Kat Herriman

  • picks March 16, 2018

    Emma McMillan

    When Donald J. Trump bought the Bonwit Teller building in 1979, the young developer promised that the Art Deco friezes adorning the department store would live out their days at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He, of course, lied. Jackhammers turned the limestone nudes to dust for the sake of expediency. In their place, he erected Trump Tower, a landmark now synonymous with nouveau-riche baroque. A case of radical erasure and accelerated repetition, Trump’s black-mirror castle calls authorship into question as it relates to the intermingling of art and history.

    Emma McMillan’s new paintings and

  • picks February 16, 2018

    Tina Barney

    I found myself in the shoes of a voyeur, visiting Tina Barney’s landscapes here at night. Through the evening-lit gallery glass, the photographer’s frozen frames of summer looked more sinister than they had during a daytime trip. Her seemingly clichéd pictures of the seasons—as we see in works such as Drive-In 2017, Tennis Court, 1988, and 4th of July on Beach, 1989—are so obsessively formal that they bring out the shiver beneath nostalgia’s blush.

    Barney serves up an ice-cream headache—a sweet, saturated world in which one is constantly seduced by sumptuous details yet held at a chilly distance.

  • picks November 17, 2017

    Maryam Hoseini

    Maryam Hoseini wields abstraction as a tool for flattening and blending social space. In “Of Strangers and Parrots,” her first solo show with this gallery, stripes become serpents, limbs become lakes, and penciled-in leg hairs become hieroglyphs. Whole figures are discernable, but they are piled on top of one another or stacked. This collapse of body and background into airless, stylized planes creates unease.

    The people in Hoseini’s paintings live on thin margins. The artist hints at their identities with declarative titles such as Don’t Talk about Women If You Are a Liar, Women Liars Are Losers

  • picks November 03, 2017

    Aria Dean

    There is a comedic straightforwardness to Aria Dean’s work that betrays her ulterior motives. The artist deploys cliché, often and with pleasure, starting with the first eyeful of her exhibition, Untitled (Obscenities) (all works cited, 2017), a sculpture composed of a handmade red satin bow dangling from a steel chain and pipes. An overtly romantic gesture sullied by wax drips and telltale traces of manual facture, the droopy gift-wrapping sets the tone for Dean’s pushback against objects’ undue symbolic burden.

    Dean is playful, not precious, with her materials. Carry the Zero, a plastic blowup

  • diary August 13, 2017

    Naked Truth

    MAJOR KUDOS TO THE WELL-HEELED GUESTS who attended the Watermill Center benefit on an unseasonably chilly July night. The step-and-repeat, which wound from the main road down to the nonprofit’s rolling campus, was an eveningwear obstacle course: paths of giant pine needles, steep grassy stairs, and a stretch of river rock, not to mention large installations by Jared Madere and Miles Greenberg.

    I walked back and forth three times. Not once did I see a fall, not even in Raúl de Nieves and Erik Zajaceskowski’s temporary sound-cave installation, where a floor of large stones acted as a musical

  • picks June 30, 2017

    Myranda Gillies and George Herms

    George Herms built his career on refashioning the odd, the ordinary, the found—his vision fit perfectly within the West Coast Beat movement and its lyrical compounds. In this exhibition, Herms is in dialogue with a new generation: his granddaughter Myranda Gillies and her handwoven textiles.

    The tapestries that Gillies created for the exhibition honor Herms’s affinity for local trinkets. Each of her textiles incorporates ingredients one could find at a local bodega: Untitled (El Dorado) (all works cited, 2017) has embedded chili peppers and strips of lemongrass; Untitled (Top City #1, No. 2)

  • diary June 01, 2017

    A Plus

    IT MIGHT NOT HAVE the kind of blockbuster billing that lured Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid into lending their names to the Fyre Festival, but the A-listers actually arrived at this year’s Brussels Art Week, which felt particularly front-loaded thanks to an ambitious Tuesday night served up by Mendes Wood DM and Clearing, both of which were opening new spaces in the “secondary city.”

    The Brazilians (Mendes Wood DM and company) toasted their outpost, a generous townhouse, with a rambling group show titled “Neither,” curated by São Paulo–based curator and founder of Pivô, Fernanda Brenner. Brenner

  • picks April 28, 2017

    Andrew Ross

    The story opens with a mole. A big one. Untitled (mole) (all works 2017) lies with its butt greeting you at the door. The mammal is accompanied by an untitled print of an oversize ant, the image taken from an M. C. Escher illustration. Escher once asked, “Are you really sure that a floor can’t also be a ceiling?”

    The Dutch artist might have ignored the fundamentals of gravity, but Andrew Ross takes them head on, laying out a narrative where gravity is a character as real as the mole or ant. Ross’s exhibition—with its creatures, exotic garden, and reclining man admiring an apple—distorts what

  • diary April 25, 2017

    Texas Tale

    MY FIRST DAY IN DALLAS, I revisited the mall of my childhood. Collector Nancy Nasher was my tour guide. This was her home, or rather ours: Northpark Center, the luxury retail property her parents, Raymond and Patsy Nasher, founded in the 1990s and subsequently filled with art. With a parade of collectors, dealers and artist in tow, we began with a spikey fire-engine-red sculpture by Mark di Suvero. We continued past Iván Navarro’s water towers (a recent addition that I caught at Madison Square Park) as well as several Anthony Caro sculptures, which Nasher pointed out with special affection,

  • picks February 17, 2017

    Sophie Hirsch

    In the back room of Sophie Hirsch’s current show is Reformer, 2017, a plaster arrow riding an industrial-looking body-shaping machine. The sculpture faces itself in a pair of mirrors, recalling a Pilates studio with its BDSM-like balance of pleasure and torture. Joseph Pilates considered Contrology, his tension-and-relief method, the only route to bliss. Martha Graham and George Balanchine swore by it. If her work is any indication, Hirsch does too.

    The artist approaches quick-drying materials such as plaster and silicone with an interest in posture, gravity, and compromise between flexibility

  • picks January 27, 2017

    Cynthia Talmadge

    If reality television took the romance out of rehab, then Cynthia Talmadge’s “Leaves of Absence” pumps it back in. Her installation, Leaves of Absence: McLean, 2017, based on Harvard Medical School’s psychiatric facility, can be seen from the street—but only those who enter get to take in the full picture. The artist envisions rehab as a kind of Ivy League dormitory outfitted with the requisite gear: a mug, a tote, a sweatshirt. It is a scene that belongs to Hollywood, perhaps in a Wes Anderson remake of Mark Robson’s 1967 movie, Valley of the Dolls.

    The pastel dream doesn’t last long. The

  • picks December 16, 2016

    The Haas Brothers

    What if paradise wasn’t just for the individual—what if we could all go together, hand in hand? This seems to be the proposition of the Haas Brothers’ “King Dong Come.” The exhibition takes the form of a static zoo populated by puckered-mouth amphorae and doll-size snow beasts, but the atmosphere is that of an erotic party. Hand-thrown vases from their “Father” series (all works 2016) try sucking each other off, while yetis—such as Jessica Yang and Dick Drake—admire their own silver sex organs, teeth, and toenails. The shelves lined with shaggy creatures bring to mind a cartoon strip of Noah’s

  • picks September 30, 2016

    Valerie Keane

    Hung in the gallery’s large windows, Valerie Keane’s futuristic whirligigs demand streetside attention. Made of opaque and transparent acrylic sheets, the trio of sculptures—Afterburner, The Enemy (Long Armed Sun), and Skinsuit at the Castle (all works 2016)—glimmer as they spin. Inside the gallery, the fluorescent lights add a sci-fi luminosity to the installation; their blaze highlights the details. Inlaid with iridescent Matisse-esque cutouts, and corseted with wires, Keane’s dangling lures resemble little galaxies, scaffolded with steel.

    The press release excerpts Thomas Pynchon’s almost

  • interviews September 23, 2016

    Barbara Rose

    Art historian, filmmaker, and curator Barbara Rose is a force of nature with a penchant for the rarified fine arts. Her latest undertaking, “Painting After Postmodernism: Belgium – USA,” features sixteen painters—half of them Americans, half Belgians. An exhibition that encourages exchange, the show asserts a need for a new discussion surrounding the condition of contemporary painting, as Rose discusses here. “Painting After Postmodernism” is on view in the historic Vanderborght building and Cinéma Galeries in Brussels through November 13, 2016.

    THE ONLY THING anybody knows about me is that I

  • picks July 08, 2016

    Meriem Bennani

    To be a fly on the wall at Meriem Bennani’s first institutional solo show is to adopt her perspective of contemporary culture. Her video installation FLY, 2016, mimics the mosaic structure of a fly’s eyes with a patchwork of projectors, creating an immersive experience. Resembling a concept room that a first-year architecture student might draft in SketchUp, the irregular, multiscreen theater requires the viewer to construct a strategy for digesting the seventeen-minute film. Seating is not a problem; Bennani provides benches.

    The story centers around a wedding set in Bennani’s native Morocco.

  • diary March 31, 2016

    No Pain No Gain

    THE FACEBOOK PAGE advertised “light electro-shock therapy” and “metal ball treatments,” so I guess I had fair warning going into Signal’s “Transformative Pain Conference” on Saturday night. Tucked away in a former rug warehouse a block away from the Morgan L stop, the four-year-old Bushwick gallery has become a de facto clubhouse for a new generation of Brooklyn artists thanks to its natural resources and solo show–driven program. As a result, alternative activities like the “Transformative Pain Conference” are surprisingly or not so surprisingly prevalent.

    I hopped off the train at 8 PM ready