Critics’ Picks

View of “Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson,” 2017.

View of “Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson,” 2017.


Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson

Iceberg Projects
7714 N Sheridan Road
September 16–October 15, 2017

Video artists Dani Leventhal and Sheilah Wilson have been known to shock viewers with home-movie-style artworks that revel in taboos such as roadkill and blood, but their new collaborative video installation, Stack for Carrington’s Hyena, 2017, takes a quieter look at motherhood and parenting. A short video loop reveals the artists and their prepubescent daughter lying on the kitchen floor together, all seminude, stacked like animals napping after a feast. The slumped bodies merge into a breathing, sculptural mass. The video projection is mapped askew over a site-specific structure comprising materials such as wood, hair, a crate, and other building components, either found in the neighborhood or bought at Home Depot. In essence, the artists hunted and gathered to construct a cave; perhaps they are the hyenas of the artwork’s title. A reading of Anne Carson’s 2008 poem “Stacks” plays throughout, sounding like an obscure recipe for contemporary sculpture and life.

Leventhal’s signature body-art grotesqueries are still present, if sublimated. For example, the artist’s hand juts out onto a jagged piece of Styrofoam, disembodied, dreaming and twitching. This is the hand that feeds and takes care, the hand that makes art. At intervals, the video projection flashes off to reveal the anemic construction below, just bones after the soul has fled. The video installation is a meditation on the home that a parent must ritually rebuild and nourish daily.