reviews

  • Samson Young, the highway is like a lion’s mouth, 2018, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 53 seconds.

    Samson Young, the highway is like a lion’s mouth, 2018, video, color, sound, 10 minutes 53 seconds.

    Samson Young

    Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago

    The history of dreams of modernization might be conceived, in sonic terms, as a series of catchy refrains. With each turn of the media cycle, a new crop of saccharine propagandistic jingles and overly sincere advertising slogans harbors visions of a better world to come. Specific messages and imaginations may be updated for the times, but, as Samson Young suggests in his “Utopia Trilogy,” 2018–19, we remember them through a haze.

    “Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me?” at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art marked Young’s notable departure from the sonic performances

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  • View of “Rotimi Fani-Kayode,” 2019. Top: Maternal Milk, ca. 1986. Bottom, from left: Nothing to Lose XII (Bodies of Experience), 1989; The Golden Phallus, 1989.

    View of “Rotimi Fani-Kayode,” 2019. Top: Maternal Milk, ca. 1986. Bottom, from left: Nothing to Lose XII (Bodies of Experience), 1989; The Golden Phallus, 1989.

    Rotimi Fani-Kayode

    Iceberg Projects

    In Rotimi Fani-Kayode’s Every Moment Counts (Ecstatic Antibodies), 1989, two black men stand in a half embrace. The shorter of the two gazes downward, his head resting on the other’s shoulder; they are draped in a lush burgundy fabric that traces a diagonal across the image. On the left, the taller man looks up and out, toward his edge of the frame, in the direction of the light source. Hovering behind his head is a halo of pearls attached to a red cross, a prop that sets the picture in the tradition of Christian iconography. (The figures’ illumination against a completely dark background

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