COLUMNS

  • Tschabalala Self

    Through an exaggerative figuration that embraces painting, sewing, assemblage, as well as a sensuous and implacable charisma, New Haven–based artist Tschabalala Self invites us to rethink how bodies are marked by race and gender while crafting her own expanding visual universe. Her exhibition “Tschabalala Self: Out of Body” runs January 20 to July 5, 2020, at the ICA Boston, and will be her largest solo exhibition to date.

    “OUT OF BODY,” the title of my upcoming exhibition at the ICA Boston, was also the name of my first New York show. It’s a kind of double entendre; at that moment in 2015, I

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  • Jesper Just

    Jesper Just distorts rituals of movement through video and performance—two media he pairs in perverse combinations to destabilize museum architecture and to create plangent moving images that echo with anticipation and longing. His multichannel video work Servitudes—shot in 2015 at One World Trade Center on the occasion of his solo exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris—brims with a restrained yet intense kineticism as its two mobility-limited protagonists internalize the skyscraper’s haunted architecture. Last autumn and with seven performers from the American Ballet Theater, just made his

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  • Phill Niblock

    Experimental music doyen Phill Niblock has been making photographs since his 1958 arrival to New York, where he cut his teeth documenting the performances of jazz greats like Duke Ellington. A decade later, Niblock began the work for which he is best (if still under-) known: multiscreen audiovisual installations scored by drones, built around microtones generated by instruments from cello to bagpipe to saxophone. “Working Photos,” a solo exhibition at New York’s Fridman Gallery on view through Janury 5, 2020, draws on over a half-century of artmaking triangulated between photography, cinema,

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  • Garrett Bradley

    Screened on four intersecting, transparent white flags affixed to copper poles, Garrett Bradley’s America is a 360-degree, twenty-seven-minute odyssey through the United States’s elided cinematic histories. Informed by communities working at Hollywood’s edge in the silent-era as well as those in present-day New Orleans, the film interleaves archival and original footage to offer a more encompassing history of the country. Below, Bradley discusses the film, one of three works in the artist’s first solo exhibition, “Garrett Bradley: American Rhapsody,” which opens December 19, 2019, at the

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  • 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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