reviews

  • View of “Kathryn Andrews,” 2016. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

    Kathryn Andrews

    David Kordansky Gallery

    Kathryn Andrews’s “Black Bars” opened at David Kordansky Gallery mere days before the US presidential election. It followed by almost exactly a year the artist’s solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, titled “Run for President,” in which she questioned fame parlayed in the service of politics through pieces featuring such public figures as Ronald Reagan and Bozo the Clown (aka Larry Harmon, whose rubber-nosed, yak-haired alter ego ran against Reagan in 1984). Cassandra-like, the Chicago show presaged a climate in which the aforementioned historical cases are less exceptional

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  • Kandis Williams, Esophagus Pin Up (detail), 2016, vinyl adhesive on mirrored Plexiglas, 48 × 86 1/2".

    Kandis Williams

    Night Gallery

    In his signal 1982 study of the Parisian asylum Salpêtrière, where in the late nineteenth century a women’s clinic headed by neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot treated female patients thought to be suffering from hysteria, philosopher Georges Didi-Huberman argues that the photographic tableaux authorized by Charcot, in which hysterics enacted their particular ailments, were not just of interest as disturbing curios but in fact helped lay the groundwork for the then nascent field of psychoanalysis.

    For her recent solo exhibition “Soft Colony” (its title a reference to a conversation between the artist

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  • View of “Michael Decker,” 2016. Photo: Lisa Anne Auerbach.

    Michael Decker

    THE MEOW

    In 1968, brothers Wallace and Russ Berrie manufactured and sold a line of kitsch plastic objects known as Sillisculpts. The Sillisculpt served as a kind of 3-D greeting card that reflected the popular sentiments of Vietnam-era America; each featured a small, trophy-like figure, typically cast in off-white resin and fixed to a base stamped with a saccharine or humorously lewd phrase: I LOVE YOU THIS MUCH; WORLD’S BEST MOTHER; UP YOURS!; THERE’S NO PLACE FOR SEX IN THE OFFICE . . . SO LET’S MAKE ONE. As subtitles for the upward gazing dopey, doe-eyed figures, the phrases spoke alternately to

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