COLUMNS

  • Clara Ianni

    The ongoing legacy of Disney diplomacy in Brazil

    At the root of Clara Ianni’s latest exhibition lies a thorny, overlapping network of powerful actors central to the history of twentieth-century art in the Americas: New York’s Museum of Modern Art, its former chair (and former US vice president) Nelson Rockefeller, The Walt Disney Company, the United States government, and the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art. Titled “Education by Night” and on view at Brooklyn’s Amant through September 4, the show revisits 1940s-era cultural programs intended to encourage US investment and deter Nazi influence in Latin America. The São Paulo–based artist pursues

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  • Nick Drnaso

    Drawing from the performance of everyday life

    For fifteen years, cartoonist Nick Drnaso has been drawing chromatically flat, eerily domestic graphic novels. Following his debut publication, Beverly (2016), a dark collection of interconnected vignettes, Drnaso’s full-length thriller Sabrina (2018) became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a Man Booker Prize. With Acting Class, out today with Drawn & Quarterly, he presents an assortment of strangers who voluntarily disrupt their daily monotony to meet with a mysteriously merit-less acting instructor. Below, the Chicago-based Drnaso reveals his latest story’s origins, considers the

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  • Jesse Stecklow

    Jesse Stecklow entwines biography and biometrics in “Terminal”

    Jesse Stecklow says he began planning “Terminal” at Mumok in Vienna in 2018. You could also say he started making it in 2014, the year he first installed an air sampling tube in an aluminum filter casing and called it a sculpture. This first Air Sampler work returns at Mumok, as do several subsequent versions, their passive analysis of the art-space atmosphere housed in clocks and freestanding vents. Stecklow was part of The Jogging (2009–2014), an influential post-net collective founded on the associative logic of the endless scroll—no surprise, then, that his most complete survey to date, on

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  • Sabra Moore

    On heritage and heresy

    Sabra Moore is known for her mixed-media paintings and artists’ books that use quiltmaking techniques of sewing and collage to incorporate photographs, fabrics, beads, and other found materials into work that explores family history and women’s stories. Her work during the women’s movement of the 1970s and ’80s as a member of collectives like NY Women’s Caucus for Art (WAC) and Heresies, and as a counselor for the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, is well documented in Openings: A Memoir from the Women’s Art Movement, New York City 1970–1992, (New Village Press, 1992). Below, the New

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  • Erlea Maneros Zabala

    A feminist reimagining of Spain’s fascist past

    BORN AND RAISED IN THE BASQUE COUNTRY, Erlea Maneros Zabala relocated to Los Angeles in 2000. I met her briefly in 2007 through Raymond Pettibon. Though we instantly clicked, our paths didn’t cross again until 2019, when we found ourselves at the same Christmas Eve party. In May, I visited Erlea in her house in the high desert, two hours outside of Los Angeles, where she walked me through a slide presentation of “The Voice of the Valley,” her solo exhibition currently on view at Artium Museoa, Museum of Contemporary Art of the Basque Country through September 18, 2022. The show comprises four

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  • Emma Talbot

    A feminist take on the Twelve Labors of Hercules

    As the winner of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, Emma Talbot completed a six-month residency in Reggio Emilia, collaborated with the historic Modateca Deanna archive to learn Intarsia knitting, studied permaculture at a farm on the Sicilian slopes of Mount Etna, and in Rome, researched Herculean myths and Etruscan pottery. The starting point for her project was Gustav Klimt’s 1905 painting Three Ages of Woman, which hangs in Rome’s Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna. Her resulting exhibitions at London’s Whitechapel Gallery (June 30–September 4, 2022) and Collezione Maramotti (October 23,

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  • Frank Bowling

    Frank Bowling on color, the sublime, and painting paradox

    For six decades, Frank Bowling has experimented with how personal and political memory can be sustained within the constraints of late-modernist abstraction. A solo exhibition, “Penumbral Light,” is on view at Hauser & Wirth in Zurich through August 20, and a major survey, “Frank Bowling’s Americas,” will open at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, in October. Below, the Guyana-born, London-based artist discusses his abstraction as an encounter with something simultaneously familiar and unexpected, compelled by an enduring fascination with what a painted surface can be.

    I’M WORKING THROUGH WATERY

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  • Karla Knight

    Karla Knight on living with the unknown

    Over the past four decades, artist-conlanger Karla Knight has doggedly worked in an extraterrestrial idiom, cultivating an otherworldly iconography and an invented language so potent she dreams in it. Arriving on the heels of “Navigator,” her survey at the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, “Road Trip,” on view from May 20 to July 1 at Andrew Edlin Gallery in New York, features recent drawings, paintings, and tapestries that hover between spaceship blueprint, geometric abstraction, and impenetrable abecedary. Below, Knight addresses her diverse influences, her relationship with paranormality and

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  • Dario Argento

    A horror maestro’s quest for beauty

    Unfairly “demoted” to the status of genre filmmaking in America, Dario Argento’s half-century of aesthetically and narratively outlandish giallo films have managed to invent a new cinematic language written in images of blood, death, and desire. Argento’s emphasis on stylistic detail— characterized by an oscillation between baroque maximalism and the midcentury modern, and a disorienting penchant for the extreme close-up—has ensured the director’s oeuvre a place alongside those of Federico Fellini, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Sergio Leone, all of whom Argento counts as major influences. On

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  • Kembra Pfahler

    Putting it on the record

    I first heard about the work of performer, musician and artist Kembra Pfahler in the early ’90s when a friend told me she’d seen a Richard Kern film—Sewing Circle (1992)—that documented Pfahler getting her vagina sewn shut. I recall her gesture making me feel sad and a little sick, yet I mostly felt deep admiration for the extremity of her self-possession. Here she was taking on rape culture (among other violences), prohibiting the penetration of her body by means of needle and thread, the classic tools of “woman’s work.” Perhaps best known for her death rock project the Voluptuous Horror of

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  • Katherine Wolkoff

    A bird’s-eye view of mass extinction

    Throughout her lifetime, Block Island resident Elizabeth Dickens (1877­–1963) amassed a collection of 172 stuffed birds—whenever one died, locals would bring her the specimen—which she used to teach the island’s children about ecology. Her life and work inform “Taken from a Cat,” a solo exhibition by the Brooklyn-based artist Katherine Wolkoff that remains on view at Benrubi Gallery in New York through June 18, 2022. The show features forty photographs displaying Dickens’s handwritten labels recording how each bird died, and five larger landscape views of the island made with a lensless camera.

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  • Eiko Ishibashi

    Finding music in the remains of the remains

    Composer and multi-instrumentalist Eiko Ishibashi began her career in the ’90s, playing in bands like Panicsmile, but it was her 2008 record Drifting Devil that brought her to wider critical attention. Since then, she’s been releasing recordings that map a broad but connected series of practices: song albums like Carapace (2011) and The Dream My Bones Dream (2018), and movie scores, most recently for the Oscar-winning Drive My Car. Using a variety of instruments, field recordings and electronic generations and interventions, she creates aural spaces that feel physically real, both haunted and

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