Nolan Boomer

  • Chiharu Shiota, Beyond Memory, 2019. Installation view, “And Berlin Will Always Need You.”
    picks April 26, 2019

    “And Berlin Will Always Need You”

    As you cross through an expansive corridor connecting various rooms and an echoing atrium, one thing is abundantly clear: distance pervades. Exploring the gulf between local production and global circulation, the group exhibition “And Berlin Will Always Need You” displays the work of sixteen Berlin-based artists and collectives, most of whom arrived in the city within the past twenty years. Each artist, still tethered to other locales, provides a distinct reading of Germany’s historic marriage between industry and craft.

    German cultural institutions are put on view as the authoritative arbiters

  • View of “Cast of Characters,” 2018. Photo: Regan Wood Studio.

    “Cast of Characters”

    As if looking out toward an audience in a theater-in-the-round, I sat alone on a white pleather cube eyeing portraits. “Cast of Characters,” a salon of likenesses by more than one hundred queer artists, was organized by Liz Collins for Pride Month in June. The show didn’t fall prey to the usual tropes of gay portraiture—images of shirtless young men were minimized in favor of a more wide-ranging panoply of bodies. Hannah Barrett’s oil painting Staying and Going, 2017, featured a knobby androgynous figure in a floral jumpsuit whose limbs are twisted into the extremities of a chair. Pregnant

  • picks December 04, 2017

    Sarah McEneaney and Ann Toebbe

    Family homes spread open their walls like flower petals greeting the sun. In several paintings by Ann Toebbe, domestic spaces are shown from above, with patterned floors and walls flattened on the same plane. What lies inside is not some form of suburban dysfunction, though. No one dishes the dirt; in fact, no one appears at all. In one scene of a living room, Family Room (Artist), 2017, stock art covers the walls, toys clutter the floor, and Good Eats plays on the television. Despite their familiar appearance, the objects in these interiors reveal little about their owners.

    In contrast, Sarah

  • Syeus Mottel, Untitled, 1972/73, silver gelatin print, 5 x 7". From left: Matty Small, James Echevarria, unknown child, Roberta Fulton, Roy Battiste.
    picks August 18, 2017

    Syeus Mottel

    Syeus Mottel, freelance photographer and media consultant for Buckminster Fuller, spent the months between September 1972 and January 1973 documenting and interviewing the community of CHARAS, a grassroots organization made up of ex–gang members in the Lower East Side. After creating a storefront school for themselves and supporting local businesses, they wanted to tackle issues of affordable housing. They asked Fuller to give a talk to the group and, after deliberations, agreed to consider the geodesic dome as a model to challenge their community’s lack of agency over their urban space.


  • Pietro Paolini, Terraform, 2012, photograph mounted on board, 21 x 31".
    picks June 09, 2017

    “El Helicoide: From Mall to Prison”

    El Helicoide (The Helicoid) stands in the Caracas landscape layered like the world’s most extravagant cake. Conceived by architect Jorge Romero Gutiérrez in 1955, the reinforced-concrete edifice was supported by Marcos Pérez Jiménez’s military junta. Its double-helix ramps were slated to include over three hundred shops, offices, and a hotel, all topped by a geodesic dome. While a number of South American countries constructed massive modernist structures during pockets of socialist-leaning politics, this was not the case in Venezuela.

    This concise exhibition mainly illuminates the building’s

  • Andres Serrano, Untitled XX (Torture), 2015, ink-jet print, 65 x 55".
    picks February 20, 2017

    Andres Serrano

    Against all odds, much of Andres Serrano’s photographic work remains intact. While the publicly funded Piss Christ (Immersions), 1987, is absent from this selection, a history of volatile reception lurks like a shadow throughout the exhibition. This is overtly legible in his series “History of Sex,” 1995–96, a collection of evenly lit portraits of diverse sexual practices. During a 2007 showing in Sweden, neo-Nazis mauled the framed photographs with crowbars and axes, and, in a telling gesture, the only face undisturbed among the works on view here belongs to an image of a pale man with a blond

  • View of “The Other Architect,” 2016.
    picks November 04, 2016

    “The Other Architect”

    An architect with a subdued affect discusses his meticulous archiving process in a looping video outside the main exhibition. For him, a project can be a sketch, a study, or even meeting minutes, just as much as it can be a completed building. This video, as well as the majority of the artifacts in the main exhibition room, are untitled. A dense collection of archival studies, including thought maps and various ephemera, created by prominent spatial thinkers since the 1960s, are held side by side on shelves and a large vitrine. Curated by Giovanna Borasi and the Canadian Centre for Architecture,

  • View of “Folding, Refraction, Touch: Modern and Contemporary Art in Dialogue with Wolfgang Tillmans,” 2016.
    picks October 06, 2016

    “Folding, Refraction, Touch”

    Spread into clusters over a whole wall, Wolfgang Tillmans’s nineteen-part installation Folding, Refraction, Touch, 2013, marries his early sensual nightlife portraiture with his later conceptual, self-reflexive photography. In his images of bent limbs, used sheets, and discarded clothing, folds appear on human bodies and the objects used by people. Joints and wrinkles fleetingly bear witness to a presence that, for this artist, can only be preserved through photography. The largest piece in the show, Silver 101, 2012, is simply a beige striated sheet of chromogenic paper that was made by developing

  • Eric Avery, Blood Test, 1985, molded paper woodcut, 45 x 17 1/2".
    picks September 26, 2016

    Eric Avery

    Eric Avery studied printmaking and later trained to become a physician. His artistic production blends these two practices, resulting in woodcuts that draw on his personal and professional history as a gay doctor to express the HIV-positive experience. In Blood Test, 1985, a woodcut on molded paper shows Avery’s veiny arm during the two weeks he waited for his HIV test results. The pulpy quality of the molded paper makes the background of the print resemble fluffy medical gauze. Most of the prints here also reference a broader visual history of health and disease.

    One wall of the exhibition is