Wendy Vogel

  • slant March 13, 2020

    Weapon of Choice

    A DECADE AGO, while living in Houston, Texas, I volunteered as a patient escort at the city’s Planned Parenthood downtown office. Then located on a busy street, the reproductive-care clinic’s public location attracted a diverse cross-section of the anti-choice movement. The scenes outside the office ranged from the bizarre to the ghoulish. In a modern interpretation of the Battle of Jericho, one man circled the building seven times every afternoon and blew on a shofar, in hopes that the clinic would crumble to the ground. Busloads of students from religious high schools in Houston’s conservative

  • picks February 03, 2020

    Whitney Hubbs

    It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Whitney Hubbs a photographer’s photographer, invested as she is in the medium’s history and technique. But her images possess a psychosexual tension—not to mention a preoccupation with staging—that aligns them with performance art. In the exhibition “Animal, Hole, Selfie,” these subjects are captured in a trio of sumptuous black-and-white images: a picture of a horse shot from above, standing curiously still amid piles of its own manure; the evocatively dark opening of a cavern; and a nude self-portrait the artist snaps in a mirror, a snake tattoo coiling around

  • Dana Hoey

    From catfights to survivors of the great outdoors, Dana Hoey’s photographs represent tensions within and among her female subjects. Since the late 1990s, much of the discourse surrounding her work has centered on its fictional and nonfictional aspects—that is, the distinction between her staged and candid pictures. Her latest solo exhibition at Petzel, “Dana Hoey Presents,” is premised on the “parafictional.” Hoey’s use of the term, however, does not refer to the slippage of imaginary characters into reality but draws on what the art historian Carrie Lambert-Beatty describes as practices “built

  • picks September 20, 2019

    Lily van der Stokker

    Lily van der Stokker’s candy-colored work has always tempered its sense of twee with a critical bite. In “Exhibition of the Medicines,” a chiffon-yellow palette serves as the Dutch artist’s backdrop for a diaristic divulgence of the drugs and doctors that treat her and her friends’ maladies. Now in her mid-sixties, she considers the everyday subject matter of aging—that most universal concern. Her new drawings take on a heavier meaning here in the United States, where essential oils are hawked as preventive care, but single-payer health insurance remains a pipe dream.

    The artist’s mural Age 65.75

  • Heidi Bucher

    “We, all women, have quite a primeval relationship to textiles,” said the Swiss artist Heidi Bucher (1926–1993) in an interview from 1975. She draws a connection between fabric as women’s labor (“We’ve made it all ourselves”) and as capital (“the [bridal] trousseau and all that”), a frank reference to women as chattel passed from father to husband. At the time of the interview, Bucher was navigating a radical shift in her creative practice and personal life. Following her divorce in the early 1970s from the artist Carl Bucher, who collaborated with her on various fashion and art projects, she

  • picks July 24, 2019

    Heather Dewey-Hagborg

    “To break the cell is to trespass the most intimate of spaces,” intones Heather Dewey-Hagborg in T3511, 2018, a multichannel video that centers on her obsession over an anonymous saliva sample she purchased online in 2016. We learn through a (potentially fictional) series of narrated letters that the saliva came from a mysterious entity called Donor T2305. The artist then sent off a portion of the material to get genetically tested. Upon receiving the results, she profiles the donor—a male, dark-haired fortysomething from the Saint Louis area—and finds a match named “Michael Daniels” on social

  • Chiara Fumai

    “A ‘male artist’ is a contradiction in terms,” wrote the radical feminist Valerie Solanas in the infamous SCUM Manifesto (1967). The quote appeared in black lettering on a white wall in a 2013 series of photographs by the late artist Chiara Fumai (1978–2017). In her self-portraits posing as various historical figures, Fumai impersonated the Venetian noblewoman Elisabetta Querini; Annie Jones, a bearded lady in P. T. Barnum’s freak show; the stunt magician Harry Houdini; and others. Fumai possessed the intensity and shape shifting abilities of the most charismatic performers. Her feminist art

  • Lex Brown

    Lex Brown’s exhibition “Animal Static” was a dizzying, attention-span-fraying fun house of irony and gloom—just like the internet. The projectors and spotlights in the exhibition were activated by spectators via motion-sensor technology (when you stepped back from a work, for instance, its sources of illumination immediately dimmed). And in the case of the comedic three-channel video that gave the show its title (all works 2019), the content progressively degenerated into stretches of visual and linguistic glitching.

    Animal Static lays out sundry narratives that take on content producers, tragic

  • picks March 22, 2019

    American Artist

    Millennial viewers will recognize the title of American Artist’s solo exhibition “I’m Blue (If I Was █████ I Would Die)” as a permutation of a nonsense line from Eiffel 65’s 1998 Europop earworm, “Blue (Da Ba Dee).” The word green (which some people seem to mishear in the lyric) is covered up by a censor bar—the bar itself is a symbol for blackness. American Artist underscores the incompatibility of black and brown lives with law enforcement, or, rather, “blue lives.”

    The exhibition revolves around Blue Life Seminar (all works 2019), an animated video monologue presenting a figure based on two

  • picks March 14, 2019

    Ellen Rothenberg

    The construction of inhumane “tent cities” for migrant children along the US–Mexico border made international news last fall. One might think that Germany, which took in more than one million refugees in 2015 at the peak of the migrant crisis, would have devised a more benevolent solution. Alas, according to Ellen Rothenberg’s installation ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant, 2018, that wasn’t the case. The artist conceived this work to mimic the shipping-container settlements for refugees—the so-called Tempohomes built by a state agency—at Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport, which was never finished by

  • Jane Kaplowitz

    Embedded in the nebulous and frequently exasperating terrain of emotional labor is the work of keeping up appearances. For the romantic partners of powerful people—often the wives of men—these efforts usually germinate into an alter ego that plays the dual role of host and companion. Jane Kaplowitz’s exhibition “RSVP: Jane Rosenblum (1977–2018)” paid tribute to this performance of self. Kaplowitz was married to the renowned art historian Robert Rosenblum, some twenty years her senior, who died in 2006. Over the course of their relationship, the artist found herself at the center of the art world

  • picks January 24, 2019

    Pooneh Maghazehe

    Following her exhibition last fall at New York’s 17ESSEX, which touched upon mythological appearances of twins, Pooneh Maghazehe’s “2for1” here finds its roots in a more pedestrian story. In the press release, the artist writes about spotting a pair of identical twin girls in Miami—prepubescent and blonde, sharing equal sips of a Diet Coke. Maghazehe, likening the calorie-free soda to a “phantom umbilical cord,” tethers the twins’ emerging sense of “look at us!” to the consumerist logic of “buy one, get one free.”

    Her subtly allegorical sculptures bring together paired and bizarrely branded

  • “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S.”

    During Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate confirmation hearing, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified to how he sexually assaulted her as a high school student. In support of Ford, Artemisia Gentileschi’s vengeful painting Judith Slaying Holofernes, ca. 1620, based on a Biblical story in which a strong-armed Judith and her maidservant behead the titular Assyrian general, was circulated on social media as a meme. Captioned with women’s empowerment hashtags, such as #SlaySisters, the artwork distilled contemporary feminist rage. 

    “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary

  • Kathy Butterly

    At Ken Price’s 2013 retrospective at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, my companions and I (all full-grown adults) dared each other to reach a finger inside the black openings of his colorful glazed vessels. The voids, so impossibly matte and inky, beckoned a touch to determine if they were real or just an illusion. The ceramics of Kathy Butterly, who counts Price as an influence, are equally seductive to the eyes and hands. But where Price played with depth as a trick, Butterly uses it to expand the amount of painstaking detail in her sensuous pieces.

    For “Thought Presence,” Butterly

  • picks October 02, 2018

    Sara Greenberger Rafferty

    Dramatically unfurling down the entryway of this gallery, a thirty-five-foot-long, untitled ink-jet-on-vinyl piece (all works 2018) hangs from grommets, on which Sara Greenberger Rafferty seems to have dumped the contents of her Google Drive. Dotted with rectangular icons ordered roughly by color, the work reveals Rafferty’s preoccupations with various kinds of staging. In it are a number of selfies the artist took in a Dior shirt that pays homage to art historian Linda Nochlin—emblazoned across it is “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists,” the title of Nochlin’s famous 1971 essay—alongside

  • picks September 21, 2018

    Ruby Sky Stiler

    Feminists have made a project of decoupling womanhood from motherhood, even going so far as to denaturalize it. This impulse informs groundbreaking bodies of work, such as Mary Kelly’s Post-Partum Document, 1973–79, a conceptual piece that records the parent-child relationship through various means, such as diary entries and stained diapers. But there are fewer examples of how paternity might be reimagined—even celebrated—through this lens.

    In “Fathers,” Ruby Sky Stiler applies her syncretic method to depicting the intimacies of fatherhood. Her reliefs, grids of painted foamcore panels, make

  • Justine Kurland

    A few years after Justine Kurland started shooting her “Girl Pictures,” 1997–2002, she was dubbed a “girl photographer.” Although the label feels limiting, if not downright misogynistic, Kurland artistically came of age in the 1990s, a decade that celebrated the more renegade aspects of female adolescence. The “Riot Grrrl Manifesto,” published in a zine put out by feminist punk band Bikini Kill in 1991, plainly stated the case for reclaiming the word: “BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.”

    At Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Kurland’s series, exhibited for


    The famous guitar smashers of history have traditionally been men: Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend, Kurt Cobain. Naama Tsabar first appropriated this macho gesture in a 2014 performance, during which she wielded her instrument like an ax to destroy the stage. Tsabar’s recent sonic sculptures merge the visual language of Minimalism with raw acoustic power. Activated by female-identified performers and audiences, these works question the auratic untouchability of the art object and the gendered conventions of popular music. For “Melody of a Certain Damage” at CCA Tel Aviv—which

  • diary May 18, 2018

    She Brakes for Rainbows

    IT’S HARD FOR ME to feel at home at most “gala season” events. For starters, I can’t hold my alcohol. I also start to feel a serious disconnect between my roots—as the Jersey-born offspring of a family of public school teachers—and the way certain sectors of the art world court the one percent. Not to mention the fact that soigné events almost never take place in my neighborhood.

    But Wide Rainbow’s first annual gala on May 14 was the exception to the rule. The nonprofit organization, founded three years ago by Ashley Gail Harris, is a DIY female-empowerment engine providing free after-school arts

  • picks February 09, 2018

    Isaac Pool

    “Good sister, bad sister / better burn that dress, sister / scar tissue blood blister / suck upon the dregs, sister.” The lyrics to this Hole song, from their unrelentingly rage-filled 1991 album Pretty on the Inside, are chanted like a spell by the actors in Isaac Pool’s object-play 40 Volume, 2016. The work stars four sculptures on pedestals (moved from the gallery into an adjacent black-box space for the performance’s two-night run). The characters, voiced live by actors, include a robust head of fennel—the diva—and three vases composed of tube socks suggestively encrusted with hair gel. The