Kate Green

  • picks March 09, 2020

    Pia Camil

    Raw, emotional images—a grim reaper, silver scythe in hand, materializing from a black cloak; a ghostly, mustard-yellow figure crying white tears; dark-hued breasts engorged from nursing—course through the twenty-one new drawings that comprise this show in the artist’s hometown. Pia Camil is known for bright, tightly composed abstract tableaux of ceramics, canvases (both stretched and hung like curtains), and suspended patchworks of T-shirts that celebrate Mexico City’s commercial landscape and informal economies. Now, as the artist enters the age of caring for both children and aging parents,

  • picks November 15, 2019

    “The Sorcerer's Burden: Contemporary Art and the Anthropological Turn”

    For this timely exhibition’s catalogue, British and Ethiopian artist Theo Eshetu contributed a 1978 snapshot of his brother, whose face is obscured by what looks like an African mask. The image presages Eshetu’s interest in using a lens to explore the intricacies of identity. It also points to a question central to this show, which features work by eleven artists sensitively curated by Heather Pesanti: How have artists, like anthropologists, not only problematized the concept of the “other” (especially as it overlaps with the colonial project) but also shaped it?

    Eshetu provides an exacting

  • picks July 15, 2019

    “Candelilla, Coatlicue, and the Breathing Machine”

    The southern border of the United States has long been defined by those on the northern side, whose demands for contraband and low-wage workers are matched by their resistance to equitably reforming immigration policies. While xenophobia, hostility, and capitalism wreak havoc on the borderlands, this show includes three artists who highlight the strength of the region’s indigenous communities and traditions.

    Candice Lin’s installation on the back of syphilis mountain candelilla grows, 2019, features a clay fire pit glowing in a darkened gallery. Melting in and beyond it is a waxy substance

  • picks May 16, 2019

    Tania Candiani

    This rotunda-shaped museum was designed in 1963 by a Mexico City architect to anchor a new federally funded cultural district, Programa Nacional Fronterizo (ProNaF), three miles from the border city’s downtown area. Like NAFTA and the current border-security crisis, the desolate ProNaF and the aging structure are reminders of how national powers fail people: In the desert, the Museo de Arte de Ciudad Juárez’s resin roof bakes, and its moat has become a watery mess.

    Within this context, Tania Candiani’s generous “Cromática,” first presented in Oaxaca, soars. Presiding over the rotunda is Colores

  • picks January 19, 2019

    Michael Smith

    Named for its founder’s juice brand, Museo Jumex is utterly corporate, surrounded by commercial towers, malls, and billionaire Carlos Slim’s museum. This makes it the perfect backdrop for the latest in Michael Smith’s twenty-five-year-old International Trade and Enrichment Association (ITEA) project.

    Outside, a billboard reads “Available Soon! Jumex Terrace,” while inside the spacious, windowed terrace gallery, ITEA offers marketing pamphlets and videos arranged in trade-show-style booths. With wit that advances critique-of the art world’s relationship to development, of middle-class aging-Smith’s

  • picks July 08, 2018

    Jessica Hankey and Erin Johnson

    Less than a half mile from the Rubin Center is a newly built section of US border wall, erected beside the Rio Grande, separating El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Given this context and the recent protests against inhumane immigration policies, this superb installation, featuring a three-channel video installation and a single-channel projection, carries extra weight.

    Shooting footage at city-run senior recreation centers in El Paso, Jessica Hankey and Erin Johnson conducted workshops (with Gina Sandí-Díaz) wherein the elderly played theater games (à la Viola Spolin and Augusto Boal)

  • picks January 19, 2018

    Mona Hatoum

    The first survey of Beirut-born Mona Hatoum’s work in a United States museum in twenty years is revelatory and destabilizing. Curator Michelle White has organized more than twenty major sculptures and installations and dozens of smaller pieces and works on paper made since the 1980s in several galleries and among the museum’s collection. The exhibition foregrounds Hatoum’s ability to shift the scale and materials of familiar and oftentimes domestic objects (hair, light bulbs, and cheese graters, but also grenades and maps) in a manner that suggests a relationship both to Surrealist pieces hanging

  • interviews December 19, 2017

    Charles Gaines

    Since the early 1970s, Charles Gaines has used the grid to interrogate the constructed nature of representation. His work is featured in “Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection,” a touring exhibition that historicizes how artists have responded to demands that they make “black artsince the 1940s. Curated by Christopher Bedford and Katy Siegel, the show is on view at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans until January 21, 2018 and then will travel to the Nasher Museum of Art in Durham, North Carolina, from February 15 to July 15, 2018; the Snite Museum of Art in South

  • interviews November 21, 2017

    Rafa Esparza

    Born and based in Los Angeles, Rafa Esparza “browns” the white cube through performances that involve bodies—his own and those of his collaborators. Recently, Esparza has begun using adobe bricks—traditionally made by hand with clay soil and other organic material—to build structures in galleries. His latest exhibition “Tierra. Sangre. Oro.” (Earth. Blood. Gold.), features pieces by Carmen Argote, Nao Bustamante, Beatriz Cortez, Timo Fahler, Eamon Ore-Giron, Star Montana, Sandro Cánovas, María García, and Rubén Rodriguez, and is on view at Ballroom Marfa until March 18, 2018.


  • picks May 11, 2017

    Nina Katchadourian

    In 2012, Nina Katchadourian’s 2011 series “Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style,” consisting of pictures styled after sober Northern Renaissance paintings and shot inside airplane bathrooms—including headdresses fashioned from toilet-seat covers—went viral. The artist’s wit and resourcefulness are clearly infectious, as confirmed by this midcareer survey comprising hundreds of photographs among other two-dimensional works, all organized by project, as well as several videos and sound pieces. “Sorted Books,” 1993–, features dozens of photographs of book spines and covers arranged to spell

  • picks December 12, 2016

    Cauleen Smith

    For those finding it difficult to see beyond a post-election haze, this show’s kaleidoscope of talismans, filmed utopias, and jazz sounds offers a welcome apparition. A room-size installation, titled Asterisms, 2016, is the most ambitious work to date by Cauleen Smith, an artist steeped in structuralist filmmaking and Afrofuturism. It conjures a future that is bright for all bodies.

    A constellation of four monitors facing radially outward forms the installation’s core. Each screen plays footage recorded by cameras looking upward and outward at natural and human-made Shangri-las, such as puffy

  • picks November 21, 2016

    Yoshua Okón

    The dark heart of “Miasma” is the ten-minute video (all works titled Miasma and dated 2016) Yoshua Okón developed––along with sculptures and drawings for this living-room space located in a state associated with more than its fair share of showman politicians––amid a spectacularly disheartening US presidential election. Recorded at night, the video, presented here on a flat screen above the fireplace, features Houston’s bronze statue of the former CIA director and president George H. W. Bush backlit and shot mostly from below. This gives him gravitas, yet he is shrouded in fog and paired with

  • picks November 03, 2016

    Tammie Rubin

    Millions fled Jim Crow South during the Great Migration, yet the disproportionate abuse of black bodies continues, as does hope for its end. Prompted by Black Lives Matter, we lament institutionalized injustices even as we venerate our first black president; we are reminded, via the outcry in St. Louis over artist Kelly Walker’s treatment of black bodies appropriated from the media, that white-dominated culture industries continue to exploit “blackness.” These currents charge this solo show by ceramicist Tammie Rubin, suggesting that even abstraction is always already personal, and political.

  • picks May 09, 2016

    Mai-Thu Perret

    One’s first glimpse of this small yet powerful exhibition—an installation of eight life-size female fighters, a ceramic dog, an enormous Rorschach-like painting, and two oversize sculptural eyes—is through a glass wall that Mai-Thu Perret has smeared with petroleum jelly. Fittingly, and elegantly, the viscous salve on the manufactured surface initially makes the contents of “Sightings” an alluring mystery.

    Once visitors pass through the glass to mingle among “Les guérillères” (The Guerillas), 2016—comprising the female figures and their dog, each subtitled I through IX and inspired by female

  • picks November 20, 2015

    “Strange Pilgrims”

    Circa 1968, amid the Cold War’s existential crises and worldwide student protests against institutionalized repression and violence, artists challenged the hegemony of autonomous objects with conceptual works that exposed the role of embodied perception in establishing art’s meaning. Fast-forward several decades, and the role of perception and “experience” is golden, evident in social-practice debates and the ubiquity of performance. “Strange Pilgrims” wades into this territory and succeeds by giving its thirty installations, made by an eclectic array of thirteen artists and one collective,

  • picks October 12, 2015

    Michael Smith

    The fulcrum of Michael Smith’s newest body of work is an intriguing twenty-minute video that, like the larger project it is part of, is titled Excuse Me!?! . . . I’m Looking for the “Fountain of Youth.” Produced with collaborators and subtitled A Ballet in Three Acts, 2015, it contains a telling moment in which the artist, dressed as a knight yet wearing the sneakers and grin of the Everyman he has performed for decades, finds an elixir amid a circle of young dancers. Smith drinks and turns first into a court jester and then Baby Ikki, his diaper-wearing persona. The reversion—from knight to

  • picks June 05, 2015

    Janine Antoni and Stephen Petronio

    Performance is now practically ubiquitous in exhibitions, and this can make it difficult for artists to leverage bodies to startling ends. Yet Janine Antoni and choreographer Stephen Petronio achieve this in their latest effort, a small show of mostly jointly made photographs, sculptures, and a video, all but the video dated 2015. The exhibition unfolds around testsite’s foyer and living room, which is installed with photographs featuring the creators. In a diptych titled Bound, Antoni’s and Petronio’s heads are wrapped in rope, while in Tongue Tied, printed on wallpaper, their tongues are yoked

  • picks April 07, 2014

    Deborah Hay

    This exhibition, the first in a museum for choreographer Deborah Hay, involves an absorbing multiscreen video installation that presents four versions of a solo dance. For decades, Hay, who worked in the 1960s with Merce Cunningham and the Judson Dance Theater, has composed dances intended to be adapted differently by each dancer, and therefore has never performed the same piece twice. Laying this premise bare, the installation, A Continuity of Discontinuity, 2014, shows various individuals giving life to the written notes and drawings of a single score.

    For the Blanton, Hay has choreographed a

  • picks February 24, 2014

    Vishal Jugdeo

    Vishal Jugdeo’s installation A Weight Dangles Above Your Head / A Shaky Picture Has No Weight, 2014, is captivating and as elusive as its subject: the instability of representation and of arriving at truth. The project’s twenty-three-minute video, a version of which was presented at Performa 13, features the artist and his boyfriend performing a script loosely revolving around Guyana, where in the 1800s Jugdeo’s family was brought from India as indentured laborers. Slipping from staged scenes and dialogue between the couple in Los Angeles to footage and sound Jugdeo shot in Guyana, the project

  • picks October 31, 2013

    Marianne Vitale

    In one of the two large-scale installations that make up Marianne Vitale’s striking exhibition, nine cast-steel railway joints used in train switches stand vertically in an outdoor riverside meadow, like a clan of marooned, rusty beings. Titled Common Crossings, 2013, the grouping exudes a vitality that belies the material’s industrial past and lineage of Minimalist, monumental, and masculine sculpture. The feat suggests that the young Vitale (born in East Rockaway, New York, in 1973) is a formidable match for such physical and conceptual heft. Each thousand-pound form is welded to a base from