Kaira M. Cabañas

  • picks April 15, 2019

    Glexis Novoa

    At once a timeline, an autobiography, and a meditation, Glexis Novoa’s exhibition is encircled by a site-specific drawing of a horizon line along the gallery walls, punctuated by the artist’s small, meticulously rendered images of cultural and political landmarks. The scenes involve people, flags, and banners emblazoned with “Fidel,” “Socialismo,” and “Yankees Go Home,” as well as sketches of Cold War missiles and Havana’s Revolutionary Plaza. The work unfolds through space and time. As visitors walk the perimeter, tracing the drawing from beginning to end, they grasp in an embodied manner the

  • “Contesting Modernity: Informalism in Venezuela, 1955–1975”

    Rethinking modernity and modernism in Latin America is still a pending task. This was one premise of the comprehensive exhibition curated by Mari Carmen Ramírez and Tahía Rivero at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, that included more than thirty artists with more than one hundred works in various media, from painting and sculpture to collage and film. For the first time in a historical survey of art in Venezuela, the exhibition focused on informalism, or art informel. Michel Tapié launched this term in France with the publication of Un art autre: Où il s’agit de nouveaux dévidages du réel (An

  • passages January 02, 2019

    Lothar Baumgarten (1944–2018)

    AS A GRADUATE STUDENT, I wrote one of my first research papers on Lothar Baumgarten’s film Origin of the Night (Amazon Cosmos) (1973–77), though securing access was no easy task at the time. Shot on 16 mm, it had a magnetic soundtrack and required a special projector to transmit the recording. Marian Goodman generously stepped in to assist, and the film was screened for a small, private audience at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2001. In the months following the screening and increasingly during our professional relationship (and, ultimately, friendship), I met and spoke with Lothar on

  • Daniel Steegmann Mangrané

    Some gallerygoers may remember the duck-rabbit illusion used in the psychology of form, which demonstrates that perception depends on the mind’s expectations of what one will see. But its blurring of the dichotomy between seeing and knowing depends on two recognizable animals. What if one takes such a lesson to the realm of geometric abstraction and to the opposition between nature and culture?

    In Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s recent exhibition, a árvore entrelaçada (The Tangled Tree) (all works 2018) occupied the center of the gallery. The work consisted of cables hung from the ceiling’s exposed

  • Laura Lima

    On entering the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo’s vast Octagon Space, one saw multiple workstations for various activities related to clothing production: reviewing template models, cutting and sewing fabrics, displaying a garment for a fitting. Likewise, the materials and tools of the tailoring trade, from spools of thread and rolls of fabric to pincushions, scissors, and sewing machines, were everywhere. Within this setting, Laura Lima’s Alfaiataria (Tailor’s Shop), 2014/2018, brought together a group of real-life tailors and seamstresses to create made-to-measure clothes modeled on the

  • Lasar Segall

    Recent Hollywood films such as The Monuments Men (2014) have dramatized the Nazis’ confiscation of modern art and its postwar recovery. Among the artists whose work had been confiscated was the Brazilian painter Lasar Segall. The notorious exhibition “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art), inaugurated in Munich in 1937, targeted modern art through various didactic slogans, including “Nature as seen by sick minds,” and declared the diseased origins of the art on display. That exhibition included eleven works by Segall—selected from among nearly fifty that were confiscated by the Nazis after

  • Anna Maria Maiolino

    FOR THOSE FAMILIAR WITH THE HISTORY of feminist exhibitions in the United States, the blown-up photograph at the entrance to this retrospective of the work of Anna Maria Maiolino was a familiar sight: a shot of three dozen eggs randomly placed on a cobblestone street, with a human walking across the scene. Captured midstride, with all but calves, ankles, and feet cropped from the frame, the figure delicately navigates the fragile shells filled with life matter. Taken from the Brazilian artist’s series “Fotopoemação” (Photopoemaction), 1973–, this picture is part of a triptych, another image from

  • “Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950–1980”

    Much ink has been spilled on Jacques Derrida’s passionate exchange with Michel Foucault around the latter’s publication of Folie et déraison: Histoire de la folie à l’âge classique (Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason) in 1961. I would like to recall that the primary issue for Derrida was not that madness was expulsed during the Classical Age, but that madness is always already internal to reason. A similar claim informs this compelling postwar survey of international art, but it does so by focusing on the procedures immanent to the artwork on display, while

  • “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA”

    IN 2002, the Getty Foundation set out to invigorate the study of local artistic practices. The result: Pacific Standard Time, a multi-institutional initiative focused on the diversity of Los Angeles–based artmaking. Opening this fall, its third iteration, “Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA,” continues earlier efforts to “forge a critical regionalism sensitive to specific, local conditions,” as Julia Bryan-Wilson wrote in these pages in 2011. Yet it does so by embracing an explicitly international perspective. Key here is that “LA/LA” crosses borders to feature modern and contemporary art from Latin

  • “TARSILA DO AMARAL: INVENTING MODERN ART IN BRAZIL”

    Designed to introduce North American audiences to Tarsila do Amaral, a leading Brazilian post-Cubist painter, this show features Abaporu, 1928, a sweeping, Picassoesque depiction of a man seated beside a cactus, which helped spark Brazil’s influential Anthropophagist movement. Inspired by Amaral’s work, Oswald de Andrade penned the “Manifesto Antropófago” (Cannibalist Manifesto) that same year, invoking the indigenous ritual of eating the enemy’s flesh as a metaphor for the country’s transformative appropriation of Euro-American

  • “TERESA BURGA: MANO MAL DIBUJADA”

    The work of Teresa Burga, a Peruvian Conceptualist and founding member of the late 1960s Grupo Arte Nuevo, is being showcased at SculptureCenter in the artist’s first US solo museum exhibition, which will present approximately ten pieces that span her entire, ongoing career. Prominent among these will be Burga’s 1968 “Prisma” sculptures, multicolored plywood polyhedrons covered in painted symbols—from schematic faces to abstract geometries to traffic signs—that evoke the artist’s distinct Pop sensibility and reflect her interest in information systems. The