Malik Gaines

  • Janet Henry and Linda Goode Bryant at Just Above Midtown, 50 West 57th Street, New York, December 1974. Photo: Camille Billops.

    BEST OF 2022

    EVEN THE OPENING OF “Just Above Midtown: Changing Spaces,” an exhibition chronicling the approach, sensibility, and material existence of Linda Goode Bryant’s now-celebrated artist-run space, was itself a legendary scene. Goode Bryant, the dauntless activist, filmmaker, and JAM founder, and Thomas (T.) Jean Lax, the inventive researcher and curator of performance and media at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, danced energetically, face-to-face, in a West African modality before a line of Senegalese drummers. (Lax curated the show with Lilia Rocio Taboada in collaboration with Goode Bryant and

  • Wu Tsang, Anthem, 2021, 5K video, color, sound, 20 minutes. Installation view, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Beverly Glenn-Copeland. Photo: David Heald.

    BEST SHOWS OF 2021

    THE GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM’S iconic architecture includes an oculus, a circular skylight that lets in the sun and suggests the eye of a celestial overseer. In 2021, the museum covered this aperture for a series of Covid-era video and performance works (by Sky Hopinka, Steffani Jemison, Lucy Raven, and others) in its darkened rotunda. Among the participating artists, Wu Tsang made particularly moving use of this occluded vision, filling the structure’s dim spaces with sound. Placing speakers throughout the museum, Tsang delivered an auditory experience that gave visitors a heightened awareness. Shifts

  • Christine Sun Kim, Yo Momma So Heavy-Deaf, 2019, charcoal and oil pastel on paper, 16 1⁄2 × 16 1⁄2".


    CHRISTINE SUN KIM’S DRAWINGS act out a form of sociology, dressing up the artist’s point of view as a data set. Departing from the seriousness with which Pierre Bourdieu charted the “field of cultural production,” and from the art-world statistical analyses of Hans Haacke representing cultural dynamics as rational forms, Kim’s illustrations and diagrams play on Conceptualism and institutional critique, but replace presumed factuality with justified sarcasm. Resisting the signs of a scientific mode, Kim’s hand is always present, in loose marks of charcoal and oil pastel, casual script, and evident

  • Jason Moran

    What lies between the arts is jazz, or so Jason Moran proposes in his first solo museum exhibition. An acclaimed pianist, Moran makes music that is reverent of jazz, but his technical and disciplinary agility orient the piano out toward its broad potential. A piano is a big device, and playing it can feel like activating an installation. This feeling extends to his gleaming sculptural sets, which model legendary music stages. Three works from this series (two from 2015, plus a new piece based on the storied New York venue Slugs’ Saloon) are


    THERE IS SOMETHING very homosexual about using “multiple instruments of the same kind.” This is the ensemble instruction composer Julius Eastman gave for performing some of his most exciting scores, in which groups of players work through themes and variations, all on the same musical instrument. These compositions were introduced to new music audiences in the 1970s and ’80s and have been rarely heard since. Still, they are thrilling to witness live, as was made possible by the miraculous “That Which Is Fundamental,” an exhibition and concert series presented in Philadelphia at the Slought

  • Eldridge Cleaver and his wife Kathleen with portrait of Huey Newton, Algiers, 1970. Photo: Gordon Parks. From “Back to Black.”

    “Back to Black—Art, Cinema and the Racial Imaginary”

    Though historical categories have formed the basis for many recent exhibitions on black art, “Back to Black” is unique in its transnational and interdisciplinary approach to the heyday of black political consciousness, namely the ’60s and ’70s. Selecting forty-five artists from the US, Britain, and the Caribbean, the curators have used their academic acumen to present a vast swath of diasporic works and concepts, from the originative (Romare Bearden) to the brilliantly blaxploitational (Melvin Van Peebles) to the perennially