Yxta Maya Murray

  • View of “Intergalactix: against isolation/contra el aislamiento,” 2021. Background: Tanya Aguiñiga, Línea Pak, 2020–21; Tanya Aguiñiga, Memoria, 2020–21. Foreground: Tanya Aguiñiga, Metabolizing the Border, 2020.

    “Intergalactix: against isolation/contra el aislamiento

    In August 2020, immigrants hoping to cross from Tijuana, Mexico, into San Diego over the San Ysidro border had to queue in la línea (the line) for up to ten hours. The temperatures in San Ysidro that month reached the mid-nineties, and, according to local news stations, people became “desperate” for bathrooms. On the twenty-third of that month, an eighty-nine-year-old woman died, apparently of cardiac arrest, while enduring the wait in her car.

    Such tragedies of the United States immigration system inspired “Intergalactix: against isolation/contra el aislamiento,” a startling and brilliant group

  • Caitlin Keogh, Waxing Year 3, 2020, acrylic on canvas, 84 × 63".

    Caitlin Keogh

    Caitlin Keogh’s artworks narrate the unfinishable story of living in a female body. In “Waxing Year,” her show at Overduin & Co., she presented twenty paintings and collages that revealed how women create themselves while being fractured, unraveled, and trammeled by oppressive forces. In Waxing Year 3, 2020, Keogh paints a kind of existential vision board. Its focal point, a trompe l’oeil postcard of a broken classical sculpture of a walking woman, is “pinned” to the far-right side of the canvas, so that the statue looks as if it might wander off the painting’s stage. Nearby are the weft and

  • Jamison Carter, Portal, 2020, marker on urethane, 45 1/2 × 63".

    Jamison Carter

    In the months just prior to Covid-19 rearing its monstrous head in the United States, artist Jamison Carter lost both of his parents. Such a tragedy, combined with the horrors and isolation brought on by the pandemic, would crush even the most stalwart of souls. Yet Carter miraculously managed to find the wherewithal to produce “All Season Radials,” his majestic solo exhibition at Klowden Mann.

    Carter’s new sculptures in this presentation—freestanding, wall-mounted, and floor-based—were rife with melancholy, mandalas, and cosmic mysteries. They were made primarily from dark urethane resin and

  • Luchita Hurtado, Untitled, 1970, oil on paper, 19 × 18 1⁄2". From the series “I Am,” ca. 1967–73.

    Luchita Hurtado

    Isolated in your apartment, you are lonely, stressed, bored. You walk into the kitchen and see the bowl of apples and the dishes in the sink. You’re getting nothing done; maybe you’re resorting to bad habits. Nothing inspires. Now is the time for you to look at the art of Luchita Hurtado, who teaches us that, whether just standing in our living rooms or wandering aimlessly around the kitchen, we are as alive as we will ever be—that every passing moment is an opportunity to reach for the sublime.

    Hurtado was born in 1920 in Maiquetía, Venezuela, and moved to the United States when she was eight

  • Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Brothers to a Garden, 2017, oil on linen, 59 × 47 1⁄2".

    Lynette Yiadom-Boakye

    Lynette Yiadom-Boakye knows how to capture decisive moments. In her show at the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens, which was curated by Hilton Als and traveled from the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, a group of six paintings document her black sitters, who are often deep in thought or on the verge of connection. Yiadom-Boakye limns her subjects with energetic brushstrokes, usually finishing her canvases in a single day.

    In The Needs Beyond, 2013, a bearded man looks out at the viewer with shining eyes, his mouth neither smiling nor frowning, as if he is awaiting a

  • Xin Liu, Living Distance—two-channel video, 2019, two-channel HD video, color, sound, 10 minutes 49 seconds.

    Xin Liu

    In 1957, the Soviets loaded a dog named Laika onto the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika was a stray, probably part Samoyed and part terrier. She had a little spotted face with intelligent eyes and a white stripe streaking down to her soft, dark nose. Much international fanfare accompanied Laika’s flight into earth’s orbit, some two thousand miles above her home. She died a day or two after the launch, possibly from overheating.

    Xin Liu’s new show at Make Room, “Living/Distance,” did not at first hit the observer with the pathos of that Cold War space flight, but the results of the artist’s own

  • Octavio Abúndez, Soliloquy, 2019, grooved board, plastic, 47 × 47".

    Octavio Abúndez

    The human race is better equipped to talk a lot of nonsense than to save itself from extinction. Octavio Abúndez’s exhibition at Kohn Gallery made the point with a resounding crash of cant. The main room was hung with some of the Conceptualist’s hard-edge “stripe” paintings, outfitted with the umbrella title “We Could Be So Much Better,” 2015–, and composed of stacked bands of color. Within each belt, Abúndez embeds text from adventure and catastrophe films whose hammy dialogue mirrors the way we live now—which is to say, the way we collectively react to sure signs of environmental collapse not

  • “Pope.L: Conquest,” “Pope.L: Choir,” and “Member: Pope.L 1978–2001.”

    “POPE.L: CONQUEST”

    Public Art Fund

    September 21, 2019

    Curated by Nicholas Baume

    “POPE.L: CHOIR”

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    October 10, 2019–Winter 2020

    Curated by Christopher Y. Lew with Ambika Trasi

    “MEMBER: POPE.L, 1978–2001”

    The Museum of Modern Art

    October 21, 2019–January 2020

    Curated by Stuart Comer with Danielle A. Jackson

    IN 1991, the artist Pope.L dragged himself and a potted flower through Tompkins Square Park (Tompkins Square Crawl). The next year, while wearing a Santa hat, he spent three days trying to lift a bottle of laxatives with his mind (Levitating the Magnesia). In 2000, he gorged

  • View of “Tamarind,” 2019.
    picks June 27, 2019

    Adee Roberson

    In her paintings and built environments, Adee Roberson cathartically deploys colors to clear the air of white supremacy’s curses. But in “Tamarind,” her exhibition of sacralized portraits of black figures at the Women’s Center for Creative Work, she seeks more to fashion a place for remembrance.

    Within the small gallery, the walls pulsate with pink and teal paint. One wall is papered over with screen-printed menus offering items such as cucumber juice and cow foot stew; although the restaurant is unidentified, the tessellation of its offerings implies the artist’s intimacy with its dishes.

  • View of “Unraveling Collective Forms,” 2019.
    picks May 10, 2019

    “Unraveling Collective Forms”

    The ancient Inca people used quipus, systems of knotted strings, to record precious data. When the Spanish conquerors arrived, many quipus were burned and, with them, the ciphers’ keys. Today, scholars are still working to translate this language. Our imaginations must fill in the blanks.

    “Unravelling Collective Forms” at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions brings together women artists and artists of color engaging with the form and history of the quipu to process and reimagine the impact of colonialism, patriarchy, and Western imperialism. Mercedes Dorame’s The Wind Is Speaking – Ahniiken

  • OPENINGS: IMANI JACQUELINE BROWN

    MORE THAN A DECADE after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans is still far from having recovered. Many survivors of the 2005 disaster could not afford the liens accumulating against their water-damaged properties and today find themselves displaced from their ancestral homes. Households and shops remain gutted. Legal forfeitures have been normalized, and officials have resold lost homes to whiter, wealthier people. In 2014, to bring attention to the dispossession of lower-income communities of color, Imani Jacqueline Brown and her compatriots in the collective Blights Out (Mariama Eversley, Bryan C.