COLUMNS

  • Interviews

    Sreshta Rit Premnath

    Sreshta Rit Premnath on finding hope at the margins

    Sreshta Rit Premnath abstracts materials associated with the architecture and institutions of confinement and control—chain-link fencing, metal barriers, aluminum sheets, Mylar blankets, foam mattresses—into floating signifiers that he recombines into installations at once topographical and quietly theatrical. Below, Premnath discusses two related exhibitions, both titled “Grave/Grove” and currently on view at the MIT List Visual Arts Center until February 13, 2022, and Cincinnati’s Contemporary Arts Center until February 27, 2022, where his austere sculptures become unlikely hosts to various

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  • Interviews

    Renée Green

    Renée Green on making space for unknowability

    “I’ve never been interested in institutions per se,” Renée Green explained to me over Zoom in late November. “Always more so in the dreaming, in the fictional aspects that open up possibilities of how someone can live.” Amid a comprehensive survey of her work taking place at the Kunst Werke and daadgalerie in Berlin, the artist, filmmaker, and writer and I sat down in our respective homes in the city and discussed the current restaging of a work from 1990. In keeping with Green’s multilayered and associative forty-year practice, our conversation took off from this premise and circulated fluidly

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  • Interviews

    Hrair Sarkissian

    Photographing warfare’s invisible toll

    Hrair Sarkissian documents the conflict zones of memory. I first encountered the Syrian-Armenian photographer’s work in 2017 at Beirut’s Sursock museum, where he was showing the video Homesick, 2014, featuring himself demolishing a replica of his childhood home in Damascus. In 2019, I met Sarkissian in person at Videobrasil, which displayed an early series, 2008’s “Execution Squares”: eerie shots of vacant public hanging sites in Aleppo, Latakia, and Damascus. Sarkissian’s first mid-career survey, titled “The Other Side of Silence” and on view at the Sharjah Art Foundation until January 30,

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  • Interviews

    Willie Birch

    Willie Birch on making art a neighborhood affair

    Throughout his multifarious six-decade career, Willie Birch has mined creative traditions ranging from European painting to Yoruba spirituality to conjure visions of the rich culture of New Orleans, as in the series of charcoal-and-acrylic grisaille streetscapes on view through January 23, 2022, at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art as part of “Prospect.5: Yesterday We Said Tomorrow.” Additionally, an exhibition devoted to new paintings and sculptures by the artist is on display at the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts until January 7, 2022. In his Seventh Ward studio, Birch and I spoke about the

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  • Interviews

    Helen Pashgian

    Helen Pashgian on her visionary life in color

    At New York’s Lehmann Maupin, Helen Pashgian showed me around “Spheres and Lenses”—her first exhibition in the city since 1971—while mesmerizing me with her eyes, as glowing and multihued as the prismatic orbs on display. Though Pashgian has been making art since the late ’50s, her moment is now: On November 19, SITE Santa Fe will open the fifty-year retrospective “Helen Pashgian: Presences”; six days later, her work will be featured in Copenhagen Contemporary’s “Light and Space,” a survey of the titular California-based movement Pashgian was instrumental in defining. 

    I GOT INTO ART KIND OF

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  • Interviews

    Candice Lin

    Candice Lin on collective grief and the consolation of cats

    Candice Lin made Seeping, Rotting, Resting, Weeping, 2021, in the isolation and inertia of the coronavirus pandemic. The installation, which also marks her first solo museum show, strains against that sadness. Centered in and around a collapsible, movable, wearable tent, Lin’s latest work draws on the ways she found connection over the last eighteen months, and creates a setting where others might find the same. But connection is double-edged: The installation references the sometimes gradual, often violent ways cultures meet and intermingle, creating new hybrids and then moving on. The exhibition

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  • Interviews

    Sam Roeck

    Sam Roeck talks about his time-bending self-portraiture

    Sam Roeck’s second solo exhibition at New York’s OCDChinatown, “Sam Roeck, Sam Roeck.,” features a dozen black-and-white photographs of the artist at sixteen along with eighteen new graphite self-portraits the thirty-six-year-old completed during quarantine. The small gallery also houses two inverted sculptures of staircases replicated from Roeck’s childhood home in Chicago, emphasizing the cozy and claustrophobic work of exploring the self. The show gives an intimate look at the practice of an artist who splits his time between managing Nicole Eisenman’s studio and teaching drawing at Hunter

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  • Interviews

    Claire Tabouret

    Claire Tabouret on risk, love, and her new work in Paris

    Claire Tabouret’s art has a feverish feel, something fervid roiling below the grave expressions of her composed subjects. Often inspired by internet deep dives, the French-born, Los Angeles–based artist’s recent paintings, drawings, and sculptures circle a sense of disquiet, be it hushed vistas or the charged group dynamics particular to youth. New work by Tabouret currently inhabits three Parisian venues. Almine Rech’s  “L'Urgence et la Patience” features self-portraits. Paysages d’Intérieurs,” at Galerie Perrotin, ascribes naturalist panoramas with a state of mind. (Both shows run from October

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  • Interviews

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan on translation, Nuremberg, and the juridical unconscious

    Lawrence Abu Hamdan’s exhibition “The Witness-Machine Complex,” on view through November 14 at the Kunstverein Nuremberg, focuses on the system of simultaneous interpretation that facilitated the Nuremberg trials. Here, Abu Hamdan reflects on the absence of the translation from the official history of the trial and his understanding of interruptions as veracious moments.

    IN 2018, I was invited to respond to the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Nuremberg trials, which was exciting because I’ve been thinking about systems of simultaneous translation for a long time, and the very first use of such

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  • Interviews

    Tyler Mitchell

    Tyler Mitchell on photographing his American pastoral

    Tyler Mitchell makes visible a Black autonomy, sociality, and joy historically excluded from mainstream American media. For his latest body of work, made during the past year, the twenty-six-year-old photographer phenom turns his eye toward themes of kinship and heritage. Dreaming in Real Time, shot entirely in his native Georgia, captures friends and families frolicking against a backdrop of sand dunes and shady meadows. Young men lounge on beach chairs atop concrete pavement while children play in grassy fields. An exhibition on view until October 30 at Jack Shainman’s two Chelsea galleries

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  • Interviews

    INTERVIEW: YOU’LL BE MY MIRROR

    Amy Taubin speaks with Todd Haynes about The Velvet Underground

    SOMETIME IN 1963, or perhaps it was late 1962, I found my way to a downtown loft where the Dream Syndicate—the configuration of La Monte Young, John Cale, Tony Conrad, Angus MacLise, and Marian Zazeela—was playing weekly concerts. The sound produced was massive—tones sustained for impossible durations at impossible volumes, so that you felt as if you were inside the sound and that the connection between ear and brain was transformed. These concerts shaped my aesthetic even more than the similarly aggressive, expanded time in movies by Andy Warhol, Ken Jacobs, Michael Snow, and Barbara Rubin,

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  • Interviews

    Dindga McCannon

    Dindga McCannon on “Where We At” and the women of the blues

    Music seemed to melt into color as Dindga McCannon walked me through “In Plain Sight” at Fridman Gallery. The songs of Ma Rainey and Gladys Bentley played behind a recent work, Blues Queens, 2021, a shrinelike, quilt-covered column commemorating blueswomen of the early twentieth century. Footage of their performances looped in the background, the black-and-white of the videos contrasting with the textile’s shimmering blue tonalities. A key figure in the Black Arts Movement, McCannon cofounded the groundbreaking collective “Where We At” Black Women Artists, Inc., with Kay Brown and Faith Ringgold

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