Juliana Halpert

  • interviews October 23, 2018

    Andrea Büttner

    German artist Andrea Büttner has a long-standing practice of using appropriated imagery as a historical and philosophical tool. For the first time, three of Büttner’s slide projections are being shown together as large-scale, standalone installations. “Shepherds and Kings,” a solo exhibition of Büttner’s work, is on view at Bergen Kunsthall in Norway until October 28, 2018. She is also participating in the São Paulo Bienal, on view through December 9, 2018.

    I’VE LONG BEEN INTERESTED IN depictions of poverty. Considering how much we know about representations of wealth and power across centuries,

  • interviews June 05, 2018

    Heba Y. Amin

    The Egyptian artist Heba Y. Amin’s latest project, Operation Sunken Sea, 2018, is well suited for “We don’t need another hero,” the next iteration of the Berlin Biennale, which opens June 9, 2018. With a room-wide installation, Amin imagines herself as the mastermind of a bureaucratic plan to drain the Mediterranean Sea—a singular solution to the crises of terrorism and immigration in the Middle East and Africa. With an air of autocracy, her project exposes long-standing colonial convictions, as well as the inherent bias and violence of power.

    OPERATION SUNKEN SEA is an attempt to flip a historical

  • interviews December 12, 2017

    Farah Al Qasimi

    Among the thirteen photographs mounted in “More Good News,” the Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi’s first solo exhibition in New York, are several portraits of men in their homes, reclining on ornately patterned couches or sitting on a bed. Other pictures look inside a falcon hospital in Abu Dhabi, and one captures a dog cowering next to a table littered with guns in Texas. Throughout, the images reveal Al Qasimi’s fascination with the privileges of privacy and what it might mean to see or be seen. The show is on view at Helena Anrather until December 22, 2017. 

    “MORE GOOD NEWS” comes out of my

  • interviews October 10, 2017

    Cauleen Smith

    The artist and filmmaker Cauleen Smith, who recently relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, rarely tethers her work to bare reality. Her latest film, Triangle Trade, 2017—made in collaboration with Canadian artists Jérôme Havre and Camille Turner—renders three new, fantastical realms, inhabited only by the puppet likenesses of the work’s three creators. Triangle Trade is on view at Gallery TPW in Toronto until November 11, 2017.

    TWO YEARS AGO, I visited Toronto to do a site visit at Gallery TPW, where I had been slated to have a solo exhibition. I wanted to make a film in the city for that show,

  • interviews September 19, 2017

    Tiona Nekkia McClodden

    Based in Philadelphia, the artist and filmmaker Tiona Nekkia McClodden often formulates her work in response to lesser-known creative predecessors, pulling up the deeper roots of black American art, literature, and identity. The ten-part VHS video The Brad Johnson Tape, 2017, is her latest project and pays homage to the poems, essays, and correspondence of the late writer, who died of AIDS-related complications in 2011. One segment of the work, On Subjugation, and another recent video, Essex + Audre, 2015, are on view in the group exhibition “Speech/Acts” at the Institute of Contemporary Art in

  • picks June 02, 2017

    Mike Mandel

    The shared blunders of Richard Nixon and our current leader are obvious, but there’s one stark difference between the two presidents: Nixon, who loved classical music and reportedly wanted to throw liberals a bone during the Vietnam War, demonstrated strong support for the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1971, its budget was doubled. By the end of the decade, the number of working artists in the country had increased by 81 percent.

    “Good ’70s” is a fitting name, then, for this exhibition of Mike Mandel’s work, all from projects made over the course of that decade. It was a productive period

  • picks April 21, 2017

    Eva O’Leary

    It’s getting old—young women and girls being appointed our go-to champions of bravery, pluck, solidarity, or whatever. If only all of us could be as unafraid as Fearless Girl, or as incomparable as Kendall Jenner in her desire to quench a cop’s thirst—would we then overcome? Put a smile on, these corporate mockups of girlhood seem to say. There’s nothing to be afraid of.

    Thankfully, Eva O’Leary’s portraits of adolescent girls, currently on view in the artist’s first solo show in New York, honor a more complex reality. Framed at close range and mostly shot through a two-way mirror against a glowing,

  • picks September 09, 2016

    Aidan Koch and Madeline Hollander

    The technofuturist aesthetic needs an update: Our visions of tomorrow still seem firmly tied to Jetsons-era stylings of burnished-metal robots and aerospace machines. For Drill (all works cited, 2016), Madeline Hollander shrewdly nods to these clichés. In the gallery’s expansive first room, the artist has deployed three aircraft-evacuation slides—those plump, inflatable ramps only ever witnessed on airplane-safety diagrams. They hang from the ceiling, each one a mass of gray and black nylon, more 1980s LaGuardia than current-day JFK. Below them, performers synchronously pace the floor, following

  • picks February 26, 2016

    Luke Murphy

    When Google debuted its new, sans-serif logo this past September, the tech giant tempered public disdain for its streamlined appearance by calling attention to one unassailable feature: The new design is just 305 bytes in size—tiny—and can be rendered from only a handful of lines and circles. In “Unhappy Users,” Luke Murphy’s paintings and digital animations adhere to a similar visual economy. Thin lines and irreducible symbols cover his milky-white and gray canvases, all huddled on a single wall of the gallery’s front room. Rectangles and arrows collide with dollar signs, capital letters, and

  • picks December 18, 2015

    Pacifico Silano

    In the 1970s and ’80s, the Pictures artists reworked Marlboro ads, Hollywood-film motifs, Walker Evans photographs, and the front page of the New York Times. Their focus was the stuff of mass media, the images that couldn’t not be seen. This was pre-Internet—remember?—and their materials’ natural habitats, among others, were magazines and newspapers, printed cheaply and consumed by everyone.

    For the fifteen works currently on view in “Tearsheets,” Pacifico Silano has emulated this practice, though his material is decidedly less mainstream. Mining the pages of Blueboy, Honcho, and Torso, three

  • picks October 30, 2015

    Simon Hantaï

    Simon Hantaï’s “Blancs,” created between 1973 and ’74 and on view for the first time in New York, are paragons of AbEx virtue. The six-, seven-, and eight-foot-tall paintings exemplify the Hungarian-born painter’s pliage method, which consisted of applying layers of paint to an variously folded and scrunched canvas, then unfurling it to reveal a messy arrangement of colorful polygons and untouched primer. After losing interest in Surrealism—his first adoptive camp—and its attachment to figuration and the psyche, Hantaï committed the majority of his career to pliage. Emphatic about its reliance

  • picks August 14, 2015

    “Common Thread”

    Thirty-two years ago, the Bauhaus-schooled artist and textile designer Anni Albers made Study for DO II, (1973), a shimmering mélange of small parallelograms and triangles. Colored in with shades of either silver or yellow gouache on blueprint paper, the work seems preparatory, almost casual: lines appear unruled, and shapes vary in size and skew. Brushstrokes haphazardly emerge and recede into flat color. One year later, Albers refined this pattern and christened it Eclat, which was subsequently manufactured and sold as an upholstery fabric by the design firm Knoll.

    In 2009, Ellen Lesperance

  • picks July 17, 2015

    Eileen Maxson

    “I’m gonna unwrap Reality Bites, and I’m gonna watch it,” Eileen Maxson announces in a video currently on view at the artist’s first solo exhibition in New York. The statement follows a careful recitation of the 1994 film’s cast, characters, and overarching premise as well as an appraisal of the current price for an unwatched, shrink-wrapped VHS copy—$21—one of which Maxson is shown covetously unwrapping for the duration of the piece. Its plastic sheath gleams against a ’90s-informercial-blue backdrop as she slowly rotates the tape, forcing the viewer to scrutinize the container of the film to