reviews

  • View of “Shezad Dawood,” 2016. Wallpaper: Tantric Wallpaper, 2016. From left: Cave Variation 1, 2016; Cave Interior, 2016.

    Shezad Dawood

    Timothy Taylor Gallery

    In October I went to Kalimpong, a small town in West Bengal, India. I traversed the snowy peaks of the Himalayas, where I followed the hulking form of an abominable snowman until he dissolved into iridescent mist. I visited the venerable Himalayan Hotel, once owned by the British trade agent David Macdonald, with its multicultural decor, potted plants, and Tibetan scrolls. Here, I picked up an ancient manuscript and, with trepidation, approached a giant bony finger enclosed in a glass cabinet—the relic of a yeti? As I left the warm, protective atmosphere of the hotel, I entered a dark cave.

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  • James Richards, Radio at Night, 2015, digital video, color, sound, 8 minutes. Installation view. Photo: Mark Blower.

    James Richards

    ICA - Institute of Contemporary Arts, London

    James Richards’s wall-size film-and-audio work Radio at Night, 2015, shows faces and figures whose identities remain unknown: a pair of staring eyes in a close-up clip from a vintage science film about a nervous condition that makes the eyes rapidly twitch; a trio of surgically masked doctors beneath the glare of operating-room lamps; a group of happy revelers emerging from a masked ball. The many animals we see are similarly anonymous—never beloved, named pets, but rather a flock of birds flying in random formation over a rippling sea, a row of freshly slaughtered pigs hanging bloodlessly

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  • View of “Amalia Ulman,” 2016. Photo: Tim Bowditch.

    Amalia Ulman

    Arcadia Missa

    “On the Internet, no one knows you’re an artist.” These words, written in 2010 by critic Ed Halter, expressed the identity crisis suffered by early online artists, swamped by legions of teenage internet virtuosos whose proficiency with cut-and-paste culture often exceeded that of most MFA grads. Argentinean-born, Spanish-raised, UK-educated, Los Angeles–based Amalia Ulman is among those who in subsequent years carved a role for artists operating in the digital youniverse. In her online performance Excellences & Perfections, 2014, Ulman fabricated an idealized social-media avatar by feeding her

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  • Edward Thomasson, Other People, 2016, watercolor on paper, 33 × 45 1/2".

    Edward Thomasson

    Southard Reid

    Unwittingly enacting something central to Edward Thomasson’s exhibition “Other People,” I reflexively supplemented its title to constitute Jean-Paul Sartre’s familiar aphorism “Hell is . . .” Abstracted from its context, the line has become the meme-like slogan of misanthropes. Its separatist ideal, latently theological, envisions withdrawal into the self, the logical consequence of which is loss of intimacy or empathy.

    This is inimical to Sartre’s philosophy of le regard: that we are dependent on and qualified by the Other. To be seen, Sartre writes, is to be “the instrument of possibilities

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