Monica Uszerowicz

  • picks April 06, 2020

    Lucia Hierro

    Walter Mercado, the cherished Puerto Rican astrologer, died last November; in January, Chinese media reported the first known death from COVID-19. The uncorrelated events seem to outline a cosmic ambigram: The loss of someone who was, for many, a divine comfort twists into the systemic upheaval of terrene life.

    Mercado appears alongside traditional holiday candies in Lucia Hierro’s Portate bien para que te dejen lo reye (all works 2020), a digital collage on suede depicting ephemera recognizable to Caribbean and Latino families, on view in the artist's exhibition “Vecinos / Neighbors.” Throughout,

  • Cecilia Vicuña

    ON A SATURDAY MORNING this past December, Cecilia Vicuña bundled some fifty people into a living version of a quipu—a system of knots utilized by indigenous Andean communities for record keeping and communication. Vicuña and a group of assistants bent over the supine participants, who were swaddled in blue-green combed wool. The artist had written SEE/RISE on her and her assistants’ palms, and they turned these inscriptions toward each body in the human quipu as if cuing the participants to look and ascend. Throughout the morning, Vicuña quietly chanted, her voice like a lullaby. If we could

  • film January 21, 2020

    Perfect Storm

    FOR HOW MANY EONS have humans looked to the firmaments—for dreaming, for communion with the departed—while they were really looking within? A third of the way through Weathering with You (2019), a film of remarkable beauty by anime auteur Makoto Shinkai, we’re gliding through Tokyo’s Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival, as each CGI explosion sprinkles twinkling lights like pixie dust over a lambent, lifelike Tokyo. The film’s two teenaged leads, runaway Hodaka (Kotaro Daigo) and orphan Hina (Nana Mori), are in love. “The way the sky looks can move you so much,” Hodaka says.

    The night is so clear

  • Vaughn Spann

    Vaughn Spann’s “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” is a two-part arrangement: two series and one suite of works are on view at David Castillo Gallery, and three pieces are installed at the Miami River Armory, an enormous former hangar. The artist’s first foray into sculpture produced hulking monuments; in such a large space, they look spare and purposeful. For the young painter, a Yale graduate who had once intended to study science, this is a good thing: Assemblages of his work have been mistaken, he has said, for group shows. He veers between dense abstraction and figuration—and these days between

  • picks July 22, 2019

    “[Unsubscribe]”

    “[Unsubscribe]” is framed as a show about artists who “engage questions of e-identity formation and social interactions that play out in our imaginations,” exploring the avatars we embody online and offline. It’d be shopworn territory if it weren’t a red herring. The exhibition, set up in a house gallery in Little Haiti, one of Miami’s most rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods, mines the internet not simply as a place where real and unreal blur but as a space populated with the same entrenched prejudices that fuel every other system.

    In his video TRAMA, 2018, which casts a literal and figurative

  • picks May 24, 2019

    Hiejin Yoo

    Falling in love, it’s said, slows time and clouds one’s better judgment. Details get hazy, except for the right ones—those become rose-colored. In Hiejin Yoo’s “The Recovery of Openness, Intimacy and Trust,” sunsets, lovers, and smooth-haired pets alike are imbued with the myopia of real devotion. The oil paintings look cropped, with some details removed to venerate other details. In Balmy As Spring Air, 2019, two long-armed torsos rub against each other, sharing a chair. In Any Ideas?, 2019, an orange-hued figure holds their own hand—perhaps for comfort. Yoo’s subjects are often postcard

  • picks March 29, 2019

    “Fragment”

    Is a ghost a disembodied entity? Or is it the palpable heaviness of a space in which time has elapsed, an energetic trace of what took place? The works in “Fragment” recall not the ephemerality of what’s lost but how it lingers.

    Some of the work is hardly visible and better sensed or glimpsed, like a clipped recollection. Jenny Brillhart’s life-size shelf scene, Contrapposto, 2019, is austere and muted; the painted and photographed items it holds are captured in contours, and are too abstract to name. Yanira Collado’s Untitled/echague, 2019, a pinewood structure filled with carbon paper and

  • picks February 21, 2019

    Kentaro Ikegami

    Light is a near-physical thing—a phenomenon, to be sure, but one that can bend in nuclear explosions, camera flashes, and caustic overhead lights. In Kentaro Ikegami’s “WAVES,” there’s little of it; white umbrellas cover the brightest bulbs. The show’s title refers to physician Shuntaro Hida’s account of the United States’ nuclear bombing of Hiroshima—a “black tidal wave” not of water but of heat, then darkness and dread. Here, sound waves are altered too: Foam-insulated walls render the room a soft, reverent chamber, like a church, where silence feels dense.

    Ikegami’s “Flash Paintings,” 2016–,