COLUMNS

  • 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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  • Andrew Masullo on April Dawn Alison

    For many years, a commercial photographer named Alan Schaefer (1941–2008) privately created an extraordinary body of work: a series of over 9,000 Polaroid self-portraits of an exuberant woman known as April Dawn Alison.

    While little is known of Alan—neighbors recalled he loved jazz and baseball—April Dawn is well documented in many and various domestic performances: as a French maid, bikini model, bondage partner, and more. Several hundred of these Polaroids are being presented publicly for the first time in an exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, organized by curator Erin

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  • Annie-B Parson

    Choreographer and director Annie-B Parson is a force of nature who’s having quite the season. She created the elegant, joyous numbers that propel the great David Byrne and his vibrant cohort of musicians and singers through his rock-show-cum-Broadway-musical, American Utopia, on at the Hudson Theater through February 16. Her company Big Dance Theater, which she cofounded with actor/director Paul Lazar and performer Molly Hickok almost thirty years ago, will present a trio of recent works under the title The Road Awaits Us at NYU’s Skirball Center on November 8 and 9. And last month, Parson

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  • 1000 WORDS: MATT WOLF

    IT’S DIFFICULT FOR ME not to think of Matt Wolf as a queer filmmaker, because he’s the first one I ever knew personally. He is also the first openly gay man I ever met. When I arrived in Manhattan from northern New Hampshire in 2001 at the age of eighteen, any notions I possessed of urbanity or sexual identity I had imagined in a bucolic vacuum. A chance introduction to Wolf, then a sagacious nineteen-year-old from San Jose, California, not only initiated my kinship with other flesh-and-blood homosexuals, but also affirmed the importance of an intellectualized communal identity. While Matt has

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  • Pat Steir

    Since the late 1980s, Pat Steir has slung her paint from a loaded brush, letting oils arc and flow in a signature gesture of both creation and sublime surrender. For her latest exhibition, at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, the American artist has filled the building’s rotunda with a new suite of thirty paintings that, together, form a color wheel—an art fundamental that dates back to the early eighteenth century. “What Goethe was really pursuing was not a physiological but a psychological theory of colors,” Wittgenstein once wrote. The same might be said of Steir’s

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  • Kiki Smith

    During this interview, Kiki Smith was multitasking, wrestling with a cat collar and making granola in preparation for an imminent trip to Europe. The American artist was crossing the Atlantic to finalize several exhibitions, including a survey at the Monnaie de Paris that will be on view until February 9, 2020. The show features one hundred works—including two courtyard-placed sculptures—created between 1980 and this year. The Paris mint is a fitting location in which to spotlight Smith’s work, given her personal interest in coins and medallions, which she happens to collect. Using what she

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  • Amy Sillman

    For “The Shape of Shape,” a rollicking salon-style exhibition drawn from the holdings of New York’s Museum of Modern Art and part of the newly expanded museum’s “Artist’s Choice” series, Amy Sillman has selected around seventy-five works that, regardless of medium, movement, or period, share a fascination with shape. Like MoMA’s newly rehung collection galleries, the installation, which opens today and runs through April 20, 2020, reconstrues modernism through wide-ranging, unlikely juxtapositions. And like Sillman’s own paintings, it is intelligent, risky, and giddily perturbed, brimming with

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  • Suzanne Treister

    Since the 1980s, the British artist Suzanne Treister has blended history and speculation in ways that many are moved to call hallucinatory, if not slightly paranoid. Her paintings and pioneering digital works have drawn on her interest in systems of observation and belief, from surveillance to theoretical physics. Often diagrammatic and filled with wordplay, her early pieces anticipate the technopolitics of the twenty-first century and presage postinternet-era arcana like a future-tense Hilma af Klint. On September 19, 2019, London’s Serpentine Galleries launched Treister’s augmented reality

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  • Maren Hassinger

    Maren Hassinger very nearly became a dancer. As it happened, two fortuitous turns in her education in the 1970s led her to create sculptures hewn of fibrous metal and knotted detritus. From her early work in Los Angeles—including the 1979 installation of twelve wire rope “trees” near the Mulholland Drive exit ramp—to her recent “mandala” of repurposed pages from the New York Times, questions of ecological and spiritual consciousness have long underscored Hassinger’s practice. She is known for works in a range of media as well as for her collaborative bent. Following last year’s retrospective at

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