COLUMNS

  • James Little

    Fear and transcendence in abstract painting

    Poised and self-assured, James Little stands beside a pair of buckets, each filled with a different shade of black paint, in the Brooklyn studio where the artist has worked for three decades. The Memphis-born painter of absorbing abstractions—whether hallucinatory monochromes or variegated, potpourri-like surfaces—has been making all-black paintings for a decade, committing to each canvas for three or four months. In these works, contained geometries explode with nocturnal luminosity in concert with the viewer’s sways, and tightly orchestrated stripes play silent recitals of light, form, and

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  • Henrike Naumann

    The conspiracy in your living room

    Growing up in a newly reunified Germany, Henrike Naumann witnessed widespread transformations in visual culture, from popular television programming to the seating from which that programming was consumed. Working with furniture and video, the Zwickau-born, Berlin-based artist considers how seemingly innocuous aesthetic sensibilities align with and promulgate a host of political ideologies. Her first US solo exhibition, “Re-Education,” on view from September 22 to February 27 at SculptureCenter in New York, parses parallels between reactionary movements in the United States and Germany as it

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  • Christian Marclay

    A follow-up to The Clock, twelve years later

    Christian Marclay likes to play with doors. His early sculpture Armoire, 1988; the door slamming in Video Quartet, 2002; and his series of screen prints Door (The Electric Chair), 2006, are just a few examples. Here, he speaks about his latest work, Doors, 2022, a video made of snippets from various movies, and his difficulties editing it. Door after door, room after room, the 54-minute loop runs on like a rhyming game. Placed near the exit of his survey at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (curated by Jean-Pierre Criqui, through February 27), it sends us on our way while holding us back. At every

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  • Vince Aletti

    A photography critic’s life in images

    One of what seems like only a handful of working photography critics today, Vince Aletti is also a prolific collector of print ephemera, much of it archived within a single massive filing cabinet in his longtime East Village apartment. Below, Aletti talks about his new photobook, The Drawer, which shuffles this matter into alluring, Warburgian juxtapositions of high and low, iconic and unknown. Mapped out over the course of a single afternoon, the book is a meditation on how images shape desire, a remedy to the cold calculations of the algorithm, and the wordless memoir of a great and grateful

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  • Fred Eversley

    A West Coast pioneer’s overview effect

    Fred Eversley has dedicated his five-decade career to abstract sculptural meditations on energy. Working in Venice Beach since the early 1970s, Eversley drew upon his experience as an engineer and elements of the Light and Space movement prevalent in Southern California at the time to develop the lens-like parabolic objects for which he is best known. The survey exhibition “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World),” on view through January 15, 2023, at the Orange County Museum of Art, provides an occasion to reflect on the work of the octogenarian artist, who recently relocated to New York

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  • David Hartt

    Digging up modernist myths at the Glass House

    Last spring, David Hartt unveiled “A Colored Garden,” a dense circle of blooms in the lower meadow of Philip Johnson’s Glass House planted with flowers found in still lifes by a Black nineteenth-century artist named Charles Ethan Porter. This year, the blooms are back, accompanied by a neo-mythological film in Johnson’s self-glorifying gatehouse-cum-visitor’s-center and, down the hill, an installation of Porters in Johnson’s personal trefoil painting gallery. It’s still the house modernism built—the architect’s taste for Arcadia sits next to his Nazi sympathies—but, says Hartt, Johnson’s aren’t

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  • Rasheed Araeen

    A Minimalist pioneer’s reflections on Islam and modernity

    Throughout his nearly six-decade career as an artist, curator, writer, and publisher, the Karachi-born, London-based Rasheed Araeen has shaped the trajectory of modern art from the margins. Curating pathbreaking exhibitions such as “The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Postwar Britain” (1989) and establishing the critical journals<em> Black Phoenix (1978–79) and Third Text (1987–), Araeen helped build the groundwork for a more robust, global vision of art history. More recently, he has examined the contributions of Islamic philosophy on the development of modernism. On occasion of his new

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  • Oliver Ressler

    How can artists confront the climate crisis?

    For twenty years, Oliver Ressler has been making videos on topics such as capitalism, democracy, racism, and ecology. Below, he discusses “Barricading the Ice Sheets,” curated by Corina L. Apostol at Tallinn Art Hall as part of the artist’s wider research project involving six exhibitions across Europe that focus on the climate movement. On view through November 6, the Tallinn show features the six-channel video installation Everything’s coming together while everything is falling apart, 2016–2020, which follows environmental activists as they plan and carry out blockades and demonstrations in

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  • Kelly Akashi

    On eternity, internment, and the memory of touch

    “Formations,” Kelly Akashi’s ongoing exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Art, surveys the past eight years of the Los Angeles–based artist’s practice, mounting a menagerie of bronze-cast, hand-blown glass, carved-stone, and 3-D–printed sculptures in addition to an array of chromogenic photograms, Cibachrome crystallographs, and silver gelatin prints (not to mention the occasional accoutrement of family heirlooms and human hair). Amid all this processual prowess, attention is also paid to the more mysterious operations of memory, time, the human body, and their mutual imprint on one another.

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  • Baldwin Lee

    Beginning and ending a prodigious career in photography

    Working as Walker Evans’s darkroom assistant while at Yale’s MFA program, Baldwin Lee handled and printed negatives from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Although the families photographed in Alabama’s Hale County in the 1930s never received a copy of that book, Lee would be sure to mail prints to those who posed for his own 4-by-5-inch view camera. Raised in New York as a child of Chinese immigrants, Lee embarked on extensive drives from 1983 to 1990 to photograph his new home of Tennessee, unexpectedly gravitating toward the lives of Black Americans in the post–Jim Crow South. With a new monograph

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  • Julia Phillips

    Giving form to the attachment and ambivalence of motherhood

    While Julia Phillips’s visual language remains informed by functional tools and ceramic body casts that serve as metaphors for social and psychological experiences, recent motherhood has complicated and expanded her visual and emotional arsenal. Her exhibition “ Me, Ourself & You” is on view now at Matthew Marks Gallery in New York through October 29. Below, the German-born, Chicago-based artist discusses her recent work in the context of the longer arc of her practice.

    MY WORK OFTEN STARTS with a title that describes a relation, a role, a person, a function all at once. My first language is

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  • Puppet Master

    The art world according to Jayson Musson

    THIS JULY, after more than a year of working quietly as the artist-in-residence at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Jayson Musson finally revealed His History of Art, a raucous multimedia installation featuring three episodes of a sidesplitting sitcom starring Musson as Jay, a pontifical art collector in a corduroy suit, and his unlikely roommate Ollie, a permastoned puppet rabbit. Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, and the Venus of Willendorf make cameos, the latter inspiring an orgy. Produced and filmed inside the museum, His History’s sets and props—which alternately needle, salute,

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