COLUMNS

  • Invisible Ink

    AT THE AGE OF SEVENTEEN, James “Yaya” Hough was sentenced to life without parole in Pennsylvania, a state responsible for sentencing more Black youth to life than almost any other. Told that he would never be released from prison, he turned that death sentence into a rigorous reading and art practice, spending hours a day with his sketchbooks drawing, painting watercolors, and working on communal murals inside the facility. He describes his daily routine as taking on a spiritual character, a “discipline,” but not in any punitive sense. He was known and admired inside prison for his pen drawings

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  • Godzilla 10

    In 1990, Godzilla: Asian American Art Network formed to stimulate visibility and critical discourse for Asian American artists, curators, and writers who were negotiating a historically exclusionary art world and society. Founded by Ken Chu, Bing Lee, and Margo Machida, Godzilla produced exhibitions, publications, and community collaborations that sought social change through art and advocacy. Expanding into a nationwide network, the group confronted institutional racism, Western imperialism, anti-Asian violence, the AIDS crisis, and Asian sexuality and gender representation, among other issues.

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  • Dawoud Bey

    Over the past forty-five years, Dawoud Bey has critically reimagined photography’s social and political potential, whether through his collaborative portraits of under- and misrepresented communities or through his more recent explorations of the landscapes of northern Ohio, a terminus of the Underground Railroad. April offers three occasions to see Bey’s work: a new book, Street Portraits (Mack), which gathers portraits of African Americans made between 1988 and 1991; the Okwui Enwezor–conceived “Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America” at the New Museum in New York, which includes

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  • Lucy Raven

    Lucy Raven has dedicated much of her work to the revisualization of the American West, both in its literal, topographic emplacement and within a historical imaginary. Between film, light sculptures, installation, and stereoscopic animation, her examinations of terrestrial surveying and digital visualities, as well as the spectacular constructions and everyday mundanities of the built landscape, offer a fascinating peek into a postindustrial frontier and its extractive economies. Raven’s newest exhibition continues her work with light installation and includes the forty-five-minute film Ready

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  • Gary Panter

    It’s hard to overstate the importance of Gary Panter to the art world and to popular culture; he has consistently forged art based on their imbrication and crossover. Oklahoma-born and Texas-raised, Panter helped pioneer punk culture through his band flyers and his comics and design for the fanzine Slash, which debuted his famous everyman character Jimbo. His visceral, so-called ratty line changed how people understood the role of the mark in comics. Panter won three Emmys for his set design on the television show Pee-wee’s Playhouse (whose charm was defined by Panter’s mashup aesthetic), all

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  • Cory Arcangel

    Cory Arcangel’s latest exhibition, “Century 21,” continues his interest in the structural aesthetics of games, exhaustive virtual navigation, and sometimes punishing durations. Its centerpiece is a custom-built machine-learning computer that plays the mobile role-playing game Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. This work is exhibited along with an array of live and recorded bot performances, prints, and paintings the artist refers to as “flatware”: high-resolution scans of pants that are printed on IKEA tabletops. Here, Arcangel discusses the four-year process of bringing this exhibition—on view online

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  • Chloe Wise

    Chloe Wise’s work has always walked a tightrope between sincerity and satire, romance and irreverence, gravity and levity. More recently, another duality has become an increasingly important part of her tonal high-wire act: the real versus the unreal, or perhaps the real versus the hyperreal. It’s telling that the press release for Wise’s new show, “Thank You For The Nice Fire,” on view at Almine Rech through April 17, quotes Jean Baudrillard not once, but twice. So, as neither Wise nor I have been vaccinated yet, it felt both epidemiologically and thematically appropriate to conduct this

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  • Barış Doğrusöz

    The Turkish video artist Barış Doğrusöz, who operates at the junction of architecture and history, is currently showing work from his cycle “The Locus of Power” in an exhibition of the same title running at Istanbul’s SALT Galata until March 28. Two videos explore the archaeological site of Dura-Europos, a former city located in modern-day Syria that was a center of linguistic and religious multiculturalism for half a millennium. A third considers “the observability of archaeological sites” using footage shot by the Corona spy satellite, employed by the United States between 1959 and 1972 to

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  • Xinyi Cheng

    Xinyi Cheng, winner of the 2019 Baloise Art Prize, painted much of what is currently on view at Berlin’s Hamburger Banhof last spring, during France’s first Covid-induced lockdown. Her intimate-yet-detached gaze, previously applied to male figures in ambiguous encounters, is here trained on moments of solitude among men, women, and animals. The Horse with Eye Blinders—an enigmatic double portrait of a chestnut mare clad in red cap, ear hoods, and blinders and a young man with his arms folded across his bare chest—gives this exhibition its title. Born in Wuhan and raised in Beijing, Cheng is now

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  • 1000 Words: Lorraine O’Grady

    NEW WORK BY LORRAINE O’GRADY is already good news, and the world needs some. But word of a new persona stirs the kind of anticipation usually reserved for a famous comet rounding the sun. It’s been more than forty years since O’Grady’s radiant alter ego Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, dressed in a gown and cape made from 180 pairs of white thrift-store gloves and wielding a cat-o’-nine tails plaited with chrysanthemums, stormed the opening of “Outlaw Aesthetics” at New York’s Just Above Midtown gallery. On that day, June 5, 1980, O’Grady kicked off a three-year sprint of some of the most profound

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  • 1000 Words: Arnold J. Kemp

    IN ANTICIPATION of his solo exhibition “False Hydras” at JOAN in Los Angeles, Arnold J. Kemp sat down with me in Chicago to continue our dialogue on the means and meanings of Black queer and feminist critical practice in the age of the internet. A teacher, writer, curator, and artist, Kemp occupies multiple cultural roles, which are paralleled by the range of materials and media—drawing, painting, performance, poetry, photography, installation, sculpture—that have both intellectually informed and physically shaped his practice over the past thirty years. Yet as our conversation made clear,

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  • Jackie Raynal

    Jackie Raynal, the French director, editor, and former programmer of New York’s Bleecker Street and Carnegie Hall cinemas, first became involved in film when, riding through Paris on a Vespa in 1958 at the age of eighteen, she was stopped and asked to be an extra in Otto Preminger’s Bonjour Tristesse. Six years later, she was the youngest head editor in France. She later became a key member of the storied Zanzibar Group, whose films anticipated and then mourned the events of May 1968. Deux Fois, Raynal’s stark, elegant 1968 directorial debut, is made under its sign. This work, and her later New

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