Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • Hanne Darboven, Fin de siècle—Buch der Bilder (End of the Century—Book of Pictures), 1992–93, 520 working sheets, each 11 3⁄4 × 8 1⁄4"; forty-two picture panels, each 19 3⁄4 × 27 5⁄8"; fifty-four albums, each 15 3⁄4 × 23 5⁄8". Installation view. Photo: Dan Bradica.

    Hanne Darboven

    For decades, the German Conceptual artist Hanne Darboven (1941–2009) lived with her mother in Hamburg’s Harburg district. It was there that she made Fin de siècle—Buch der Bilder (End of the Century—Book of Pictures), 1992–93, a sprawling piece that lent its title to a recent exhibition of the artist’s work at Petzel. The installation was inspired, in part, by a 1923 edition of Rainer Maria Rilke’s volume of poems Das Buch der Bilder (1902), which is his least recognized text, perhaps owing to its ostensibly scattered selection of short lyrics, dialogues, and interior monologues. One wonders

  • Eve Fowler, Labor, 2023, nine-channel video installation (twenty videos, each color, sound, 3 minutes).

    Eve Fowler

    Through a tripartite cycle of exceptional films made over the past seven years, Eve Fowler has surrounded herself with women working. Shot on 16 mm, the black-and-white with it which it as it if it is to be, 2016, portrays artists doing what they do in their studios, day in and day out. For part II, 2019, she focused more explicitly on women artists thriving during their “late career” phases and on the breakthroughs that still occur therein. The third piece in the filmic trifecta, Labor, 2023, is a nine-channel video installation showing close-up views of her subjects’ hands. For her debut solo

  • Marjorie Strider, Triptych II (Beach Girl), 1963, acrylic on epoxy-coated Styrofoam, mounted on Masonite and wood panel, 5' 9" × 13' 9" × 6".

    Marjorie Strider

    “It has never been pretty,” wrote Lucy Lippard in a 1974 catalogue essay on the art of Marjorie Strider (1931–2014). “In fact,” the esteemed critic noted, the work is “usually awkward, funny, grotesque, or heavy-handed.” Too true: Strider’s paintings, especially those of svelte, bikini-clad women with bulky, three-dimensional breasts (such as Come Hither and Triptych II [Beach Girl], both 1963) or gaping mouths with bulging, cherry-red lips (such as Welcome, 1963, and Tunnel of Love, 2013) are gauche. Tacky, even. But Strider never wanted to create “tasteful” art: With her appropriations of

  • Benjamin Wigfall, Things My Father Told Me, Tall Man II, 1971, intaglio and relief print on paper, 271⁄2 × 391⁄2".

    “Benjamin Wigfall & Communications Village”

    In 1973, Benjamin Wigfall (1930–2017) purchased a renovated livery stable in Ponckhockie, a primarily working-class Black neighborhood in Kingston, New York, to use as his studio. An admired printmaking professor at the State University of New York (SUNY), New Paltz—the artist was known for his innovative engraving techniques, such as “burning,” or mark-making with a red-hot tool—he often traveled to Ponckhockie to conduct oral-history interviews with its residents at the local Baptist church and knew the place well. The conversations were part of his “audiographic” practice of speaking with “

  • Silke Otto-Knapp, Untitled (Versammlung III), 2022, triptych, watercolor on canvas, overall 6' 6 3 ⁄4" × 12' 9 1⁄2". © Silke Otto-Knapp.

    Silke Otto-Knapp

    When German artist Silke Otto-Knapp (1970–2022) passed away from ovarian cancer last October, she left behind a quietly impactful oeuvre. Her serene grayscale paintings created over the past decade or so—of silhouetted figures, subdued landscapes—often put me in mind of Romantic composers, such as Frédéric Chopin. Like his music, her art feels timeless, even when it culls from the past to say something prescient about today and tomorrow. Often the message has something to do with evanescence, a quality that echoes throughout works that achieve a potent ambiguity between flatness and depth,

  • Zoe Leonard, Untitled, 2019/2022, gelatin silver print, 21 5⁄8 × 30 3⁄4".

    Zoe Leonard

    Zoe Leonard’s art has long tackled fraught political issues—immigration, gentrification, capitalism—without coming across as moralizing or heavy-handed. Instead, the artist identifies historical or contemporary problems and dismantles them through investigations that are both materially expansive and conceptually rigorous. This approach stems in part from her involvement, beginning in the late 1980s, with ACT UP, fierce pussy, and other activist collectives fighting to save the lives of people with AIDS who were, infuriatingly, deemed not sufficiently worthy by the US government to live. In her

  • Louise Bourgeois, The Runaway Girl, ca. 1938, oil, charcoal, and pencil on canvas, 24 × 15". © The Easton Foundation/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY; Photo: Christopher Burke.

    Louise Bourgeois

    I confess that before seeing this breathtaking exhibition, I was unaware that Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) made paintings, more than one hundred of them, all self-portraits. The works are teeming with gorgeous interplays of Cimmerian shadow and light; vivid cadmium reds and cobalt blues; sharp reconfigurations of Renaissance-era imaging techniques, such as illusionistic space creation (via single- and three-point perspective); and heavy underdrawing. After 1949, Bourgeois unceremoniously ceased producing these haunting “nostalgia pictures” and began working in other mediums—drawing, printmaking,

  • Film strip from Raphael Montañez Ortiz’s Cowboy and Indian, 1958, 16 mm transferred to digital video, black-and-white, sound, 2 minutes 19 seconds.

    Raphael Montañez Ortiz

    Raphael Montañez Ortiz was a key member of the Art Workers’ Coalition who, along with artists Faith Ringgold and Tom Lloyd, pushed the collective to make museums accountable for their racism, classism, and elitism. In 1969, the same year the AWC was established, Ortiz became the founding director of New York’s El Museo del Barrio. At the time, the artist was known for his Fluxus-inspired piano-destruction concerts. A consummate New Yorker, the Brooklyn-born Ortiz studied at the borough’s Pratt Institute, taught at the High School of Music and Art on Manhattan’s West Side, and received a doctorate

  • Frédéric Bruly Bouabré. « GBRÉ=GBLÉ » N° 118, 1991, colored pencil, graphite, and ballpoint pen on board, 3 7⁄8 × 5 7⁄8". From the series “Alphabet Bété,” 1990–91.

    Frédéric Bruly Bouabré

    Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, the first Ivorian artist to have a survey at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, was born in 1923 in Zépréguhé, Côte d’Ivoire. Yet on March 11, 1948, as if by some miracle, he was reborn—Bouabré had a mystical vision on the way to his clerical job at the General Security Directorate in Dakar, Senegal. Of this experience, he wrote, “Since the sky opened to my eyes and the seven colored suns described a circle of beauty around their ‘Mother-Sun,’ I am the one that must from now on be called ‘Cheik Nadro,’ the Revealer.” Following this astonishing event, Bouabré experienced

  • Katherine Wolkoff, Snake Hole, 2021, archival pigment print, 40 x 50".
    interviews June 09, 2022

    Katherine Wolkoff

    Throughout her lifetime, Block Island resident Elizabeth Dickens (1877­–1963) amassed a collection of 172 stuffed birds—whenever one died, locals would bring her the specimen—which she used to teach the island’s children about ecology. Her life and work inform “Taken from a Cat,” a solo exhibition by the Brooklyn-based artist Katherine Wolkoff that remains on view at Benrubi Gallery in New York through June 18, 2022. The show features forty photographs displaying Dickens’s handwritten labels recording how each bird died, and five larger landscape views of the island made with a lensless camera.

  • Elaine Reichek, Oppenheim’s Gloves, 2020, hand embroidery on cotton gloves appliquéd to linen, 14 3⁄4 × 15 3⁄4".

    Elaine Reichek

    “Later on, I could perform a more sophisticated maneuver by doubling back on and reversing the injunction against AbEx, performing a critique of the critique, one that allowed me to appropriate AbEx as a practice back into my own hands and twist it into the form I wanted it to assume.” This line from Amy Sillman’s fabulous essay “Ab-Ex and Disco Balls: In Defense of Abstract Expressionism II”—published in these pages in 2011—came to mind as I viewed Elaine Reichek’s second solo show at Marinaro, “Material Girl,” where she turned her gimlet eye onto the long interlaced history connecting painting,

  • Luce Irigaray. Photo: Cathy Bernheim.
    interviews May 09, 2022

    Luce Irigaray

    Luce Irigaray is one of the most renowned and polemical philosophers of our time. The author of more than thirty books, she is well known for her critical engagements with canonical figures of psychoanalytic and philosophical traditions through her landmark feminist texts such as Speculum of the Other Woman (1974), which prompted her expulsion from the Lacanian École Freudienne de Paris (EFP) because of its searing depiction of Platonic and Freudian representations of women; This Sex Which Is Not One (1977); Elemental Passions (1982); Marine Lover of Friedrich Nietzsche (1991); and The Forgetting