New York

Nayland Blake

Location One

The OED tells us that the word behave derives from the Middle English “be + haven”—“to have” or, slightly differently, “to hold”—and that behavior, then, designates the manner in which one holds oneself. But though the dictionary doesn’t ascribe any inherent judgment to the term (one could behave very badly or with utter propriety or in any manner in between) there is built into its everyday use an assumption of the worst. One rarely brings up behavior if it’s good (unless as a way to reduce jail time!); and though ostensibly describing an individual’s actions, the word always serves to point out the proximity or distance of those actions to normalcy.

Marking the gap between the normative and his own comportment, Nayland Blake’s show at Location One—his first survey, curated by Maura Reilly—was titled “Behavior,” and offered a no-holds-barred look at the artist’s last three decades of work

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