reviews

  • Feliciano Centurión, Tigres (Tigers), 1993, acrylic on blanket, 70 7/8 × 72 3/4".

    Feliciano Centurión, Tigres (Tigers), 1993, acrylic on blanket, 70 7/8 × 72 3/4".

    Feliciano Centurión

    Americas Society

    Que en nuestras almas no entre el terror (May Fear Not Enter Our Souls). This plea—the title of a piece by Feliciano Centurión—is as urgent today as it was in 1992 when the Paraguayan artist, diagnosed that year with HIV, delicately stitched the words in red cursive letters onto a scrap of fabric. “Abrigo” (Covering) is an exhibition at the Americas Society devoted to the extraordinary and intense textile-based works Centurión made in the last six years of his life. Curated by Gabriel Pérez-Barreiro, this show marks the debut of Centurión’s work in the United States. Its appearance here, nearly

    Read more
  • Screenshot of American Artist’s Looted, 2020–. Online project.

    Screenshot of American Artist’s Looted, 2020–. Online project.

    American Artist

    Whitney Museum of American Art

    “Should the theft of sneakers and computers, or shattered windows, graffiti, or broken locks become our obsession when black people are being killed before our eyes, when the police are bashing the heads of protesters and tear-gassing people during a viral pandemic that can cause respiratory illness?” This question, posed by historian Robin D. G. Kelley in a June 2020 op-ed for the New York Times, cut straight to the meaning of the word loot. The title of the essay was written as a question: “What Kind of Society Values Property over Black Lives?” The answer: American. Yet we might have (finally)

    Read more
  • Jane and Louise Wilson, Untitled #1 ‘I’d Walk with You but Not with Her’, 2020, ink-jet print, 60 × 43".

    Jane and Louise Wilson, Untitled #1 ‘I’d Walk with You but Not with Her’, 2020, ink-jet print, 60 × 43".

    Jane and Louise Wilson

    303 Gallery

    Artists and identical twin sisters Jane and Louise Wilson, whose collaborative career spans more than thirty years, possess a seemingly insatiable appetite for all manner of psychic, social, and environmental catastrophes. Their remarkable Stasi City, 1997, a four-channel installation filmed inside the abandoned former headquarters of the East German secret police in Berlin, is a powerful evocation of the lingering toxicity associated with state-sponsored terror. In Face Scripting: What Did the Building See?, 2011, a collaborative effort between the sisters, the research group Forensic Architecture,

    Read more
  • Lisa Alvarado, Thalweg (Traditional Object), 2020, acrylic, fabric, wood, 76 × 82". From the series “Traditional Object,” 2010–.

    Lisa Alvarado, Thalweg (Traditional Object), 2020, acrylic, fabric, wood, 76 × 82". From the series “Traditional Object,” 2010–.

    Lisa Alvarado

    Bridget Donahue

    Lisa Alvarado’s series titled “Thalweg (Traditional Object)” features brightly inscrutable two-sided paintings on fabric or canvas, edged with metallic passementerie or floral embroidered trim—delicate finishing touches for bold abstractions. There were nine such exacting works (all 2020) suspended from the ceiling at various angles in “Thalweg,” her airy solo exhibition this past summer at Bridget Donahue. Some, bearing graphic stepped shapes, prismatic compositions, snaking or zigzagging patterns, and glyph-like forms in electric palettes, seemed informed by Mayan textiles; others, built from

    Read more
  • Giorgio Griffa, Finale rosa (Final Pink), 1996, acrylic on canvas, 70 7/8 × 86 5/8".

    Giorgio Griffa, Finale rosa (Final Pink), 1996, acrylic on canvas, 70 7/8 × 86 5/8".

    Giorgio Griffa

    Casey Kaplan

    Giorgio Griffa is known for leaving his paintings in states of perpetual incompletion, as though the sheer act of creating something had inspired him to immediately stop and make something else. When “finished,” these works—rapturously hued orchestrations on unstretched swaths of jute, hemp, and linen—are folded up and stacked away in the artist’s Turin atelier, which he has occupied for decades. The weight of so many canvases on top of each other causes them to be permanently creased. When a painting is unfolded, evidence of time’s passage is literally embossed into its surface. Each one is a

    Read more
  • Congo, 22nd Painting Session, 1957, oil and pastel on paper, 10 1/2 × 15 1/2".

    Congo, 22nd Painting Session, 1957, oil and pastel on paper, 10 1/2 × 15 1/2".

    Congo and Jackson Pollock

    SHIN GALLERY

    In 1975, Joseph Beuys declared that “every person is an artist.” If the paintings created by Congo—a male chimpanzee who began his career in 1956, the year Jackson Pollock died—are works of art, then it seems that every living creature can be an artist . . . or at the very least a painter.

    English zoologist (and Surrealist painter) Desmond Morris wrote that he used Congo as a tool for research into “the origins of aesthetics,” which proved that “the chimpanzee brain is capable of creating abstract patterns that are under visual control.” A fanlike arrangement of strokes and/or lines was Congo’s

    Read more
  • Gene Beery, What Is the Formula?, ca. 2000s, acrylic on canvas, 20 × 16".

    Gene Beery, What Is the Formula?, ca. 2000s, acrylic on canvas, 20 × 16".

    Gene Beery

    Bodega

    Gene Beery’s life is thoroughly imbricated with his art, so to fully understand this mini-survey, a little background is in order. In the early 1960s, Beery did the New York art thing: He worked at the Museum of Modern Art, became friends with Sol LeWitt and James Rosenquist, and with his text-centric neo-Dadaist paintings landed a 1963 debut at Alexander Iolas’s renowned gallery. Then, abruptly, he bolted to California, where he ended up settling in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas on a remote plot that he dubbed the Logoscape Ranch. He’s lived there with his family ever since, peppering

    Read more
  • Serena Stevens, Kylie, 2019, oil on canvas, 72 × 90".

    Serena Stevens, Kylie, 2019, oil on canvas, 72 × 90".

    Serena Stevens

    Postmasters

    If the various isolative protocols necessitated by the recent lockdown have changed our relationship with the wider world, they have just as surely reshaped the ways we perceive and inhabit our own personal spaces. The altered rhythms of these pandemic days have made us suddenly aware of the heretofore unfamiliar: a pet’s midday routines, for instance, or a graceful slant of afternoon light that has always been present in our absence. These attentional shifts can have the effect of making captivating, and even profound, what had previously seemed like inconsequential minutiae. In the work of

    Read more
  • Karine Laval, Quarantine #24, 2020, C-print, 30 × 40".

    Karine Laval, Quarantine #24, 2020, C-print, 30 × 40".

    Karine Laval

    Laval Studio/SOCO Gallery

    This was, you might say, an entirely homegrown exhibition. It obeyed Voltaire’s great admonition “Il faut cultiver notre jardin” (Let us cultivate our garden); for an artist, following the adjuration might mean shouldering the responsibility not only for making the work but for presenting it to the public with little endorsement and intermediation of dealers, curators, or other gatekeepers. For several years, Karine Laval has been making photographs in public and private gardens throughout Europe and North America for her ongoing series “Heterotopia,” 2014–. When the coronavirus pandemic confined

    Read more
  • Michelangelo Lovelace, Residents in the Day Room on the Fifth Floor, 1993, marker on paper, 18 × 23 3/4".

    Michelangelo Lovelace, Residents in the Day Room on the Fifth Floor, 1993, marker on paper, 18 × 23 3/4".

    Michelangelo Lovelace

    Fort Gansevoort

    The vulnerable are vital across twenty-two drawings by Cleveland-based artist Michelangelo Lovelace, who has worked as a nursing-home aide for more than three decades while maintaining a dedicated studio practice. The works in this online presentation for Fort Gansevoort, made between 1993 and 2008, felt especially resonant when viewed during the pandemic, which has disproportionately affected people of color and the elderly. The artist reminds us that our responsibility to one another has never been more urgent.

    Lovelace’s portraits, mostly done in either ink or marker on paper, bring warmth

    Read more
  • Jessica Wilson, Not Normally at Rest (Part 3, the Musical), 2020, video, color, sound, 3 minutes 48 seconds. From the four-part suite Not Normally at Rest.

    Jessica Wilson, Not Normally at Rest (Part 3, the Musical), 2020, video, color, sound, 3 minutes 48 seconds. From the four-part suite Not Normally at Rest.

    Jessica Wilson

    PAGE (NYC)

    An entire genre of quarantine art reflecting on the experience of isolation emerged this past summer. Jessica Wilson’s Not Normally at Rest, 2020—a suite of animated videos starring an anthropomorphized duplex wall outlet in a nondescript apartment—tapped into a shared sense of anxiety among those of us still trapped at home. The title alone could be imagined as a defensive response to the question How are you?—a charged greeting we’ve heard over and over again in the last several months via text messages and Zoom calls, mandatory check-ins, online classes, work meetings, pessimistic political

    Read more