Zack Hatfield

  • Teju Cole, Brazzaville, February 2013, 2017, archival pigment print, 20 x 24".
    interviews June 12, 2017

    Teju Cole

    Teju Cole is a novelist, photographer, art historian, and critic whose work often addresses the disjunctures between what is seen and what is known. His latest book, Blind Spot (Random House, 2017), weds the fragmentary essay form with photography, incorporating history, myth, and memoir to limn the connections and contradictions within images made during years of global travel. As discussed here, selections from the book, along with a second project begun in response to the recent US presidential election, will appear in the exhibition “Blind Spot and Black Paper” at Steven Kasher Gallery,

  • Cameron Jamie, BB, 1998–2000, Super 8 film transferred to 35 mm, black and white, sound, 18 minutes 20 seconds.
    picks May 19, 2017

    Cameron Jamie

    Documentary footage of violence that is dramatized or frivolous risks feeling naive at best and at worst like an ominous rehearsal. Fortunately, these pitfalls are evaded in the current exhibition of three films by Cameron Jamie, portraying ceremonies within different masculine subcultures. Perhaps that is because the artist’s interests tend toward the ethnographic. Each work captures rituals that privilege brutality over piety, though the difference is often hard to tell.

    In Kranky Klaus, 2002–2003, male participants costumed as the furred, horned Krampus—the devilish cryptid of pagan lore—enact

  • Leslie Hewitt, Topologies (Fanon mildly out of focus), 2017, chromogenic print, 30 x 30".
    picks April 21, 2017

    Leslie Hewitt

    Memories continually recalled take on a bleary specificity. A similar kind of dissonance suffuses Leslie Hewitt’s current exhibition, in which photographic still lifes of single objects betray the nuances and slippages needed to make meaning of both personal and social histories. On one wall, artifacts on top of hardwood and photographed from above build up subtle narratives through association and texture. Topologies (Fanon mildly out of focus), 2017, takes the dog-eared cover of the titular writer’s provocative anticolonial manifesto The Wretched of the Earth (1961) as its subject: “The handbook

  • Jim Goldberg, Prized Possession, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2008, gelatin silver print, 19 1/2 x 15".
    picks March 24, 2017

    “Speech”

    A brutal truth: Images have long maintained an unyielding tyranny over words. The notion is relayed at the entrance to this show, where a colorful heap of anti-Trump protest signage is quietly arranged. It’s a curatorial ploy apt for this photography ensemble concerned with depictions of speech, a theme vague enough to let a stark image of a young, sinewy Congolese refugee cradling a radio (Jim Goldberg’s Prized Possession, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2008) hang near Irving Penn’s swankily gothic portrait of Carson McCullers, whose own devastating possession is a luxe cigarette holder (Carson

  • Anne Ryan, Untitled (No. 435), 1952, mixed media, 8 x 7".
    picks February 17, 2017

    Anne Ryan

    In 1948, six years before her death at the age of sixty-five, the poet Anne Ryan discovered the collages of Kurt Schwitters and likened the artistic technique to a visual sonnet. One can see why; both modes often scrape together disparate materials—haptic or not—to evoke a highly compressed self-expression. Ryan soon became an ardent collagist, creating hundreds of works. Unlike Matisse, who approached the same medium in his own final years, Ryan kept her compositions small. Confected from textiles as well as scavenged objects such as twine, paper, mesh, and feathers, the twenty abstract

  • Sergei Eisenstein, untitled, 1943, colored pencil on paper, 8 x 12".
    picks January 27, 2017

    Sergei Eisenstein

    The vulgar doodle is a genre seldom given the chance to blossom outside of adolescence. Yet some, such as Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein, carry the lickerish art well into adulthood, even becoming consumed by it. This exhibition offers a trove of the Battleship Potemkin director’s “pornographic” drawings, made during trips to Mexico and the US in the 1930s until his death in Moscow in 1948, and marks the first time they’ve been shown in the Americas.

    Divided into small islands by theme or technique along the gallery walls, this erotica, enthusiastically unsexy, parades various styles. Manic,

  • Roe Ethridge, Chanel Necklace for Gentlewoman, 2014, C-print, 34 x 51".
    picks December 19, 2016

    Roe Ethridge

    One might contend that art exhibitions, perennially hawking some ideology or creative vision, have more in common with the late-night infomercial—that most unseemly of genres—than we care to admit. Roe Ethridge makes that argument in “Nearest Neighbor,” a two-floor retrospective of sixty large-format photographs from 1999 to 2016. Aesthetically, these images hover above a Bermuda Triangle, one whose vertices are the ambience of luxury magazines, the innocent nostalgia of a family snapshot, and the corporatized, euphoric limbo of stock photography.

    Pigeons midflight; empty Coke bottles; women in