Doreen Garner (2017)

Editor: Benjamin Sutton

Visitors entering Outpost Artists Resources in Ridgewood will first come across a ceramic bathtub placed atop a wooden dolly. Inside, a tangle of ribbed, flesh-toned silicone tubes steeps in a bath of clear liquid. The work “(discarded objects) for Disposed to Add” (2017)—by turns evocative of umbilical cords, industrial hoses, intestinal canals, and a den of snakes—is by Jes Fan, one of eight artists featured in a group exhibition curated by artist Doreen Garner. Titled Stranger Things, the show is loosely predicated on notions of the uncanny, asserting that the pieces on view (like Fan’s synthetic coils) ground familiar references to the body in foreign and unsettling contexts. The 19 works included—which range from sculpture and painting to video and photography—harmonize in this register, but isolated readings reveal distinct anxieties that also operate independently of the overarching theme.

The de facto centerpiece of the exhibition is Erik Ferguson’s video piece, “Untitled Video Compilation” (2017), which stars an animated cast of fleshy orifices expelling lumps of delicate tissue, skinned phalluses dangling aloft, and unidentifiable creatures swelling and squirming. Stripped of their integumentary systems (skin, hair, and various other external organs), these amorphous subjects indiscriminately repel, endear, or both, depending on the viewer’s disposition. Connecting with these characters becomes a matter of looking past the surface to see interior markers of subjectivity—a prompt that carries over to the surrounding works. Tamara Santibañez’s grisaille landscapes, two of which flank Ferguson’s video piece, support this reading. Both paintings depict the artist’s leather jacket in sensuous detail, and belong to a series that Santibañez describes in her artist statement as “a form of self-portraiture.” Here, the artist considers the object, and her intimate relationship with it, as a viable surrogate for representing herself.

Read the full review on Hyperallergic.

 

Juliana Huxtable (2017)

Editor: Terence Trouillot

For the record, Juliana Huxtable takes care of her people. This much was clear during her poetry reading at McNally Jackson Books on Sunday night, which summoned an audience of the poet’s friends and denizens to the store’s makeshift theater.

The gathering celebrated the publication of Huxtable’s first self-selected anthology of literature, Mucus In My Pineal Gland (2017), which she entrusted poet and co-publisher of WONDER Andrew Durbin to edit. Her old collaborator even recited a text of his own at the launch, after artist Diamond Stingily christened the night with a series of readings. Notably, Riley Hooker, the graphic artist responsible for designing the book (also known as “General Rage” from the art collective The House of Ladosha) was spotted in the crowd.

Huxtable comes to us as a graduate of Bard College by way of the Bible Belt town Bryan-College Station, Texas. Upon moving to New York in 2010, she took a position at the ACLU and supported herself doing odd jobs. Huxtable worked on the catering staff for the New Museum’s 2011 gala, only to present her own works for the Museum’s triennial four years later. Since then Huxtable has become a darling of the contemporary art world.

The poet’s 184-page achievement crystallizes a number of familiar texts, including “UNTITLED (FOR STEWART),” and “THERE ARE CERTAIN FACTS THAT CANNOT BE DISPUTED,” which premiered as an eponymous performance she presented for Performa at the Museum of Modern Art in 2015. Other entries, like “HOOD BY AIR,” contain passages that some might recall as prints at the 2015 New Museum Triennial, “Surround Audience.” In its entirety, the collection is a remarkable literary expansion of what Huxtable identifies as her process of “conditioning.”

Read the full review on artnet News.

 

Gay Gotham (2016)

Editor: Jonathon Sturgeon

Gay Gotham,” the Museum of the City of New York‘s new show opening Friday, October 7, surveys the “queer networks” that thrived throughout the 20th century by tracking the lives of ten artists. Backed by its occasional history lessons, the exhibition delivers on its promise; yet a closer reading reveals a fiercely splintered history marked by individual commitments and glaring reminders that even the queer community isn’t exempt from issues of race, class, and gender.

The show opens with the first half of the century in the second floor gallery, featuring works and personal documents by Harlem Renaissance artist Richard Bruce Nugent; Hollywood-entrenched playwright Mercedes de Acosta; modernist impresario Lincoln Kirstein; New York intelligentsia photographer George Platt Lynes, and the beleaguered composer Leonard Bernstein. Though informative, it’s hard not to read this selection of artists as arbitrary representatives of their moments.

Under the Visible Subcultures sub-section, for instance, a text highlights Mabel Dodge and her come-one-come-all home salon of “bohemianism, radicalism, and sexual freedom.” Nearby, another text on the Harlem Renaissance describes Carl Van Vechten as a “publicity ambassador” for inviting fellow white New Yorkers to participate in the uptown community. Regrettably, both sections read as footnotes to the exhibition.

Read the full review on artnet News.

 

OSGEMEOS (2016)

Editor: Kathleen Massara

Brazilian brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, better known as OSGEMEOS, were given a little under a month to execute their takeover of Lehmann Maupin‘s space in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. In that time, the duo transformed the spaces into a pastel-hued wonderland, covering virtually every inch with radiant illustrations, vivid multimedia sculptures, and fully-functioning boomboxes. “Silence of the Music,” which runs through October 22, marks their debut show with the gallery—and they went big.

The gallery’s liaison, Jennifer Mora, told artnet News during a walk-through this past Sunday that the show attracted over a thousand guests during opening weekend, adding that the number was unprecedented. Mora attributes this to the artists’ curatorial approach. “It’s important to them that people who don’t come to Chelsea can come in and really connect,” Mora said. “There’s something here for everyone: children and adults.”

With OSGEMEOS, it’s a family affair. Over in their “Boombox Room,” the art duo’s younger sister sketched doodles on their paintings. And the brothers also incorporated their mother’s hand-woven portraits into the show. Adjacent to the “Moon Room,” another brother engineered a mechanical contraption that, once turned on, plays a violin and drums among other instruments.

Read the full review on artnet News.

 

Taryn Simon (2016)

Editor: Rozalia Jovanovic

“An Occupation of Loss,” Taryn Simon’s world premiere performance at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, is billed as a thoroughly-researched survey on how the world grieves. For the project, which runs from September 13–25, the artist invited 30 professional mourners from Armenia, Cambodia, Ecuador, and 16 other countries, to the 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall.

Prior to Tuesday night’s 8 p.m. viewing, I took a seat, along with some 40 odd guests, in a quartered-off area of the Park Avenue Armory’s East 67th Street entrance. A staffer reminded the group that photography was prohibited “out of respect for the artists,” before shepherding us up two flights of stairs bolted against the building’s façade.

An indoor balcony overlooks 11 colossal spires, designed by Simon in collaboration with Rem Koolhaas’s OMA, standing in communion at the center of the formidable hall. Two vertical strips of LED lights facing the 45-foot-tall installation, as well as a horizontal strip behind the monuments, cast a soft, theatrical halo in the vast darkness. As we approached the balcony’s edge, a slow-moving procession of performers emerged from private doors, either alone or in groups of two or three, and filed into their respective towers. There, sitting on ledges in their separate nodes, the professional mourners waited for us to descend the staircase and peer into their echo chambers of song, silence, and wails.

Read the full review on artnet News.

 

Meleko Mokgosi (2016)

Editor: Kathleen Massara

Meleko Mokgosi’s enigmatic history paintings are hardly new to the international circuit. Within the last five years, the artist has shown at the Hammer in Los Angeles, Art Basel in Miami Beach, and the Lyon Biennale in France. Tonight at Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea, Mokgosi marks his New York debut with two hotly-anticipated shows: “Democratic Intuition: Lerato” and “Democratic Intuition: Comrades II.”

A week before the opening, I ventured over to Shainman’s 20th Street location, with recorder and notebook in hand. Mokgosi was in the middle of install, and within a minute of arriving on scene, he gave me a gentle push away from the ground-floor exhibition space and we walked down the stairs to the basement, where prints by Richard Mosse hang (another artist in Shainman’s stable). Curious gallery assistants and art handlers shuffled to and from the back offices, stealing glances from time to time.

When I told him I’d be recording the conversation, Mokgosi swiftly, albeit politely, insisted against it. “Sometimes,” he said, “my words are taken out of context.” (The admission was fair, but it left me wondering how Interview Magazine‘s Matt Mullen was able to capture his studio visit).

Broadly speaking, Mokgosi’s precaution with misinformation mimics a central problem his projects grapple with: “the difficulty of cultural translation,” as artist Malik Gaines once put it. But with little more than past works, previous interviews, and what I could glean from an obtuse exhibition statement, the nature of my questions had few other places to turn beyond, well, him.

Read the full review on artnet News.

 

Lena Dunham (2016)

Editor: Ben Davis

In recent years, Kanye West’s attempts at breaking out of music into fashion and art have been received with casual (if not outright dismissive) interest from art commentators. But the release of his contentious video for “Famous” over the weekend—wherein West plus a cast of twelve celebrity silicon models cavort in a riff on painter Vincent Desiderio‘s Sleep—has predictably swept the cultural sphere into a conversation about artfame, and the art world narcissism that artnet News’s own Christian Viveros-Faune has diagnosed.

Given the video’s polarizing effect, it’s hard not to give some serious consideration to West’s latest project. Desiderio himself rose to West’s defense in a recent interview with the New York Times.

It does seem, however, that an element of exploitation is at work in the new provocation. Skeptics have brought these concerns to the fore, the sharpest of whom is Lena Dunham. In a Facebook post, the writer/director framed her reaction to the piece in relationship to her own artsy background, describing memories of being raised by artistic parents who primed her to appreciate the “rabble-rousing” of Carolee Scheemann and the heartbreaking clarity of Carrie Mae Weems‘s photography, among other difficult-to-digest work.

Despite an appreciation for such provocations, the millennial generation’s premier public intellectual takes issue with the video’s attitude towards women:

Read the full article on artnet News.

 

Robert Mapplethorpe (2016)

Editor: Kathleen Massara

In the polished (if not predictable) fashion that we’ve come to expect of HBO documentaries like “Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present,” which provide an uncomplicated form of subject worship, “Mapplethorpe: Look at the Pictures” offers up a clean and heavily corroborated historical presentation of the artist’s life and work.

On a recent Tuesday evening at the Time Warner Center in New York, producer-directors Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey revealed at an advanced screening that over fifty interviews with friends, family, and collaborators were conducted for the film. 

It’s hard not to read this number as an almost defensive posture, however. Was it a precursory apology to fans? After all, the artist’s legacy is as tenacious as it is due in no small part to its ties with a painful, albeit not-so-distant event in American history: the AIDS crisis.

The documentary positions Mapplethorpe as a gay icon with an opening clip of Jesse Helms, then-Republican senator of North Carolina. Months after Mapplethorpe’s death in 1989, a full-scale show of his works scheduled to hit DC’s Corcoran gallery sparked a national conversation about the government’s financial involvement in the arts.

Read the full review on artnet News.