Philip Auslander

  • Alec Soth

    Photographer Alec Soth seeks the American South neither in traditional small towns nor in the cities and suburbs of the New South but in the forest. His portfolio “Black Line of Woods,” 2006–2007, commissioned by the High Museum as part of its ongoing “Picturing the South” exhibition series, includes twelve images taken in secluded areas of seven Southern states. A sense of isolation dominates Soth’s South. Single figures, all male (his backwoods world appears to be free of women), are engulfed by their natural settings. In S. J., Nubbin Creek, Alabama, 2007, lush greenery overtakes an elderly

  • María Magdalena Campos-Pons

    PATRIA ES UNA TRAMPA! (Mother country is a trap!) is carved across María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s painted chest in the video Not Just Another Day, 1998, as she pulls a white organza ribbon inscribed with the words identity and incident, in English, from her mouth. As this survey of twenty-one works from the past two decades shows, her declaration is only partially true. The artist, who is Cuban by birth and African by heritage, and who currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts, is indeed preoccupied in her work with the multiple layers of her national, racial, and gender identities. At times,

  • Susanne Kühn

    The women in Susanne Kühn’s large-scale paintings are alone and isolated despite the crowdedness of their settings, which are frequently borrowed from the history of art. In Melanie–Melancholy, 2007, for example, a twenty-first-century woman sits in a courtyard on loan from Fra Filippo Lippi’s fifteenth-century Madonna and Child with Stories of the Life of St. Anne; but whereas Lippi’s Madonna occupies center stage and looks demurely at the viewer, Kühn’s subject turns to her right and gazes off into the distance. She is partly obscured by spindly, broken tree limbs and schematic tufts of

  • Masaki Fujihata

    In a quiet, meditative space furnished with just a desk and chair, there lies a book on the desk—a digitally projected book. Its pages “turn” when tapped with a pen that lies nearby. Touching individual images in the book also produces other results: Tap one page, for example, and you hear the names of Japanese pictograms spoken out loud; a small lamp on the desk turns on when you touch a picture of a light switch on another page; a door in the wall opposite you swings open for a split second when you touch it with the pen, revealing a laughing, naked child.

    Like the book, the door is a digital

  • “After 1968: Contemporary Artists and the Civil Rights Legacy”

    In the photograph within Leslie Hewitt’s photograph Make It Plain, 2002–2005, two worn paperbacks, both published in 1968, sit on a tabletop. One is the Kerner Commission’s report on the race riots of the year before, the other Joanne Grant’s historical study Black Protest. At once elegiac and enigmatic, Hewitt’s work implicitly asks the question at the heart of curator Jeffrey Grove’s exhibition “After 1968”: What do the 1960s mean— what can they mean—to African-American artists too young to have experienced the social upheaval of those times directly but who know the era through books, family

  • Carrie Mae Weems

    The video in Carrie Mae Weems’s installation Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment, 2008—a project commissioned by the National Black Arts Festival and the Savannah College of Art and Design (where Weems was in residence last year)—begins topically. In voice-over, while the screen is black, the artist unleashes a litany of statements about social unrest and protest, after which extreme close-ups of Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively, fill the screen. The politicians reappear at the end, at which point the artist speaks about living at a moment in American history

  • “The Wizard of Oz”

    A cast of twenty-one well-known artists working in sculpture, drawing, photography, film, and video will contribute some thirty-five works—either extant pieces that address the novel’s themes and iconography, or new work made specifically for the occasion.

    For the first installment of the Wattis Institute’s planned trilogy of exhibitions responding to American literary masterpieces, director Jens Hoffmann follows the yellow brick road with a show inspired by L. Frank Baum’s 1900 classic, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. A cast of twenty-one well-known artists working in sculpture, drawing, photography, film, and video, including Robert Bechtle, Bruce Conner, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Carsten Höller, and Steve McQueen, will contribute some thirty-five works—either extant pieces that address the novel’s themes and iconography, or new work made

  • Jack Whitten

    It is fitting that one of the works in this group of Jack Whitten’s memorial paintings is dedicated to the art critic and ideologue Clement Greenberg, for the problematic that Greenberg judged to be central to modernist painting is palpable in Whitten’s work. Greenberg famously posited modernism as the progressive purification of each art to its essential formal characteristics; in the case of painting, this meant eschewing representation in favor of abstraction. For more than forty years, Whitten, in producing elegies to various individuals, including many African-American cultural luminaries,

  • “On Procession”

    Everyone loves a parade, but not everyone thinks of parades as art. The Indianapolis Museum aims to change that with “On Procession,” billed as “the first exhibition of contemporary art exploring parades and street pageantry.”

    Everyone loves a parade, but not everyone thinks of parades as art. The Indianapolis Museum aims to change that with “On Procession,” billed as “the first exhibition of contemporary art exploring parades and street pageantry” and featuring recent work by Francis Alÿs, Jeremy Deller, Paul McCarthy, Amy O'Neill, Allison Smith, art collective Friends with You, and six others. Several of the events documented in the show's twenty-some works, including Alÿs's and Deller's, were staged in art-world contexts. In contrast, O'Neill's Parade Float Fragments, 2008, replicates

  • “NeoHooDoo: Art for a Forgotten Faith”

    Co-organized with P.S. 1, “NeoHooDoo” explores the use of ritual and spirituality in some fifty works made since 1971 by thirty-three artists, in sculpture, photography, assemblage, video, performance, and other media.

    Neo-HooDoo is a term coined by poet Ishmael Reed to refer to the continued vitality of American spiritual traditions descended from Haitian vodun. Co-organized with P.S. 1, this exhibition explores the use of ritual and spirituality in some fifty works made since 1971 by thirty-three artists, in sculpture, photography, assemblage, video, performance, and other media. The multigenerational list of North, Central, and South American artists features Janine Antoni, Jean-Michel Basquiat, James Lee Byars, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, and David Hammons alongside some less-expected

  • Rocío Rodríguez

    Rocío Rodríguez has been exploring the complexities of tangled skeins of lines in her painting for a while now. In an untitled series of paintings from 2003–2004, the intertwinings read as plant forms; presented against neutral grounds, they resemble botanical illustrations. In her current, much denser abstract compositions, the suggestion is of cartography, though Rodríguez’s expressive schemas map not just cities but also bodily, psychological, and political terrains.

    Terminus . . . Atlanta (all works 2007)—the title includes the city’s original name and its current one—is a large

  • John Otte

    John Otte is given not to grand gestures but rather to quietly commanding ones, as this selection of thirty-five works produced between 1982 and 2007 showed. His is an art of precisely composed images and finely wrought textures. Most of Otte’s works are intimate in scale, but even the larger ones express a sensibility attuned to the intimate, rewarding close scrutiny and familiarity with the art-historical and cultural references he invokes.

    The earliest works in the exhibition, four pastel drawings on paper from 1982, create spatial paradoxes. In each, a black rectangle seems to float slightly