previews

  • Tschabalala Self, Racer, 2018, acrylic, watercolor, Flashe paint, crayon, colored pencil, fabric, and painted canvas on canvas, 96 × 84".

    Tschabalala Self, Racer, 2018, acrylic, watercolor, Flashe paint, crayon, colored pencil, fabric, and painted canvas on canvas, 96 × 84".

    “Tschabalala Self: Out of Body”

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
    25 Harbor Shore Drive
    January 20–July 5, 2020

    Curated by Ellen Tani

    Born and raised in Harlem, Tschabalala Self grew up with maternal figures who sewed curtains, transformed old pants into skirts, and knit oversize blankets. Thus, textile rematerialization has become Self’s signature; her appliqué technique appears frequently among the eighteen works in this exhibition, her first in Boston and largest to date. In Sapphire, 2015, a canvas painted baby blue underpins a kaleidoscopic portrait assembled from fabric, oil, and pigment of a bodacious woman in profile. In Ol’Bay, 2019, fabric, hand-colored photocopies, and acrylic coalesce to construct a nude figure perusing bodega staples. Though her titles might seem to evoke flattened representations of black people, Self uses iterative pastiche to build “avatars” that she has described as “vehicles for self-realization and my escape.” Also on view will be Self’s newest works, in which she uses milk crates and fabric to sculpturally extend possibilities for black representation, subjectivity, and imagination.

  • Christine Sun Kim, One Week of Lullabies for Roux, 2018, seven-channel audio, headphones. Installation view, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, 2019. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography.

    Christine Sun Kim, One Week of Lullabies for Roux, 2018, seven-channel audio, headphones. Installation view, Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver, 2019. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography.

    “Christine Sun Kim: Off The Charts”

    MIT List Visual Arts Center
    20 Ames Street E15
    February 7–April 12, 2020

    Curated by Henriette Huldisch

    Shit Hearing People Say to Me, 2019, a drawing by Christine Sun Kim, displays a pie chart with one segment labeled “My neighbor’s dog is deaf. You two should meet!” In another, Why My Hearing Parents Sign, 2019, a segment reads, “To make sure I feel loved.” Inspired by W. E. B. Du Bois’s “data portraits”—the strikingly modern infographics he created in 1900 to communicate the effects of racism on contemporary African American life—Kim’s pie charts, eleven of which will be on view at MIT, diagram the “Deaf rage” brought about by her interactions with hearing people. A seven-channel sound piece devoted to her daughter, One Week of Lullabies for Roux, 2018, will also feature in the exhibition. Kim’s works depicting family life signal a new confessional development in her oeuvre, adding affective and biographical complexity to her ongoing experiments in linguistic notation.

  • “WHEN HOME WON’T LET YOU STAY: MIGRATION THROUGH CONTEMPORARY ART”

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
    25 Harbor Shore Drive
    October 23, 2019–January 26, 2020

    Curated by Ruth Erickson and Eva Respini with Ellen Tani

    The twenty artists in “When Home Won’t Let You Stay” were selected as speakers for the dead and downtrodden. Americans make for notoriously poor observers of global suffering; this show serves as a corrective. Not all self-consciously didactic exhibitions mounted for their topical value are bad. I favor the oblique work that makes documentary practice look conceptual: Beruit-born Palestinian Mona Hatoum’s suitcases connected with strands of hair (less achingly affecting, perhaps, than the pillow she once stitched with a map of Palestine using hair as thread); Yto Barrada’s elegant photos of people in transit in Tangier; Isaac Julien’s lilting shots of Mediterranean passage. There are more literal takes on the immigration crisis and related atrocities, too, like the sculptures Guillermo Galindo hewed out of border wall, and Irishman Richard Mosse’s sterile videos of frontiers, shot using the military surveillance technology of the enemy. Something for everyone.