Critics’ Picks

View of “So You Want to See,” 2015.

View of “So You Want to See,” 2015.

New York

“So You Want to See”

172 Classon Avenue
April 17–June 6, 2015

“Some clients ask us to piss on them, but I'd be happy to shit on them on behalf of all women.” So opens this group exhibition—including works by Sanja Iveković, Rajkamal Kahlon, Victoria Lomasko, OKO, Cecilia Vicuña, and Carla Zaccagnini—with the words of one woman in Lomasko’s Girls, 2012, a collection of impromptu sketches of Russian sex workers whom the artist interviewed. It’s not the only sentence in the exhibition that rings with the easily recognizable sound of necessity. “They are willing to bury us alive,” reports Nadezhda Tolokonnikova in Lomasko’s Pretrial Tagansky Hearing Pussy Riot, 2012. Here is a show for a world already buried alive in the shit of patriarchy.

Razor slashes in white paper in Zaccagnini’s My Hieroglyphic on the Velázquez Venus Will Express Much to the Generations of the Future, 2012, abstract the violence chronicled in her book Elements of Beauty (2012), which sits on a bench nearby and is made up of documents of the attacks on paintings in the UK carried out by early twentieth-century suffragettes. It is this legacy of risk and altruistic punishment that holds the crowded show’s formal diversity together. Iveković’s Isn’t She Too Old for That?—On Witches, 2013, combines casual photographs of older women with illuminated witch-hunt illustrations, in a perverse affirmation of the monstrous guises female artists are assigned. As the contemporary feminist Sophia Cleary put it recently: “An isolated lone woman artist is like crazy and disturbed ‘probably poisoned by lead’ but an isolated lone male artist is a glorified monk.”