Sophie Kovel

  • View of “Thaddeus Mosley,” 2020.
    picks April 24, 2020

    Thaddeus Mosley

    Though he was a member of the NAACP and an editor at the renowned African American newspaper the Pittsburgh Courier, abstract sculptor Thaddeus Mosley never quite aligned himself with black revolutionary artists and writers such as Amiri Baraka or Dana Chandler. Nor is he a modernist in the manner of Alberto Giacometti and Isamu Noguchi. But he was friends with all of them. At ninety-four, Mosley is still busy in the studio for upward of six hours a day (he stopped doing twelve-hour shifts when he was ninety-one). The artist worked for the US Post Office for forty years in order to support

  • Minerva Cuevas, A Draught of the Blue, 2013, video, color, sound, 9 minutes 48 seconds.
    picks October 11, 2019

    Minerva Cuevas

    Omnia sunt communia: “All things are held in common.” The artist Minerva Cuevas, who lives and works in Mexico City (where she was also born), asserts this notion time and time again with “Disidencia” (Dissent), her first exhibition in New York. Cuevas’s far-reaching “cartography of resistance,” as some have called it, includes the food sovereignty protests on the streets of her birthplace, a staged intervention in a Paris McDonald’s, and her own underwater demonstration, which seems to reference a strategy used by anti-Exxon climate activists in 2016.

    In the video A Draught of the Blue, 2013,

  • Kawita Vatanajyankur, Dye, 2018, video, color, silent, 7 minutes 42 seconds. © Kawita Vatanajyankur
    picks July 31, 2019

    Kawita Vatanajyankur

    “She’s cleaning the floor,” a father whispered to his daughter in the dark gallery. “It’s like she is the sponge.” “Foul Play,” the largest presentation of Kawita Vatanajyankur’s work in the United States to date, highlights eight of the artist’s silent videos, which document her standing in for tools and performing demanding, durational, often domestic tasks—picturing, as she says, “humans as machines.”

    In all of the works across the series “Tools,” 2012–14; “Performing Textiles,” 2018–; and “Work,” 2015–17, Vatanajyankur’s body merges with objects and “becomes their extension until it finally

  • View of “Chim↑Pom: Threat of Peace (Hiroshima!!!!!!),” 2019.
    picks June 24, 2019


    Japanese art collective Chim↑Pom’s show, “Threat of Peace (Hiroshima!!!!!!),” and the coinciding exhibition at this space, “Non-Visitor Center”—presented by the curatorial group Don’t Follow the Wind—bring the lasting environmental and psychological impact of two unsettled nuclear histories into conversation: the US bombing of Hiroshima in 1945 and the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.

    Legend has it that if you fold one thousand origami cranes, your dream will come true. The city of Hiroshima receives millions of paper cranes, many of which are inscribed with messages, from

  • Tanya Goel, Mechanisms 2, 2019, ash, aluminum, mirror, glass, foil, acrylics, brick and iron dust on canvas, 84 x 108". From the series “Mechanisms,” 2019.
    picks May 09, 2019

    Tanya Goel

    New Delhi is changing. Its many modernist structures, mostly public housing built between 1960 and 1980, are undergoing mass demolition. Tanya Goel grew up in the megacity just as many of these edifices were being erected. Her exhibition here, “This, the Sublime and its Double,” reconstitutes what remains.

    Goel’s intimately sized “color chart” paintings are gritty because she grinds her own pigments from architectural detritus––such as mica, concrete, glass, aluminum, and coal––found throughout New Delhi. The artist uses these works to plot the palettes for her larger canvases with a paint-by-letter

  • Barbara Ess, AC [Shut-In Series], 2018/19, archival pigment print, 20 x 27".
    picks April 26, 2019

    Barbara Ess

    While surveillance watches from above, sousveillance watches from below. Computational engineer Steve Mann coined this term to describe a way of “enhancing the ability of people to access and collect data about their surveillance” in order to neutralize it. With her inaugural exhibition here, “Someone To Watch Over Me,” Barbara Ess—photographer, musician, and founder of the No Wave experimental mixed-media publication Just Another Asshole—takes up sousveillance as a call for covert participation.

    In 2010, the artist became a “deputy sheriff” for an internet surveillance community that staked out

  • View of “Tschabalala Self: Bodega Run,” 2019.
    picks March 29, 2019

    Tschabalala Self

    New York City’s first bodegas were founded in the 1940s, primarily by Puerto Rican entrepreneurs. Today, approximately thirteen thousand stores dot the city, and the bodega has become “a lighthouse in an ocean of gentrification,” as Harlem-born artist Tschabalala Self puts it—“a relic from times past.” In “Bodega Run,” the artist’s site-specific installation at the Hammer Museum, Self riffs on common elements in these small establishments, welcoming viewers with neon signs that read “ABIERTO/OPEN” and “COFFEE/TEAS,” a convex security mirror, and wallpaper with line drawings of cans and shelves.

  • Amir Guberstein, Lamentation-6, 2015–18,oil pastels, acrylic with sand from Israel and theWest Bank on paper mounted onto panelstretched with canvas, cedar frame,31 x 23".
    picks February 26, 2019

    Amir Guberstein

    Interested in the “choreography that comes out of the prohibition of movement,” Israeli-born Amir Guberstein assembles a body of nine new paintings for “Lamentations,” his first solo show in New York. Guberstein’s 2017 exhibition at New York’s American Jewish Historical Society was canceled due to censorship, courtesy of right-wing Judaism: His pieces incorporate black and white gesso mixed with sand from Israel and Palestine, which is then pushed through a silk screen. Of course, the artist collects the sand himself. This is a crossing, but to some, it’s considered a transgression.

    In his work,

  • View of “Arash Fewzee,” 2018.
    picks December 31, 2018

    Arash Fewzee

    Arash Fewzee calls his large-scale photograms “slow images.” These cameraless works are produced through performative darkroom processes. Fewzee’s most explicit performance document in this show, A line made by driving (an accidental performance, summer of 2018 Skowhegan, Maine) (all works 2018), depicts a patch of lawn bearing a single line of dead grass created by a car tire. As in the artist’s studio, this work is mounted on pegboard alongside test strips and other prints—a suitable centerpiece for a show in which the artist’s thinking is as palpable as the works themselves.

    Fewzee highlights

  • View of “Klara Lidén: Grounding,” 2018.
    picks November 30, 2018

    Klara Lidén

    Klara Lidén’s primary mode is the disruption and detournement of urban space. The artist’s recent video works follow in the wake of a series of experiments at this gallery. In 2008, Lidén transformed Reena Spaulings into a pigeon coop. Four years later, she filled it with a forest of discarded Christmas trees. With this exhibition, Lidén upholds her fervent disregard for rules.

    Using Massive Attack’s 1991 music video for “Unfinished Sympathy” as a point of departure (where vocalist Shara Nelson walks Los Angeles’s Pico Boulevard while singing), Grounding (all works 2018) captures Lidén as she

  • picks November 02, 2018

    Chrysanne Stathacos

    Cannabis is in the air, from an October issue of Bloomberg Businessweek (with a cover that reads “Pot of Gold? ELEVATE YOUR PORTFOLIO!”) to Canada’s recent legalization of the substance. Chrysanne Stathacos’s ivy and marijuana paintings, made in 1990 and now on view here, champion the healing properties of the plant avant la lettre, anticipating today’s global decriminalization and legalization movement.

    Exhibited for the first time, the artist’s canvases bring to mind the work of Joan Mitchell and Pat Steir with their verticality and abstract botanical forms. Stathacos uses a range of

  • Steve Locke, Officer Timothy Loehmann (fishing), 2017, graphite on paper, 22 x 30".
    picks October 01, 2018

    Steve Locke

    For Steve Locke, the grid—that modernist symbol of order and reason—exemplifies a vastly different kind of modernity: antiblack violence. At first sight innocuous, Locke’s sensitive graphite portraits, arranged into grids, depict white murderers of black people. The series “#Killers,” 2017–18, is the culmination of several months of research in which Locke catalogues and condemns an infamous mob across sixty-one drawings. An overwhelming amount of negative space consumes these images, bringing the whiteness of the killers to the fore. Among them are George Zimmerman, based on a selfie he took