Lara Atallah

  • View of “Josh Kline,” 2016.
    picks May 20, 2016

    Josh Kline

    The scene is set in what looks like a futuristic cemetery, only it’s today—we encounter 3-D-printed and CNC-carved bodies, based on real people, in see-through plastic bags. Of the four on display, one’s a bookkeeper; another, a humble entrepreneur (Productivity Gains [Brandon/Accountant]; By Close of Business [Maura/Small-Business Owner], all works 2016). They lie on the floor, shriveled in fetal positions. Expressions of loss—or is it peace?—appear on their synthetic faces, and their attire’s tidy and wrinkle free. In Josh Kline’s world, obsolescence is the law of the land, and humans are a

  • Anne Collier, Quality Control, 2016, C-print, 50 x 54''.
    picks April 29, 2016

    Anne Collier

    Beauty has often been in the eye of the patriarchal beholder. Frequently, where the male gaze is concerned, women are weak—their delicate (and delectable) bodies meant to fuel desire and consumerism. A “beautiful” woman, by Western standards, is defined by the Aryan trifecta: blond hair, blue eyes, and pale skin. She is soft, fragile, helpless. And her tearful face divulges a constant need to be saved and cared for.

    With imagery sourced from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, Anne Collier’s photographs of women remind us that misogyny is not just found in the fine print of policy, or within a GOP debate.

  • Patti Smith, Paul Verlaine’s Revolver, Brussels, Belgium, 2016, pencil on digital ink-jet print, 16 x 20''.
    picks March 25, 2016

    Patti Smith

    One encounters a table and chair from the now defunct Café ‘Ino. They sit there like relics, memorializing a place that exists only in unassuming photographs, fissuring the linearity of time. With no regard to chronology, this exhibition echoes the modus operandi of human memory, navigating different episodes of history—personal and public—in no specific order. Each image is a signpost for the many interlacing narratives that make up Patti Smith’s life and travels.

    Beds, statues, rivers, open roads, and tombstones, which bear the names of figures who’ve shaped our culture, form a visual diary.

  • Anna Ostoya, Holofernes Slaying Holofernes, 2016, oil on canvas, 78 1/2 x 62''.
    picks March 11, 2016

    Anna Ostoya

    There’s something spectral bouncing around the various pieces installed in this gallery. It’s left behind a flurry of questions that all lead to one very particular origin: Artemisia Gentileschi’s famous Baroque work Judith Slaying Holofernes, ca. 1620, which Anna Ostoya has cleverly dissected through an eclectic assortment of hard-edged paintings and ink-jet prints.

    Ostoya’s display is akin to a detective’s evidence wall. She dismantles the Italian artist’s painting and reimagines alternative scenarios for the gruesome biblical story we can see, which has merged with the real-life rape of

  • View of “Tammam Azzam: The Road,” 2016.
    interviews February 23, 2016

    Tammam Azzam

    Like many Syrian artists, Tammam Azzam left his homeland five years ago in search of safer shores. After arriving in Dubai, where he still lives, Azzam spent years making political art that lamented the international community’s passive efforts to put an end to one of the bloodiest wars in recent history. In 2013, Azzam’s Freedom Graffiti, a piece in which the artist superimposed Klimt’s The Kiss on the demolished facade of a Damascus building, went viral on social media and landed the artist in the news. His current exhibition, “The Road,” which is on view at Ayyam Gallery in Dubai through

  • Pixy Liao, Hush, Baby, 2010, digital C-print, 20 x 16''.
    picks February 12, 2016

    “The Real Thing”

    This four-woman photo exhibition sifts through the cavernous world of love in the time of screens and does some subtle paradigm shifting by exploring romantic relationships through the female gaze. Natasha Caruana’s “Married Man” series reveals some bleak insights regarding monogamy. Snapshots taken with disposable cameras narrate stories of the artist’s dates with married men found through a matchmaking website that caters exclusively to a wedded clientele. Sheepish hand-holding gestures are mixed in with images of half-empty glasses, faceless guys, and empty ring fingers. Her book on the series

  • View of “Coco Fusco,” 2016.
    picks January 22, 2016

    Coco Fusco

    When does a revolution die? Can bits of its carcass be found in the crevices of empty squares? Taking Cuba and its silenced dissidents as her case study, Coco Fusco explores these questions in a survey that covers two decades of work via eight videos and an installation.

    The exhibition starts with C O N F I D E N C I A L, Autores Firmantes, 2015, which highlights the archive as a means to author—and alter—history. Twenty-one facsimiles of files that were penned by Cuban authorities in 1971 are displayed in vitrines on the ground floor of the gallery, where we find that Jean-Paul Sartre and

  • Leila Alaoui, Chefchaoun, Nord du Maroc (Chefchaoun, North of Morocco), 2010, digital photo on Baryte paper, 59 x 39”.
    picks December 22, 2015

    Leila Alaoui

    In 1978, philosopher Edward Said published Orientalism, an analysis of the West’s distorted representation of the Orient and its inhabitants as a tactic used to assert its dominion over that part of the world. To this day, the book’s core ideas percolate through much of the art produced in the Middle East and North Africa in the postcolonial era. Oscillating between fine art and documentary photography, Leila Alaoui’s “The Moroccans,” 2010–, is an ongoing project that seeks, from her vantage point as a native Moroccan portraying her compatriots, to rebuke the orientalist discourse.

    Inspired by

  • Mishka Henner, Nato Storage Annex, Coevorden Drenthe, 2011, archival pigment print, dimensions variable.
    picks October 09, 2015

    Mishka Henner

    Scouring Google Earth for satellite images of oil fields and feedlots, Mishka Henner uses surveillance as camera and canvas, producing images that question the place and relevance of the photographic machine. The photographs on view are products of digitally stitched images that on the surface look like gleeful color assortments: green pastures, earth tones, organic red shapes, aerial shots of oil fields evocative of shimmering motherboards. Belying the aesthetic prowess is the account of the nefarious consequences of human intervention on the planet. This is best exemplified by Coronado Feeders,

  • Jumana Manna, A magical substance flows into me, 2015, digital video, color, sound, 1 hour 10 minutes.
    interviews September 18, 2015

    Jumana Manna

    Jumana Manna is a Berlin- and Jerusalem-based artist whose work revolves around the body, national identity, and historical narratives. Her latest film, A magical substance flows into me, will be on view at Chisenhale Gallery in London as part of her first UK solo exhibition, which opens on September 18, 2015. Here, the artist speaks about her research into the career of Robert Lachmann, whose work as a musicologist served as an inspiration for her film and an impetus for her to delve into the musical traditions of the different ethnic groups of Palestine.

    ROBERT LACHMANN was a German-Jewish

  • View of “Tianzhuo Chen,” 2015.
    picks August 31, 2015

    Tianzhuo Chen

    Here is a shrine to decadence that beckons to every spirit devoted to a life of carnal pleasures: bongs, helmets, marijuana-leaf-shaped neon, and flags sporting penises along with the phrase “Jerk Off in Peace” come across as the manifesto for a new world where debauchery is the new religion. For what is far from a conventional exhibition, Tianzhuo Chen has created a nebulous display of installations that purposefully overplay their shock factor while hinging on tackiness. It is almost as though one has arrived late to a deserted underground party, events from which are played on one of the many

  • Mona Hatoum, So Much I Want to Say, 1983, video, black-and-white, sound, 5 minutes.
    picks August 07, 2015

    Mona Hatoum

    Lines are dangerous: They can draw boxes, curb thoughts, and create sides that barricade people within defined categories. Mona Hatoum has unapologetically crossed such divides throughout her career, exemplified in this retrospective by works including So Much I Want to Say, 1983, which projects a cycle of stills of the artist’s face with a man’s hands covering her mouth in each, thereby drawing a line between gender roles. To the right of this piece, Present Tense, 1996–2011, looks askance at the Oslo Accords. Red glass beads on 2,200 blocks of soap from Nablus in Palestine form an inland