Tausif Noor

  • Rami George

    In the early 1990s, Nelli George began receiving pamphlets in the mail from a place called the Samaritan Foundation. Nelli was a ceramist and homemaker who lived in Somerville, Massachusetts, with her husband, Jonathan, and their two young children, Leila Malini and Rami. The foundation, led by a woman named Linda Greene, was a new-age religious sect that practiced, among other things, pendulum dowsing—an occult technique that can be used for divination or even clearing out evil energies from everyday objects. (Greene also believed that Hillary Clinton was a “three-virtue type zombie” and that

  • Tina Girouard

    On a visit to her native southwestern Louisiana around 1970, Tina Girouard inherited eight lengths of patterned 1940s silk from her mother-in-law, who had been given the material by a relative named Solomon Matlock. Rather than sew the material into wearable garments, Girouard decided to integrate the fabrics into her practice in New York City, where she had moved two years prior. Measuring three feet by twelve feet each, the Solomon’s Lot fabrics, as they came to be known, are saturated in pastel tones and festooned with variegated floral and botanical patterns. When juxtaposed, as Girouard

  • interviews June 23, 2020

    Monument Lab

    Over the last few weeks, public statues and monuments representing the violent histories of slavery, colonization, and racism have been defaced, toppled, and disassembled through the direct actions of global protestors. Since 2012, the Philadelphia-based art and history studio Monument Lab, founded by curator and historian Paul Farber and artist Ken Lum, has worked with individual practitioners, museums, and municipal governments in cities across the US and Europe to reconsider the role of monuments in public space. Here, Farber and Lum discuss Monument Lab’s research-driven process and the

  • diary February 21, 2020

    Continental Drift

    A CLOUD OF SMOKE rippled around Dhaka’s Shilpakala Academy late in the afternoon. Through it, we could see the occasional flame. Everyone continued chatting, unsure of what we were looking at, until a group in silver hazmat suits ascended a mound of dirt. We watched as the moonmen tended to the fires, part of a smelting performance by Swiss artist Raphael Hefti. Originally commissioned for a volcano in Milan, the heavy-metal presentation was meant to convey “part of the epic story of human civilization,” per the exhibition notes. Unluckily for me, it only prompted platitudes and non sequiturs

  • CONTESTED DEVELOPMENT

    THIS PAST OCTOBER, Mohammed Okab stood before a tribunal at Twelve Gates Arts in Philadelphia and presented a painting he had made of an arched entryway at the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad. Through a translator, he explained that he didn’t consider himself an artist—he just liked to paint. He had been employed as a bookseller in Baghdad when American troops invaded the city in April 2003, launching a rocket through the museum where, days later, looting would begin.

    Okab’s painting and speech functioned as evidence of the Iraq War’s lasting consequences and were presented as part of the

  • Marnie Weber and Justin John Greene

    The pairing of Marnie Weber’s haunted collages with Justin John Greene’s macabre paintings plunged this viewer into a dark corner of the American psyche. For their two-person exhibition at Simon Lee, the Los Angeles–based artists presented an assortment of tableaux from the collective memory—reflecting on such themes as the Midwestern pastoral, girlhood innocence, boyhood violence, and urban anomie—and transported us to the scarier side of nostalgia.

    For the past few years, Weber has developed a body of work—via music, films, performances and installations—with her Spirit Girls: a cast of characters

  • performance November 04, 2019

    Beyond These Kastle Walls

    “LET THE LIGHT FROM YOUR CUNT AND ASSHOLE lead you to the promised land!” shrieked a zombified Valerie Solanas last Thursday night at Icebox Project Space as she shepherded me and a group of undergraduates toward the dulcet tones of singer Gretchen Phillips, who offered a “didactic stroll down the beautiful repertoire of lesbian folk songs,” immediately breaking out in a rendition of Britney Spears’s “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” The undead Solanas was one of several characters who occupied North Philadelphia’s Icebox Project Space for three weeks in October as part of Killjoy’s Kastle, a roving

  • picks August 16, 2019

    Raque Ford and Sacha Ingber

    In this two-person exhibition by Raque Ford and Sacha Ingber, holes—laser cut, molded, and carved—abound, denoting both absence and unity in the spirited installations and sculptures on display. Ingber’s glazed ceramic sculptures are soaked in a come-hither sense of humor: B-E-L-O-W-A-B-O-V-E, 2019, and Vista with dry air, 2018, feature intricately woven clay bikini tops, while Firmly for charred foot (Brannock Device), 2019, warps the idea of a foot fetish into a kind of fetish object, to be tastefully hung over the mantle, as it is here.

    Hung in the gallery’s windows are Ford’s L selfish always

  • picks May 17, 2019

    Frederick Weston

    Frederick Weston used New York City as his public gallery. For the series “Blue Bathroom Blues,” 1994–, he has plastered homoerotic collages in the titular hue onto the plywood walls of construction sites. One day he was caught by a security guard: “Oh, you’re the artist!,” he said. Rather than apprehending Weston, however, he let him finish the job and sign the work. For the artist, this was an affirmation of his talents.

    “Happening,” Weston’s first solo exhibition in New York, gathers a selection of collage works from the past two decades that reference his identity as a black, queer artist

  • books April 12, 2019

    Hand in Glove

    LIKE WRITING, fisting is both a replicable skill and a rarefied art form. Performance improves with practice; preparation is necessary; and the deeper you go, the closer you get to the heart of the matter. “The movements of manipulating a pen were not so different from what I did to manipulate a man’s innards. One activity made the other possible,” says the nimble, perspicacious narrator of I’m Open to Anything, the first novel by the artist, filmmaker, and writer William E. Jones. The protagonist comes to this realization near the end of the book, finally learning something useful about himself

  • picks February 27, 2019

    Judith Godwin

    That history has so often obscured and overwritten the creative and intellectual output of women is by now a very well-known observation that, nevertheless, continues to sting. “The men simply said, ‘Women can’t paint,’” recalls Judith Godwin, who began her artistic career in the 1950s in New York—Abstract Expressionism’s heyday—alongside contemporaries including Helen Frankenthaler and Grace Hartigan. The men, simply put, were wrong. This exhibition of Godwin’s paintings across the last half-century situates the artist’s early works alongside later pieces, demonstrating her consistent penchant

  • picks November 13, 2018

    Gimhongsok

    With whimsy and candor, Gimhongsok’s sculptures reward the epicure’s predilection for subtlety as well as the hedonist’s quest for pure joy. The artist’s acuity in merging conceptual rigor with an attention to form coheres the two groups of sculptures in this exhibition. In the first series, “Incomplete Order Development,” 2018, blocky, Cubist humanoid figures, most of them roughly three feet high, look as though they are balancing on their heads or standing upright, arms raised to the skies. Constructed in cement, their surfaces are pocked and spotted, vestigial indicators of their past lives