Sophie Kovel

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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,

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • picks August 17, 2018

    Kazuo Kadonaga

    Nonaka-Hill’s second exhibition features work by the contemporary Japanese sculptor Kazuo Kadonaga. Born in 1946 to a family of foresters, Kadonaga chose to become an artist. This is not to say that he abandoned his family’s craft. Quite the opposite: Cedar trees are central to Kadonaga’s artistic practice, which focuses on the elemental properties of wood, bamboo, paper, and glass.

    Kadonaga first gained recognition for his cedar sculptures, produced in the 1970s and early 1980s, which are displayed throughout the gallery. Wood No. 5-CI, 1984, is a sliced log constituted by approximately eight

  • picks June 20, 2018

    Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs

    The Swiss duo Taiyo Onorato and Nico Krebs began their first major artistic collaboration with the series “The Great Unreal,” 2005–09, a photographic account of a road trip through the US. Investigating the limitations of documentary photography, the pair frequently manipulated the natural landscape, introducing self-made constructions. “Continental Drift,” 2013–16, acts as its counterpoint; though similarly invested in the fine boundary between documentary and fiction, the travelogue charts their travels east—to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, among other places. These