Zack Hatfield

  • View of “Michael Dean,” 2021. From left: Unfucking Titled Poor [Verso], 2021; Unfucking Titled Free, 2021; Unfucking Titled Free, 2021.

    Michael Dean

    Turner-nominated artist Michael Dean, a soft-spoken and sweary Geordie sculptor in his mid-forties, considers himself, above all else, a writer. Typically angular, vaguely anthropomorphized forms made from everyday construction materials such as concrete, corrugated metal, and plywood, his installations develop from his impulse to transform the solitary experience of putting words on a page into something that you can walk around and touch. On the main floor of Dean’s first exhibition at Andrew Kreps, nine freestanding concrete-and-steel sculptures were arranged across the length of the gallery

  • View of “Louise Lawler,” 2021. Background: Hair (adjusted to fit), 2005/2019/2021. Foreground: Pollock and Tureen (traced and painted), Red, Yellow, Blue, 1984/2013/2014/2020.

    Louise Lawler

    Everything must go. At Metro Pictures, which is ending its historic run this year after four decades, Louise Lawler held a two-for-one blowout sale: an exhibition titled “One Show on Top of the Other.” Such a tagline—a fairly literal description of what was on display—reminds us of the artist’s career-long embrace of the gimmick, a category newly theorized by Sianne Ngai as a phenomenon that, through its simultaneous under- and overperformance (its effort-saving tricks and inherent bid for attention), indexes our anxieties about the relation of labor, time, and value under capitalism. Recall

  • Mary Ann Carroll, Untitled (Wetland Scene), no date, oil on canvas board, 16 x 20".
    picks July 27, 2021

    “Highwaymen”

    Beginning in the 1950s, a group of young Black men, faced with the prospect of toiling in Florida’s citrus groves, instead learned to paint the windswept palms, motley waters, and singular radiance of the Sunshine State. Unable to show in the South’s segregated galleries, these artists, soon joined by one woman, peddled their work door-to-door or from their cars on the then-new interstate roads, themselves shaped by systemic racism. Today more than two hundred thousand landscapes are credited to this informal school of self-taught painters, who forged a tradition of American regionalism that,

  • Lee Godie, Untitled, date unknown, hand-colored gelatin silver print, ink, 4 1⁄2 × 3 5⁄8". From “PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie.”

    “PHOTO | BRUT: Collection Bruno Decharme & Compagnie”

    For better or worse, the “raw” creativity expounded by Jean Dubuffet as being unscathed by culture has at this point been thoroughly acculturated to mainstream museums, markets, and magazines. Now the American Folk Art Museum has alerted us to a new, lens-based subspecies. Spanning a century and drawn primarily from the international holdings of French filmmaker Bruno Decharme, this show—organized with Decharme by the museum’s senior curator, Valérie Rousseau—divides more than four hundred objects into overlapping sections roughly focused on gender fluidity, sexuality, appropriation, and occultism,

  • Sanou Oumar, 8/23/20, 2020, pen on paper board, 40 x 32".
    picks April 07, 2021

    Sanou Oumar

    Enlivening the malnourished optic nerve, Sanou Oumar’s eleven laborious pen-and-paperboard works mingle tantric designs, hard-edge abstraction, and vibrant adornment in items of selfless concentration. Improvising in the manner of a doodle, the Burkina Faso–born artist often traces nearby objects—his ID card, clothing tags, a floss pick—to find his shapes, encrypting the ordinary into percepts of cosmic equipoise often reminiscent of Buddhist sand mandalas or gothic cathedral windows. See 8/23/20 (all works cited, 2020) in which a circular screen, patterned with scrolling orange tendrils,

  • Luigi Ghirri, Modena, 1979, C-print, 10 1/4 × 15".

    Luigi Ghirri

    Among the millions of lives changed upon seeing astronaut William Anders’s 1968 Earthrise image was that of a young Italian land surveyor. “It was a picture of the world, and it contained all the pictures in the world at the same time,” Luigi Ghirri (1943–1992) later recalled of the photograph, taken on Christmas Eve from Apollo 8. Ghirri began his career as a photographer and photography critic shortly after this moment, alongside (though apart from) a cohort of Americans in the 1970s—William Eggleston, Richard Misrach, and Stephen Shore among them—who squired the unseemly, commercially tainted

  • Larisa Shepitko, The Ascent, 1977, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 111 minutes. Sotnikov (Boris Plotnikov).
    film January 25, 2021

    Passion Play

    LARISA SHEPITKO began work on The Ascent (1977) when she was recovering from a severe spinal injury and pregnant, seized by an afflatus of fear. “I was facing death for the first time,” the Ukrainian director told an interviewer in June 1979. “Like anyone in such a situation, I was looking for my own formula of immortality.” In doing so, she reached for one of the most immortal tales ever told, transposing the Passion of Jesus to the freezing hinterland of Nazi-occupied Belorussia. A Dostoevskian psychodrama of sacrifice and betrayal, The Ascent is her most visually accomplished film, her

  • Frank Jones, Untitled (Whiskey Drunken Devil House CFA 692), 1964, colored pencil on paper, 8 1/2 × 11".

    Frank Jones

    Frank Jones was born in 1900 in Clarksville, Texas, with a flap of fetal membrane over his left eye—an omen that, according to a superstition descended from African folklore, allowed him to see into the spirit world. It was only three years earlier that W. E. B. Du Bois had invoked this supernatural “second sight” when introducing his famous concept of double consciousness—a condition of irreconcilable identities experienced by Black Americans in a white supremacist society. Jones bore the brunt of this oppression: The progeny of enslaved cotton pickers and likely an undiagnosed schizophrenic,

  • Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Crimes of Solidarity, 2020, DCP, color, sound, 71 minutes. Treasure Omorowa.
    interviews October 19, 2020

    Tuan Andrew Nguyen

    Tuan Andrew Nguyen has in recent years emerged as a maker of hybrid films that conjure national memories of displacement like magic spells, their layered narratives exerting a mesmeric pull on characters and viewers alike. The artist’s latest work, Crimes of Solidarity, debuted earlier this month in Marseille as part of the nomadic Manifesta biennial, which recently concluded a staggered six-week opening across as many landmark venues (all installations will remain on view through November 29). Produced remotely in collaboration with asylum-seekers who founded the city’s Squat Saint-Just, Crimes

  • Giorgio Griffa, Finale rosa (Final Pink), 1996, acrylic on canvas, 70 7/8 × 86 5/8".

    Giorgio Griffa

    Giorgio Griffa is known for leaving his paintings in states of perpetual incompletion, as though the sheer act of creating something had inspired him to immediately stop and make something else. When “finished,” these works—rapturously hued orchestrations on unstretched swaths of jute, hemp, and linen—are folded up and stacked away in the artist’s Turin atelier, which he has occupied for decades. The weight of so many canvases on top of each other causes them to be permanently creased. When a painting is unfolded, evidence of time’s passage is literally embossed into its surface. Each one is a

  • Michael Buthe, Untitled (Landschaft), 1987/88, acrylic on canvas with tree branch, 50 x 182 x 30".
    picks July 31, 2020

    Michael Buthe

    Richter, Polke, Kiefer. . . Why not Buthe? Though he shared their protean quest to reinvent the role of the German artist, Michael Buthe’s star, fast-rising and once dazzling, has faded considerably over the years. Perhaps it’s because his greatest triumph—his eccentric mystique, which the artist worked hard at cultivating and lavished upon his ephemeral, room-size exhibition-environments—is so difficult to summon today without Buthe himself, who died in 1994 at the age of fifty. As he said, “There is no art, only life.” This small survey—a reversal of that claim—makes a case for a complicated

  • LaToya Ruby Frazier, United Auto Workers and their families holding up Drive It Home campaign signs outside UAW Local 1112 Reuther Scandy, Alli union hall, Lordstown, OH, 2019, gelatin silver print, 45 × 60". From the series “The Last Cruze,” 2019.

    CLOSE-UP: AMERICAN IDLE

    PEOPLE IN MOTION. This was General Motors’ slogan when Sherria and Jason Duncan were hired at the company’s factory on the edge of Lordstown, Ohio, around the turn of the millennium. Sherria’s mother, Waldine Arrington, retired from the assembly plant in 2004 and now helps care for her granddaughter Olivia. A recent photograph finds the four of them at a bare kitchen table, frozen: Sherria and Waldine sit side by side, while Jason, hands clasped, hunches across from Olivia. In profile, the child meets her father’s tired gaze; the two women look directly at the viewer. The sight lines form a