry, effort, and production: The show consists of a series of 260 paintings (the number of weekdays in a year) and a large plywood box containing dozens of tangled and woven string sculptures that obliquely refer to textile manufacturing and its obsolescence. Though the exhibition is the culmination of the artist’s 2008–2009 residency at Harvard University’s David Rockefeller Center for

  • the Creative Time Summit

    WITH THE CLEAR-CUT CLASHES OF THE BUSH YEARS giving way to the increasingly ponderous political atmosphere of Obama, it might seem rather belated to hold a conference dedicated to the blurring of activism, art, and advocacy—a field variously called relational, tactical, dialogic, or community-based. Yet critical discourse around these practices has largely stagnated, and fresh thinking is needed, given the shifting antagonisms, conciliations, and polarizations that attend the current administration. It was with acute awareness of this situation that Nato Thompson organized “The Creative Time

  • Katarzyna Kozyra, Summertale, 2008, still from a color video, 20 minutes 30 seconds.

    “Virtuoso Illusion”

    This exhibition examines how artists have long used drag not just to genderbend but also to invent new personae using a range of technologies.

    This exhibition examines how artists have long used drag not just to genderbend but also to invent new personae using a range of technologies. Featuring videos, installations, photographs, and documentation of performances by many of the usual suspects (Claude Cahun, Andy Warhol, the inevitable Matthew Barney), it also includes bracing trans and queer work by Katarzyna Kozyra, Kalup Linzy, and Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn. But in line with the exhibition’s subtitle, “Cross Dressing and the New Media Avant-Garde,” it seems to be Ryan Trecartin who is the engine driving the

  • Paul Shambroom, B83 one-megaton nuclear gravity bombs in Weapons Storage Area, Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, 1995, color photograph, 48 x 61". From the series “Nuclear Weapons,” 1992–2001.

    Paul Shambroom

    I FIRST SAW PHOTOGRAPHS from Paul Shambroom’s “Nuclear Weapons” series, 1992–2001, in 1995, just prior to the passage of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Shambroom’s frank documentary depictions of places glimpsed by most of us only in nightmares—high-security military sites, including missile command centers, Trident submarines, and weapons storage facilities—made for riveting viewing, even as cold-war fears of certain doom seemed to be loosening their grip. Now, in a vastly changed cultural context, the Minneapolis-based artist’s first comprehensive midcareer survey, which