new-york

Julia Philips, Extruder (#1), 2017, partially glazed ceramics, nylon screws, metal struts, metal pipes, concrete tiles, lacquer, 33 7⁄8 × 51 1⁄4 × 68 1⁄8".

Julia Phillips

MoMA PS1

Blinder, Intruder, Distancer, Muter, Aborter: Julia Phillips titles each of her sculptures after its purpose. Who carries out these functions? Ambiguity menaces the German-born, New York-based artist’s work, in which intimacy, race, and power are interrogated—to use one of art criticism’s most trite verbs, but one that aptly captures the spirit of Phillips’s first museum solo exhibition, “Failure Detection,” whose austere rooms conjure both torture chambers and medical facilities.

Ceramic utensils meant to sunder and separate flesh lie grimly on a hospital trolley with white handle grips in Operator II (with Opener, Destabilizer, Distancer, [R]Ejecter), Partially Dismantled, 2018. Distancer, two black facial casts linked by a thin metal pole, sits beside Opener, a fanged shearing device (made the same year). In the nearby Drainer, 2018, a black female pelvis, its interior glazed with weals

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