reviews

  • Betye Saar, The Destiny of Latitude & Longitude, 2010, mixed media, 54 × 43 × 20 1/2".

    Betye Saar

    Roberts Projects

    Institutional interest in Betye Saar’s work, particularly her groundbreaking assemblages from the late 1960s and ’70s, has never been greater: Within the past year and a half, the Black Arts Movement veteran has had retrospectives at the De Domijnen in the Netherlands and the Fondazione Prada in Milan, and has participated in group exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Museum of Modern Art, all in New York, as well as at the newly inaugurated Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Saar has noted

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  • View of “Barbara T. Smith,” 2016. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

    Barbara T. Smith

    The Box

    Expanding on her previous three shows at the Box, each of which offered a tight grouping of related work (early paintings, performance documentation, and experiments with incipient Xerox technology, respectively), Barbara T. Smith sought in her most recent exhibition to expose underlying connections between disparate projects. This broad and generous installation made clear the extent to which the exhibition’s titular “Words, Sentences & Signs” provide not only a through line between discrete series spanning from the 1960s to the present, but also a metering of communicative acts relative to

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  • View of “Lisa Williamson,” 2016. Photo: Steven Rimlinger.

    Lisa Williamson

    TIF SIGFRIDS

    “There is something uneasy in the Los Angeles air this afternoon, some unnatural stillness, some tension,” wrote Joan Didion in “Los Angeles Notebook,” her now-iconic mechanistic meditation on the city’s environmental precariousness. “What it means is that tonight a Santa Ana will begin to blow, a hot wind from the northeast whining down through the Cajon and San Gorgonio Passes, blowing up sandstorms out along Route 66, drying the hills and the nerves to the flash point.” “Body Boards,” Lisa Williamson’s quiescent exhibition, distilled this psychic and electrical charge in five terse, vertically

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  • View of “Karon Davis,” 2016. From left: Morphine, 2016; Nicotine, 2016.

    Karon Davis

    Wilding Cran Gallery

    Catharsis, according to the American Psychological Association, is “the discharge of previously repressed affects connected to traumatic events that occurs when these events are brought back into consciousness and reexperienced.” Karon Davis’s solo exhibition “Pain Management”could easily be described as cathartic, availing itself of the transformative powers of painful memories recalled. Davis’s two large-scale installations revealed the emotional depths of their maker. As the exhibition’s press release explained, they were based on a “hospital-bound” reality of illness, which Davis and her

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