Maria Horvei

  • Amber Ablett, Rehearsal for A Change Gonna Come, 2021, three-channel HD video installation, color, sound, 25 minutes. Installation view. Photo: Vegard Kleven.

    Amber Ablett

    “How should a bi-racial person with light skin express themselves about racial oppression . . . ?” asked Amber Ablett in the text for her recent show “Rehearsal for A Change Gonna Come.” This was the question underpinning the only work in the exhibition, a 2021 video installation of the same title, which consisted of three freestanding screens in the darkened exhibition space. Each screen showed the artist in front of a projection of a different amateur video in which a young Black person is singing. Their figures are superimposed on the body of the artist as she tries to copy their movements

  • Bouchra Khalili, Twenty-Two Hours, 2018, digital film, 4K video, color, sound, 45 minutes.

    Bouchra Khalili

    In early March 1970, Jean Genet agreed to visit the United States to campaign for the Black Panther Party. Asked by the organizers if he could travel on short notice, the legendary writer said yes, all his possessions fit into a small suitcase. Genet left France the following day, sneaked into the US via Canada, and, starting in New York, launched into a dizzying two-month tour of American college campuses, accompanied by Black Panther Party members. He lectured American students and intellectuals on American racism and encouraged them to support the Black Panthers and their chairman, Bobby

  • View of Juan Andrés Milanés Benito’s Potemkin Village, 2020. National Museum of Architecture, Oslo. Photo: Kristine Magnesen.
    picks October 27, 2020

    Juan Andrés Milanés Benito

    This October, Potemkin Village was unveiled in central Oslo. The sculpture, by Cuban-born artist Juan Andrés Milanés Benito, consists of deconstructed columns, walls, and other elements fashioned after the neoclassical building it abuts: the National Museum of Architecture, designed by Christian H. Grosch and completed in 1830. Standing in the pristine public square next to Milanés Benito’s augmentation—commissioned by the artist-run gallery Noplace, the National Museum, and the Oslo Municipality—I thought about the first iteration of Potemkin Village, shown in last year’s state-funded Havana

  • Ann Cathrin November Høibo, Hvis verden spør, så er svaret nei #2 (If the World Asks, the Answer is No #2), 2020, wool, cotton, rayon, ceramic hooks (by Marthe Elise Stramrud), 89 3⁄4 × 57 3⁄4 × 1 3⁄4".

    Ann Cathrin November Høibo

    While its title, “Hvis verden spør, så er svaret nei” (If the World Asks, the Answer Is No), might have sounded slightly discouraging, visitors to Ann Cathrin November Høibo’s recent exhibition probably felt very welcome. The works on view were marked by the artist’s (sometimes literal) interweaving of the handmade and the ready-made as well as by her highly idiosyncratic relationship with material objects in general and textiles in particular. The zigzag patterns of the four tapestries that make up Hvis verden spør, så er svaret nei #1, 2020, for instance, are made with both hand-spun wool from

  • Marjolijn Dijkman & Toril Johannessen, Liquid Properties, 2018, handblown glass, water samples, microorganisms, metal structure, dimensions variable.

    Marjolijn Dijkman and Toril Johannessen

    One of the first “fun facts” I can still remember hearing as a child is that every drop of water holds as much life as the number of human beings on the planet. Whether or not this is exactly true I don’t know, nor do I have any idea what was meant by “life” in this context. Is its metric the single microorganism? And are there really several billion micro-organisms contained in every water drop? Surely there must be a difference between water from the kitchen tap and water from a muddy pool.

    However lacking in accuracy, the factoid floated to mind when I visited Marjolijn Dijkman and Toril

  • Kim Hiorthøy, Too Old Too Fast, 2019, acrylic on canvas, 67 × 55".

    Kim Hiorthøy

    Vladimir Nabokov once wrote of the allure of the blank page, seeing in it “a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” But to other writers, the blank page is an intimidating figure, the supreme symbol of writer’s block and the self-inflicted pressure of a creative process. The fact that the untouched canvas has never grown to reach quite the symbolic heights of its paper cousin is perhaps linked with the story of modern painting. The weight of history and convention inherent in the medium can also be intimidating, but how threatening

  • Benjamin Crotty, Menu No. 3, 2016, acetate, glass, 12 × 9 1/4 × 1/8". From the series “Menu No. 1–15,” 2016.

    Benjamin Crotty

    On Wednesday, November 16, 1949, President Harry S. Truman had the shah of Iran to tea. The shopping list for the meal included one chicken, two packages of cream cheese, bourbon, scotch, and juice oranges. By contrast, on October 15, 1947, the same president lunched alone, feasting on a fruit cup, cottage-cheese salad, and, for dessert, a floating island. For dinner, he had a club sandwich.

    The menus of nearly every day of Truman’s presidency, which started in 1945, have been preserved in the National Archives in Washington, DC, ever since his second term ended, in 1953. Some of them were recently