Nick Stillman

  • Prospect.3

    “PROSPECT.3: NOTES FOR NOW” was the third iteration of Prospect New Orleans, the city-spanning exhibition that calls itself a biennial although it has never occurred at biannual intervals—after the 2008 financial crash marred the inauguration, Prospect.2 didn’t open until 2011. In spite of these delays, Prospect occupies a definitive node within the city’s art ecosystem, symbolizing for some the hope for recognition of New Orleans as a major contemporary art destination and, for others, the dread that so much outside influence might water down the city’s quixotic localism. (My own

  • “Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic”

    In last year’s PBS documentary Kehinde Wiley: An Economy of Grace, one of the artist’s associates offhandedly introduces him to a stranger in New York as “the black Andy Warhol.” Not only has Wiley’s work become singularly recognizable (since emerging in the early 2000s), but the artist also shares with the King of Pop an utter reliance on the charismatic, glimmering stars of the street. In his first museum survey, at the site of his first institutional solo show in 2004, Wiley will present approximately sixty works, including recent pieces in bronze and stained glass.

  • Katherine Bradford

    New York– and Maine-based painter Katherine Bradford has been active since the 1970s, yet her ambiguously narrative, color-saturated paintings have recently assumed newfound relevance in the context of work by younger artists such as Katherine Bernhardt, Dan McCarthy, and Michael Williams. Considering both career arc and choice of painterly themes, however, Bradford’s closest peer may be Joyce Pensato, who also began eliciting attention relatively late and whose works resonate with Bradford’s cheekily dramatic cartoon-character portraits, which shuffle interestingly close to bathos.


  • Stephen Collier

    A cofounder in 2008 of the New Orleans–based collective Good Children, Stephen Collier is central to a local scene that has spawned a number of artists’ groups and off spaces—enough to position the Crescent City in recent years as a bastion of DIY possibility. True to form, the art that Collier makes is deeply invested in the myths, violence, and cult activities that constitute the dark underbelly of the American imaginary.

    In his spring show at Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette, Louisana, Collier homed in on the razor’s edge separating mystic from psychotic, the millimeter of

  • Agnes Denes

    WHEN AGNES DENES planted and harvested almost one thousand pounds of wheat in what is now New York’s Battery Park City, the action—and the astonishing photographs showing the World Trade Center and the Statue of Liberty looming over the endless golden grain—cemented her reputation as an unconventional Land artist and environmental visionary. In becoming her signature piece, however, Wheatfield—A Confrontation, 1982, has also somewhat obscured the complexity of her long career. From the literally germinal work of eco-art Rice/Tree/Burial, 1968–79, through her more recent plans for

  • Shelby Lee Adams

    In a statement introducing Shelby Lee Adams’s “Salt & Truth” exhibition (on view through January 7), the artist claims it has become difficult to find “authentic, salt-of-the-earth people” to photograph. Adams’s words are those of a man who, for nearly forty years, has been photographing mountain dwellers in the eastern Kentucky Appalachians (not far from where he grew up), focusing always on the lifers rather than on the newcomers, many of whom are affiliated with corporate strip mining. But if change is apparent in this part of the country, Adams’s portraits stubbornly suspend it. Recent forays

  • Aaron McNamee

    Following Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill, and a murder epidemic described by the city’s mayor as nothing less than “unnatural,” New Orleans lays claim to another tragedy—one that has been afforded comparatively little national attention. In late May, it was announced that the Times-Picayune, the region’s venerable newspaper, would be reduced to a thrice-weekly print run. The stunning cutback has earned New Orleans a new ignominy: It will be the largest American city without a daily paper. Among the countless readers whom this impacts is Aaron McNamee, a New Orleans–based artist who

  • film August 01, 2012

    Back to the Roots

    REGGAE’S STEREOTYPE as the breezy sound track of good moods may have enabled its pop-cultural integration, but something was also lost in that assimilation. Its relationship to the Rasta movement that produced the music’s most famed musicians (Bob Marley, Horace Andy, Gregory Isaacs) is often—when not cartooned—opaque.

    BAMcinématek’s fourteen-film “Do the Reggae” program (August 2–6) is a multifaceted contextualization of Jamaican music history during reggae’s golden age: the mid-1960s through the early ’80s. The popularization of Jamaican music coincided with reggae’s distinct turn to Rasta

  • “Spaces: Antenna, the Front, Good Children Gallery”

    Here’s an intimidating curatorial gambit: a museum exhibition venturing to manifest a palpable web of energy spun by a triad of emerging artists’ collectives. The collectives are located in a working-class, historically black, increasingly multicultural enclave that is literally on the other side of the tracks from the Contemporary Arts Center, which is situated in a well-trafficked touristic business district. From the outset of this project, potential pitfalls for the museum abounded. On the one hand, ideological and class tensions would be there for the stoking; on the other (and maybe more

  • Barbara Kasten

    The history of abstract photography begins with the inception of the medium itself. The first recorded photograph, taken in 1825 by Frenchman Nicéphore Niépce (he called photography “sun-writing”), depicts a view outside his window. But exposing an image back then demanded a full day’s sunlight, and that grainy picture is most notable for the weird, impossible angles of its shadows. Technology necessitated that early photographs such as Niépce’s capture a palimpsest of accumulated seconds (or hours)—that is, function as images of abstracted time—and yet, overwhelmingly, the medium,


    In her iconic 1976 essay “Video and Narcissism,” Rosalind Krauss considers early works in the nascent medium (by artists such as Joan Jonas and Vito Acconci) as echo chambers that dissolve the notion of present tense.

    In her iconic 1976 essay “Video and Narcissism,” Rosalind Krauss considers early works in the nascent medium (by artists such as Joan Jonas and Vito Acconci) as echo chambers that dissolve the notion of present tense. “Time Again,” curated by Fionn Meade, runs with this premise, investigating how repetition engenders a disjunction between past and present. Both the roster of two dozen artists—Blinky Palermo, Ull Hohn, Rosalind Nashashibi, and Rosemarie Trockel, to name a few—and the materials included are diverse, with works such as Troy Brauntuch’s collection of

  • Clifford Owens

    Clifford Owens has written that he doesn’t want to be pigeonholed as a performance artist, yet his work is deeply enmeshed in classic performance-art interrogations: What is the role of the document? Can performance and the museum coexist? Most explicitly, what are the codes mediating a performer’s relationship to an audience? And feedback—both via artist-to-artist conversation and as an exchange between performer and viewer—is crucial to what he does. This exhibition (Owens’s first solo museum show) not only actively involved the artist’s immediate audience but, laced with references

  • Keith Sonnier

    Keith Sonnier is, along with James Turrell, Dan Flavin, and Robert Irwin, among the artists most associated with the late 1960s realization of light as medium. But whereas the others’ practices have been described as, by turns, expansive, durational, and sublime, Sonnier’s squiggling, whirling oeuvre of neons has long been bracketed as some variation on that annoyingly anachronistic description “drawing in space.” You could call what he makes art—you could also call it an experience—but after all these years, to call Sonnier a “draftsman of light” is to too fluidly assimilate him into

  • Marlene McCarty

    STARTING IN THE LATE 1980S, New York–based artist Marlene McCarty signaled her rejection of modernist abstraction by heat-transferring onto canvas the freighted verbiage that fueled and undermined struggles for women’s and gay rights. With texts such as I MAY NOT GO DOWN IN HISTORY BUT I MAY GO DOWN ON YOUR LITTLE SISTER rendered horizontally in a diminutive font across a canvas, a perverse reorientation of a Barnett Newman “zip”; or SHOOT A WOMAN SAVE A JOB curling in whorls like Kenneth Noland targets on two canvases hung at what McCarty calls “tit height” and quoting the message now familiar

  • Josephine Pryde

    For all the vigilance with which Josephine Pryde’s art guards meaning, it does reveal some of the ways in which its maker is alert to the complexities and mundanities of being a working artist. She has written for Texte Zur Kunst about stealing time on the job through daydreaming. For her show at Richard Telles Fine Art last year, she presented photographs of a toddler and delivered an opening-night performance of Léo Ferré’s “La Vie d’Artiste,” a song whose lyrics relay a biting narrative of an artist’s submission to economic reality. The juxtaposition suggested the complicationsboth in the

  • Jessica Jackson Hutchins

    When certain artists transition from emerging to emerged, the moment is palpable. This spring, it happened for Jessica Jackson Hutchins, with concurrent solo shows at Laurel Gitlen (formerly Small A Projects) and Derek Eller Gallery and her inclusion in the Whitney Biennial, where she was represented with Couch for a Long Time, 2009—a worn sofa from her childhood home, covered in Obama-related newspaper clippings and occupied by ceramics. The artist’s raw early ceramic and papier-mâché works project an artless, punk sensibility, but she has described her recent output as framed by what seems

  • Elisabeth Subrin

    Today, some fifty years removed from Andy Warhol’s deployment of fashion and shoe advertisements and thirty years since the flowering of the Pictures generation, the sheer quantity of images circulating in the world has normalized appropriation, and the dispersion of its intent has largely depoliticized it. Remaking (or outright stealing) doesn’t register as the challenge to the status quo it used to.

    These shifts notwithstanding, Elisabeth Subrin has done her part to uphold appropriation’s politicized, feminist legacy. Since the late 1980s, her films and videos have used appropriative strategies

  • Martin Wong

    Martin Wong’s paintings of New York’s downtown dystopia have occasionally materialized in exhibitions rounding up the East Village scene of the 1980s, but such a diverse group of his works as was seen in this exhibition had not been assembled since his retrospective at the New Museum in New York in 1998, one year before his death of aids. Curated by artist Adam Putnam, P.P.O.W Gallery’s miniretrospective combined Wong’s iconic early cityscapes and mysterious paintings of pudgy hands rendering sign language with lesser-known later photo-collages of the decayed Lower East Side and paintings on

  • Robert Frank

    Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958) is arguably the twentieth century’s iconic art book. Its photos, taken by Frank during a circuitous cross-country road trip in 1955 and 1956, are voyeuristic records of Americans who had sloughed off depression, won wars, and forged the world’s model consumer society. The Swiss-born artist conveyed an America of bliss and ignorance, hip yet generic, its landscape and psychology both wide open. Last year was the fiftieth anniversary of Frank’s book of eighty-three photographs and—incredibly—the first time the entire suite was shown in New York, at the Metropolitan

  • Agnes Denes

    What do you want out of life? Why not more? Which do you think will prove ultimately more important to humanity—science or love? What is love? These were some of the questions that Agnes Denes asked students in the late 1970s, their answers forming part of the second iteration of her 1968 piece Rice/Tree/Burial, 1977–79. The responses were then buried in a time capsule, as the “burial” component of the tripartite project. These kinds of questions—the “big ones”—are the ones that Denes’s art implicitly asks. Ever since she arose alongside (though distinct from) Land art in the ’60s, Denes’s