COLUMNS

  • 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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  • Interviews

    Mariam Ghani

    Mariam Ghani on Afghanistan’s unfinished histories

    Our conversation began as a requiem for Afghanistan—its violent unwinding corresponds horrifically with the name of Mariam Ghani’s film. What We Left Unfinished (2019) is a feature-length documentary on five unedited Afghan films made during the country’s Communist era of state-funded cinema (1978–991), a time deluged with coups, conflict, and censorship. Ghani’s film attests firstly and mostly to the significance and precarity of cultural workers in Afghanistan—their voices were recently gathered in an Open Letter from Arts for Afghanistan—and the Afghan histories and imaginaries that depend

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  • Interviews

    Sara Cwynar

    Sara Cwynar on finding desire in the world of images

    Sara Cwynar’s opus Glass Life (2021) ambitiously navigates contemporary image culture with her signature embrace of “high” and “low” source material. To watch this six-channel video is to tumble headlong through sheaves of saturated hand-clipped images interlaced with hundreds of files pulled from deep within the artist’s hard drives. Her narrator reminds us: “In the glass life, everything can be used. It is all material.” Fingers swipe through Instagram. Hands hold open history books. Kim Kardashian appears while we hear about tulips in seventeenth-century Holland. Cwynar pins a stock photo of

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  • Interviews

    Dash Shaw

    Dash Shaw talks about Cryptozoo and the dream logic of movies

    BEST KNOWN as a graphic novelist—Bottomless Belly Button (2008); Body World (2010), New School (2013); Cosplayers (2014)—Dash Shaw has also made two animated feature films. The first was My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (2014), an outsider’s vision of teenage angst which employs Titanic as a disaster movie template. The second, Cryptozoo (2021), again riffs on a Hollywood blockbuster, Jurassic Park, using his distinctive manner of drawing and painting that has become more sophisticated and complex in the years since High School. A cartooning major at the School of Visual Arts (he

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