Mira Dayal

  • Close-Up: Theory of Relativity

    GOOGLE “NEFERTITI’S SISTER,” and a diptych from Lorraine O’Grady’s Miscegenated Family Album, 1980/1994, is the second result. The piece features a photo of the artist beside a photo of a stone bust of Mutnedjmet, the sister of the Egyptian queen; O’Grady and Mutnedjmet, both shot in three-quarter profile, bear a strong mutual resemblance. The subsequent search results also belong to O’Grady’s series: a different view of that same Mutnedjmet bust, next to a ca. 1340 BCE bust of Nefertiti (less resemblance here, even though they are sisters); a sculpture of Nefertiti’s daughter Merytaten with a

  • Patricia Treib

    Kindred but differentiated glyphs, flat and of varying sizes, repeat over time and across space in Patricia Treib’s recent paintings. Her quasi-alphabetic forms are abstract even as they resemble sundry objects: a pitcher, a cornice, a stylus, a bone, and a ribbon. But these figures have other referents, too, known only to Treib and to those familiar with her eccentric lexicon. And in some instances, the artist references the negative spaces between objects that she sets up in her studio. Treib’s paintings bespeak a private asemic language, rendered in a manner reminiscent of illuminated

  • interviews March 03, 2020

    Rivane Neuenschwander

    Fitting that this conversation was made possible through translation: The Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander’s oeuvre, spanning some thirty years, is dotted with experiments in the misuse, repurposing, and dislocation of language. Our interview was anchored by the words carta, residue, and fear. Echoing the approach of her room-size installation Work of Days, 1998, which was recently on view in “Surrounds” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, this text gathers some of the threads and effects of pieces she has recently shown and plots them against the grid of her career.

    THE FIRST WORK I

  • Luis Camnitzer

    An unsettling presence pervades Luis Camnitzer’s El mirador (The Observatory), 1996, a room-within-a-room whose components—including a stained pillow, an enamel plate, a few magazines, and a (mostly) empty bottle of wine—suggest an inhabitant. Have they died or, in some mysterious way, just disappeared? The sliding metal gate above a shelf built into the installation’s inaccessible door—through which that dish might be slid back and forth, full or empty of food—likens these quarters to a prison cell. Surveillance could be facilitated by the fist-size horizontal gap running at eye level along

  • LEAVES OF GRASS

    SCROLL WAS FIRST USED AS A VERB in the 1600s to describe a particular method of writing. Its current definition, having more to do with the navigation of text than with its creation, was introduced in the early 1970s, at the same time that Michelle Stuart finished her first banner-like frottage of a patch of ground—in this case, in Woodstock, New York. In the contemporary context, scrolling is so effortless—requiring just the touch of a finger to touch pad or screen—that it hardly seems to qualify as an action. But centuries ago, it might have involved slowly unwinding yards of parchment from

  • interviews September 10, 2019

    Mona Hatoum

    Many of Mona Hatoum’s installations employ just one or two materials (barbed wire, cement and rebar, steel, hair) to transform recognizable symbols and forms (maps, globes, spheres, cubes) into portentous iterations. The results can be seen as succinct metaphors for the world as it is—or as models of the future. In an exhibition at White Cube in London titled “Remains to be Seen,” on view from September 11 to November 3, 2019, Hatoum is debuting several pieces that move further in the latter direction, bringing together images of the world lit up by fire, a shattered map of floating continents,

  • KAARI UPSON

    Curated by Elena Filipovic (Basel)

    Curated by Kathleen Rahn (Hannover)

    Kaari Upson’s disquieting new video for her Kunsthalle Basel exhibition transports viewers to the dusty lot of her childhood home in San Bernardino, California. The sound of a giant pine being sawed to bits overwhelms the nighttime scene. Upson appears in the frame, spotlit, wringing her hands, attempting to speak over the noise of the machinery. Despair and confusion characterize the best of Upson’s oeuvre, which will be surveyed in a nearly concurrent show at Kunstverein Hannover. This dual presentation is fitting for an

  • Olga Balema

    10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 . . . The integers titling Olga Balema’s thirteen works, all produced this year, descended unsteadily in a clockwise direction from Bridget Donahue’s entrance. Each number corresponded to a diagrammatic composition of thin elastic strips, some of which were stretched out in lengths of up to forty-five feet, raised slightly above the floor by the nails and staples that held them in place. In some areas the strands were split in two or glued together to create intersections, mostly at right angles; elsewhere, extraneous bands curled underfoot, like crimped ribbons or dried flora,

  • picks July 10, 2019

    Rachel Libeskind and Carmen Winant

    The announcement for Rachel Libeskind and Carmen Winant’s show tells us that the artists “practice feminism and motherhood,” as if these were optional items on a menu of exercise regimens. Yet both of them do attempt to grapple with the historic packaging and narrativization of women’s bodies and psyches.

    Winant’s memorable installation at the Museum of Modern Art last year, My Birth, 2018, required the viewer to pass through a long hallway plastered with pictures of newborns, pregnancies, and women in labor. Here, her collages focus on found material about “embodied treatments”—such as dance or

  • Sonya Blesofsky

    After Sonya Blesofsky’s show at Spencer Brownstone Gallery closed, the gallery’s walls had to be reconstructed. The bricks, concrete blocks, two-by-fours, heating ducts, electrical outlets, and insulation that had been temporarily revealed through cutouts in the Sheetrock and scraped-away paint were entombed once more. In 1933, the current site of the gallery was just a yard appended to the address of 172 Suffolk Street and zoned for commercial use: “monumental works and showroom,” according to a legal certificate. In 1945, the lot’s use was clarified for the “display and sales of monumental

  • Liz Magor

    A gesture that recurs in Liz Magor’s recent work is the needy and desperate embrace—the full-bodied attachment of a subject to an object of comfort. In her 2017–18 show at Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, the hybrid stuffed animals of Oilmen’s Bonspiel (a kitty-faced monkey) and Pembina (a pig-headed teddy bear), both 2017, each hugged a heavy knit sweater around the waist. More recently, at Harvard University’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, a creature the size of a Beanie Baby grasped the tails of a soft coat in Closet (fur), 2018, while silicone casts of larger plush beasties held

  • picks March 28, 2019

    Aki Sasamoto

    The trio of spherical glass volumes in Aki Sasamoto’s installation here are reminders of all that is circular in her work: the wall drawings in performances such as Strange Attractors, 2010; the toilet paper rolls of Under/Over, 2015; the rotating washing machines of Delicate Cycle, 2016; the doughnuts in her newest video (on view here), Do Nut Diagram, 2018; and even the suggestive displacement of “Past in a future tense,” the title of this exhibition.

    A loud whirring sound emanates from three centrifugal fans; the wind is channeled through coiling HVAC ducts that are connected to three large