Zack Hatfield

  • 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

  • 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

  • interviews June 08, 2020

    Dread Scott

    For over three decades, Dread Scott has made art that confronts state-sanctioned brutality and racial injustice while imagining revolution. His 2015 flag, A Man Was Lynched by Police Yesterday—a declaration of memorial immensity and stark prolepsis—remains an emblem of the United States’ foundational and ongoing violence against Black people: violence now being challenged as millions take to the streets nationwide in a staggering response to George Floyd’s killing. Below, Scott discusses his past and recent work, art institutions’ response to the current uprisings, and the radical possibility

  • Troy Brauntuch

    Dreadful visions can yield beautiful afterimages, as confirmed by the art of Troy Brauntuch. For more than four decades, the artist has produced spectral, infrathin pictures qua pictures: works that are unremittingly oblique but unswerving in their associations with human cruelty. His career launched in 1977 with the epochal five-person “Pictures” exhibition at Artists Space in New York, where he showed silk-screened and lithographic reproductions of drawings by the Führer—renderings of a tank, an opera set—sans context. Such wiles typified the “Pictures” cohort, who picked apart the delusive

  • interviews March 15, 2020

    Cao Fei

    For millions of lives, the novel coronavirus currently rocking the globe has induced a secession from “real” to virtual space, where ubiquitous “social distancing” mandates are simultaneously heeded and safely transgressed. Who better to speak to this moment—gravid with apocalyptic and utopian frisson—than Cao Fei? The Beijing-based artist has devoted her practice to addressing social upheavals and breakneck urbanization through virtual, augmented, and mixed realities that chart new capacities for alienation and love. Here, she discusses “Blueprints,” a multimedia exhibition at Serpentine

  • Suzy Lake

    One of the first things Suzy Lake did after moving to Montreal in 1968 from her native Detroit—a city whose fiery upheavals had recently jolted her into political consciousness—was enroll in mime school at the Théâtre de Quat’Sous. Miming proved a formative education for Lake, who learned to manage both the dramas of various personae and, one supposes, the constraints of muteness inherent in a photographic subject. Crucially, the course also tutored her in the eradicative powers of whiteface, adopted throughout her practice as a “point of nothing.” From there, she embarked on her conceptually

  • Robert Mallary

    Renown arrived swiftly to Robert Mallary, then bolted. The Museum of Modern Art in New York featured him in 1961’s “The Art of Assemblage,” then went on to show his junk works in two more group exhibitions that decade. In 1962, the New York World’s Fair commissioned The Cliffhangers, 1963–64, one of his breakthrough tuxedo sculptures: doomy, vaudevillian tableaux featuring suits gleaned from trash heaps, then infused with toxic polyester resin and, before stiffening, torqued into precariously baroque sideshows. Yet by the late ’60s he had pivoted—in part due to the resin’s deleterious health

  • picks December 06, 2019

    Kyung-Me and Harry Gould Harvey IV

    Quoth Milton’s Satan: “The mind is its own place and in itself, can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.” Kyung-Me certainly does the latter. In her sequential suite of exquisitely proportioned black-and-white drawings, Papillon de Nuit I–VII (Butterfly of Night I–VII) (all works 2019), she transforms the chambers of a covetable modernist home—acquisitions include a five-panel byōbu, a shiny baby grand, infinity mirrors flanked by panes of stained glass à la the Prairie School, and a Rothko—into an unsettling, Escherian memory palace, a spatial and narrative jigsaw whose outlier minutiae

  • Sarah Rapson

    Tell me what you want, what you really really want

    I’ll tell you what I want, what I really really want.

    Sarah Rapson deadpanned a variation of this call-and-response for sixteen minutes in an early audio work, stretching the refrain from this famous Spice Girls anthem on female solidarity into an exasperated mantra. At the entrance to Rapson’s survey at Essex Street, the piece could be heard through a set of headphones while on the wall opposite hung Untitled, a photogravure featuring the title page from a later edition of H. W. Janson’s History of Art (1962), that virtually womanless

  • Lois Dodd

    She finds great company in aloneness. A strip of light beneath a closed door; colors flapping from a clothesline; gray raindrops squiggling down a city window; a snowy, headlit hill; a lunar eclipse. For more than seventy years, Lois Dodd has lent a generous presence to mostly unpeopled views in or near her homes in New York, New Jersey, and midcoastal Maine. Associated with a set of postwar painters including Gretna Campbell, Alex Katz, and Neil Welliver—artists who, amid AbEx and Pop hegemony, courted gentle contrarianism by reengaging landscape painting via airily abstract modes of perception—she

  • interviews October 21, 2019

    Amy Sillman

    For “The Shape of Shape,” a rollicking salon-style exhibition drawn from the holdings of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and part of the newly expanded museum’s “Artist’s Choice” series, Amy Sillman has selected around seventy-five works that, regardless of medium, movement, or period, share a fascination with shape. Like MoMA’s newly rehung collection galleries, the installation, which opens today and runs through April 20, 2020, reconstrues modernism through wide-ranging, unlikely juxtapositions. And like Sillman’s own paintings, it is intelligent, risky, and giddily perturbed, brimming with

  • Andy Mattern

    In 1977, Douglas Crimp observed that “while it once seemed that pictures had the function of interpreting reality, it now seems that they have usurped it.” How understated that declaration appears today—with its hedging seemingness—in a world ruled and fueled by images. Crimp wrote the line for the catalogue essay accompanying a modest, generation-making group show he organized at Artists Space in New York, called simply “Pictures” (its title yet another understatement). Crimp’s thought was on my mind in early July, a couple days after his death, when I visited the basement of the Elizabeth