Martine Syms has lectured in venues as varied as the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, and, this past September, in a field on the outskirts of Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York. There, seated at a table with a makeshift AV setup, she played a recording of James Taylor’s 1968 ballad “Something in the Way She Moves.” The wistful vocals momentarily heightened the easy romance of a countryside evening, but then Syms began speaking of how she grew up studying her auntin effect transposing Taylor’s admiration of a nameless lover onto a black teenager’s observation of a role model. The song became a meditation on gesture, on the ineffable “something” that invests a body in motion with allure, authority, or authenticity. A little over a week later, Syms opened her solo exhibition “Vertical Elevated Oblique.” The title pilfers
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