Wendy Vogel

  • View of “Zsófia Keresztes,” 2020. From left: Easy targets, heavy bites I, 2020; The Failure, 2020.

    Zsófia Keresztes

    Five years ago, the artist Audrey Wollen shook the internet with her “Sad Girl Theory,” proposing the notion of female sadness as a mode of politicized resistance that runs counter to the “lean-in” rhetoric of empowerment feminism. In her photo series “Repetition,” 2014–15, Wollen re-created artworks made by men, in which she posed as moody, modern versions of art history’s female muses. (One image shows Wollen from behind, lounging nude in bed like Ingres’s odalisque. She gazes at her laptop webcam, while the front of her body is displayed on the screen.) The reception to this project was

  • Annabel Daou, WHEN IN THE COURSE OF HUMAN EVENTS (detail), 2019–20, ink and correction fluid on paper, dimensions variable.

    Annabel Daou

    Although political discourse contains language that is seemingly direct, it is subject to endless interpretation and reinterpretation. Take the Declaration of Independence’s “All men are created equal,” which has been quoted with rhetorical flourish by American civil rights icons including Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In a 2009 interview, Donald Trump—a willfully obtuse man who is barely literate—called the statement “very confusing.” This ugly moment foreshadowed his presidency, one that is bolstered by supporters—such as White Lives Matter, among other

  • Viva Ruiz, Thank God for Abortion, Pride, 2019, vinyl installation. 79 1/2 x 53''.
    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

  • Whitney Hubbs, Animal, Hole, Selfie, (detail) 2020, color contact prints on mirror, 36 x 60".
    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, Imogene Simmons, 2019, ink-jet print, 32 1⁄4 × 24 3⁄4".

    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

  • View of “Lily van der Stokker: Exhibition of the Medicines,” 2019.
    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, Der Schlüpfakt der Parkettlibelle (The Hatching of the Parquet Dragonfly), 1983, textile garment, latex, mother-of-pearl pigment, 51 1⁄8 × 41 3⁄8".

    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

  • Heather Dewey-Hagborg, T3511, 2018, multichannel video, color, sound, 9 minutes 4 seconds.
    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, The S.C.U.M. Elite, 2014/2019. Performance view, The International Studio & Curatorial Program, New York, February 12, 2019. Simone Couto. Photo: Manuel Molina Martagon.

    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

  • View of “Lex Brown,” 2019. From left: Sync, 2019; Animal Static (detail), 2019; New Codes, 2019.

    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

  • American Artist, I'm Blue, 1, 2019, school desk, hardware, ballistic shield, navy blue fabric, books, 66 x 24 x 35".
    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

  • View of “Ellen Rothenberg: ISO 6346: ineluctable immigrant,” 2019.
    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