COLUMNS

  • Kim Westfall

    The New York–based artist Kim Westfall’s cheeky compositions of tufted yarn contend with the banality of selfhood. Her works find humor in the insatiable human ambitions for uniqueness and authenticity, but also manifest real longing for deeper meaning and social cohesion. Her latest tapestries draw connections between human reproduction, the mechanical reproduction inherent in her medium, and ideologies of the ego that keep us stuck on repeat. “Splendid Bitch” opened on January 23, 2020, and runs through March 7, 2020, at White Columns in New York.

    THE THING ABOUT TEXTILES IS IT’S THE FREAK

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  • Peter Saul

    Peter Saul remembers a radio broadcast about the electrocution of Ethel Rosenberg at New York’s Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1953—in particular, the moment when a horrified announcer described her hair going up in flames. There’s a gruesome, orange-skinned rendering of her, strapped to an acid-green version of Old Sparky, in “Peter Saul: Crime and Punishment,” a six-decade survey that features more than sixty of the artist’s dark, dyspeptic, and ruefully funny paintings, which take on American history, stupidity, and culture. The show, organized by Massimiliano Gioni and Gary Carrion-Murayari

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  • Eva Koťátková

    Eva Koťátková is known for investigating societal rules and authoritarian codes via large-scale installations and collaborative workshops. While her earlier work centered on limiting performers’ physical movement with metal cages and apparatuses—bleak exercises in regimentation inspired in part by her upbringing in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic—Koťátková has begun to use textiles to reenvision how the body can function within oppressive systems. As two solo exhibitions end their run—“In the Body of a Fish Out of Water” at Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover and “Confessions of the Piping System”

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  • Sky Hopinka

    Following a decade of increasingly refined digital shorts focused on Indigenous languages and culture, the Ho-Chunk artist and filmmaker Sky Hopinka debuted his first feature-length work on January 26, 2020, at the Sundance Film Festival. Set in the Columbia River Basin and spoken largely in the nearly extinct Chinuk Wawa tongue, maɬni – towards the ocean, towards the shore (2020) follows Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier, two Pacific Northwest natives whose Chinook identities steer their conceptions of life, death, and rebirth. Lensed with an intimacy informed by Hopinka’s rapport with the

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  • Tschabalala Self

    Through an exaggerative figuration that embraces painting, sewing, assemblage, as well as a sensuous and implacable charisma, New Haven–based artist Tschabalala Self invites us to rethink how bodies are marked by race and gender while crafting her own expanding visual universe. Her exhibition “Tschabalala Self: Out of Body” runs January 20 to July 5, 2020, at the ICA Boston, and will be her largest solo exhibition to date.

    “OUT OF BODY,” the title of my upcoming exhibition at the ICA Boston, was also the name of my first New York show. It’s a kind of double entendre; at that moment in 2015, I

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  • Jesper Just

    Jesper Just distorts rituals of movement through video and performance—two media he pairs in perverse combinations to destabilize museum architecture and to create plangent moving images that echo with anticipation and longing. His multichannel video work Servitudes—shot in 2015 at One World Trade Center on the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris—brims with a restrained yet intense kineticism as its two mobility-limited protagonists internalize the skyscraper’s haunted architecture. Last autumn and with seven performers from the American Ballet Theater, just made his

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  • Phill Niblock

    Experimental music doyen Phill Niblock has been making photographs since his 1958 arrival to New York, where he cut his teeth documenting the performances of jazz greats like Duke Ellington. A decade later, Niblock began the work for which he is best (if still under-) known: multiscreen audiovisual installations scored by drones, built around microtones generated by instruments from cello to bagpipe to saxophone. “Working Photos,” a solo exhibition at New York’s Fridman Gallery on view through Janury 5, 2020, draws on over a half-century of artmaking triangulated between photography, cinema,

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  • Garrett Bradley

    Screened on four intersecting, transparent white flags affixed to copper poles, Garrett Bradley’s America is a 360-degree, twenty-seven-minute odyssey through the United States’s elided cinematic histories. Informed by communities working at Hollywood’s edge in the silent-era as well as those in present-day New Orleans, the film interleaves archival and original footage to offer a more encompassing history of the country. Below, Bradley discusses the film, one of three works in the artist’s first solo exhibition, “Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody,” which opens December 19, 2019, at the

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  • Sophia Al-Maria

    For the Tate’s exhibition series “Art Now,” London-based artist Sophia Al-Maria has mounted “Beast Type Song,” an installation that foregrounds her new eponymous video. Inside its thirty-eight minutes, Al-Maria braids a narrative from strands of stories and texts, scripts and speech, post-apocalyptic science fiction and apocalyptic reality. Through footage that flips between a film and its own making, the artist lets us watch her assemble a world out of words, built from the rubble of colonial history and the brutality of its tongue. “Beast Type Song” is on view at Tate Britain in London until

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  • Mickalene Thomas

    When Mickalene Thomas was invited to convert the east lobby, facade, and adjoining terrace of the Baltimore Museum of Art into a yearlong installation, she accepted, excited to deploy her signature vibrant aesthetic on an institutional scale. The exhibition, titled “A Moment’s Pleasure” and on view through May 2021, is the first in a series of biennial commissions calling upon artists to create site-specific works in the most accessible areas of the museum. Below, the matchless painter and patternist discusses this relational project, which aims to ground community in personal nostalgia as well

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  • Nairy Baghramian

    “Work Desk for an Ambassador’s Wife,” Nairy Baghramian’s exhibition with the late Swiss designer Janette Laverrière (1909–2011), contains sculpture, speculative drawings, seating platforms, bookshelves, “useless objects” (Laverrière’s exuberant mirror works), and more. On view at New York’s Marian Goodman gallery through December 20, 2019, it is a meticulous, expansive celebration of an enduring creative friendship. Below, Baghramian discusses her “coexistence” with Laverrière, as well as a work coproduced by Performa 19 and The Kitchen titled Entre Deux Actes (Ménage à Quatre), a collaborative

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  • Hunter Reynolds

    Hunter Reynolds is a New York–based artist and AIDS activist who for over three decades has used performance, installation, and photography to rethink and expand gender, politics, and sexuality. In 1989, he cofounded ART+ Positive, an affinity group of ACT UP, of which he was an early member. Here, Reynolds discusses his alter ego, Patina du Prey (1989–2000), who is the main subject of the exhibition “From Drag to Dervish,” on view at P.P.O.W gallery in New York from November 21 to December 21, 2019.

    PATINA WAS BORN ON OCTOBER 21, 1989. I was documenting the feminization of my male face—putting

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