COLUMNS

  • Tuan Andrew Nguyen

    Tuan Andrew Nguyen has in recent years emerged as a maker of hybrid films that conjure national memories of displacement like magic spells, their layered narratives exerting a mesmeric pull on characters and viewers alike. The artist’s latest work, Crimes of Solidarity, debuted earlier this month in Marseille as part of the nomadic Manifesta biennial, which recently concluded a staggered six-week opening across as many landmark venues (all installations will remain on view through November 29). Produced remotely in collaboration with asylum-seekers who founded the city’s Squat Saint-Just, Crimes

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  • New Red Order

    New Red Order (NRO), a public secret society that works with networks of informants and accomplices to create grounds for Indigenous futures, models itself in contradistinction to an older, extant secret society: the Improved Order of the Red Men, an American organization, revived in 1934 as a whites-only fraternity, whose redface rituals and regalia are inspired by the country’s most famous, foundational act of Indigenous appropriation: the donning of Mohawk disguises by the Sons of Liberty during the Boston Tea Party. If America is premised both on desires for indigeneity and the violent

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  • Jesse Darling

    After months of working under lockdown in Berlin, Jesse Darling recently traveled by train to Kunstverein Freiburg, in southwest Germany, to install Gravity Road, a “dysfunctional roller coaster” that consists of a suspended horizontal track, a ladder twisting to nowhere. Like the artist’s previous experiments in steel—such as The Veterans and Wounded Door 1, both 2014the work’s anthropometric scale and distorted form suggest both vulnerability and potential. The exhibition opened on September 19 and runs through November 1, 2020. Here, Darling talks about the work’s genesis and installation,

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  • Ephraim Asili

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    In The Inheritance, director Ephraim Asili presents a dramatic narrative based on his years in a West Philadelphia Black radical collective. The New York–based filmmaker’s first feature following a run of celebrated short films focused on the African diaspora, The Inheritance centers Black artists and activists in its fictionalized portrait of a young man who turns his late grandmother’s house into a shared space for socialist thought and creativity. Alternating comedic vignettes of collective living with scripted interviews, poetry readings, and archival footage—including images of the 1985

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  • Stéphanie Saadé

    Stéphanie Saadé often traces her nomadic upbringing in her installations—spare and evocative meditations on memory, movement, and space. Like that of her “home” city of Beirut, Saadé’s past year in the Lebanese capital has been turbulent: The birth of her first child was closely followed by the explosion last month at the city’s waterfront that left 181 people dead and an estimated 300,000 homeless. Around the time of the blast, Saadé was developing a project for “A Few In Many Places,” a collaboration between artists and local shop owners from Montréal, Philadelphia, Berlin, Istanbul, and the

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  • Jesse Chun

    A New York­­–based artist who has previously lived in Hong Kong, South Korea, and Canada, Jesse Chun studies the way language—especially English—shapes cultural experience. From the tedium of bureaucratic boilerplate to the social attitudes embedded in the ESL curriculum, Chun manipulates the tools of English-language pedagogy and officialdom to expose the linguistic imperialism of this so-called common tongue. In the past, she has used children’s alphabet toys as molds for silicone and graphite sculptures, creating abstract, illegible forms. Other bodies of work build a visual lexicon from the

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  • CARCERAL AESTHETICS

    WE CAN ALL AGREE NOW that American prisons are a malignant feature of contemporary life, broadening inequalities, destroying families, worsening racial disparities, and facilitating widespread state-sanctioned premature death, to name just a few of the most obvious iniquities. But inside these prisons, people do find imaginative ways to survive. The institutional culture of incarceration has spawned individual and communal acts of inspired genius—acts credited entirely to people, and not to the prisons where they are forced to live—modalities of making and ways of surviving that involve types

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  • Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste

    This spring, Jeremy Toussaint-Baptiste filmed two static, forty-minute takes outside his apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Commissioned by Issue Project Room for their “Isolated Field Recordings” series, the videos documented a soundscape subtly inflected by the pandemic; the wails of ambulances can be heard, as can boomboxes played from the balconies of those sheltering in place; as can ominous silence. Toussaint-Baptiste made the work after the indefinite postponement of “Get Low (Black Square),” a performance at Abron Arts Center that considers Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, 1915, as

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  • Tiago Gualberto

    Long before Brazilian mining magnate Bernardo Paz put the state of Minas Gerais on the art map with the opening of the Inhotim Center for Contemporary Art in 2006, the area of Brumadinho was known as a center for mineral extraction—mainly iron-ore—and the poverty and environmental destruction such an industry produces. Its splendor, defined by 700 acres of exotic foliage and a massive art collection, has not dispelled Inhotim’s status among many as “a monument to the ubiquity of dirty money in the art market.” Meanwhile, Paz himself has faced extensive allegations of tax evasion and money

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  • Caitlin Cherry

    Caitlin Cherry has always been interested in the weaponized circulation of images. At the Brooklyn Museum in 2013, she mounted her paintings on wooden catapults modeled after martial designs by Leonardo, as if they were about to be fired into the air. More recently, she has produced prismatic paintings from photos of Black femmes (including models, exotic dancers, porn actresses, rappers, and influencers) culled from social media. Inspired by the promotional posts of a Brooklyn cabaret, her newest works feature its servers and dancers in suggestive poses, flattened by delirious patterns and

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  • Saidiya Hartman

    Five centuries of white supremacist terror: not just a past to which we are ineluctably fastened, but a present which produces us, albeit in differing orders of magnitude and vulnerability. The United States has long maintained the fiction that this country had molted its foundational violence, and yet, just as your skin sheds daily only to live dispersed atop your furniture and knick-knacks, so too does the grime of history make up the loam in which a person is destined to flourish, struggle, or wither. The work of Saidiya Hartman has charted a path in and through the social arrangements produced

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  • Neïl Beloufa

    As virtual art showrooms proliferated after cities locked down to curb the spread of Covid-19, Neïl Beloufa worked with web designers, developers, and painters to produce Screen-Talk.com. The java site, its blinking interface a throwback to the ’90s, features pop-up videos, a live chat, and a series of games that allow browsers to choose an avatar and progress toward the prize of an artist’s edition also available in an online shop. The URL launched in early May, days before the end of France’s confinement, but its clips belong to a lo-fi miniseries that Beloufa made in 2014 titled Home Is

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