Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

  • Still from Jumana Manna’s The Umpire Whispers, 2010, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 15 minutes.


    FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS, Jerusalem has been known as a site of religious fervor: a place revered, set apart as sacred. Yet this rarefied status has also made the city vulnerable. An object of desire throughout history, Jerusalem has repeatedly fallen to conquerors, crusaders, and colonial attacks. Sundered and rebuilt over and over, it inspires passionate beliefs but also entrenched superstitions, wild fantasies, and hysterical delusions. These layered mythologies and pathologies are the chosen subject of the artist Jumana Manna, who has fearlessly used the videos, photographs, and sculptures

  • Stan Douglas, Luanda-Kinshasa, HD video, color, sound, 361 minutes.

    Stan Douglas

    In the spring of 1974, a coup d’état in Portugal sent the dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar tumbling from power. Salazar himself had died some years earlier, having suffered a brain hemorrhage in 1968, when he reportedly fell from a chair. His colleagues in the Estado Novo party were not only right-wing and repressive but were also increasingly unable to manage Portugal’s far-flung colonies. When the junta finally seized hold of the state, it simply cut those colonies loose. And so, like the dominoes of Arab autocracies in a more recent season of supposed reawakening and rebirth,

  • Malerie Marder, #25 from the Anatomy series, 2010, ink-jet print, 13 7/8 x 20".

    Malerie Marder

    Fifteen years ago this spring, a group show opened at a little uptown gallery with a very long name. “Another Girl, Another Planet,” at Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art, featured the work of thirteen photographers—twelve of them young women—who were disregarding the documentary functions of photography to create more cinematic constructions exploring drama, seduction, and sexual desire. Organized by Gregory Crewdson and Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and accompanied by a short story from the novelist A. M. Homes, it was a lightning bolt of an exhibition, one that struck something

  • View of “Etal Adnan,” 2013. Foreground: Untitled 1, 2013.

    Etel Adnan

    The two great subjects of Etel Adnan’s paintings are a mountain in California and the Mediterranean Sea. For the past six decades, she has returned to them again and again, playing with the endless possibilities that color, texture, and a palette knife lend to her diminutive geometric abstractions of a peak and a horizon line. The most whimsical thing about her recent exhibition in Beirut, however, was neither Mount Tamalpais in Marin County nor the curve of the Levantine coastline. Rather, it was the way the sun and the moon slipped into those familiar landscapes and then seemed to follow

  • Theodora Skipitares, The Venus Café, 1977. Performance view, Byrd Hoffman Studio, June 1977. Photo: Richard A. Heinrich.
    picks December 13, 2013

    “Rituals of Rented Island”

    On one small screen in this concise and revelatory survey of performance art in Manhattan in the 1970s, Laurie Anderson is standing on a street corner, dressed in white. Although the scene speaks of summer, she is perched on an incongruous pair of ice skates. The blades of those skates are plunged into blocks of ice, which are melting away as she plays the violin. On another screen, Jill Kroesen is describing a phenomenon known as “abnormal love,” impossible and unrequited, while sitting on the floor among white pyramids, tugging on the front of an elegant black evening gown. On another screen

  • Sean Paul Gallegos, Ethnoportrait, 2013, Air Jordan sneakers, thread, arrow collars, fur, laces, 21 x 13 x 19".
    picks November 23, 2013

    “La Bienal 2013: Here Is Where We Jump”

    To follow the subtle spatial logic of El Museo del Barrio’s current exhibition, the seventh edition of a biennial formerly known as “The (S) Files,” one begins with a bombastic gold-leaf portrait of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, and ends with an impressive pile of paint chips. Alex Nuñez’s ODB, 2012, creates a playful tension between fine art and popular culture, Byzantine icons and hip-hop bravura. For Pavel Acosta’s Wallscape, 2013, the artist stripped the paint from a wall in the museum’s permanent-collection galleries, then meticulously rearranged the refuse to

  • Left: Tom Finkelpearl, president and executive director of the Queens Museum, with curator Eugenie Tsai of the Brooklyn Museum. Right: The Unisphere on opening day. (All photos: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie)
    diary November 21, 2013

    Queens Bees

    OF ALL THE GREAT MUSEUMS set inside New York City’s vast and uneven network of thriving or threadbare public parks, the entrance to the Queens Museum might be the most dramatic. From the second-to-last stop on the 7 train, one takes a long stroll down an eerily empty boardwalk, slips into Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, and turns onto the wide, leafy boulevard that leads to the Unisphere. An enormous stainless-steel orb that stands twelve stories high and weighs more than three hundred tons, the Unisphere is the ultimate in triumphant old-school spectacle, surrounded when occasion demands by

  • Charline von Heyl, Big Zipper, 2011, acrylic and oil on canvas, 86 x 78".

    Charline von Heyl

    A painter’s painter if ever there was one, Charline von Heyl has said so many strange and beautiful things about what it means to look at a work of art that standing in front of her own pictures can feel like a good challenge or a daunting test. This is an artist who considers the act of looking an adventure, who credits art historians for thinking with their eyes, and who says that when a work of art does something different or something new, “you can’t stop looking because there is something you want to find out, that you want to understand.” She adds, “Good paintings have this tantalizing

  • Jehane Noujaim, The Square, 2013, HD video, color, sound, 104 minutes. Khalid Abdalla and Ahmed Hassan.
    film October 25, 2013

    Children of the Revolution

    IN THE TEN MONTHS since it won the audience award at Sundance, Jehane Noujaim’s documentary The Square, about the political upheavals that have been convulsing through Cairo for nearly three years now, has proved almost as unpredictable and unwieldy as its subject. The version that screened in Park City, Utah, began with the protests on Tahrir Square, which were initially organized, at the outset of 2011, as a response to police brutality and the case of Khaled Saeed, a young man who had been beaten to death six months earlier by the Egyptian security services in Alexandria, and then escalated

  • Marwan Kassab-Bachi, Munif Al Razzaz, 1965, watercolor on paper, 24 x 18”.
    picks October 17, 2013

    Marwan Kassab-Bachi

    The Syrian poet Adonis composed seventy-five prose poems in his honor. The great Saudi novelist Abdelrahman Munif wrote the artist’s most important monograph in Arabic. His major bodies of work include still lifes of marionettes and paintings of stretched and distorted faces. As the founder of an important summer art academy at the Jordanian foundation Darat al Funun in 1999, he tutored a generation of young talent, from the composer and sound artist Nadim Mishlawi to the painters Ayman Baalbaki and Tagreed Darghouth. His exhibition history is a veritable tour of art spaces once active in

  • Jean-Luc Moulène, Arthur, 2010, concrete, bone, 8 3/4 x 10 1/4 x 8 1/4”.
    picks October 02, 2013

    Jean-Luc Moulène

    In 2001, the French artist Jean-Luc Moulène took a series of photographs in the Lebanese port city of Sidon, which included portraits of people he met there by chance or through friends. The resulting images were displayed on the crumbling facades of the old souk. Twelve years later, many of them are still there. One portrait in particular, titled Abou Baker, 2001, after its subject, was later borrowed by mourners for the young man’s funeral. For Moulène’s illuminating, inscrutable exhibition at the Beirut Art Center, Abou Baker and another picture from the same series—featuring three bare-chested

  • Eliot Porter, Monument Valley, Utah, 1940, gelatin silver print, 7 1/4 x 9 1/2".

    Eliot Porter

    Eliot Porter was eleven years old when his parents gave him a box camera for Christmas. In the woods behind his house in Illinois, what most fascinated his boyhood imagination were weeds, wildflowers, insects, and birds. Starting then and for the rest of his life, he photographed bitterns, red-winged blackbirds, and marsh wrens, among other bird species. At twelve, Porter created moody pictures of majestic ospreys in Maine, dramatic studies in the mechanics of flight that capture the predatory fish hawk in muscular moments of taking off and landing. Finding the resulting images too muddy, however,