Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

  • “Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian: Sunset, Sunrise”

    As the sculptor Siah Armajani has noted, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian was the first Iranian artist of her generation to use cut-glass mosaics as a medium, as art without religious function. Farmanfarmaian was born to a family of ayatollahs, merchants, and Ottoman aristocrats. She studied painting and sculpture in Tehran and had wanted to move to Paris but ended up in New York via Bombay in the 1940s. She fell in with a crowd of artists. She made a disco ball for Andy Warhol. She returned to Iran in 1957 and apprenticed herself to local craftspeople. She experimented

  • “74 million million million tons”

    In the past few years, Lawrence Abu Hamdan has made vital contributions to the developing discourse around questions of evidence, narrative, and atrocity, while outgoing SculptureCenter curator Ruba Katrib has offered deeply compelling curatorial investigations of the vexed status of artistic materiality; pairing the two promises a most intriguing show. This exhibition brings together ten artists (and artist groups) who are working in the space between an occurrence and the consensus that forms around it. That gray area is predicated on ambiguity

  • Jumana Manna, Wild Relatives, 2018, HD video, color, sound, 66 minutes.
    film April 30, 2018

    Seeds of Change

    ONE DOESN’T NEED to go far to find a meaningful connection between art and serious farming, especially when the art in question is driven by political urgency. The example of John Berger, the poet, critic, and painter who lived half his life on a remote working farm in rural France, is close enough. For the past ten years, the Palestinian artist Jumana Manna has been making dazzling films and quizzical objects about the historical strata and lived experience of cities, namely Jerusalem. Her works draw upon many sources and experiment with many genres, but virtually all of them are urban—with

  • Ghada Amer, Lovers in Blue, 2017, glazed ceramic, 24 x 33 x 12".
    picks April 27, 2018

    Ghada Amer

    A handful of new ceramics hang high on the walls of Ghada Amer’s latest exhibition. One might describe them fairly and accurately as large, misshapen bowls. Amer is famous, of course, for her paintings that layer the very masculine gestural language of Abstract Expressionism (all splashes and dashes and drips of paint) over delicate embroideries and tangles of thread, which yield to even fainter stencils of women in autoerotic poses, taken straight from softcore porn. But ever since the 1990s, Amer has been making three-dimensional objects, too. To make a sculpture of a wedding dress, she once

  • View of “Yto Barrada: How to Do Nothing with Nobody All Alone by Yourself,” 2018.
    picks April 20, 2018

    Yto Barrada

    Over the past fifteen years, Yto Barrada has made photographs, films, posters, prints, textiles, toys, mechanized models, games, collages, oversize blocks, fake fossils, and vast collections of sundry other objects that nearly defy categorization as art. She has moved through dramatic phases in the formal development of her work, lurching from humor and whimsy to a damning critique of colonialism, underdevelopment, and injustice. She has tumbled headlong into obsessions with historical figures, including members of her own family (her mother, her grandmother) and unknowable strangers (her

  • Peter Hujar, Boy on Raft, 1978, gelatin silver print, 14 x 11". © Peter Hujar Archive, LLC.

    Peter Hujar

    In one of the most enduring passages from Teju Cole’s 2011 novel Open City, the protagonist, a young man named Julius who has recently arrived in New York from Nigeria to complete a psychiatry fellowship, takes a series of ever-longer walks around the island of Manhattan. His observations are cool and detached until he hits upon a singular and exasperating fact: This is a place surrounded by water that has totally turned its back on the flow of its rivers and the ocean beyond them. “The shore was a carapace,” thinks Julius, “permeable only at certain selected points. Where in this riverine city

  • Fabiola Jean-Louis, Madame Beauvoir’s Painting, 2016, archival pigment print, 26 x 33".
    picks March 30, 2018

    “Bordering the Imaginary: Art from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and their Diasporas”

    In the spring of 1863, the southern photographers McPherson and Oliver took an indelible portrait of a man who had escaped from a Louisiana plantation and sought refuge in a Union camp. It was at the height of the American Civil War. The man, his full name lost to history, was known as Slave Gordon, or Whipped Peter. McPherson and Oliver photographed him with his back turned three-quarters to the camera, elbow bent, a fist to his hip. Six months before crossing a river and rubbing his body with onions to throw off search dogs, Gordon had been brutally beaten by an overseer. Scars gouge his back.

  • Taysir Batniji, Black Arab, 2017, video, color, sound, 6 minutes 7 seconds.
    picks March 23, 2018

    Taysir Batniji

    The Gaza-born, Paris-based artist Taysir Batniji has made so many orderly sculptures and austere installations—all of them clever and conceptual, with emotionally charged references to art history and the Palestinian condition—that one can easily forget that the foundation for all of his work is and always has been photography. This exhibition, titled “Home Away from Home,” is both dense and expansive, with more than a hundred artworks, the majority of them photographs. These color images include portraits, landscapes, and the kind of accidental or abandoned still lifes that are Batniji’s

  • Eduardo Terrazas, 1.1.304, 2018, wool yarn, wooden board, Campeche wax, 47 x 47". From the “Cosmos” series, ca. 1973.
    picks March 09, 2018

    Eduardo Terrazas

    The artist Eduardo Terrazas is famous, of course, for his part in the urban design of the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. That year’s games are legendary: Remember the raised fists of African American sprinters on the winners’ podiums; George Foreman knocking out a Russian boxer and waving an American flag; the boycott of South Africa; and, just days before the festivities began, the government’s massacre of Mexican students. Remember too the indelible “Mexico 68” logo, melding optical illusion, modernism, and folk art. Born in 1936, Terrazas had trained as an architect and urban planner. His

  • Baya, Femme et enfant en bleu (Woman and Child in Blue), 1947, gouache on board, 23 x 18".
    picks March 02, 2018

    “Baya: Woman of Algiers”

    Some two dozen women are currently haunting the lower floor of the Grey Art Gallery. They aren’t exactly ghosts or malevolent spirits. Neither are they just figures in the normal painterly sense, although they are painted, gorgeously, in twenty-two gouache-on-board works, wearing outrageously patterned dresses below complicated hair. They are the women of Baya, the Algerian artist of Berber and Arab heritage who was orphaned at five, adopted by a wealthy French patroness, and dropped into the heart of the Parisian avant-garde in the aftermath of World War II. She wanted to be known by her first


    ON A CRISP MORNING this past summer, before the streets had wilted under the humidity and grime, I picked my way through the strange corporate wilderness and crowds of office workers of midtown Manhattan to find the studio of Ahmed Morsi. An Egyptian painter of both rumor and renown, Morsi has lived in a modern townhouse on East Forty-Eighth Street since 1974. He is totally out of place yet firmly present in this most improbable of neighborhoods, making paintings that act as portals to other worlds, bringing multitudes back to these shores in the form of ghostly traces.

    Morsi, who turns eighty-eight

  • Gordon Parks, Untitled, Harlem, New York, 1952, gelatin silver print, 20 x 16". © Gordon Parks/The Gordon Parks Foundation and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York.

    Gordon Parks

    In an untitled photograph from 1978, the model Iman casually rests her elbows on two tall stacks of ancient African artifacts. In another, from 1966, a young Muhammad Ali leans against a stairwell bannister in London, gazing intently toward the upper right-hand corner of the frame. In another still, from 1960, we see Duke Ellington through the television monitors of a recording studio. In 1957, the photographer Gordon Parks made a vivid color portrait of the painter Helen Frankenthaler, vamping for the camera on a drop cloth in her studio. In 1952, he shot the hand of Alexander Calder, reaching