COLUMNS

  • Tyler Mitchell

    Tyler Mitchell on photographing his American pastoral

    Tyler Mitchell makes visible a Black autonomy, sociality, and joy historically excluded from mainstream American media. For his latest body of work, made during the past year, the twenty-six-year-old photographer phenom turns his eye toward themes of kinship and heritage. Dreaming in Real Time, shot entirely in his native Georgia, captures friends and families frolicking against a backdrop of sand dunes and shady meadows. Young men lounge on beach chairs atop concrete pavement while children play in grassy fields. An exhibition on view until October 30 at Jack Shainman’s two Chelsea galleries

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  • INTERVIEW: YOU’LL BE MY MIRROR

    Amy Taubin speaks with Todd Haynes about The Velvet Underground

    SOMETIME IN 1963, or perhaps it was late 1962, I found my way to a downtown loft where the Dream Syndicate—the configuration of La Monte Young, John Cale, Tony Conrad, Angus MacLise, and Marian Zazeela—was playing weekly concerts. The sound produced was massive—tones sustained for impossible durations at impossible volumes, so that you felt as if you were inside the sound and that the connection between ear and brain was transformed. These concerts shaped my aesthetic even more than the similarly aggressive, expanded time in movies by Andy Warhol, Ken Jacobs, Michael Snow, and Barbara Rubin,

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  • Dindga McCannon

    Dindga McCannon on “Where We At” and the women of the blues

    Music seemed to melt into color as Dindga McCannon walked me through “In Plain Sight” at Fridman Gallery. The songs of Ma Rainey and Gladys Bentley played behind a recent work, Blues Queens, 2021, a shrinelike, quilt-covered column commemorating blueswomen of the early twentieth century. Footage of their performances looped in the background, the black-and-white of the videos contrasting with the textile’s shimmering blue tonalities. A key figure in the Black Arts Movement, McCannon cofounded the groundbreaking collective “Where We At” Black Women Artists, Inc., with Kay Brown and Faith Ringgold

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  • Mariam Ghani

    Mariam Ghani on Afghanistan’s unfinished histories

    Our conversation began as a requiem for Afghanistan—its violent unwinding corresponds horrifically with the name of Mariam Ghani’s film. What We Left Unfinished (2019) is a feature-length documentary on five unedited Afghan films made during the country’s Communist era of state-funded cinema (1978–991), a time deluged with coups, conflict, and censorship. Ghani’s film attests firstly and mostly to the significance and precarity of cultural workers in Afghanistan—their voices were recently gathered in an Open Letter from Arts for Afghanistan—and the Afghan histories and imaginaries that depend

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  • Sara Cwynar

    Sara Cwynar on finding desire in the world of images

    Sara Cwynar’s opus Glass Life (2021) ambitiously navigates contemporary image culture with her signature embrace of “high” and “low” source material. To watch this six-channel video is to tumble headlong through sheaves of saturated hand-clipped images interlaced with hundreds of files pulled from deep within the artist’s hard drives. Her narrator reminds us: “In the glass life, everything can be used. It is all material.” Fingers swipe through Instagram. Hands hold open history books. Kim Kardashian appears while we hear about tulips in seventeenth-century Holland. Cwynar pins a stock photo of

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  • Dash Shaw

    Dash Shaw talks about Cryptozoo and the dream logic of movies

    BEST KNOWN as a graphic novelist—Bottomless Belly Button (2008); Body World (2010), New School (2013); Cosplayers (2014)—Dash Shaw has also made two animated feature films. The first was My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea (2014), an outsider’s vision of teenage angst which employs Titanic as a disaster movie template. The second, Cryptozoo (2021), again riffs on a Hollywood blockbuster, Jurassic Park, using his distinctive manner of drawing and painting that has become more sophisticated and complex in the years since High School. A cartooning major at the School of Visual Arts (he

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  • Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki-Olivo)

    Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki-Olivo) on transition, retrospection, and a year of protest

    Jade Kuriki Olivo’s retrospective at the Kunsthaus Glarus in Switzerland brings together the Brooklyn-based artist’s work from the past decade. On view through August 22, the show maps the evolution of her practice as she transitioned from working under the guise of Puppies Puppies to living as an openly trans woman. Here, Olivo reflects on this transformation and discusses refusing to hide, the turning point represented by this exhibition, and the weekly Stonewall Protests for Black Trans Liberation that have kept her going over the past year.

    I WAS HIDING from the world for a long time. In

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  • Mónica Mayer

    Mónica Mayer talks about her collected writings

    A pioneer of feminist art in Mexico, Mónica Mayer uses humor and satire to address gender-related topics largely absent from public discourse. Intimidades . . . o no. Arte, vida y feminismo (Intimate Matters . . . or Not. Art, Life, and Feminism, Editorial Diecisiete) surveys her prolific writing practice, a vital extension of her artistic output for more than four decades. At a time when gender-based violence is surging throughout Mexico, Mayer’s writing reminds us that the feminist struggle—in the art world and beyond—is always waged on the battleground of language.

    I AM AN ARTIST WHO WRITES

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  • Elise Rasmussen

    Elise Rasmussen on Mary Shelley and the “Year Without a Summer”

    Elise Rasmussen’s “Year Without a Summer” took her to multiple continents and into the creation of one of Western literature’s best-known books—Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818). The artist’s research-based project joins personal experience, cultural history, and scientific discovery into a surprising, layered narrative. Speaking from Los Angeles, Rasmussen shares how she weaves disparate artistic and ecological threads together with a perspective afforded by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Year Without a Summer” will be on view at Toronto’s G44 Centre for Contemporary Photography from July 21 to August

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  • Julien Nguyen

    Julien Nguyen on the Renaissance, conjury, and painting himself

    At the end of our conversation, Julien Nguyen read from a poem by the eighth-century Chinese poet Tu Fu that supplied the title for one of his new paintings: “In ten warrior years and more, how / could I avoid all honor? Everyone // treasures heroes, but how shameful / to talk myself up like all the others. // War smolders across our heartland / and rages on the frontiers: all those // lords chasing ambition everywhere, / who can elude resolute in privation?” It may seem grandiose to tie yourself to history this way—and it is—but this is exactly what makes Nguyen’s art contemporary. He achieves

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  • Alan Ruiz

    Alan Ruiz reimagines the boundaries between artist and institution

    Premier among the fabled artist-run institutions of the 1970s, the Kitchen stands today on New York’s West Nineteenth Street, its home since 1986, now hemmed in by blue-chip galleries, luxury boutiques, a starchitect office tower, and outrageous pieds-à-terre for the jet-setting elite. On a recent visit, Alan Ruiz’s elegant but spartan installation there—uncharacteristically sited in the building’s ground level theater space, rather than its second-floor gallery—suddenly erupted in sound and reflected light as a composition by Philip Glass, a veteran affiliate of the Kitchen who now serves on

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  • Yael Bartana

    Yael Bartana on messianic myth, redemption, and the “Jewish question”

    Since the early 2000s, Yael Bartana has brought the remnants of the “Jewish question” into sharp relief. “Redemption Now,” a survey at Berlin’s Jewish Museum on through October 10, includes early videos that simultaneously detail and estrange the rituals of Israeli Orthodox Jewish and settler communities. In recent years, her work has grown more formally elaborate—and provocative—in its choreographies and “pre-enactments.” Her trilogy And Europe Will Be Stunned, 2007–11, staged the dramatic genesis of the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland, while the Philadelphia-set The Undertaker, 2019,

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