Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

  • The Otolith Group, O Horizon, 2018, 4K video, color, sound, 81 minutes 10 seconds.

    4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale

    THE MOST HAUNTING IMAGE from “Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life,” Anita Dube’s strong, sensitive exhibition constituting the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, is an old photograph that appears nowhere in the show itself but accompanied virtually all of the early press releases announcing the event. The image is undated and the author is unknown. Shot in what looks like an abandoned field or parade ground, it captures the wildly engaging forms of artist K. P. Krishnakumar’s Boy Listening, 1985. Made of painted plaster, cloth, and fiberglass, the otherworldly sculpture groups

  • Banu Cennetoğlu, BEINGSAFEISSCARY, 2017, original aluminum signage, brass. Installation view, Fridericianum, Kassel. From Documenta 14. Photo: Roman Maerz.

    TODAY IN HISTORY

    **

    EARLY ONE MORNING this past November, Turkish police rounded up and detained more than a dozen people involved in the arts, culture, and academia in Istanbul. It wasn’t by any means the first time the authorities had targeted such figures. Artists, journalists, professors, human-rights activists, people who work on such sensitive topics as Syrian refugees or Kurdish issues or the Armenian genocide, leftists ranging from Marxist to mild, and countless others have all been caught up in a major crackdown, extendingover several years now, by the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

    Turkey’s president

  • Katelyne Alexis, Ayiti malad (Haiti Is Sick), 2017, metal, plastic, tires, dolls. Installation view.

    “PÒTOPRENS: The Urban Artists of Port-au-Prince”

    When the Haitian artist Myrlande Constant was a teenager in Port-au-Prince, she went to work with her mother in a factory making elaborately beaded wedding dresses. When she left, she began using the beads to make extremely unorthodox versions of drapo vodou—the small embroidered and sequined flags that have been produced in Haiti for generations, as both religious objects and artworks for sale. Constant’s imagery drew equally from vodou mythology, current events, and popular culture, and her densely textured flags are large, more like quilts, crammed with figures, scenarios, and decorative

  • Sofia Djama, Les Bienheureux (The Blessed), 2017, color, sound, 102 minutes.
    film September 29, 2018

    Fault Lines

    HALFWAY THROUGH director Sofia Djama’s accomplished feature-film debut, Les Bienheureux (The Blessed), about the intertwined lives of five characters struggling with the past and the future in present-day Algiers, a pudgy teenager with obnoxious hair pushes his sister aside at her bedroom door. They’ve been fighting about their dad, a man both demanding and catatonically depressed, and about who is responsible for the housework. Their mother is dead, and the whole family is clearly bereft. The sister, Ferial, has a sharp tongue and an outsize attitude. She isn’t taking any of her brother’s crap.

  • Marlene Dumas, She speaks, 2015–16, ink and metallic acrylic on paper, 11 1⁄8 × 9 1⁄4". From the series “Venus & Adonis,” 2015–16.

    Marlene Dumas

    There was a time in the late sixteenth century when fears of the plague forced theaters all across London to close their doors until the illness passed. This posed something of an employment problem for Shakespeare. To continue working, he turned to poetry. “Venus and Adonis,” a narrative poem from 1593, and perhaps his first published work, took a brief episode from Ovid’s Metamorphoses and transformed it into a rollicking, ten-thousand-word disputation on the natures of love and lust. In Shakespeare’s text, Venus, the goddess of love, falls for the alluring young hunter Adonis, who couldn’t

  • “SIAH ARMAJANI: FOLLOW THIS LINE”

    Iranian-born American sculptor Siah Armajani is one of those artists whose work is so conceptually rigorous that it can often intimidate more readily than please. He is best known for his monumental sculptures in public spaces, many of them doubling as functional architecture (a bridge in Minneapolis, a lighthouse on Staten Island) while delivering polemical messages or damning critique (such as Fallujah, 2004–2005, an antiwar work inspired by Guernica with a spritz of Duchamp). Yet for six decades, Armajani has made smaller, more

  • “DOROTHEA TANNING: BEHIND THE DOOR, ANOTHER INVISIBLE DOOR”

    She loved gothic novels, Lewis Carroll’s stories, and Sedona, Arizona. She married Max Ernst, played chess with Marcel Duchamp, and established a firm place in the history of Surrealism. But how can one encapsulate the life of Dorothea Tanning, who went through numerous phases in her career and continued to make work well into the twenty-­first century? This compelling retrospective will elucidate, covering nearly seventy years of her oeuvre with more than one hundred paintings, drawings, and soft sculptures—as well as the incredible installation Hôtel du Pavot, Chambre

  • Ana Mendieta, Parachute, 1973, 1/2" reel-to-reel videotape transferred to digital media, black and white, sound, 7 minutes 9 seconds.
    picks July 16, 2018

    Ana Mendieta

    The major facts of Ana Mendieta’s life and work are well established. She was born in Cuba in 1948. Her family, at odds with Fidel Castro, sent her to the United States when she was twelve. A program run by the CIA and the Catholic Church landed her in foster care. She studied painting but was increasingly drawn to performance. Her materials included mud, feathers, blood, and her own body. She moved to New York and joined the feminist AIR Gallery. She met the minimalist sculptor Carl Andre, fell in love, and plunged to her death from the window of his apartment. She died at thirty-six but had

  • diary July 09, 2018

    Braving the Elements

    AROUND LUNCHTIME ON THE LAST THURSDAY IN JUNE, I found myself at a table on a terrace with an absurdly beautiful view of the Mediterranean Sea. Behind me was the kind of low-slung corporate resort hotel that is typical of La Marsa, one of several suburban tourist towns east of the capital of Tunisia, Tunis. I scanned the horizon from left to right. A thin dark line separated the deep blue sky from a vast expanse of light sparkling turquoise. It was a ridiculous sight, a shimmering paradise, laughable in its right-there realness. I was distractedly sharing a meal with about a dozen people, flanked

  • Bodys Isek Kingelez, Kimbembele Ihunga, 1994, paper, paperboard, plastic, various materials, 51“ x 73” x 10' 5".
    picks June 21, 2018

    Bodys Isek Kingelez

    There are three key moments that keep the legend of Bodys Isek Kingelez burning. One is when the Congolese sculptor—maker of intricate paper objects known as “extrêmes maquettes”—quit his job as a schoolteacher in Kinshasa and began making art, feverishly, from paper, scissors, a razor, and glue. The second came when a Kingelez sculpture arrived at the Institut des Musées Nationaux du Zaire. The staff there refused to believe he’d made it himself and demanded he create another one onsite. He did, and they immediately hired him as a restorer. The third was his participation in the 1989 exhibition

  • View of “Anna Boghiguian: The Loom of History,” 2018.
    picks June 12, 2018

    Anna Boghiguian

    Anna Boghiguian’s first museum exhibition in the United States comes curiously late in her life and career. Boghiguian is a legend in Cairo, the city where she was born, and her cluttered rooftop studio, occupied for decades and almost worryingly stuffed with materials, is a tiny windswept palace of wonders and curiosities. It is also a place to listen and learn, as she habitually unspools a good many lessons in literature and history. That sense of Boghiguian holding forth translates well in this show.

    “The Loom of History” fills a wide room in the New Museum’s ground-floor galleries. The walls

  • Barbara Hammer, What You Are Not Supposed to Look At #5, 2014, chromogenic prints, Mylar, X-ray, collage, 23 x 26". From the series “What You Are Not Supposed to Look At,” 2014.
    picks June 01, 2018

    “Multiply, Identify, Her”

    This lively exhibition of ten artists contributing portraits, videos, films, and photocollages winds its way around two muses. One of them, the artist Laura Aguilar, who recently died, is nowhere to be seen—her work is not included in the show—but the spirit of her challenging self-portraiture (for some pictures in her 1996 “Nature Series,” Aguilar would fold her enormous body into the shape of a large rock in a landscape) was an explicit inspiration for the curator, Marina Chao, and Aguilar’s sense of identity as necessarily plural, complex, and polyphonic provides a spacious conceptual blueprint,