previews

  • “ENCORE: REENACTMENT IN CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY”

    The Getty Center
    1200 Getty Center Drive
    March 12–June 9, 2019

    Curated by Arpad Kovacs

    In postmodernist critical writings of the 1980s, the catchphrase staged photography was sometimes used to describe the works of artists such as Cindy Sherman and Jeff Wall, who deployed photography to record invented portraits or fictional scenarios, as opposed to depicting “real life.” This exhibition juxtaposes more than forty works created between 1985 and 2008 by seven practitioners in the genre of photographic simulation: Eileen Cowin, Christina Fernandez, Samuel Fosso, Yasumasa Morimura, Yinka Shonibare MBE, Gillian Wearing, and Qiu Zhijie. From widely different cultures and out of various motivations, these photographers all restaged events derived from personal images, photojournalism, or art history, presumably to investigate the social constructions of identity or to probe the nature of photographic representation itself. Whether this provocative grouping constitutes a serious investigation of such imagined photographic sequences or is merely the occasion for another thematic group show remains to be seen.

     

  • “MARYAM JAFRI: I DRANK THE KOOL-AID BUT I DIDN’T INHALE”

    The Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA)
    1717 E. 7th Street
    February 10–June 30, 2019

    Organized by Jamillah James

    Maryam Jafri’s first solo institutional exhibition in the United States revolves around the vexed and varied histories of discontinued food products from the past century. Geared toward lower-income consumers, these motley, American-made products—Diet Pepsi baby bottles; Jell-O flavors for salads; frozen, ready-made PB&J sandwiches, and the like—offer up a fascinating window onto the commodification of desire. In a selection of work made between 2014 and 2015, the artist presents photographs and multimedia displays featuring reappropriated packaging from thirteen such products—the fruits of Jafri’s time spent rummaging through obscure specialist archives—along with texts that animate the socioeconomic milieus in which they came into being. Jafri, whose earlier projects have explored the antinomies of the wellness industry, the politics of images, and the invention of tradition, casts a wry look at how these consumer goods—stark, typographically interesting, even chic—uncannily evoke high design, fashion, and Conceptual art as they circulate anew, untethered to their origins.