PRINT October 2019


Leidy Churchman, Don’t Try to Be the Fastest (Runway Bardo), 2019, oil on linen, 7 × 32'.

TUCKED WITHIN THE DENSE ARRAY of canvases in “Leidy Churchman: Crocodile,” the artist’s survey exhibition currently on view at the Hessel Museum of Art in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, is a small painting of a rat perched on the edge of a body of water. Pressing its nose close to the water’s surface, the rodent appears vexed by the sight of its inchoate reflection. Created in 2013, the painting was first exhibited in 2015 under the title Narcissistic Rat; Churchman later retitled it Basically Good in 2017, as if to allay its protagonist’s dysmorphic concerns. Does it matter what species we see when we look in the mirror? Or what gender? Or what shape? Not really, Basically Good reassures us. Still, something is not quite right about this scene of pondside self-examination: Churchman handles their rat Narcissus with Bonnardian wit, picking out the whites of the rodent’s bulging

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