Kaegan Sparks

  • View of “Container and Contained,” 2021. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle.
    interviews July 13, 2021

    Alan Ruiz

    Premier among the fabled artist-run institutions of the 1970s, the Kitchen stands today on New York’s West Nineteenth Street, its home since 1986, now hemmed in by blue-chip galleries, luxury boutiques, a starchitect office tower, and outrageous pieds-à-terre for the jet-setting elite. On a recent visit, Alan Ruiz’s elegant but spartan installation there—uncharacteristically sited in the building’s ground level theater space, rather than its second-floor gallery—suddenly erupted in sound and reflected light as a composition by Philip Glass, a veteran affiliate of the Kitchen who now serves on

  • Photograph by Margaret Bourke-White that appeared in Life magazine above the headline “The Flood Leaves its Victims on the Bread Line,” February 15, 1937. Photo: Getty Images.
    books March 02, 2021

    Mutual Understanding

    Disasters and Social Reproduction: Crisis Response Between the State and Community, by Peer Illner. London: Pluto Press, 2020. 208 pages. 

    Mutual Aid: Building Solidarity During this Crisis (and the Next), by Dean Spade. New York and London: Verso, 2020. 128 pages. 

    IN ONE OF photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White’s most iconic Depression-era images, a seamless, whitewashed vision of the good life is undercut by a segregated breadline. Tightly composed, the picture almost stages a return of the repressed, as material casualties of “the American Way” buttress—but also contravene—the billboard’s

  • Jordan Lord, Shared Resources, 2020—, HD video, sound, color, 57 minutes.  Artist-provided description: A gradient fills the frame, going from pink to beige. A caption appears at the bottom the image that reads: “Some things are too close to be shown.”
    film June 09, 2020

    Bonded Debt

    “I WANT HOT PINK GLITTER IN MY ASHES,” a redheaded, middle-aged woman quips, triggering nervous, scandalized laughter in a scene that evokes cinema verité as much as a home movie. Around a Thanksgiving table in Mississippi, gallows humor is a family affair, animated by tongue-in-cheek speculations about dismemberment, double indemnity, and itemized funeral budgets. At this point in Shared Resources, a feature-length work in progress by Jordan Lord, we know that Albert Lord (the filmmaker’s father, a graying man who observes this conversation with jaded reserve) is a former debt collector, or “

  • Susan Meiselas, Youths practice throwing contact bombs in forest surrounding Monimbo, 1978, C-print, 24 × 16".

    Susan Meiselas

    In the late 1970s, Susan Meiselas—then a new member of Magnum Photos, an artist-owned agency and standard bearer for the postwar field of photojournalism—traveled to Nicaragua, where she documented the Sandinista uprising against the government’s autocratic regime. A selection of her photographs, many published in international newspapers and magazines of the time, was exhibited here as a riveting testament to the impending coup and its aftermath. Meiselas’s series balances fidelity to sociopolitical context with attention to the volatility of visual signs—a quality more commonly associated with

  • Fernando Bryce, The Decade Review (detail), 2019, ink on paper, dimensions variable.
    picks October 22, 2019

    Fernando Bryce

    Milton Friedman appears kitty-corner to John Travolta in The Decade Review, 2019, a panoramic installation of 110 ink-drawn facsimiles of 1970s print media by Peruvian artist Fernando Bryce. The dust jacket of Friedman’s Free to Choose (1980), a pop organ of Chicago School economics, chafes against a South American movie poster for Saturday Night Fever (1977) featuring the fast-and-loose disco king Tony Manero. In Bryce’s matrix, the ad becomes a fraught document of both cultural and economic imperialism, reminding us that in the 1970s Chile became a portentous test site for Friedman’s crusading

  • TALES FROM THE CRYPT

    The Glen Park Library: A Fairy Tale of Disruption, by Pamela M. Lee. New York and San Francisco: No Place Press, 2019. 112 pages.

    IN OUR NEOLIBERAL GILDED AGE, it has become commonplace, even banal, for tech barons and venture capitalists to style themselves “disruptors” and “revolutionaries.” Both designations trade on heroic machismo to repackage corporate greed as the glorious stuff of myth. Flash points and pivots are sexy, after all, and even better when inflated with historic consequence. But culture, too, succumbs to the seductive cast of epoch-making violence; “disruption” is also the