reviews

  • View of “Theaster Gates,” 2017. Photo: Brian Forrest.

    Theaster Gates

    Regen Projects

    For his first show at Regen Projects, “But to Be a Poor Race,” Theaster Gates installed within the gallery’s many rooms a sampling of clay vessels, paintings bandaged with hoses from decommissioned firehouses, wall panels studded with narrow floorboards sourced from a nearby Chicago public school gym assemblages of pelts, appropriations of African reliquary objects, found objects, and the single-channel video My country tis of thee, 2016. The video featured documentation of Gates and members of experimental music ensemble the Black Monks of Mississippi riffing on the US national anthem, the

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  • Allan Sekula, Performance Under Working Conditions, 1973, video, black-and-white, sound, 22 minutes. © The Estate of Allan Sekula.

    Allan Sekula

    Christopher Grimes Gallery

    For more than forty years, Allan Sekula worked intently to uncover the ways in which forces of production shape social relations—to reveal what Marx called “the contradictions of material life”—in a world structured by the increasingly globalized markets of advanced capitalism. Photography held a particular attraction for Sekula, whose eloquent writings on the medium’s history are as notable as his photo-based works. With characteristic clarity, Sekula outlined some of the appealing yet problematic features intrinsic to photography, including “its unavoidable social referentiality,

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  • Belkis Ayón, La cena (The Supper), 1991, collagraph, 54 3/8 × 118 1/8". © Collection of the Belkis Ayón Estate.

    Belkis Ayón

    Fowler Museum at UCLA

    The Cuban printmaker Belkis Ayón spent the majority of her career producing print-based works that engage the mythology of La Sociedad Secreta Abakuá (the Abakuá Secret Society), an all-male religious group of African origin that exists only in Cuba. Although Ayón likely never participated in any of the ceremonies, she studied the society at length and featured its figures—particularly the central female protagonist, Sikán—prominently in her celebrated collagraph-based practice. Sikán, whose sacrifice is at the heart of the religion’s origin story, is often seen as a foil for the

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