Lauren O’Neill-Butler

  • Alejandro Cesarco, Revision, 2017, 16mm film transferred to digital video, color, sound, 3 minutes 40 seconds.
    interviews November 28, 2017

    Alejandro Cesarco

    Alejandro Cesarco is a Uruguay-born, New York­–based artist and the director of the nonprofit Art Resources Transfer. His current solo show, “Song,” at the Renaissance Society in Chicago features a range of old and new works, and at its heart is the video Revision, 2017, which Cesarco discusses below. The exhibition is on view until January 28, 2018. Cesarco also has a show at Galleria Raffaella Cortese in Milan, “The Measures of Memory,” which is on view from November 29, 2017 to February 28, 2018.

    THE FIRST THING YOU SEE when you walk into the exhibition at the Renaissance Society is a

  • Charles White, Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man), 1973, oil wash on board, 60 x 44".
    picks November 24, 2017

    “Charles White—Leonardo da Vinci.”

    What if all exhibitions were like this one—shrewd, focused, and rounded out by Vedic natal charts? For the “Artist’s Choice” genus here, David Hammons has paired Black Pope (Sandwich Board Man), 1973, a monumental work from the museum’s collection made with oil wash on board by his great Los Angeles–based teacher Charles White, with a powerful, complete sketch by Leonardo da Vinci: a small brush-and-ink study on paper, The drapery of a kneeling figure, ca. 1491–94, on loan from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Though they were made some 450 years apart, the coupling inspires chills, like a poignant

  • Left: Joan Jonas's Moving Off the Land. Right: Poet Anne Carson and artist Joan Jonas.
    diary October 12, 2017

    Volcano Lovers

    THESE DAYS, most flights from New York to Iceland’s main airport are red-eyes that land just before dawn. The benefit, until the darkness lingers longer, is that you’re forced to reckon with the rocky landscape through an astonishing sunrise. Last weekend I watched that crimson blaze lift over mountains and slowly illuminate the treeless, moss-covered terrain as my bus puttered along a winding and empty highway to Reykjavik’s eighth edition of Sequences, a ten-day biennial spread out across the city. It was shocking.

    Not so shocking: The show’s “honorary artist” was Joan Jonas, whose recent work

  • Helen Frankenthaler, Red Shift, 1990, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 76”. © Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
    interviews August 29, 2017

    Alexandra Schwartz

    Alexandra Schwartz is a New York–based independent curator and the author of Ed Ruscha’s Los Angeles (MIT Press, 2010). Her latest exhibition, “As in Nature: Helen Frankenthaler Paintings,” is on view at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, through October 9, 2017. A related exhibition, “No Rules: Helen Frankenthaler Woodcuts,” curated by Jay A. Clark, is also on view at the institution through September 24, 2017.

    SINCE I STARTED WORKING on this exhibition, almost every time I mention it to a female painter, she responds with delight. Speaking enthusiastically about her admiration

  • interviews August 22, 2017

    Tyree Guyton

    What is a monument? The Detroit-based artist Tyree Guyton has long asked this question, beginning with his ongoing site-specific installation The Heidelberg Project, 1986–, which has entailed transforming his childhood neighborhood into a living museum. Now, for Philadelphia’s citywide public art and history project Monument Lab, Guyton is creating The Times, 2017, a massive mural of caricature-styled timepieces on a former factory in the city’s Kensington neighborhood. The work will be on view at the Impact Services building on A Street and East Indiana Avenue from September 16 through November

  • Joanne Kyger, Descartes, 1968, single-channel video, black-and-white, sound, 11 minutes 14 seconds.
    picks July 28, 2017

    “So I traveled a great deal. I met George, Ebbe, Joy, Philip, Jack, Robert, Dora, Harold, Jerome, Ed, Mike, Tom, Bill, Harvey, Sheila, Irene, John, Michael, Mertis, Gai-fu, Jay, Jim, Anne, Kirby, Allen, Peter, Charles, Drummond, Cassandra, Pamela, Marilyn, Lewis, Ted, Clayton, Cid, Barbara, Ron, Richard, Tony, Paul, Anne, Russell, Larry, Link, Anthea, Martin, Jane, Don, Fatso, Clark, Anja, Les, Sue, and Brian.”

    One of the pleasures of this exhibition is seeing artists deviate from their typical mediums: Witness the suite of trance-inducing drawings by the filmmaker Jordan Belson, poet Joanne Kyger’s heady video that riffs on Descartes, and a series of low-res street photographs by the poet Tisa Walden. A romantic sense of freedom blossoms here, which could be linked to the fact that all of the featured artists hail from Northern California (and were alive during the Summer of Love fifty years ago). Also on view are brightly hued taxonomic paintings of nudibranchs on pitch-black backgrounds by Isabella

  • View of “Immortal Duck,” 2017.
    picks June 23, 2017

    Lex Brown

    Don’t let those foam cinder blocks on the floor fool you. Lex Brown’s first solo exhibition ain’t soft—it’s a razor-edged debut with a droll twist. “Immortal Duck” departs from Looney Tunes’ iconic 1951 “Hunting Trilogy,” where Daffy Duck is shot multiple times by Elmer Fudd but never dies, like some eternal god in an Attic comedy—though the cartoon is, of course, deeply American and quite current, with vainglorious characters center stage, avaricious and always craving attention. But Brown mines Daffy Duck’s enduring potential as positive and perhaps even as an avatar. (From the poem

  • Georgia Sagri, Dynamis / Invitation, 2017, C-print.
    interviews June 05, 2017

    Georgia Sagri

    Georgia Sagri is an artist based in Athens and in New York. Here, she discusses Dynamis, 2017, her piece for Documenta 14, which entangles twenty-eight sculptures of organs, ten breathing scores, and six days of “demonstration / performance simultaneously and in continuum” with a chorus—featuring Nora Barbier, Sophia Djitli, Ioannis Karounis, Clara Marie Müller, Angela Stiegler, and Fernanda Valdivieso, Marianna Feher, Emma Howes, Lo-Yi Lee, Jaqueline Lisboa Silva, Hannah Peinemann, Deva Schule, and Catherine Woywod—and will take place from June 7 through June 12, 2017, in Athens and Kassel.

  • Amy O’Neill, Zoo Revolution and The Well Fed Wolf, 2017, 16 mm transfer to HD video, color, sound, 8 minutes 6 seconds.
    interviews June 02, 2017

    Amy O’Neill

    Amy O’Neill is a New York–based artist known for her works that sift through the ruins of Americana. Her latest exhibition, “Convex Cornea,” which she discusses here, features a new video installation, drawings, and the wall-based “Bean-Bag Flats” series. The show is on view at Kristina Kite Gallery in Los Angeles from June 3 through July 15, 2017.

    MY FATHER ONCE TOLD ME A STORY about a rumor that spread throughout his high school in western Pennsylvania. To commemorate the assassinated president, school officials had asked for the face of John F. Kennedy to be grafted onto the head of their

  • Edgar Heap of Birds, Genocide and Democracy, 2016, ink on paper, 15 x 22” each.
    interviews April 25, 2017

    Edgar Heap of Birds

    For over forty years, Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds has produced works that antagonize indigenous oppression and foreground his Cheyenne heritage. In recent monoprints, Heap of Birds merges political songs and anthems with his own writings—RED SKIN BOUNTY TIS OF THEE, reads one print in Genocide and Democracy, 2016, a piece he discusses below. That work is featured in “Reconstitution” at LAXART in Los Angeles, an exhibition that looks at the enduring legacy of identity politics and is curated by Catherine Taft and Hamza Walker. The show is on view through May 27, 2017.

    I’VE BEEN MAKING

  • Claudia Rankine and John Lucas, untitled, 2017, two-cent stamps, dimensions variable.
    slant March 21, 2017

    New World Disorder: Claudia Rankine

    The New York–based Racial Imaginary Institute examines the idea that race is a construct for all of us. Spearheaded by the poet, essayist, playwright, and 2016 MacArthur fellow Claudia Rankine, the institute plans to host exhibitions, performances, lectures, and talks. It is an antidote but not a rejoinder to the new administration in Washington, DC, because, as Rankine notes below, “Trump is not the beginning of this; he’s just a blatant manifestation of it. It was in the air for a long time.”

    Here, she discusses her plans with artforum.com managing editor Lauren O’Neill-Butler.

    LAUREN O’NEILL-BUTLER:

  • Jean Follett, 3 Black Bottles, 1958, mixed media on wood, 11 2/3 x 19 1/2 x 1 3/4”.
    picks February 24, 2017

    “Inventing Downtown: Artist-Run Galleries in New York City, 1952–1965”

    A few of the artist co-ops and alternative spaces featured in this show have recently gained some art-historical due—via, for instance, the Blanton Museum’s exhibition on the Park Place Gallery and the Birmingham Museum’s survey of the Spiral Group—though more research and scholarship is still much needed. “Inventing Downtown” is a welcome antidote as the first exhibition to examine a synergy among works and ephemera from fourteen artist-run galleries below Fourteenth Street (with the exception of the City Gallery in Chelsea and Richard Bellamy’s Green Gallery in midtown). It’s a treasure trove