reviews

  • Tara Donovan

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston

    “IN THE MID-1990S, Tara Donovan was experimenting in her studio when serendipity struck. She knocked over a big box of toothpicks, picked it up, and then noticed that the spilled contents had latticed into a shape that echoed the perfect corner of their container.” Jen Mergel and Nicholas Baume, the curators of Donovan’s ICA exhibition, begin their catalogue essay with this time-honored trope: the studio anecdote as out-and-out epiphany. As the story goes, after this minor mishap the artist sourced some five hundred thousand toothpicks, which she succeeded in assembling into a large, freestanding

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  • Lalla Essaydi

    Miller Yezerski Gallery

    Moroccan-born, New York–based photographer Lalla Essaydi lures the viewer into her third solo show at Howard Yezerski Gallery (the inaugural exhibition in its new space) with a pair of stunning large-scale pictures hung in the front window. Each depicts an Arab woman covered in calligraphy and posed to imitate a famous nineteenth-century Orientalist painting. Fumée d’Ambre Gris (The Smoke of Amber-gris), 2008, which features a young woman lifting her white veil to draw in the titular aphrodisiac, is based on Sargent’s 1880 painting of the same name. The Grande Odalisque, 2008, in parodying

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