Wendy Vogel

  • picks December 16, 2016

    Marianna Simnett

    My punishment for being a voluble child, overflowing with words and song that grew louder and angrier as I reached adolescence, is a voice slightly down-pitched by small vocal nodules. They were discovered at fourteen, when I—a natural soprano—had trouble hitting my highest notes. “It’s like a boy’s voice cracking,” a vocal teacher joked, to my great embarrassment. I was diagnosed through an uncomfortable laryngoscopy. Once inserted up the nose and down the throat, the scope makes it impossible to breathe normally, let alone vocalize.

    Marianna Simnett’s exhibition “Lies,” exploring the gendered

  • picks December 09, 2016

    Diane Simpson

    Diane Simpson’s sculptures are part translation, part fantasy, and pure pleasure. The octogenarian artist begins each work by creating isometric drawings on graph paper. She uses the drawings, with handwritten instructions for assembly, as blueprints for artworks with interlocking components. While they reference articles of clothing, the sculptures are constructed from hard angles, often in materials with an architectural heft. Simpson’s efforts result in a sophisticated, homespun modernism that channels the Midwestern cosmopolitanism of her hometown, Chicago.

    Her second show with this gallery

  • picks November 29, 2016

    “The Missing One”

    “The nation is, like new Western brands of tinned food, as little touched by the human hand as possible,” wrote the lauded Bengali poet and artist Rabindranath Tagore in response to the advance of British colonization in Bangladesh. Tagore’s reading of how capitalist technology dehumanized politics gains new, brutal significance in our current era. The poet is the shadow figure behind “The Missing One,” an exhibition of twenty-two artists from the Indian subcontinent. Titled after an 1896 science-fiction tale written by writer and scientist Jagadish Chandra Bose, the show considers the role of

  • picks November 11, 2016

    Beverly Buchanan

    “I think that artists in the South must at some point confront the work of folk artists,” the late artist Beverly Buchanan said. But Buchanan, who is known for her colorful shack sculptures emulating Southern vernacular architecture, was anything but an outsider artist. In the early 1970s, she studied with Norman Lewis and Romare Bearden while working as a New Jersey health educator. She also gained the support of such curators as Lucy Lippard and Lowery Stokes Sims. Yet as a black woman artist who spent the height of her artistic career in Georgia, her work has not been given its historical

  • picks October 21, 2016

    “WOUND: Mending Time and Attention”

    The word wound is one of the English language’s most powerful and contradictory homographs. As a noun it means bodily damage, a rending of the flesh or psyche; and as the past participle of wind, to have twisted something up. Artist Caroline Woolard defines her social-practice project WOUND, started in 2013, as the latter—like what one does to a clock. And yet “Mending Time and Attention,” an exhibition and a series of workshops organized by WOUND, seeks to heal the pain inflicted by late capitalism’s compartmentalization and commodification of time.

    Conceived as a study center, WOUND is best

  • picks October 07, 2016

    Sara VanDerBeek

    Sara VanDerBeek’s work mirrors the changing techniques and cultural status of photography. A decade ago, her practice was broadly curatorial, especially as a partner in the artist-run gallery Guild & Greyshkul. We saw this in her museological photographs, too, which brought together cultural artifacts from pre-modern eras to today. Now, she has turned inward and observational, tracing the perceptual effects of light and time on simple sculptural forms. In “Pieced Quilts, Wrapped Forms,” VanDerBeek zeroes in on the geometric vocabulary of textiles. She returns to her palette of daybreak pinks,

  • picks August 17, 2016

    Ida Applebroog

    “Mercy Hospital,” an intimate exhibition of Ida Applebroog’s work, creates a narrative both poignant and bitterly ironic about illness and institutions. The series “Mercy Hospital,” 1969–70, comprises her private diary created over a six-week stay in a San Diego psychiatric ward. As an alternative to conventional therapeutic methods, Applebroog rendered abstracted images of limbs or alien-like womb forms in pencil, ink, and glowing washes of watercolor. To these she added phrases such as “Not made in America” and “Upside-down Appelbaum”—the latter incorporating her maiden name. (She legally

  • picks June 10, 2016

    “Mirror Cells”

    “Emo is on the verge of a comeback,” I told a friend not long ago. And wouldn’t you know it, the next day I heard the unmistakable wah-wah melody of Modest Mouse’s “Dramamine” thudding through my floorboards, courtesy of my neighbors. Though it is not exactly twee, we are living in a moment of confessional culture, bolstered by important discussions about the social consequences of identity. “Mirror Cells,” the first group show of contemporary sculpture in the Whitney’s newish building, acknowledges this personal turn. The exhibition brings together five artists who realize inner worlds through

  • picks May 27, 2016

    Eva Kot’átková

    At the beginning of her career, Eva Kot’átková’s practice seemed inextricable from the past, both personal and artistic, that fed it. Born in 1982 in Prague, the artist spent her early childhood behind the Iron Curtain. Her striking installations and collages, featuring the body under institutional constraint, evoke the aesthetics of Eastern European Dada and Surrealism. Today, Kot’átková’s work, which has focused on the inmates of prisons and asylums, is more suited to the critical lens of disability studies via psychoanalysis than to art-historical connect-the-dots. (Not coincidentally, the

  • diary May 23, 2016

    Fresh Produce

    EQUIPPED WITH NEW BALANCES (sneakers-as-fashion were made for Istanbul) and an iPhone with international data, I landed at the opening of Produce, the third SPOT Production Fund biennial, late last month, just a few hours after touching down at Atatürk airport. Even though I had visited the city before, I remained in need of cultural decoding, and not just the headset I donned for simultaneous translation during the mostly Turkish-language program.

    Directed by SPOT cofounder Zeynep Öz, a former assistant curator of Ashkal Alwan’s Home Works festival in Beirut, Produce replicates the Home Works

  • picks April 08, 2016

    Willa Nasatir

    Over the past two decades, photography, like film, has suffered an identity crisis in the face of proliferating digital technologies. The situation has led to a rise in self-reflexive practices—photography about darkroom processing, for instance. This impulse, however, is waning, and photography seems ripe for experiments with narrative that fly in the face of objectivity and indexicality. Willa Nasatir is a young artist who steers away from the strictness of medium-specificity and embraces psychological subject matter in her work.

    Nasatir’s four glossy C-prints feel as though they’ve come out

  • picks April 01, 2016

    Zarouhie Abdalian

    Displacement, dismantlement, and mirroring are at the heart of Oakland-based Zarouhie Abdalian’s first solo show in New York, “A Betrayal.” Despite a spare, poetic visual vocabulary, Abdalian’s site-responsive work reverberates with frustration and anger toward a failing political system and the violence of gentrification.

    Close of Winter (all works 2016), a window gate taken apart into four sections that stand as spindly floor-bound sculptures, testifies to the broken nature of “broken windows” policing. The works, with their delicate, organic motifs—a contemporary response to Giacometti’s

  • picks February 26, 2016

    Mika Tajima

    Mika Tajima’s work probes the tension between the rationalism of modernist aesthetics and the fragmentary—if not destructive—quality of modern life. Since the early 2000s, she has been creating noise music with her band New Humans and installations based on architecture that molds the activity of its inhabitants. Cinema sets, factory assembly lines, and Herman Miller’s Action Office of modular furniture are among her references.

    Recently, Tajima has explored the symbiotic relationship between design and human affect, aided by data-scraping technology. “Embody” (all works 2015–16), her exhibition

  • picks April 01, 2013

    DECENTER

    The first Armory Show in 1913 effectively introduced American audiences to modern art; the vast, widely publicized art fair served as the United States debut for European avant-garde movements like Cubism and Fauvism, and provided major exposure for stateside modernists like Charles Sheeler and Marsden Hartley. “DECENTER: An Exhibition on the Centenary of the 1913 Armory Show” at the Abrons Arts Center—the initial announcement of the venue’s construction was made in 1963 on the occasion of the Armory’s fiftieth anniversary—pays homage to the show’s particular influence on contemporary art by

  • picks December 26, 2012

    Saya Woolfalk

    Saya Woolfalk’s first solo museum exhibition—an ethnographic display of artifacts from a fictional all-female tribe of plant-human hybrids called the Empathics—demands a suspension of disbelief. Created by Woolfalk as an idealized metaphor for cultural hybridity, the Empathics blend racial, ethnic, and species characteristics, gaining supernatural powers of compassion through their mix of qualities. The immersive installation of colorful life-size mannequins, textiles, paintings, video, and photography, all credited as loans from the fictive Institute of Empathy headed by the Empathics themselves,

  • picks February 10, 2012

    Jennifer Bolande

    Working between photography and sculpture, Jennifer Bolande collapses objects into images and creates photographs that resist the medium’s flatness. Bolande, now based in Los Angeles, came of age in New York during the late 1970s. With an emphasis on the artist’s relatively lo-fi aesthetic and funky material choices, “Landmarks” celebrates Bolande’s absurd humor, an aspect that can often be overshadowed in the historicization of her Pictures generation peers.

    Some of her best riffs appropriate the work of her fellow artists. Aerial Phonograph, 1991/2010, an homage to Jack Goldstein’s records,

  • picks July 29, 2010

    Jennifer West

    Jennifer West’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States comprises five experimental short films in which she documents the traces of allegorical and alchemical performance actions. Hypnotic and chromatically saturated, these nonlinear works are created through and in response to singular repetitive gestures. West draws inspiration equally from popular recreation (darts puncture clear film leader, snowboarders shred on a film of a moonlit sky, and a wild session of Guitar Hero is seen through acidic washes) and high art (two films re-create, respectively, Pollock’s 1950 Lavender Mist

  • picks May 17, 2010

    The Yes Men

    Culture jamming comes full circle from the fringes to institutional validation in “Keep It Slick: Infiltrating Capitalism with the Yes Men” the first solo exhibition of the collective’s antics. The show includes props, PowerPoint presentations, and media reports of Andy Bichlbaum and Mike Bonanno’s best-known examples of “identity correction,” their technique of impersonating the officers of corporations in order to expose the executives’ malicious intentions. Though hijacking mass media has been an avant-garde tradition from the mid-twentieth century onward, the Yes Men’s ability to seamlessly

  • picks February 11, 2010

    Jonathan Marshall

    Inaugurating Art Palace’s new Houston home, Jonathan Marshall’s “Doubled Vision”––his second solo exhibition at the gallery––offers a new chapter in his homespun folk mythology. Quest of Sight, 2009, an almost thirty-minute-long video that is part western, part sci-fi epic, combines segments from the artist’s older videos with new footage shot in remote Texas locations. Nearly devoid of dialogue, the work introduces three self-styled adventurers fated to meet one another: Lenny, a mop-bearded nomad, played by Marshall; Johan Pilgrim, a ruggedly sexy cowboy; and Skelebones, a beach-dwelling witch