Zack Hatfield

  • View of “Artist’s Choice: Amy Sillman—The Shape of Shape,” 2019–20, at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
    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, Average Subject/Medium Distance 7264 (Contrast), 2019, ink-jet print, 25 3⁄4 × 17 3⁄4".

    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

  • Carrie Yamaoka, Archipelagoes (2019) panel 15A, archival pigment print, 20 x 16".
    picks September 27, 2019

    Carrie Yamaoka

    Carrie Yamaoka makes subtle, chancy works about the dead ends of depiction. For this show, the artist, who’s long operated at the junction of photography, sculpture, and painting, digitally transferred a four-year cycle of eighteen photograms begun in 1991—the same year she cofounded the feminist collective fierce pussy with Nancy Brooks Brody, Zoe Leonard, and Joy Episalla. Pinned side by side across the gallery walls and titled Archipelagoes (2019), the twenty-three achromatic, malformed reproductions (five of which were produced this year) array an alphabet of captivity: Yamaoka impressed

  • Elias Sime, Tightrope: Silent 1, 2019, reclaimed electronic components on panel, 6' 1/2“ x 10' 6”.
    interviews September 03, 2019

    Elias Sime

    Elias Sime is best known for creating scrupulous, large-scale abstractions out of motherboards, keyboards, and circuitry. He acquires much of his material at open-air markets in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is based and where he cofounded ZOMA Contemporary Art Center in 2002 and Zoma Museum earlier this year with Meskerem Assegued, who has curated many of his exhibitions. (Assegued acted as interpreter for this interview.) “Tightrope,” Sime’s first major museum survey, was organized by Hamilton College’s Wellin Museum of Art in Clinton, New York, and will run through December 8, 2019. It

  • David Driskell, Memories of a Distant Past, 1975, egg tempura, gouache, and collage on paper, 21 1⁄2 × 16".

    David Driskell

    As a child, David Driskell gathered berries and flowers to help make dyes for the quilts his mother made. These reminders, as they seemed then, of meager living embarrassed him. Paper was scarce, so he drew with charcoal on the family hearth and filled the margins of his minister father’s theology books with cars and houses. Born in 1931 and raised in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Driskell soon outpaced what opportunities existed for a black student in segregated Appalachia. In 1949, he arrived at the doorstep of Howard University in Washington, DC, without an application and, as

  • Vivian Maier, Chicago, 1986, chromogenic print (printed later), 10 x 15". © Estate of Vivian Maier, Courtesy Maloof Collection and Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York.
    books July 24, 2019

    Speak, Vivian

    VIVIAN, BY CHRISTINA HESSELHOLDT, translated by Paul Russell Garrett. Fitzcarraldo Editions, 2019. 186 pages.

    SHE SHOT FROM THE HIP—or the heart, or the gut. From a child’s vantage, most often: the better to go unspotted. For Vivian Maier, whose status as one of the twentieth century’s foremost photographers was only recognized a decade ago, the desire for privacy was bound up with the yearning for information: visual, journalistic, human. Or was it? Our knowledge of Maier is patchy. We know that she split her adolescence between France and her native Manhattan, then spent most of her life working

  • Rutene Merk, Aki, 2019, oil on canvas, 55 x 63".
    picks May 17, 2019

    Rutene Merk

    Choose your fighter: Verrocchio’s bronze David, 1473–75, an epicene precursor to Michelangelo’s opus, who stands winsomely over Goliath’s head; or Aki Ross, the valiant protagonist of Hironobu Sakaguchi’s CGI breakthrough Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within (2001). These two prove the most familiar muses in Rutene Merk’s “Sprites,” the Lithuanian painter’s first New York solo show. The parallels between Verrocchio and Sakaguchi eventually cohere: Both creators are revered for their fierce, lifelike rendering of the human figure. Yet in Aki, 2019, and David at Night, 2018, Merk coarsens this realism

  • Forensic Architecture, Triple-Chaser, 2019, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 24 seconds. 3-D models of the Triple-Chaser grenade and images of used canisters, distributed in digital space, help train a computer vision classifier.
    interviews May 13, 2019

    Forensic Architecture

    The Triple-Chaser—a tear gas grenade banned in international warfare but routinely deployed by defense forces against civilians both stateside and abroad—is one of the many weapons manufactured by the Safariland Group, whose CEO, Warren B. Kanders, is the vice chair of the board of the Whitney Museum of American Art. Kanders’s ties to the New York institution have fueled heated protests in the run-up to this year’s Whitney Biennial, which opens May 17, 2019 (more than half of the exhibition’s artists have called for his removal from the board). Among the dissenters is Forensic Architecture, a

  • Vivian Browne, Little Men #70, ca. 1967, acrylic on paper, 23 3⁄4 × 17 3⁄4". From the series “Little Men,” 1966–72.

    Vivian Browne

    The masculinity emanating from “Little Men,” 1966–72, a series of paintings by the artist Vivian Browne (1929–1993), is unequivocally toxic. In this exhibition at Ryan Lee Gallery, her subjects—a particularly vicious strain of businessman—stagger, shriek, and contort. They’re also white, and Browne, a supreme colorist, has availed herself of Caucasian flesh’s myriad hideous possibilities: ruddy pinks, contusive purples, jaundiced yellows, pallid grays, and a now-familiar tangerine hue. Whether these overweening barons of industry are in the throes of sexual ecstasy or death was hard to tell.

  • FRANK BOWLING

    Curated by Elena Crippa and Laura Castagnini

    “What am I supposed to be expressing anyway?” wondered Frank Bowling, the Guyana-born British painter, in a 1974 letter to Clement Greenberg, who replied: “I can’t answer any of yr questions about art.” But Bowling already knew that. For six decades, he has endeavored not to answer the question, but to find new ways of asking it, pouring, dripping, and collaging to convey his vivacious, edgeless imagination. Consider the epochal “Map Paintings,” 1967–71, whose lambent, tropical color fields bear the phantom contours of the Southern Hemisphere and the

  • Sara Ludy, Nest 1, 2018, Waken Glass and copper mesh, 4 x 8 x 7".
    picks April 12, 2019

    Sara Ludy

    A pamphlet for “Unearth,” Sara Ludy’s second solo exhibition here, wields the lingua vacua of corporate innovation, inadvertently upping the show’s uncanniness. “We said, let’s experiment, be intuitive, be bold, embracing the unknown,” the artist is quoted as saying. Things click into place when you learn that the exhibition’s showcase material, a metal-glass hybrid dubbed Waken Glass, was developed by Upterior, a startup that partnered with bitforms gallery and Ludy for the show. Waken Glass’s patent, like our own extinction, is pending.

    With this medium and a couple of others, Ludy has devised

  • Zalika Azim, If you get there before I do (Space Traders), 2018, pigment print, 22.5 x 17.5".
    interviews April 10, 2019

    Zalika Azim

    In Zalika Azim’s recent work, layering is less an act of concealment than one of exposure. Her first solo exhibition, “In case you should forget to sweep before sunset,” features images that are physically placed atop one another or are superimposed to unlock manifold associations. Broader themes of dispersion, kinship, and survival are interleaved with intimate family histories. Below, the artist discusses images in the home and the limits and leverages of storytelling through photography. The show is on view at Baxter St at the Camera Club of New York through April 13, 2019.

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