Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • 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

  • View of “Kate Millett,” 2022. Photo: Dan Bradica.

    Kate Millett

    Before she wrote her influential feminist book Sexual Politics (1970), before Alice Neel painted her portrait for the cover of the August 31, 1970, issue of Time magazine, and before she founded a women’s art colony outside of Poughkeepsie, New York, in 1978, Kate Millett was an artist. A thriving and active member of Manhattan’s downtown art scene during the late 1950s, Millett (1934–2017) established a studio on the Bowery and frequented the Cedar Tavern—who knows what the macho AbEx crowd there made of this burgeoning queer feminist activist sculptor? After a two-year stint teaching English

  • Faith Ringgold, United States of Attica, 1972, offset lithograph, 21 5/8 × 27 3/8". Courtesy the artist and ACA Galleries, New York. © Faith Ringgold / ARS, NY and DACS, London via ACA Galleries, New York 2022.
    interviews March 04, 2022

    Faith Ringgold

    For over six decades, the artist, activist, educator, and writer Faith Ringgold has drawn from both her own life and collective histories in the pursuit of racial justice and equity. From protesting museums with the Ad Hoc Women’s Art Committee in the 1970s to publishing and illustrating seventeen children’s books to her paintings, soft sculpture, and story quilts, her invincible spirit is fully apparent in “Faith Ringgold: American People,” the most comprehensive exhibition to date of her farsighted work. The show remains on view at the New Museum in New York through June 5, 2022.

    IN 1988, I

  • Hilma af Klint, Tree of Knowledge, No. 1, 1913–15, watercolor, gouache, graphite, and ink on paper, 17 7⁄8 × 11 5⁄8".

    Hilma af Klint

    Hilma af Klint’s numinous, farsighted output never fails to illuminate. She believed that her art would be understood only by people of the future. Perhaps that was why her 2018–19 retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York was the institution’s most attended exhibition ever. Miraculously, af Klint (1862–1944) consistently has more to give. Consider the eight delicate drawings from the Swedish artist’s 1913–15 “Tree of Knowledge” series, a recently unearthed body of work that made a rare public appearance at David Zwirner’s tony space on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. An

  • SoiL Thornton, “Husband” chair (SC), 2021, vinyl, D-rings, blower tube, Quiet Box blower. Installation view. Photo: Charles Benton.

    “Niloufar Emamifar, SoiL Thornton, and an Oral History of Knobkerry”

    For this exhibition in three separate acts—a sort of nongroup group show—Niloufar Emamifar presented works related to SculptureCenter’s archives, spanning its founding as Clay Club in 1928 to the present. The pieces were displayed in the institution’s lower-level warren of narrow hallways. SoiL Thornton blocked an entryway to this sepulchral space with their enormous “Husband” chair (SC), 2021, a brown-vinyl cube attached to a Quiet Box fan, and exhibited a selection of conceptual garments made from materials such as foil, bells, and wire. Upstairs in a compact reading room were complimentary

  • Laura Aguilar, Grounded #111, 2006, ink-jet print, 14 1⁄2 × 15". From the series “Grounded,” 2006.

    Laura Aguilar

    I’d been anticipating Laura Aguilar’s traveling retrospective, “Show and Tell,” over the past four drawn-out years, after it first opened in 2017 at the Vincent Price Art Museum in Los Angeles. When the exhibition landed at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art, its final stop, her take on resiliency and repair offered many instructive life lessons, as its title quietly suggested. The survey spans three decades of the artist’s oeuvre and emphasizes her activism, which was cut short by her death from diabetes in 2018 at the age of fifty-eight, roughly seven months after the show’s tour began. Signs of

  • Bruce Burris, Totalitarian Tiptoe, 2020, acrylic, tempera, watercolor, marker, graphite, and spray paint on paper, 22 × 15".

    Bruce Burris

    Bruce Burris’s trippy, caustic, and unruly exhibition of drawings—organized by the curatorial platform March and presented at Summertime, a nonprofit art studio and gallery in Brooklyn—felt timely in its caricaturing of the deeply divided United States. The show opened one day before President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris took the oath of office at the Capitol on January 20, 2021, while the nation was still reeling from an unthinkable attack by a violent mob there earlier in the month. The fourteen works on view, all made in 2020, were essentially heralds, announcing that our lives

  • Tourmaline, Salacia, 2019, 16 mm, sound, color, 6 minutes 4 seconds.

    Tourmaline

    A debut solo show is typically a watershed moment for an artist. But for Tourmaline, it was more of an object lesson in self-understanding, underscored by a sensitivity and maturity you don’t see often enough. Take the considered selection of her exhibition site: As Chapter NY’s location on East Houston Street in Manhattan is inaccessible to disabled people, the polymath—who is well known for her filmic portraits of Black trans activists and icons, and for her own activism—staged her presentation in an accessible pop-up space so that everyone could see it. This was not a small detail, but rather

  • Jo Baer, Snow-Laden Primeval (Meditations, on Log Phase and Decline Rampant with Flatulent Cows and Carbon Cars), 2020, oil on canvas, 67 5/8 × 60 1/4".

    Jo Baer

    Jo Baer can be provocative, but the effect is never for the sake of mere provocation—without fear or apology, the artist says what she thinks. For example, in a 1967 letter to the editor of this magazine, she faults Donald Judd and Robert Morris for their high-stakes rejection of her preferred medium—painting—which the duo called “antique” for its implicit illusionism. In the final line of her communiqué, she writes, “An ‘inescapable’ delusion moves the above critics. It is objectionable,” her last word a cutting pun on Judd’s 1965 essay “Specific Objects.” Baer’s 2010 book, Broadsides & Belles

  • Leilah Babirye, Nantege O’we Ngabi from the Kuchu Civet Cat Clan, 2020, wood, wax, aluminum, nails, found objects, 51 × 15 × 3".

    Leilah Babirye

    Ebika Bya ba Kuchu mu Buganda” (Kuchu Clans of Buganda), Leilah Babirye’s muscular second solo outing at Gordon Robichaux, exemplified her fiercely intelligent approach to materials through a body of work that radiates dignity, spirituality, and prudence. The quickly growing oeuvre of the Brooklyn-based artist not only looks back to the disastrous legacies of British colonialism in Uganda and to twentieth-century European cultural appropriations (Picasso’s Les demoiselles d’Avignon, 1907, for example), but also encompasses progressive ideas regarding alternative forms of kinship, community

  • Lauretta Vinciarelli, Orange Silence, 2000, three watercolor-on-paper works, each 22 × 15".

    Lauretta Vinciarelli

    Solace. That’s the word that kept coming to mind as I looked at Lauretta Vinciarelli’s exacting watercolor-and-ink studies of light, space, and reflection, after not having seen art in person for six months due to the Covid-19 closures. This exquisite exhibition focused on the artist and architect’s mature production between 1984 and 2002, before her untimely death in 2011 at age sixty-eight. It seemed to pick up right where the last Vinciarelli show—at New York’s Judd Foundation in 2019—left off. That presentation surveyed her output from the years 1976 to 1986, when she was romantically involved

  • Marwa Arsanios, Have you ever killed a bear? or Becoming Jamila, 2013–14, HD video, color, sound, 25 minutes. From “Nine Lives,” 2020, Renaissance Society, Chicago.

    NEW WAVE

    THEY SAY WE’RE STRONGER TOGETHER. That we’re the most important political force in the nation. That feminism is the future. What would it take to make these platitudes—touchstones from August’s Democratic National Convention—meaningful during a complete economic and social catastrophe and under a pandemic that has all but extinguished any faith left in already attenuated notions of universality and progress?

    Conceived in the wake of the 2017 Women’s March, the Feminist Art Coalition is a call to action that encompasses climate change, decolonization, racial justice, Indigenous struggles, diasporic