Rachel Churner

  • Carol Rama, Le tagliole (The Traps), 1966, red fox hide and enamel on canvas, 23 5/8 × 19 3/4".

    “CAROL RAMA: ANTIBODIES”

    Just two months after the widely traveled European retrospective “The Passion According to Carol Rama” closed in Turin, the first New York survey of the late Italian artist’s work opened at the New Museum. While it’s a shame “The Passion” didn’t cross the Atlantic, “Antibodies”—which features 175 works and an accompanying catalogue with essays by Italian writer and curator Lea Vergine and LA-based critic Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer—more than makes up for the loss. Spanning seven decades, the exhibition covers the full range of Rama’s

  • Jenny Perlin, The Crystal King, 2016, 16-mm film, color, silent, 3 minutes.

    Jenny Perlin

    The Child of the Cavern, or Strange Doings Underground is one of more than fifty novels in Jules Verne’s Extraordinary Voyages series from the late nineteenth century. In the story, a miner discovers a young woman in a pit and takes her to the earth’s surface for the first time. Despite her wonder at the world above, she returns happily to her subterranean home, astutely declaring that darkness is as beautiful as light. Artist Jenny Perlin named Verne’s book as the point of departure for her exhibition “The Long Sleepers,” but it was clearly more than that: Like a spirit guide, the narrative

  • Spread from Artforum, June 1973. Annette Michelson, “Rose Hobart and Monsieur Phot: Early Films from Utopia Parkway.”

    On the Eve of the Future

    MIT PRESS has just published On the Eve of the Future, a collection of essays on film written by scholar Annette Michelson over the course of three decades. Art historian Rachel Churner, the editor of the volume, spoke with Michelson to reflect on the development of this body of writing, from Michelson’s early encounters with avant-garde cinema in Paris in the 1950s and ’60s to her pioneering work establishing film as a subject of criticism and scholarship in America, first at Artforum and then as a founding editor of October.

    RACHEL CHURNER: On the Eve of the Future is a collection of essays

  • View of “Brian O’Doherty,” 2017. From left: Meribah, 1970; Minus Yellow, 1970; Places, 1969. Photo: Phoebe d’Heurle.

    Brian O’Doherty

    Nearly twenty years after Barnett Newman’s second exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery—the now-canonical show at which he presented Vir Heroicus Sublimis, 1950–51; The Wild, 1950; and Here I, 1950, to widespread critical disdain—and only a few months after his death, the Irish artist Brian O’Doherty debuted a series of sculptures in the same space. Six feet tall and under three inches wide and thick, these works were each made from two strips of polished aluminum that had been joined together at angles to form a V- or W-shaped groove and then “framed” by strips of painted wood. On

  • Susan Lipper, Untitled (Grapevine), 1991, gelatin silver print, 35 × 35". From the series “Grapevine,” 1988–92.

    Susan Lipper

    As Susan Lipper laconically tells it, a “series of chance events” led her from New York to Grapevine Branch, West Virginia, in the late 1980s. There, in this tiny Appalachian community at the southwestern tip of the state, she “was immediately adopted by most of the inhabitants and, in particular, by a certain family.” She lived among the residents of Grapevine off and on for several years, taking a series of black-and-white photos whose immediacy and intimacy made it clear that she had, indeed, become part of the fold. The images that form “Grapevine,” 1988–92, are mostly of hard-living

  • Cecily Brown, Untitled (After von Bayros), ca. 1997–98, ballpoint pen and colored pencil on paper, 12 5/8 × 12 5/8".

    Cecily Brown

    Cecily Brown’s exhibition at the Drawing Center, the first devoted exclusively to her works on paper, delivered everything we expect from the artist: sex, violence, prurient gestural marks, and bursts of garish color. Organized by Claire Gilman, the show included nearly eighty drawings, including works based on paintings by Bruegel, prints by Hogarth, photos by nineteenth-century pornographers, and even the cover of a Dover paperback of “copyright-free” animal figures. Brown created the works over twenty-some years using a variety of mediums (ink, colored pencil, watercolor, pastel) and sizes

  • View of “Sara VanDerBeek,” 2016. Photo: Genevieve Hanson.

    Sara VanDerBeek

    “Pieced Quilts, Wrapped Forms” may have marked the first exhibition Sara VanDerBeek has explicitly devoted to her research on textiles, but the metaphor of weaving has shaped her practice for the past decade. The seductive C-prints that were on view in the show, most often images of objects built specifically for the camera, deftly interlace image and object, analogue and digital technologies, historical precedents and contemporary production, and easily consumed beauty and labored research. Even as the sense of transgression that may have once motivated such combinations has waned—we are,

  • Jennie C. Jones, Red Measure, Muted and Clipped, 2016, acrylic on canvas, acoustic panel on canvas, 12 × 60".

    Jennie C. Jones

    Gray dominates Jennie C. Jones’s paintings, seven of which comprised her exhibition “Amplitude.” Cool and crisp, it is the color of the sound-absorbing panel layered atop canvas in Dark Tone, Red Pause, Gray Hush; warm and woolly, it is the color of the rectangular panel that she uses as her base for steely stripes of acrylic in Gray Measure with Muted Tone Burst; light and tinged with blue, it streaks a ground of white in Emanating Hum (all works 2016). But it is never just a color. Gray, Jones has written, is a “non color all color mixed together with a drop of light,” a “reflection of

  • View of “Martha Rosler,” 2016. Photo: Christopher Burke.

    Martha Rosler

    The inescapable feeling of weariness that permeated my visit to Martha Rosler’s packed exhibition was likely intensified by the summer’s political climate, in particular the improbable, disgusting rise of Donald Trump. With row upon row of protest posters, photographs, maps, videos, archival material, and artworks by more than forty-five contributors, “If You Can’t Afford to Live Here, Mo-o-ove!!” comprised an unwieldy exhibition and series of town-hall meetings organized by Rosler and the shadowy Temporary Office of Urban Disturbances. As a reprise of her monumental three-part exhibition “If

  • Larry Bell, The Aquarium, 1962–63, mirror, glass, paint, silver leaf, 24 × 24 × 8".

    Larry Bell

    To hear Larry Bell tell it, it was all so simple: In the early 1960s, he stopped painting geometric forms on shaped canvases, what he calls “illustrations of volume,” and began to “make the volumes themselves.” This move from painting to scultpure—which is to say, the move from the representation of three dimensions on a two-dimensional surface to the production of those three-dimensional objects—was, he claims, the obvious next step. “From the ’60s,” Bell’s first exhibition at Hauser & Wirth, succinctly presented this transition with three monumental paintings (the stacked squares of

  • Carrie Moyer, The Green Lantern, 2015, acrylic and glitter on canvas, 72 × 60".

    Carrie Moyer

    The Hall of Minerals at the American Museum of Natural History in New York is a kind of subterranean romper room: Frayed carpet covers the steps, platforms, and walls of the darkened spaces; geodes and samples of petrified wood are spotlit in circular hollows, open to touch by roaming toddlers; and the minerals are displayed in dusty backlit glass cases. In several vitrines, the specimens have started to crumble under the halogen spots, and a trail of powder has left its trace against the back of the display. The exhibition is mysterious, absorbing, and intimate. Standing before the fourteen

  • Dave McKenzie, Yesterday’s Newspaper, 2007, day-old newspaper, wood, 2 1/4 × 20 1/2 × 17 1/4".

    “Looking Back: The 10th White Columns Annual”

    Yesterday’s Newspaper, 2007, by Dave McKenzie, is just what its title announces: a folded issue of a day-old local paper resting on a low wooden platform. The piece provides a pause, a reminder of the headlines that earned our brief attention, one step out of sync with the nonstop twenty-four-hour news cycle. But it also repeats the pitiable fate of those above-the-fold stories: discarded one day past relevance, the paper on the pedestal must continually give way to time: another day, another yesterday. McKenzie’s piece, which appeared at the forefront of the White Columns Annual, also served