Tobi Haslett

Tobi Haslett

May 2017

AIMLESSNESS IS A HAZARD OF BIENNIALS. The Whitney’s current edition is so twitching and distractible that it risks flattening itself into a vast, paratactic prairie. Time, in the art world, advances in mincing two-year increments, furnishing… READ ON

IN PRINT May 2017 [TOC]

Object Lessons

Tobi Haslett on Arthur Jafa’s Love Is the Message, the Message Is Death

December 2016

“MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” is the rhetorical equivalent of tear gas—a bit of blinding toxin to spray at the livid crowd. But behind the flash and menace of Trump himself, his advisors have begun to undertake other, subtler operations on our… READ ON

FILM

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Tobi Haslett on Adam Curtis’s HyperNormalisation

November 2016

OFFICIAL LANGUAGE acts upon politics the way gangrene shrivels a foot: It freezes while it poisons. Take “constructive ambiguity.” Behind the bland opacity of Kissinger’s phrase—with its haughty procession of Latinate syllables—is the childish… READ ON

FILM

Primary Colors

Tobi Haslett on “Four More Years: An Election Special”

July 2016

THIS YEAR, the People (poor things) shall choose a new president. The attendant Grand Guignol will entail the usual insults to our collective intelligence. Now is the time for brayed assurances, spurious commiserations, mawkish appeals, … READ ON

FILM

Sound and Vision

Tobi Haslett on “From the Third Eye: Evergreen Review on Film” at BAM

March 2016

GODARD HAS ALWAYS made an art of his petulance. For as long as anyone can remember he’s been the stroppy malcontent, spitting rebuttals to Hollywood and the state, to the middling film industry and its slack-jawed forms. Hence his late-1960s… READ ON

FILM

Peter Hujar

Paul Kasmin | 297 Tenth Avenue

February 2016

It’s been stamped on the collective retina: a reclining Susan Sontag, 1975, sheathed in a turtleneck, her hands stuffed in her hair, her face crowned with that smirk of effortless intellection. She looks like a sleek, belletristic otter … READ ON

PICKS

Tyler Dobson

47 Canal

October 2015

Tyler Dobson’s paintings and cotton tapestries smile maddeningly with an uncanny blink—what are they? Each made on portrait-painting.com and personalthrows.com, Dobson—at a safe distance and with the help of invisible labor—has converted … READ ON

PICKS

Trevor Paglen

Metro Pictures

October 2015

A fiber-optic cable snakes along the ocean floor somewhere in the Caribbean, strangled by algae. This is one of four photographs in Trevor Paglen’s show, which swirls around the recent NSA scandal and our clicking, buzzing surveillance state.… READ ON

PICKS

“From the Ruins”

601Artspace

July 2015

Abigail DeVille’s Haarlem Tower of Babel, 2012, is a steel tower that has had the top lopped off. It’s in two pieces, both of them choked by rusting metals, broken branches, and bits of cloth and paper that seem to shed like snakeskin. Babel… READ ON

PICKS

“These Are Not My Horses”

James Fuentes

June 2015

It’s a mirthless irony of our time that the demise of civilization lies in the hands of a few puttering functionaries. So there’s something procedural, something grimly determinate, about the patent insanity of this show. Rochelle Goldberg’s… READ ON

PICKS