Pope.L’s I-Machine (2014–20) has a handmade, provisional appearance that conveys a sense of a thing in a state of ongoing and perhaps hopeless becoming. The artist describes the work as a “self-blinding contraption… self-blinding because its function is to encourage unknowledge or ignorance or, at best, reflection on ignorance and doubt. by encourage, i mean, when one is in the presence of this assembly, one should feel prodded toward opacity, uselessness, dumbness and incompleteness rather than transparency, smarty-pantsness and wholeness.”
In this new series, The Artists, an installment of which will publish every day this week and regularly thereafter, T will highlight a recent or little-shown work by a Black artist, along with a few words from that artist, putting the work into context. Today, we’re looking at a piece by Pope.L, who’s known for his paintings, performances and installations that often explore themes of endurance alongside the history of race in America.
To accompany the release of their latest album, ”Notes on a Conditional Form,” The 1975 and director Ben Ditto commissioned 15 artists to respond to 15 tracks. The animator Jacolby Satterwhite was one of those artists, tapped to create a video for the song “Having No Head.”
Welcome to Ways of Seeing, where two artists sit down to discuss the nuances of their work, trade industry secrets, and fill each other in on their latest projects. The only catch? One of them is on staff at W magazine. In this week’s edition, visuals editor Michael Beckert chats with Justine Kurland. Originally from Warsaw, Poland, the photographer now resides in New York City. Her book Girl Pictures, which hit shelves in May, depicts young women she shot while road tripping across the North American wilderness in the Nineties and early Aughts.
Just before New York issued its shelter-in-place order in March, I attended the closing of Pope.L’s exhibition “Choir” at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Entertainment justice adopts a rhetoric of Black empowerment similar to that of the Black Arts Movement in the ’70s. But, as critic Aria Dean writes, Pope.L has reacted to that position over the course of his life as an artist, developing a “hole theory” that posits Blackness’s relationship to trauma as a powerful creative force.
Between 1997 and 2002, Justine Kurland travelled across the North American wilderness, capturing teenage girls in a series of staged images that express freedom and a new kind of utopia. She looks back on the project’s significance here
Much of our current global situation feels unprecedented. However, COVID-19 is not the first disease to send shockwaves through our communities. The AIDS epidemic of the ‘80s and ‘90s, like COVID-19, hit indiscriminately but affected vulnerable members of society the hardest. At the time, amidst an inadequate public response largely rooted in homophobia, many artists felt compelled to create work aimed at raising critical awareness about the crisis. With AIDS (Installation), General Idea did this with a resounding impact, which continues to echo today.
As part of a three-venue tribute to Pope.L, the Public Art Fund produced Conquest, the latest installment of the artist’s long-running “Crawls” series, in which he dragged himself facedown through urban environments in a potent metaphor for struggle against a backdrop of homelessness. Pope.L made his first “Crawl” in 1978 and over the years did versions carrying a small potted flower or wearing a Superman costume.
Girl Pictures (1997-2002) -- in which young women confidently occupy the forests, open highways and roadsides of America that belong, by default, to men -- recently became a book, inviting fresh appreciation for the relevance of its themes 20 years after being made. The images published in this article, much like those in Girl Pictures, and ones that can be found in the public collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, Guggenheim Museum, and International Center of Photography, New York, revel in “the double-edged nature of the American dream”, an intoxicating mix of freedom and darkness. Here, Justine talks us through a few of the pictures.
Locking eyes with a cowboy through the cinema screen is perhaps our most familiar insight into the North American frontier. Gunshots, gloomy saloons and stony-faced outlaws form the bedrock of the ‘wild west’ in our imagination, thanks to its feature as a recurring backdrop to some of Hollywood’s classics. While the cowboy quest might continue to thrive on the cinema screen, photographer Justine Kurland turns her lens to this dramatic landscape for a wholly different purpose. There are no cowboys in her work. Instead, the South Western plains become the realm of another kind of adventurer – the runaway teenage girl.
I will likely have to teach online in the fall, so I have a keen interest in how they're doing. It's been interesting… I think that there [have been] some good things about it… One of my colleagues expressed yesterday that the students are able to make themselves more emotionally available online than they tend to in the classroom… I've been doing online studio visits with some of the MFA students; some of those conversations are really great. And I think that there's something about people being sort of slowed down and having to take stock and develop a new relationship to what they're doing that is productive.
What would a photographed utopia look like? While the origins of photography coincided with the birth of various nineteenth-century utopian schemes, human society has never seemed further from realizing them, in part due to developments in technology—including the production and distribution of images—that seek to solidify social surveillance and control.
Graduating college students at The New School's Parsons School of Design in New York are getting a matriculation gift from Solange Knowles. Through her creative agency, Saint Heron, the award-winning musician and performance artist has partnered with the school to launch Here and Now, a digital festival that will act as a virtual celebration of the Class of 2020, who have been placed in “an unique and unexpected position” due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, says Jason Kass, the school's interim dean of fashion.
In addition to showcasing the students’ end-of-the-year projects, Here and Now will also feature Metonymy, a 3D installation created in collaboration with Saint Heron’s creative team, artist Jacolby Satterwhite, and over 300 graduating students from the School of Fashion at Parsons.
In the late 1990s, photographer Justine Kurland imagined runaway girls roaming the American landscape -- gathering in the woods, along highways and in open fields. Instead of encountering danger, these wayward spirits would form a sylvan utopia where girls could make their own rules.
American painter Eddie Martinez has been busy in his Brooklyn studio working with both traditional and unconventional materials. “I have been working like a maniac, in fact, in my home studio, which I’m lucky enough to be able to do,” he says. Martinez has exhibited works from a series called White Outs over the past few years; in lockdown, he has continued to make drawings and paintings, fueled by emotion and anger.
"I've always believed that people become artists because of a compulsion to endure like a stone castle or temple," he explains. "There's this desire to tie down certain moments in history and make them last. That certitude is written on their faces."
When we think of wild America, it’s likely it conjures masculine, rather than feminine, visions – from John Wayne cowboy tropes roaming the desert to truckers pulling into dinners nestled on a long-stretch of road. It’s a cliche that photographer Justine Kurland was all too aware of when she began shooting her series Girl Pictures in 1997. For five years, until 2002, Kurland travelled the North American landscape, staging images of girls as “fearless and free, tender and fierce”.
What kind of work have you been making?
I’ve been making paintings on recycled canvas with as little paint as possible, focusing on calmness while I slowly paint. I try to gently let my life be what it is. Make room while I paint to process uncomfortable thoughts like dying or whatever heavy thought I might need to be with.
Kurland’s series of images of teenage American girls, taken between 1997 and 2002 are now featured in a 20th-anniversary book by published by Aperture. Justine Kurland: Girl Pictures – includes newly discovered and previously unpublished images. All photographs by Justine Kurland; story by Rebecca Bengal
Kurland started out on her quest in New Haven’s semi-industrial hinterland before travelling further afield over the next five years on a mazy road trip; if the girls were on the margins, then she would be too. She loosely choreographed the groups of teenagers that she found, but mostly invited the girls into a promising setting and let them do their thing. She took this photograph of four girls in an abandoned car in the millennium year, and called it Shipwrecked. The girls she chose invariably understood the idea of the pictures. “I can always spot people,” she has said. “It’s, like, really one of my superpowers. I can always tell which teenage girls would love living in the woods with their friends.”
Around the time she started working on a 2018 gallery show for Girl Pictures, a set of gorgeous portraits of teenage girls at play, shot between 1997 and 2002, the photographer Justine Kurland did something that proved just how much she had changed in the past 20 years. Long associated with road trips and an Edenic view of the American West, Kurland sold her van and called it quits on the quasi-nomadic life that had fueled her art for years.
“The mothers in my photographs live in a world without men, in maternal bliss, embracing the pleasures of an animal existence. But when I look at Oneonta Gorge, Log Jammed Crevice, I see Casper instead, balanced on my hip as I manoeuvre my camera on its tripod. He had made up a little chant, something like, ‘We photograph mama babies, we photograph mama babies, we photograph… .’ and sang to me as I made pictures. The original utopian impulse of the work now bends toward the memory of that sound.”
Justine Kurland admits to having “terrible timing” when it comes to publishing photography books. “The first book I made with Aperture, Highway Kind, was released the day Trump was elected, and now Girl Pictures comes out in the middle of Covid-19,” she writes to AnOther over email as her latest book is published. The photographs in Girl Pictures were taken 20 years ago, and depict unruly teenagers in the equally wild landscapes of America. Kurland staged her “standing army” of teenage runaways as independent, unapologetic and fearless. “My runaways built forts in idyllic forests and lived communally in a perpetual state of youthful bliss,” the New York-based photographer writes in Girl Pictures, this new Aperture edition of which includes previously unpublished images from the series. “I wanted to make the communion between girls visible, foregrounding their experiences as primary and irrefutable.” A short story by Rebecca Bengal entitled The Jeremys is published in Girl Pictures, and encapsulates this longing for rebellion.
The multidisciplinary artist’s practice has long been informed by his most personal experiences, including confronting his own mortality. In an exclusive interview with Art21 filmed in February, ahead of his solo show at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, Satterwhite explained that video games like Final Fantasy were escapes for him while he underwent cancer treatments as a child.
I am self-sequestered at home, as ordered by the people with a clue. That’s a rowhouse in Greenpoint. My studio is most of the house, so I don’t have to leave to go to work. I try to maintain a fairly healthy diet, mindful of the fact that I am getting far less exercise. I also want to support one or two of my local restaurants, so I occasionally get take-out.
Soup, soup, and more soup. I find this to be the most comforting kind of food in any crisis. I make generic French vegetable soup often, just puréed mirepoix and good stock, or Italian spinach and Arborio rice with broth and sautéed onions.
This is good news for an artist like Jacolby Satterwhite—whose work is being shown through the gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash at Art Basel Hong Kong. “I wish I would have known about it earlier,” he laughed, speaking over the phone on a recent afternoon. “I mean, that’s a really weird thing to say, but if I’d known about it, I would have prepared all of my augmented-reality works.” The artist’s medium is almost exclusively digital, and at the moment, he’s focusing on virtual reality, render farms, and the use of a super computer for his new projects.
The day after his thirty-fourth birthday, I called up performer and artist Jacolby Satterwhite. He had just wrapped up a fantastic year of work and collaboration—co-directing with Solange, where he contributed a video for her visual album When I Get Home, and partnering with Nick Weiss of Teengirl Fantasy to produce an LP entitled Love Will Find A Way Home. The album release coincided with the opening of Satterwhite’s multifarious solo exhibition at Pioneer Works, entitled “You’re at Home.”
Jacolby Satterwhite uses digital sculpting and world-building techniques to create computer-animated characters and immersive environments. Across these virtual landscapes, Jacolby copy/pastes live-action footage of himself, creating an intimate visual universe that brings together art history, “expanded cinema,” and the pop-cultural worlds of music videos, social media, and video games.
The freedom she feels is palpable as you wander through “Digital Thoughts,” Jessica Stockholder’s laser-sharp exhibition at 1301PE gallery in L.A. Each of Stockholder’s 11 inventive assemblages is out of this world — if not from another planet then at least from far out in space. Some of Stockholder’s constellations of unrelated objects and materials are no bigger than notepads. Some are large, about the size of tents or picnic tables.
When Yugoslavia broke with the Soviet Union in 1948, it jettisoned Socialist Realism in favor of its ostensible antithesis, modernist abstraction. The de facto state style of the 1950s and ’60s was what the literary critic Sveta Lukić called “socialist aestheticism”: an art-for-art’s-sake modernism that stressed formal experimentation above all else, projecting an image of enlightened liberalism as a counterpoint to Soviet dogmatism. Croatian artist Julije Knifer (1924–2004) responded to this affirmative milieu with black irony, riffing on geometric abstraction in “anti-paintings” characterized by a deliberately meaningless monotony. Knifer spent virtually his entire career painting a single motif: a meander pattern formed from interlocking right angles.
Twenty-four monumental drawings of exquisite detail will be divided into two exhibitions at Vielmetter Los Angeles, with the second chapter of Karl Haendel's presentation opening on 15 February 2020. Each drawing captures the intimate interlocking of hands, between Haendel and his ex-wife—an alternative to portraiture that he expresses as having a powerful, 'embodied sculptural presence', which he eventually expanded to include the hands of his friends.
The very ethics of entering a dynamic work come into question with Jacolby Satterwhite’s Vintage Paradise, a 360-degree video in which viewers are treated to a repository of the artist’s personal images and objects, decorated with numerous sketches of proposed inventions by the artist’s late mother that have been extruded into 3-D.
POPE.L WALKS INTO A ROOM. Hair looks good. Everybody knows Pope.L’s hair be looking dry and wild but maybe Pope.L’s supposed to be unkempt. Pope.L walks right up to me, has something to say important, not conversational, not in a conversational tone he starts talking in an urgent manner. I do take note of people’s appearances, most everybody’s in the way when they come up to me to say something, I don’t pretend not to look. Pope.L starts talking to me like we’re familiar so I figured I forgot and knew Pope.L from before but I never forget a face even though since I gave birth I can’t remember shit I can’t recall words like I used to.
AMONG THE VIDEOS ON DISPLAY in “member: Pope.L, 1978–2001,” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, many of which are grainy documents of Pope.L’s experimental theater works, is Egg Eating Contest (Basement version), 1990, a piece first performed in East Orange, New Jersey, in which the artist appears as a sort of emasculated black nationalist strutting around a cellar in a tattered black tunic.
Artists often adopt personas in their work — master painter, trickster, savant — and you can see this in the 13 performances of the maverick artist William Pope.L at the Museum of Modern Art. And he uses the characters in his show, “member: Pope.L, 1978-2001,” to critique race and class in the United States.
800 gallons of water is an abstract concept, until you see its volume cascade before your eyes into a cavernous holding tank. Then, that amount of water becomes visceral. It’s mesmerizing to sit before a specific amount of water, and contemplate the ways we use, exploit, and waste this most important of resources on a regular basis. This is the experience of witnessing Choir (2019), artist Pope.L’s gallery-filling installation currently on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Wadden trained as a painter, but he has been working exclusively as a weaver for almost a decade now, producing textiles by hand. Ten new examples were on view in his recent exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, “Second Life.” All but one were variations on a single theme, consisting of vertical compositions bisected by diagonals formed by transitions between different colors of yarn.
Rosler’s unmatched ability to wield consumer culture’s opulence against itself made for a visually festive retrospective. But sober critique unites the Semiotics of the Kitchen star’s half century of uninhibited Conceptualism; her early photomontage series “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home,” ca. 1967–72, with its plush interiors and window views of carnage, still stuns.
Lefcourt’s apparently ice-cold, algorithmically rendered paintings paradoxically unearth vital questions about formlessness and uncertainty. A plotter-guided line, dragged by machine across the surface of the canvas, extracted and extruded delicate tonal information about embedded mineral deposits—that is, paint stains. Like the vast landscapes of the Hudson River School, but with the human–God axis replaced by a material–digital one, these works probe the limit of any attempt to appropriate nature’s generative and entropic behavior.
A pirate wench with the head of Martin Luther King Jr hangs upside-down from the ceiling, her bosom partially exposed, on the stand of Mitchell-Innes & Nash at Art Basel in Miami Beach. The ghostly figure also leaks a chocolate substance mixed with the paint thinner Floetrol. Altogether, the statue A Vessel in a Vessel in a Vessel and So On (2007), by the artist Pope.L, is a comment on the toxicity of black stereotypes. The technician who installed the eye-popping creation says that the dangerous-if-consumed liquid seeps out for three seconds at a time. Best to seek refreshments elsewhere.
“I got my own cultural anorexia,” the performance and visual artist Pope.L (formerly known as William Pope.L) wrote in his 1997 manifesto, “Notes on Crawling Piece,” declaring what he deemed a binge-and-purge relationship to modern art (despite the clinically inaccurate metaphor). “It’s kinda racy, / I get down on my belly and crawl till I’m reality.”
This 1988 installation by the artist collective General Idea, founded in 1969 by A.A. Bronson (pictured), Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, serves up a critique of the rising influence of mass media on culture on a set of 144 porcelain sushi plates. The colour bars printed on the plates are based on the trademarked test pattern found on television screens.
I’m dramatic,” artist Jacolby Satterwhite tells me, tearing up, one Monday afternoon in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. Two weeks before the opening of his solo show, You’re at home, at Pioneer Works, we’re sitting behind a desktop computer in his temporary studio, a floor above where his digital performances and 3D-printed sculptures will be exhibited.
Pope.L has perfected crawling as his particular kind of disruption. He has traversed a substantial portion of New York City (and parts of Europe) on his hands, knees, stomach, and elbows, wearing everything from a Superman costume to a sports jersey and Nike sneakers. For his inaugural crawl, in 1978, the artist slowly made his way down Forty-second Street, passing Times Square, wearing a pin-striped suit with a yellow square stitched onto its back.
Imagine that all the works of Jacolby Satterwhite are the suspirations of a single, continuous world. A world in which everything flows and reality has assimilated the smooth transitions, bends, and breaks of dance music. A world where all things touch ends if you change their tempos enough and there are no hierarchies of scale or value.
In 1978, Pope.L got on his hands and knees in a suit and safety vest, and made his way through the bustling crowds of Midtown Manhattan. Titled Times Square Crawl a.k.a. Meditation Square Piece, his performance combined a disturbance in public space with abjection and perverse humor, setting the tone for his subsequent experiments with what it means to make art and move through the world as a black man.
Patricia Satterwhite, too, was an artist without a public, without a means of access to the infrastructure and institutions that would have made her the star Jacolby says she dreamed of becoming. Before she died in 2016, she had lived with schizophrenia. Throughout her life she incessantly wrote pop lyrics in big letters on unlined white pages and sang them into a cassette recorder; she drew pages and pages and pages worth of inventions that she wanted to fabricate and sell on a home-shopping TV network.
Pope.L deals in place, space, and traces. Since the 1970s, the artist has created provocative interventions in public spaces and work that experiments with language and material. With an affinity for the trope of the “trickster,” his work often provokes reconsiderations of societal conventions through an adjacency with the absurd.
Born in Columbia, South Carolina, artist Jacolby Satterwhite spent his formative years traversing the virtual reality of 90s pop culture. He owned numerous games consoles, among them a Game Gear, Sega Genesis, SNES, 32X, Nintendo 64, Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, and was obsessed with the music videos of Janet Jackson. At 11, he got his first computer, and by 13, Satterwhite was building websites.
Pope.L's absurdist exploits are the focus of an important new retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue are worthy testaments to the artist's unique talent, while also inspiring the viewer to consider how Pope.L's provocative interrogations of economic inequality and racial prejudice can be models for political engagement more broadly.
Monica Bonvicini: I was a student at the Berlin University of the Arts in the West when the Berlin Wall fell. That night, I went with some fellow students to Brandenburger Tor, where I stayed all night long. At some point I went home but I could not sleep so I went back out on my bike. From the western districts of Wilmersdorf through Tiergarten, everything was crowded with people—it was maybe Berlin’s first Love Parade.
Before turning to weaving 15 years ago in Berlin, the Vancouver-based artist Brent Wadden trained as a painter at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Now his large-scale woven panels are the subject of his third exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. The works exude a painterly air, showcasing dimension and movement with linear lines and subtle variations in thread colors that imbue precision with personality.
‘I feel crazy,’ joked artist Jacolby Satterwhite after opening his first and second solo museum exhibitions, in two different cities, just two weeks apart. To realize his labour-intensive, hyper-baroque vision in ‘Room for Living’, at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, and ‘You’re at Home’ at Pioneer Works in New York, Satterwhite had disappeared for several months from the New York queer scene in which he is a prominent fixture.
The relationship between architecture and patriarchal systems, and how the shaping of public space has been impacted as a consequence, has long been at the core of Monica Bonvicini’s work. Curated by Nicola Ricciardi and Samuele Piazza, ‘As Walls Keep Shifting’ comprises a plain wooden prefab structure simulating a typical Italian villetta (semi-detached house) furnished with works by the artist.
At the end of August, Gerasimos Floratos came out to stay with me on Fire Island, where I’d been spending the summer. We’d had similar vacation encounters before – at my home in the California redwoods, and on the Greek island of Kefalonia, where Floratos occasionally lives and works.
‘Black people are the window and the breaking of the window,’ reads Pope.L’s 2004 text drawing of the same title. ‘Purple people’, according to another work in his ‘Skin Set’ series (1997–2011), ‘are the end of orange people’, who elsewhere are defined as ‘god when She is shitting’. At Documenta 14 in Kassel, a selection of these works raised the dilemma (acute for the exhibition’s predominantly white European audience) of how to respond to the patent absurdity of such statements as White People Are the Cliffand What Comes After or Black People Are the Wet Grass at Morning (both 2001–02). The irresistible impulse to laugh is quickly overtaken by a commingled shame and anxiety. Isn’t it true, after a moment’s reflection, that historic injustices have been perpetrated in the name of racial definitions no less preposterous for having been supported by pseudosciences like phrenology or, let’s not forget, racist histories of art? And that equally imbecilic statements underpin the strain of identitarian politics that seems not only to persist in Europe and the United States but to be in the ascendant? And that people are dying as a consequence? So why was I laughing?
Since the late 1970s, Pope.L has worked in performance, video, drawing, installation, sculpture and teaching, troubling facile readings of the machinations that govern the relationships between race, labour, capitalism and materiality. His practice traverses genres in an attempt to reckon with everything from the tenuousness of Black masculinity in public space to the lingering economic effects of post-industrial America.
On Love Will Find a Way Home Jacolby Satterwhite spotlights his very first collaborator: his late mother Patricia. A former party girl and Mary Kay salesgirl, she became a shut-in as her schizophrenia developed, resulting in extended periods of creation. Jacolby remembers growing up in rural South Carolina as a three-year-old, assisting her in diagramming couture gowns and tampons embedded with artificial intelligence, which she drew while binge watching the Home Shopping Network.
Chicago-based Pope.L participated in the 2017 Whitney Biennial and won that year’s Bucksbaum Award. Following his project focused on the water crisis in Flint, Mich., he has created a new installation that further explores the use of water. “Choir” is “inspired by the fountain, the public arena, and John Cage’s conception of music and sound.”
Last Thursday, art enthusiasts gathered at The Metropolitan Museum of Art for “An Evening with Great Women Artists,” a panel discussion moderated by Iria Candela, curator of Latin American Art, between Ghada Amer, Sharon Hayes, Deana Lawson, and Martha Rosler.
At first glance, the placid seascape might blend in with the paintings around it, were it not for the tarlike substance clinging to the panel. The neon sculpture could be mistaken for a similar piece just down the road at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
And it’s hard to look at General Idea’s “Great AIDS (Ultramarine Blue)” stretching 10 feet across a gallery wall without seeing the resemblance to Robert Indiana’s “Love” a block away (sans photo-snapping tourists).
The Chicago-based adept Pope.L is a triple threat in New York this fall, with concurrent shows at the Whitney and moma and a recent Public Art Fund performance for which some hundred and fifty participants put their bodies through punishing paces, re-creating one of his legendary mile-long crawls. Pope.L’s Manhattan gallery pays homage to his body-centric concerns in this dynamic exhibition, which combines text works from his series “Skin Sets” with paintings by a trio of young rising stars: Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Cheyenne Julien, and Tschabalala Self.
You may know Jacolby Satterwhite through his video animations that create immersive, queer, afro-furturistic worlds, or even from his collaboration with Solange earlier this year. However, his most recent exhibition “You’re at home,” a film installation revolving around the artist’s digitally animated series Birds in Paradise, gets more personal.
In the latest video opus of the artist Jacolby Satterwhite, titled Birds of Paradise, sequence after animated sequence delivers a tapestry of fantastical images that, like puzzle pieces, coalesce into a hypnotically intricate yet fully harmonious whole.
Be prepared for sensory overload when you step inside Jacolby Satterwhite’s new show at Brooklyn's Pioneer Works. Centering around his multi-part, digitally animated series Birds in Paradise, You’re at home is an immersive experience that includes video projections, virtual reality and sculpture. It even includes a retail store that sells records by PAT, his collaborative music project with Nick Weiss (of Teengirl Fantasy) which utilizes recordings by Satterwhite’s mother Patricia.
Jacolby Satterwhite has spent the past decade making highly wrought digitally animated science-fiction worlds and irreverent modern dance pieces that draw on vogueing and martial arts. But he considers his two current shows, in New York and Philadelphia, to be “the final draft, conceptually, of what I was trying to say for years.” While Satterwhite has long been known as an art-world generalist, his fall exhibitions show him at his most direct
33-year-old Jacolby Satterwhite, known for channeling biography, eroticism and queer-disco-party energy in his work, is fairly entrenched in New York’s art scene; his late-aughts arrival paralleled those of other DIY, digital-forward entities like early Tumblr, Fitch-Trecartin or DIS mag. But in light of an outpouring of new material, in which Satterwhite revisits and up-scales long-percolating themes, his years of creation seem to have been in service of a larger, now-unfolding artistic crescendo.
The sci-fi fantasias of Japanese video games, the pulsing bodies of E.D.M. raves, the mystical spaces of Nigerian shrines, and the bygone music chain Tower Records all figure into the wildly ingenious new work of the young American artist Jacolby Satterwhite (pictured). On Oct. 4, Pioneer Works, in Brooklyn, opens “You’re at Home,” an exhibition of digital projections, performances, sculptures, and music by the artist, who recently directed an animated music video for the singer Solange.
In artist Jacolby Satterwhite’s digital universe, the possibilities are immense. His decade-long practice has paid tribute to subjects as diverse as the Harlem ball scene, European art history, daytime tele-shopping, queer sexuality and African rituals, merging them into phantasmagorical fuchsia-colored dreamscapes where heaven and hell coexist. The Brooklyn artist’s intricately-crafted universe in 3-D animation, multimedia installation and digital print mixes his deeply personal ties to his mother and circle of friends with a large pool of references that are fascinating, seducing and triggering all at once.
Jacolby Satterwhite, the multimedia artist who recently collaborated with Solange, has long created intricate virtual worlds that burst with a vibrant vision of queerness. For a new exhibition, titled “You’re at home,” at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood, on view until November 24, Satterwhite is debuting a new work, Birds in Paradise, that puts onlookers into a kind of uncanny valley between the recent past and near future, fabricating a music shop in the same vein as the now shuttered Tower Records but that pulsates with larger-than-life dancing Afro-futuristic figures.
Jacolby Satterwhite doesn’t abide by contemporary rules of space and time. In “Blessed Avenue” (all works 2019), he leaps from Philly to Louisiana, from live action to animation, from sex party to Shanghai noodle bar in a single jump cut. Since almost a decade ago Satterwhite taught himself Maya — a 3D animation program that allows him to import video of himself and others into any landscape, any room — he hasn’t stopped moving. Or maybe his pace began before that.
In New York, verticality is the definitive modus operandi. Both buildings and people perpetually strive skyward, driven by tenuous dreams of upward mobility. “But, let us imagine,” the American artist Pope.L proposed to fellow artist Martha Wilson in 1996, “a person who has a job, possesses the means to remain vertical, but chooses momentarily to give up that verticality?”
I lowered my blindfold and got on my hands and knees. Walkie talkies beeped and clipboards clacked. “We’ll be right here if you need anything,” a staffer assured me, stowing my belongings in a rolling cart. “We want to make sure you are safe and comfortable.” I did feel relatively comfortable, considering I was about to crawl along a New York City sidewalk—blindfolded, holding a flashlight, and wearing only one shoe.
Five men and women, each missing a shoe and encumbered with a flashlight in one hand, came belly down to the ground. They began to crawl along the gritty, unsavory New York City sidewalk, led by a marshal perfuming the air and sweeping the ground before them — and serenaded by a trumpeter playing melancholic riffs. The procession stopped traffic and drew people out of shops and restaurants, wondering what was going on.
The crawlers knew where to go by following the sound of a trumpet.
It was bright and early in New York at Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground when a group was congregating to kick off Conquest, artist Pope.L’s performance in which participants would drag themselves across a predetermined path. Organized by the Public Art Fund, this was a new work in a lineage of past “crawl” pieces by Pope.L, who was on hand on Saturday to tell the crowd that he hoped to cause a stir.
Conquest, Pope.L’s most recent performance project, engages his largest and most public cast to date. Commissioned by the Public Art Fund (PAF), the September 21st “crawl” is also more procedurally detailed, and more apparently and explicitly mocking, than previous crawls. When I spoke with Pope.L in late summer, he insisted he was not participating in the crawl, but just as soon acknowledged that he has never been able to keep himself from crawling, at least a little bit, alongside the participants.
Starting at 9:45am on Saturday, winding up in the gutter will take on literal meaning as 140 complete strangers get on their bellies to crawl in the street while fellow New Yorkers cheer them on. No, this isn’t some mas[s]ochistic exercise: It’s a performance piece orchestrated by the multi-media artist known as Pope.L. Conquest, as it’s called, is part of a series of crawls that Pope.L has undertaken over his 40-year career, though it represents something of a departure, since he previously conducted them on his own.
Jacolby Satterwhite has described his current exhibition at Fabric Workshop and Museum as “a dream come true.” You should know that Satterwhite has very strange dreams.
For the last decade, he has been conjuring up complex digital visions that seem at first to be silly and ebullient, like big old-fashioned movie musicals, though with aggressively homoerotic imagery. Naked men fly through the sky on winged horses above realms that change in a flash from fairy-tale candylands to urban hellscapes.
“I don’t know if you’ve ever crawled in New York, but being that low to the ground, you experience all kinds of things,” says Pope.L. And he would know — the 64-year-old performance artist has decades of experience crawling at this point. For his latest piece, “Conquest,” the Newark native recruited some 140 strangers from various boroughs, walks of life, ages, and abilities to crawl, in a relay format, the 25 city blocks from the Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground in the West Village to Union Square.
This Saturday, 140 New Yorkers will get down and seriously dirty in the filthy streets of Manhattan as they crawl on all fours for the sake of a bizarre performance piece about “physical privilege” by veteran “crawl artist” Pope.L. Participants will provide onlookers with an unsettling scene as they slither along a winding, 1 1/2-mile route that starts at Cpl. John A. Seravalli Playground in the West Village and ends on the south steps of Union Square Park, according to a press release.
The interdisciplinary artist Pope.L is the creator of several now-legendary performance-art works that explore the conditions of abjection, black masculinity, and racism with bracing irony. On September 21, 2019, he will orchestrate his latest iteration of these pieces in Lower Manhattan: Entitled Conquest, this performance will involve 140 participants.
As New York’s museums and galleries gear up for their fall and winter rosters, there’s a seasonal sense of anticipation that accompanies all these interlocking proceedings. You never know who or what will emerge from the flurry of offerings to produce something truly essential, and it’s clear that the Whitney Museum of American art, MoMA and the Public Art Fund are confident that “Instigation, Aspiration and Perspiration,” their collective exhibition with the interventionist performance artist Pope.L, will prove to be a deeply thoughtful project. Born in Newark, NJ, Pope.L has spent decades making art that interrogates what cities can produce and who metropolitan areas can disempower.
A new show at the Neubauer Collegium asks viewers to consider the work that goes into flowers from industrial to domestic contexts through the work of Martha Rosler, a conceptual artist and avid gardener who rose to world renown for her feminist art in the 1970s.
Since the 1970s, the artist known as Pope.L has made works that explore racism, poverty, class inequality and consumerism in ways that are sometimes satirical, often biting, but always strangely moving. He is best identified by his “crawls,” in which he drags himself, positioned on his stomach — occasionally dressed in a business suit or as Superman, either alone or with a large group of participants — along the path of a city street. His most ambitious performance of this nature will be on Saturday in New York City: More than 100 people will crawl a one-and-a-half-mile-long route from the West Village to Union Square, passing through the arch of Washington Square Park.
A performance piece in which 140 people will crawl through Greenwich Village is set for Saturday — recreating the artist Pope.L's iconic crawling pieces in New York City.
The performance piece, called "Conquest," forces hand-selected volunteers from a variety of professional backgrounds to crawl through Manhattan's sidewalks, "abandoning their physical privilege, embracing their vulnerability, and expressing the power of collective expression."
Pope.L: Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration, an ambitious triumvirate of exhibitions by the Public Art Fund, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and The Museum of Modern Art, erupts Saturday with Conquest, his biggest group performance, involving some 140 to 160 people representing the city’s diversity in every manner from race and socioeconomics to range of mobility.
This sensuous group show brings together works by Pope.L, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Cheyenne Julien, and Tschabalala Self to explore the various ways the concept of “corporeality” can be captured in two-dimensional spaces. The options are plentiful: there are the highly personal physical experiences of the body (in play, at rest, at work) in the creations of Chase and Julien alongside Self’s powerful depictions of the black female form that challenge and engage society’s role in constructing identity with one’s own body, as well as those of others. This sense of physicality need not even be visually manifest—Pope.L’s absurdist text series “Skin Sets” employ nonsensical phrases to reference people of color (blue, green, brown, black, and gold), which play with mental associations regarding race and visibility.
Pope.L will give a Public Art Fund Talk on Fri., Sept. 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at The Cooper Union, Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Union Square, at E. Sixth St. Visual artist and educator Pope.L’s lecture coincides with a major moment for him, when three New York City arts organizations — Public Art Fund, Whitney Museum of American Art and The Museum of Modern Art — will co-present “Instigation, Aspiration, Perspiration,” the title of a singular concept linking a trio of complementary exhibitions: “Conquest,” “Choir” and “member,” which explore Pope.L’s boundary-pushing practice.
Strap on a headset and enter a VR realm of voguing ball dancers, figures in gimp masks, and leather daddies on spaceships. This is the world dreamt up by the artist Jacolby Satterwhite, who has been on a roll since emerging as one of the stars of the 2014 Whitney Biennial. In 2018, he brought an extension of Blessed Avenue (2018)—an installation with a VR component first shown at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in New York—to Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, for a booth with Morán Morán.
On September 12, Mitchell-Innes & Nash unveiled “Embodiment,” a new group exhibition of work by mixed media painter Tschabalala Self, intervention artist Pope.L, and painters Cheyenne Julien and Jonathan Lyndon Chase. An investigation into the unbounded potential of corporeal representation, “Embodiment” explores these four talents’ approaches to portraying the human form.
“’Embodiment’ came together about a year ago, when I started thinking about the exaggerated body [in relation to] architecture and familiar public spaces in urban neighborhoods, like the bodega, for example, or the stoop,” Blair explains. “I’ve always been really interested in the expression of figuration, and I love language, having worked with it [as a writer].”
Jacolby Satterwhite: “You’re at Home” (Pioneer Works; 10/4–11/24) Promises a millennial-nostalgia house of horrors, or at least submerged longings. He’s building an immersive installation of video projections, virtual reality, and “a retail store styled to resemble a defunct Tower Records” to lose yourself in once you’ve made it all the way to Red Hook.
After winning the Whitney’s $100,000 Bucksbaum Award in 2017, Pope.L hits the New York institutional trifecta with an extravaganza of three upcoming shows. The Museum of Modern Art will mount a retrospective of the activist-sculptor-painter-provocateur’s work from 1978 to 2001 — including videos of the epic crawls he did on his belly through the streets of New York City dressed as an African-American superhero. Also stay tuned for a mass performance of over 100 volunteers of all races crawling together through the Washington Square arch to Union Square.
We’ve already put together guides to knockout institutional shows to see across the US this fall and what you need to check out in Europe, so now it’s time to take a look at what’s going on this season in museums in New York, where you’re never far from a great exhibition.
This September, as galleries and museums hope to kick off the fall art season with a bang, African-American artists are leading the most highly anticipated openings. Betye Saar has a show at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, followed by one next month at the Museum of Modern Art. Pope.L will be triply honored in New York, with exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art and, in October, MoMA; he’ll also present one of his grueling performances, organized by the Public Art Fund.
Following a two-year artist residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Jacolby Satterwhite will present new digital animation works, a virtual reality experience, and multi-media installations that give physical form to objects that featured in his six-video piece Reifying Desire. Made using 3-D printers and CNC routers, Satterwhite’s sculptures will include larger-than-life figures inspired by The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio (1601–02) and Pablo Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907). The artist also has an upcoming show at New York’s Pioneer Works, “You’re at Home” (October 4–November 24, 2019).
ART IN THE 2010S… IS IT EVEN ART? WHAT WILL BE REMEMBERED? WHAT’S BEING REAPPRAISED? WHAT’S COMING NEXT? WHAT MUST WE SAY GOODBYE TO? FOR THE LAST TIME THIS DECADE, LET’S WELCOME A NEW SEASON OF SHOWS IN NEW YORK.
This group show of all-stars from the gallery roster explores the concept of the body, how it is envisioned, lived, and depicted through two-dimensional art. Each of these artists approach the body in a distinct way, underscoring the fundamental sameness of every body.
In 1991, the artist Pope.L dragged himself and a potted flower through Tompkins Square Park (Tompkins Square Crawl). The next year, while wearing a Santa hat, he spent three days trying to lift a bottle of laxatives with his mind (Levitating the Magnesia). In 2000, he gorged on copies of the Wall Street Journal and then puked them up (Eating the Wall Street Journal). In 2015, he raised a giant US flag in Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, where it flew until it began to fray (Trinket).
The album has been a long time coming. Satterwhite has been trying to make it since 2008, but it was only upon meeting his collaborator, Nick Weiss, that he was able to realize his vision. Two years in the studio followed, including cameos from musicians and friends. The record will be released on streaming services and “critical pipelines of that genre,” including a forthcoming Pitchfork review of one of its singles.
Multi-disciplinary talent Jacolby Satterwhite and the enchanting Teengirl Fantasy's Nick Weiss have been working together on a project that they're finally ready to share with the world.
The duo, coming together as PAT — a name taken from Satterwhite's mother, Patricia — created an album and book, entitled Love Will Find a Way Home, dropping October 25. It's shaping up to be an intensely interconnected web of visceral vignettes, drawings, audio clips, and abstractions dedicated to, made by, and inspired by Patricia Satterwhite, who suffered from schizophrenia throughout her life before passing away in 2016.
Jacolby Satterwhite announced his latest project today, hot off the heels of working as a contributing director on Solange’s video album When I Get Home. The New York-based artist bridges the full range of his practice—video, animation, performance—with “We Are in Hell When We Hurt Each Other (ft. Patrick Belaga)”, the first single off of his full length double LP, due to drop in October 25.
New York’s Public Art Fund will present Pope.L’s most ambitious participatory project yet. Pope.L: Conquest will involve over one hundred volunteers, who will relay-crawl 1.5 miles from Manhattan’s West Village to Union Square. According to the Public Art Fund, participants will “give up their physical privilege” and “satirize their own social and political advantage, creating a comic scene of struggle and vulnerability to share with the entire community.”
This fall, Manhattan’s most prestigious contemporary art spaces unite to celebrate the career-to-date of the renowned (and underappreciated) artist known as Pope.L.
There’s an artistic renaissance afoot at the Vans US Open of Surfing this year, and the ever-colorful Chris Johanson is building something awesomely weird right there on the sand. If you’ve paid any attention to the worlds of skateboarding or art over the past few decades, chances are Johanson’s work has struck you with its colorful and humorous tongue-in-cheek impressionism, which has graced the bottom of skateboards and the walls of prestigious galleries alike.
In a little less than two months, you may see a squadron of New Yorkers slithering through the triumphal arch of Washington Square Park on their hands and knees.
Prepare yourself, because William Pope.L is coming to town.
Pope.L Wants You to Crawl With Him – The storied performance artist Pope.L is looking for 100 volunteers to crawl a 1.5 mile course with him across New York, from the West Village through the triumphal arch in Washington Square Park to Union Square, on September 21. The artist says the performance, titled Conquest and organized with the Public Art Fund, is “an absurd journey to an uncertain goal.” Pope.L has been doing his physically demanding crawls since the 1970s as a way to evoke the extreme exposure that homeless people experience on the streets of the city.
Leon Kossoff, whose expressionistic portraits and images of urban life made him one of the most important painters of postwar Britain, died on July 4 in London. He was 92.
The artist Pope.L, who has a trio of shows opening this autumn at three major New York Museums, will put out an open call this month for 100 volunteers to take part in a 1.5-mile performative crawl across the city, presented by the Public Art Fund on 21 September.
On a recent afternoon in June, T Magazine assembled two curators and three artists — David Breslin, the director of the collection at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the American conceptual artist Martha Rosler; Kelly Taxter, a curator of contemporary art at the Jewish Museum; the Thai conceptual artist Rirkrit Tiravanija; and the American artist Torey Thornton — at the New York Times building to discuss what they considered to be the 25 works of art made after 1970 that define the contemporary age, by anyone, anywhere. The assignment was intentionally wide in its range: What qualifies as “contemporary”? Was this an artwork that had a personal significance, or was its meaning widely understood? Was its influence broadly recognized by critics? Or museums? Or other artists? Originally, each of the participants was asked to nominate 10 artworks — the idea being that everyone would then rank each list to generate a master list that would be debated upon meeting.
Born in Austria, Kiki Kogelnik (1935–1997) moved to NYC in 1961, just as Pop Art was starting to take off. While her oeuvre is generally associated with that genre, it wasn’t about the cartoons, product brands, celebrities, advertising and other subjects associated with Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, etc. Rather, her paintings and sculpture bounced off of couture design for sly observations on gender and the constraints imposed on women by culture and commerce. Bodily silhouettes in punchy colors were a frequent motif, whether they were painted into overlapping compositions that combined figures and geometric patterns, or cut out of vinyl sheets before being draped on hangers or pipe racks like so many pieces of shmatte or flayed skin to suggest the ways that culture uses up and disposes of women’s bodies. During her lifetime, Kogelnik struggled to be recognized, but as this show proves, her work has begun to earn posthumous acclaim for its piquant feminist commentary.
This first presentation by Mitchell-Innes & Nash of Kiki Kogelnik’s work at their Chelsea space includes several of the artist’s colourful, large-scale paintings of women from the early 1960s and ’70s – many of which also feature the circuit boards and wires of the new technology that she found so fascinating. A later sculpture, Divided Souls (c.1986), extends the paintings into real life: female silhouettes cut from vinyl dangle from clothes hangers on a metal garment rack. Evoking the flayed skins of martyred saints, like Michelangelo’s depiction of St. Bartholomew in The Last Judgement (1536–41), they’re a reminder that, despite its Pop sensibilities, the late Austrian painter’s work was always marked by ambivalence.
To marvel at a work by Jessica Stockholder is not only to examine her unorthodox assembly of the world’s kit, but to wonder where on earth she shops—where she gets such good deals? Her unconventional art supplies seem to either descend from outer space, or crawl up out of dumpsters. It’s as if junk—be it new or used—has no other purpose than to animate her dystopian sculptural choreography.
One imagines Stockholder stocking up, as it were. Like a chef instinctively sniffing out the freshest ingredients (the tackiest kitschiest artifacts), she’s confident that in time the right idea for their incorporation will come.
Don’t miss Mitchell-Innes and Nash’s first solo show for artist Kiki Kogelnik (1935–1997), whose feminist take on Pop art often reduces the human form into colorful silhouettes. Paintings and sculptures from the early 1960s to the late ’80s reflect the post-war era, with all its technological advancement and political instability, as experienced by an Austrian artist who spent most of her life in New York City.
This Austrian artist, who spent most of her life in New York—she died in 1997, at the age of sixty-two—brought the ebullience of Pop to her Cold War critique of advertising culture. The result is serrated gaiety. This delightful show gathers works from the early sixties to the late eighties, including a wealth of colorful canvases, a cartoony ceramic bust with enormous sunglasses, and a rolling clothes rack hung with silhouetted figures cut out of vinyl. The painting “City,” from 1979, retains the glamour of the fashion spreads from which it probably borrowed its chic women in green ensembles. Nothing seems amiss about the models, who are set against an expertly unfussy trompe-l’oeil marble backdrop—until, that is, you notice that they have glowing voids in lieu of eyes. The sculpture “Bombs in Love,” from 1962, is pointedly saccharine: two brightly painted missile casings adorned with plastic heart baubles snuggle up together, as if to say, Make love, not war.
Art Basel’s Unlimited section for large-scale works provides one such platform for major video installations, and several film works stand out this year. They include Birds in Paradise (2019), a new, two-channel animation and neon installation by breakout digital artist Jacolby Satterwhite, whose work is included in New York’s Museum of Modern Art exhibition New Order (until 15 June), presented by Mitchell-Innes & Nash.
On the mezzanine, Jessica Stockholder’s brilliant monumental sculpture “White Light Laid Frozen” is like a painting pushed into three dimensions. Acquired two years ago, it is having its MOCA debut.
A horizontal white pedestal 23 feet wide and topped with white carpet supports 40 portable heating units, lined up like white sentinels beneath the icy white of a double row of fluorescent lights. Hovering above all that hot-and-cold purity, two ordinary metal office shelving units are suspended in space, held within a taut network of deep green bungee cords. Painted screaming yellow, the workaday world is elevated.
For his two-channel video Birds in Paradise, Satterwhite imagines a future where BDSM soldiers and queer warriors are prepping to take over in a post-apocalyptic world.
The sound of Bonvicini’s Breathing is not the sound of breath, but it beckons viewers to the kinetic installation all the same. Above the din of Unlimited’s crowd, an overhead array of pistons whirr and snap like the jaws of some iron dragon. What they control is a hydra of black-leather, silver-buckled “men’s belts” (as they have been described in past installations) sent swinging, clinking, and slashing across the space in irregular patterns. Simultaneously playful and threatening, the work converts what could be read as a symbol of toxic masculinity—husbands and fathers have too often used belts as makeshift bullwhips for domestic abuse—into a tongue-in-cheek totem of feminist power: the witch’s broom.
What differentiates the work in “New Order: Art and Technology in the Twenty-First Century” from much of the art elsewhere at the Museum of Modern Art is that the objects here are made with technologies most of us already know and love (or hate). Flat screens, computer interfaces, video games, digital animation, 3D-printing and photography are transformed here into sprawling installations, canny video art or interactive sculptures.
Kiki Kogelnik, who was born in Austria and who, before her death in 1997, was active in New York, liked to put the human body in silhouette. In her painting “Friends,” a handful of bright figures, some missing a head or limb or with large circles cut right through their torsos, are thrown across a jazzy background. In “Hands,” she painted a group of dismembered arms and legs spread out like letters in a printer’s tray, and for “Divided Souls,” she cut figures out of black and white vinyl and hung them on a garment rack. The woman striking a pose in “Dynamite Darling,” the highlight of Kogelnik’s first show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, isn’t technically a silhouette because she isn’t a monochrome, but she’s definitely flat.
Chic, colorful, and undeniably contemporary, the paintings and sculpture of this Austrian artist could easily find a broad audience beyond the insular art world. Crackling with feminist wit and energy, the works are enigmatic yet accessible. Josephine Nash, of Mitchell-Innes & Nash, has been heartened by reactions to Kogelnik’s works at fairs like Frieze New York; she’s gearing up for the gallery’s first solo exhibition of the artist, opening May 23.
Teaming up with the gallery What Pipeline in Detroit, Chicago-based conceptual artist Pope.L created an installation, performance and artistic intervention that called attention to the Flint Water crisis using funds from his Kickstarter campaign. Water, contaminated with lead, E.coli and listeria, was purchased from the homes of Flint residents to be bottled and sold at the gallery as part of a performance installation educating audiences about the ongoing crisis.
This widely beloved L.A. sculptor and performance artist, who stands six and a half feet tall and weighs north of three hundred pounds, uses his body to bemuse and delight—one previous memorable piece tested how far he could throw people—and employs delicate craft to disarm. The intricate wall reliefs here, which incorporate jigsaw-cut record-album sleeves, traffic in nostalgia for musical tastes, both good and bad, of the past seventy years.
Martin Kersels characteristically splits the difference between performance and objects in his exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. Cut-up and collaged record album covers are hung as relief wall sculptures... Part comedy, part homage, Mr. Kersels’s work is a reminder that, despite the emphasis on art as business, there is still room in Chelsea for the absurd.
The Chicago-based artist Pope.L has been known to stage wild, eye-opening stunts in the streets. “By bringing his performances to the streets,” wrote Nick Stillman in the Brooklyn Rail, “minus the hanging-on and hullabaloo of the art world, Pope.L promises the potential to connect directly with pedestrians.” In 1991, he had a cameraman film him crawling through the gutters of Tompkins Square Park, and for his piece The Great White Way (2001–09), he crawled down all 22 miles of Broadway.
Hypnotically repellent, the picture prompts speculation as to the effect it might have had if enlarged to poster size and displayed at antiwar protests. Some of the show’s most memorable work was designed for exactly that purpose. Martha Rosler intended the color photomontages in her now-classic “House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home” series to be photocopied in black-and-white and passed out at demonstrations.
In New York, these bodies of work are now on view in “Nancy Graves: Mapping” at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, and “Shape Shifter,” a solo exhibition of work by Mary Beth Edelson at David Lewis Gallery. With Graves taking a scientific approach while Edelson a more spiritual path, the exhibitions show two women grappling with these ponderous questions at a critical historical moment.
In a new show titled Is This Tomorrow? the London institution has paired together 10 international artists and architects to explore some of the 21st century’s most urgent issues. Two of these collaborators are Andrés Jaque and Jacolby Satterwhite. Jaque is an architect. In 2003 he founded the Office for Political Innovation, a transdisciplinary agency focused on architectural projects which bring “inclusivity into daily life”. Satterwhite’s artistic practice combines video, performance, 3D animations, and archival material to create multi-layered afro-futuristic environments. Most recently, he was a contributing director for Solange’s When I Get Home.
It’s not often an artist sees the launch of three major exhibitions in the same city at the same time. This fall, though, Pope.L, a performance and installation artist known for his scathing and unsettling critiques of race and power, will see it happen.
His long-overdue major MoMA retrospective opens this October and will focus on 13 performance pieces made between 1978 and 2001. Pope.L will simultaneously present a newly-commissioned installation for the Whitney Museum of American Art this fall and execute his largest and most ambitious crawl performance yet for Public Art Fund. Pope.L says he also plans to produce a special version of the play Rachel by Angelina Weld Grimke.
stablished in 1999 by artists Sarah Braman, Suzanne Butler, Phil Grauer and Wallace Whitney, Canada Gallery was, as they told Observer, “born out of a kind of necessity.”
“This was the late 1990s,” they said in an email. “So we just banded together to do it ourselves.”
Twenty years later, that has proven a successful business model. Their roster has grown to encompass close to 30 artists, including Katherine Bradford, Katherine Bernhardt and Marc Hundley. The four put their good fortune and ability to stay in business in a sometimes-volatile arts market down to collaboration (“As it turns out, sharing responsibilities and making decisions by committee has helped broaden our influences”) and a certain flexibility.
n 1959, British scientist and novelist C.P. Snow, struck by the inability of intellectuals and scientists to communicate and thereby to make sense of and tame nuclear weapons, delivered a lecture at Cambridge arguing that the divide between the sciences and the humanities was intensifying world’s problems. Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, the book encapsulating his ideas, became one of strongest post-World War II influences on Western public discourse. Nancy Graves (1939–95), whose paintings and works on paper are now on display at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, took Snow’s ideas to heart by creating art that was at once aesthetically challenging and intellectually probing – the humanities and the sciences all rolled into one. The root of her inspiration, however, was endearingly humble: “I was born and raised in Pittsfield, Mass., where my father worked as a guard in the Berkshire Museum of Art and Natural History,” Graves told the New York Times in January 1979. “In that way I came to think of art and natural history as one.”
The sculptor and painter Sarah Braman creates abstract artworks from Minimalist, no-frills materials like bits of furniture and plywood. She is perhaps best known for her sculptures that, like those of John Chamberlain, fuse scrapyard metal from cars; but she also spray paints many of her objects and sculptures, creating a Rothko-esque feeling of color-field painting upon her sculptural medium.
On view through April 6 at Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York, her current exhibition, “Growth,” includes many of these kinds of works; but, more widely, her artistic practice is philosophical, evocative of quotidian pleasures. Her car sculptures are redolent of road trips; her works with furniture bring to mind being cozied in a living room. Braman’s most pressing interest, as she told Modern Painters, however, is light, the concept of which informs everything she creates. “It’s hard for me to talk about color without also talking about light,” she said, adding that many of the artists to whom she most looks up, “felt that painting the way that light fell onto the earth was a way to describe the spiritual.”
Nancy Graves’ art explores the connections between art, science, technology, and geography. Her early 1970s conceptual paintings and drawings inspired by technological progressions in cartography, such as satellite imagery of the Earth, Moon, and Mars, are currently on view at Mitchell-Innes & Nash‘s Chelsea location in New York City through April 6, 2019.
The Camp Fire began on the clear morning of November 8, 2018, which made it eerier still, a radiant sky that turned black. Through the pines and cedars came the persistent sound of crackling foil. Propane tanks exploded like bombs. Most people in Butte County had lived through multiple fires before—this is northern California, this is wildfire country—but no one had seen one like this, so fast and enveloping. No one had experienced the unique horror of watching the hospital burn, or the Safeway, as flames lapped at the sides of their own cars on the one main road out. No one had witnessed a whole town go.
The majority of the visual is centered around footage shot in Texas, but animation takes over the screen at the 28-minute mark, as album standout "Sound of Rain" plays in the background. Arriving at a pivotal moment near the end of the film, the surreal segment features flying horses, dancing figures, a cameo from Trina, and layers upon layers of symbolism. The scene is the work of New York City-based artist Jacolby Satterwhite, who animated, directed, and produced it under the guidance of Solange.
The dramatically shot piece opens and—spoiler alert—closes inside the Rothko Chapel in Houston, and, in between, includes majestic animated portraits by Robert Pruitt (who was born in Houston, like Solange) and delirious computer-generated dance scenes by Jacolby Satterwhite, who’s a contributing director on the project.
In 1926, the historian Carter G. Woodson instituted Negro History Week. The second-ever African-American recipient of a Ph.D. from Harvard (after W.E.B. DuBois), Woodson wanted to acknowledge the vibrant cultural achievements of African-American individuals that were rippling through the country. At the time, Harlem was brimming with poets such as Langston Hughes and Claude McKay, while Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller were developing Chicago’s jazz scene. In 1976, President Gerald Ford officially transformed Woodson’s initiative into the month-long celebration we honor to this day: Black History Month.
Nothing pulls you into a gallery like a six-foot chicken giving you the side eye, nor keeps you in front of a work longer than giving you something to do, even if it’s just reading text. With these two strategies Karl Haendel introduces Masses and Mainstream, not with a curatorial hang that pulls you into the center of a space and lets you wander, but by arresting the viewer at the entrance. There is a compulsion to use the works there as a lens through which to see and interpret the rest of the exhibition. How Do I Sell More Art pairs with Chicken within direct line of sight from the door and the two are impossible to ignore, melding into a single piece: A framed text piece operates like a word-bubble in such close proximity to the terrifying and terrified giant chicken, in graphite on cut paper stuck to the wall from the floor up.
In the fall of 2015, myself and my then-partner were bobbing through Chelsea for the perfunctory NYC gallery hop. Driven by that pretentious, guileless swagger of recent art school graduates, we were anxious to consume. Consume what? It’s difficult to explain that insatiable hunger. A hunger for that glimmer of a swoon, that seraphic electricity that certain artworks can inspire—in other words, that bombastic and elusive sense of meaning. My partner, an abstract painter herself and a devout planner, had prepared a hefty itinerary beginning with Ferris’ show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash.
It takes a lot of chutzpah to be an artist, to labor over something in the privacy of your own studio and then unveil it to the world, expecting total strangers to pay attention—and maybe even love, purchase, and live with what you’ve created. While artists may talk fondly of the glories of failure—its unexpected silver linings, its teachable moments—they’re not too good at publicly expressing vulnerability and doubt. After all, success in the art world can often come down to how convincing and memorable one’s personal brand is; I’m Not Sure If This Is Actually Any Good™ doesn’t make for the most rousing slogan.
A second show, a career survey of the African-American artist who now goes by one name, Pope.L, has the potential to put a welcome crack in MoMA’s high-polish veneer. In the past, this artist has belly-crawled the length of Manhattan, ingested entire issues of The Wall Street Journal, and created odoriferous installations from baloney and Pop-Tarts. Abject matter — stuff that rots, stinks and oozes — has historically been MoMA’s least favorite medium. I look forward to seeing how Pope.L, who once billed himself as “The Friendliest Black Artist in America,” will fare here.
Pope.L and Adam Pendleton are two artists creating powerful, political works in very different media, but with shared goals and approaches. As a new show opens of their work, they tell us more about working together and why language is “both a mechanism of escape but also a trap”.
Since the 1970s, Pope.L (b. 1955 in Newark, New Jersey) has created a multidisciplinary oeuvre, including performance, installation, painting, drawing, sculpture, objects, and writing. Pope.L creates scenarios and poetics in order to address issues of category and identicalness usually parlayed via his interest in language, nation, gender, race, and class. In his “crawls,” one of his best-known performance sets, Pope.L literally crawls – alone or with other participants – through the hallways of buildings and city streets. In doing so, he draws attention to marginalized positions in society, and to the contradictions and double-binds through which we perceive ourselves and others. His performances often involve local citizens and thus build temporary communities who share the experience and struggle.
For almost four decades, Pope.L has challenged us to confront some of the most pressing questions about American society as well as about the very nature of art. Best known for enacting arduous and provocative interventions in public spaces, Pope.L addresses issues and themes ranging from language to gender, race, social struggle, and community. Adam Pendleton is a conceptual artist known for his multi-disciplinary practice, which moves fluidly. His work centers on an engagement with language, in both the figurative and literal senses, and the re-contextualization of history through appropriated imagery to establish alternative interpretations of the present.
Although "Irrespective" is a remarkably fresh, thoughtfully curated overview of Martha Rosler’s art from the past fifty years, it does not aspire to be exhaustive. The exhibition features around seventy works, with not a single extraneous piece. Still, there is a wide selection, spanning from collages Rosler created in the late 1960s and early ’70s, when she was in graduate school at the University of California, San Diego, to a recent film about the Trump administration. Her long, productive career makes it difficult to categorize her practice. Conceptualism, feminism, appropriation, and relational aesthetics convey aspects of what she does, but none of these terms seems fully apposite. They leave something out, pigeonholing her into rubrics that simplify her concerns. As a kind of recourse, some commentators use the generalized label of “political” to describe Rosler’s approach. Politics is a thread that runs through everything the artist does; it is the baseline from which any activity commences. The diverse range of work in “Irrespective,” which viewers encounter in galleries filled with the background audio-wash of her videos, makes it clear that what really underlies her art is actually a kind of moral erudition.
A good conceptual art piece is not very different from a joke, and Karl Haendel’s got a million of ’em. His show “Masses & Mainstream,” at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, is a torrent of pencil drawings large and small, and all of them revolve, in one way or another, around the artist’s ability to make anything in the world into a kind of punch line merely by pointing it out.
Painting might be summed up as a process of accretion: You start with a blank canvas and end with a covered one — unless you are Eddie Martinez, for whom the act of adding and subtracting remains in play throughout the making. Mr. Martinez’s assertive-but-sly approach is on view in “White Outs” at the Bronx Museum, a selection of recent, ostensibly white paintings.
Martha Rosler knows that a well-formulated suggestion is far more likely to change the world — or at least someone’s mind — than any command or decree. “Every single thing I have offered to the public has been offered as a suggestion of work,” says the 75-year-old Brooklyn-born artist. Whether it’s her photomontages or videos, her sculptures or her installations, each offering retains a lively air of possibility and buzzes with the connective creative energy of a sketch — a feat made all the more impressive by her choice of subject matter: consumerism, feminism, gentrification, poverty, and war. Floating free of cynicism and buoyed by compassion, Rosler’s work can be devastatingly funny or amusingly devastating, and often both.
Damals Nixon und heute Trump, früher die Frauenbewegung und heute #metoo: Die Retrospektive von Martha Rosler im New Yorker Jewish Museum beweist, dass Kunst die Welt nicht retten kann.
Martha Rosler hated the protest literature of the 1960s and 1970s. As she explained to Jewish Museum curator Darsie Alexander in a November talk, the messiness of the design was rivaled only by that of the messaging: no images, but jargon-heavy text more likely to be thrown out than to inspire action. Rosler thought, “Can I do better?” Could she show the horrors of war, of sexism, of the hidden and obvious ways women are looked down on?
In a working life spanning more than fifty years, Martha Rosler has made art that eschews medium-specificity, asks questions, offers propositions, and invites responses. While idea often appears to drive material expression for Rosler, she also considers, beyond a politics of representation, questions of visuality and aesthetics—a likely influence of her early training as a painter.
Mary Mary is pleased to present HURTS WORST, Amanda Ross-Ho’s first solo exhibition at the gallery. The show will feature a suite of new large scale textile assemblages, and a group of small text-based paintings.
Equally inspired by the New York School and street culture, Eddie Martinez has added a new element to his large-scale paintings by intentionally erasing parts of his compositions. This “white out” technique is informed by art history, as X-ray analysis of the work of the Old Masters often shows erased images hidden beneath the surface of the painting.
Martha Rosler: Irrespective, an exhibition of works spanning the astonishing breadth of the artist’s fifty-plus-year career, is a tightly curated, highly focused exhibition—a survey organized around a discrete set of themes Rosler engages (war, consumerism, domesticity, politics, and mass media, to name a few) rather than a full retrospective.
Though Martha Rosler has been working since the 1960s, her retrospective, Irrespective (until 3 March 2019) at the Jewish Museum shows how timely and timeless her new and old protest art is: she addresses gender roles, gentrification, US foreign war, police violence against people of colour, authoritarianism…subjects that might be familiar to any follower of the news today.
There are few artists I have more reverence for than AA Bronson. In 1969, with fellow artists Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, Bronson co-founded General Idea, the legendary Toronto-based art collective that helped pioneer Relational and Mail Art. Over the course of their decades-long collaboration, General Idea’s multidisciplinary conceptual practice helped establish bold new directions for art in Canada and abroad.
...the eye of Martha Rosler has been and is equally direct and unflinching as her historic Spanish counterpart. Rosler is fearless in her social, cultural and political observations about the contemporary United States, beginning in the era of the Vietnam War. Her work—always brainy—courses through a variety of subject matter: war, gender, gentrification, domesticity, inequality, and labor, but—like Goya—it is not without humor. Rosler’s wit is sharp, penetrating and unsettling.
Rosler is fearless in her social, cultural and political observations about the contemporary United States, beginning in the era of the Vietnam War. Her work—always brainy—courses through a variety of subject matter: war, gender, gentrification, domesticity, inequality, and labor, but—like Goya—it is not without humor. Rosler’s wit is sharp, penetrating and unsettling.
The performance artist Pope.L is asking a lot of Art Institute audiences these days. His “experimental restaging” of a slavery narrative credited as the oldest surviving African-American play moves the few dozen attendees and performers from the bowels of the museum’s Rubloff Auditorium to its sound booth to, in one memorable, pungent moment, its women’s bathroom.
A multidisciplinary artist, writer and social activist, Martha Rosler has spent 50 years delivering biting feminist critiques on subjects ranging from gender to gentrification. But she is perhaps best known for her collages that juxtapose housekeeping ads with scenes from the U.S. wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now the Jewish Museum is focusing on these works and others as part of its survey “Martha Rosler: Irrespective.” Recently, Rosler sat down with us at her home and studio in Greenpoint to discuss her work, her neighborhood and the real meaning of cooking shows.
Martinez’s distinctive color sense—primary tones that are interrupted and shaped by black and white and some in-between hues—also follows his gut, and so far, so good. “It’s completely instinctual,” he says. “I don’t know color theory, and I’m not concerned if I’m doing it right or if I’m doing it wrong. It’s just the way I do it.”
Trump is a familiar figure: a man who aspires to autocracy (after previously only aspiring to be a very rich and adored celebrity) and to the perks and privileges of kingship. He overcame his almost palpable shock and dismay at falling into the presidency, deciding to rely on others for advice while nevertheless opining and governing by whim. He makes no effort to represent all the people in the country and has refused to adopt the norms of modern governance by behaving in a civil and unifying way. His lies are overt and easily disprovable, his promises, insults, and threats are shocking, his self–interest and vindictiveness equally clear.
The title of her new exhibition, “Irrespective,” now on view at the Jewish Museum in New York through March 3, 2019, combines the words “irreverent” and “retrospective” and draws on her skepticism about having her work in institutions in the first place. A survey of her work since 1965, it is her first exhibition in her native New York in more than 15 years.
As Alexander said in her presentation, Rosler is, “an artist who’s always worked against the grain” – and we quickly realized we agree, as “Irrespective” is indeed filled with thought-provoking work that challenges the norm.
The first major New York survey of Ms. Rosler’s art in 18 years has opened at the Jewish Museum, and runs through March 3. For some, the show, “Martha Rosler: Irrespective,” may be an introduction to the prolific artist whose caustic work — in addition to photomontage and video, she creates installation, sculpture, performance and digital media — has been alternately admired and reviled by the public and the art world since the 1960s. Her exhibitions have focused on tenant struggles and homelessness; the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; public space; and — very often — the experiences of women.
Self-absorption at the expense of social awareness may seem like an Instagram-born epidemic, but consider the Emperor Nero’s theatrics as fires were ravaging Rome. Since the mid-nineteen-sixties, the trenchant Conceptualist Martha Rosler has been fighting art-as-escapism with photomontages, videotapes, and installations, targeting the hypocrisy of war, sexism, gentrification, and other concerns that remain disconcertingly relevant. Rosler is also funny—her montages, an ongoing project that began in the Vietnam era, anticipated the Internet’s viral memes by decades—and she understands the power of humor to drive a point home.
A retrospective at the Jewish Museum spans Rosler’s five-decade career. Featuring installations, photographic series, sculpture, and video, the exhibit probes far beyond “Semiotics of the Kitchen” to show us one of the most witty and dogged feminist artists of our time. In one photo collage, blond women snap selfies in a mod mansion as flames blaze outside the windows. In an installation, various women’s lingerie and sleepwear congregate around a white mattress. The cluster of thongs and spanx and granny panties alludes to the stories clothes tell about the women who wear them. Or perhaps just the stories we buy into.
Nuanced but uncompromising, the video pretty much says it all. But it’s only one of the scores of photographs, videos and large-scale installations, from the 1960s to present, in “Martha Rosler: Irrespective,” a new retrospective at the Jewish Museum in Manhattan.
Hieronymus Bosch, ball culture, Piero Della Francesca, BDSM, Josef Albers, and the video-game classic Final Fantasy are just a handful of the radically diverse influences that artist Jacolby Satterwhite has seamlessly synthesized into his own ravishing new world. In Blessed Avenue, the first part of his epic animated trilogy (presented at New York gallery Gavin Brown Enterprises in March 2018), the artist draws on his technical virtuosity to reclaim the video-game environments of his childhood, re-inhabiting them with his own community all through the sharp lens of art history. Under his direction, porn actors, performance artists, musicians, and dancers float together, intertwined in gravity-free sci-fi interiors that equally bring to mind shopping malls in Dubai and after-hours clubs in Brooklyn. Their design is directly informed by (and pays tribute to) the drawings produced by the artist’s late mother, Patricia Satterwhite. As it turns out, even PIN–UP played a small role in the development of virtual environments which Jacolby Satterwhite created as a home for his creative family. Just don’t call them nightlife people.
Influenced by gestalt therapy and phenomenology, Nauman began his work in the 1960s—the time that Donald Trump seems to identify as the start of America's decline and the height of the civil rights era. Black people in America were mobilizing to demonstrate their political agency. Much of the conversation centered on their right to occupy mundane public spaces—restrooms, schools, restaurants—without violent repercussions. This appeal for universal access penetrated the zeitgeist, and it continues today; equal access is still not secure, especially for transgender and queer people. Nauman's work can be understood within this interrogation of the banality of his white male body: its scale, identity, and relationship to his environs.
Martha Rosler’s first major New York museum show surveys her career by way of installations, photographs, videos, and sculptures. Among the themes addressed are war and consumerism, with a special eye toward gender norms and oppression. Curator Darsie Alexander said of the exhibition, “Martha Rosler’s direct, unvarnished take on current social and political circumstances is rooted in her belief in the capacity of art to teach, provoke, and ultimately motivate action in the people it reaches.”
Riding the crest of first-wave feminist art, Rosler initially crashed onto the shores of the art world in the ’60s with pieces noted for their firebrand politics. During that time, and continuing until today, she’s deployed videos, photomontages and installations against targets ranging from sexism and the Vietnam War to inequality and gentrification—conjoined fronts, in her view, in an ongoing battle for social justice. This survey brings her career into focus, with a selection of works spanning 1965 to the present.
‘The biggest hurdle we had to overcome was psychological: the belief that there never had been, and never could be, great women artists.’
This month, Higher Pictures gallery presents Airless Spaces, a selection of new works from photographer Justine Kurland, alongside still-life paintings by her late father, Bruce Kurland. The exhibition is intimately arranged, with Bruce’s small-scale paintings interspersed amongst Justine’s 4×5 inch prints. Viewed in this way, we are witness to an unspoken relationship between father and daughter, expressed in the ways that each interprets the world around them. Though varying in terms of aesthetic rendering, both Justine and Bruce’s work illustrates an interior world through an array of symbolic objects.
Justine Kurland’s monograph Highway Kind (2016) includes a short fictional piece by Lynne Tillman titled “Still Moving,” a collection of scenes that appear to be set in a single working-class town. Toward the beginning, one of Tillman’s characters finds herself struck with a moment of awe in an otherwise bleak world: “Estranged mountains bulged under the sky, the big sky, the endless sky. Anyway, no one could see an end to it, which reassured her, since so much seemed to be coming to an end. It felt that way.” This passage echoed in my head as I viewed “Airless Spaces,” an intimate presentation of Kurland’s new photographs alongside paintings by her late father, Bruce Kurland (1938–2013).
Feminist photomontage, “Martha Rosler Reads Vogue” and other pointed works — photography, sculpture, installation and video — from 1965 to the present, from an artist whose creations are both scathing and playful.
Pope.L has called the works on view at this show “a disgustingly neat pile of doubt, experiment, and denial shoved up hot against claim, leap, gambit, and caesura—your basic scrabbling about in the dark . . .” Included are works from the artist’s “RePhoto” collage series, for which he edited and recombined images of body parts to create “figural encounters,” as well as sculptures and an installation featuring versions of Pope.L’s video Syllogism. Titled “One thing after another (part two),” the show follows Pope.L’s recent winning of the Whitney Museum’s $100,000 Bucksbaum Award.
Given the ongoing political upheavals in the US, and the EU, what kind of artists’ work is relevant in an age of populist uprisings, when the far right is gaining power throughout the world? Martha Rosler and Hito Steyerl: War Games, one of the most important exhibitions of the year, offers compelling evidence in answer to such a question. This affectively and intellectually intriguing exhibition is noteworthy in demonstrating the surprising affinities and shared concerns across countries (US and Germany) and generations (’60s and ’90s) of two renowned women artists. Both are theoreticians and creative practitioners whose work reveals the capacity of art to understand and transform the violence which shapes our world.
As is true of many good painters, there’s one thing for sure that can be said about her work: it’s damn good painting! But we still find ourselves on the most bizarre terrain. For example, the controversial appointment of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice. Or the question that poses itself for big city dwellers who are no longer so young, but not yet old: whether that was enough city life, whether it might not be better to move to the country. Or the peculiarities of the German language.
At Mitchell-Innes & Nash, Kurland’s series, exhibited for the first time in its entirety, was cinematic in spirit. The sixty-nine vintage C-prints hung in a single line around the gallery. The narrative opened with a photograph taken in the postindustrial landscape of New Haven, Connecticut, and continued across multiple road trips that Kurland took over the course of five years. In these staged images, her subjects absorb themselves in activities by and for each other, from drawing on one another’s backs to killing small game. They could be plucked from sundry girl-centric films of the 1990s—think Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides (1999) or Gillian Armstrong’s Little Women (1994). Wearing threadbare, slouchy clothes, sans makeup, and often with no men in sight, these girls “act” more often than “appear”—to reverse the terms of John Berger’s famous phrase, “Men act and women appear.”
In this follow up to his similarly named solo show at La Panacee museum in Montpellier, Pope.L presents works—including a selection of “Re-Photo” collages, his Syllogism video project, and wall-mounted assemblage sculptures in acrylic boxes—that he describes as “a disgustingly neat pile of doubt, experiment, and denial shoved up hot against claim, leap, gambit, and caesura.”
The War Games proposed by Martha Rosler and Hito Steyerl in their new exhibition at Kunstmuseum Basel reflect the pitfalls of a war fought in the folds of media and technology in the present. The show, curated by Søren Grammel, compares the artistic research of the two artists, who are of different generations but nevertheless have many common threads.
Though there is an immediacy in film that feels particularly poignant at this time, the show’s significance is not dependent on our culture’s heightened awareness. The ideas these videos consider are neither new nor are they temporary. They remain critical to examine decade after decade.
Earlier this month, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh announced several new acquisitions, including “Fountain (reparations version)” (2016-17) by Chicago-based Pope.L. The sculpture is on view in the modern and contemporary galleries which have been re-hung to reflect the “depth, diversity, and eccentricities” of the Carnegie Museum’s collection.
The New York-based gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash has added Jacolby Satterwhite to its roster. He will debut his latest video piece, Avenue B,as part of the summer series “35 Days of Film,” with the gallery’s space in Chelsea devoted to the work July 20-24. Satterwhite will also have his first solo exhibition with the gallery this fall.
Martha Rosler thinks that Vietnam anti-war literature of the 1960s and ’70s was hideous. “It would be these long texts that looked like they’d been translated from a foreign language, and they didn’t have images,” the artist remembered during a recent conversation with Artsy. The pamphlets and other materials, she said, looked like they were made by people who were somewhat demented. Rosler decided the cause needed a makeover.
Starting in New Haven, where she was finishing her graduate studies at Yale, Kurland drove across the country (with a stint in New Zealand) photographing adolescent girls in scenes that are part bucolic idyll, part Lord of the Flies. A gritty, outlaw narrative connects scenes often photographed with the composition and soft light of 19th-century landscape paintings. (Kurland named her son Caspar, after all, for Caspar David Friedrich.) Three of the images have “Boy Torture” in in their titles, but unless the girls are tormenting one, boys seldom feature. Sex simmers under the surface, not to mention – and more importantly – self-sufficiency. These ad hoc communities of young women are precursors to Kurland’s series a few years later, Of Woman Born, pastoral photographs of naked mothers and their small naked children who seem just as self-reliant.
In recent years, on Instagram and in fashion magazines, a girl-centric aesthetic has taken hold. Young photographers such as Petra Collins, Olivia Bee, and Mayan Toledano have been capturing the private rites and practices of adolescents—in school, at parties, on road trips, alone in their bedrooms. The style, pretty and wistful, straddles fashion, fine art, even reportage. We might see a shapely young arm raised to reveal a hint of armpit hair; dewy skin dappled by disco lights; girls huddled around a mirror, putting on makeup.
The runaways of Justine Kurland’s Girl Pictures, 1997–2002—feral teens living in moody, thrill-seeking packs at the gorgeous outskirts of civilization—bear a more than passing resemblance to the Runaways. It’s as though the members of the legendary seventies girl band wandered away from their tour bus at a highway rest stop and just kept going. What would their raw rebellion and sexual self-possession look like offstage, without an audience, in the wild? Kurland answers with sixty-nine transfixing photographs.
“I staged the girls as a standing army of teenaged runaways in resistance to patriarchal ideals,” she says. “The girls in these photographs have gathered together in solidarity, claiming territory outside the margins of family and institutions.” Kurland would scout evocative locations, often with links to the 19th-century Western frontier, and recruit her youthful subjects from local towns and schools. “I never knew where I would end up or whom I would find,” she says, “so it was impossible to predetermine the outcome. I allowed my narratives to unravel as I constructed them. I wanted the pictures to contain both my projection and the actuality of the situation.”
Flaka Haliti and Jacolby Satterwhite reimagine the social systems of the world that structure our lives. Satterwhite takes his childhood’s domestic setting to build futuristic virtual landscapes. In his hands, the familiar environment becomes a stage on which to perform scenes of queer sadomasochistic role-play, which he sees as a metaphor for late capitalist domination and subjugation.
Jacolby Satterwhite’s exhibition at Gavin Brown’s enterprise transformed the gallery into a kind of nightclub—that ultimate escapist’s paradise. Visitors entered a hallway where they could pick up glow stick necklaces from glass jars on the ground, after which they emerged in the darkened exhibition space. Playing on both sides of a screen suspended in the middle of the room was a trippy animated film, Blessed Avenue (2018). A purple neon sign reading pat’s, meanwhile, beckoned visitors toward a back area and gave the room a soft glow.
Throughout her career, photographer Justine Kurland has trained her lens on divergent subjects both documentary and staged: young girls, nude mothers, men at auto body shops. Across her work, there’s a muted sense of romance, of both gritty desire and desperation. Kurland relishes gravel, fences, dead animals, cell phone towers, broken windows, and car engines. Now a mother herself, she’s ultimately outgrown the label that once reductively described her young, female cohort who captured even younger women on rolls of film: “girl photographers.”
The photographer Justine Kurland didn’t learn how to drive until she was 27, a year before she set off on a two-decade-long road trip. At the time, she was an M.F.A. candidate at Yale working on her now-iconic series “Girl Pictures” (1997-2002), staged portraits of adolescent girls cast as runaways wandering beneath highway overpasses and mucking around in roadside drainage ditches. At first she stayed close to home, shooting in and around New Haven, Conn., but eventually she began traveling farther afield; she wanted her own process to reflect the stories her images told. “If the girls were running away,” she tells T, “then it made sense that I should, too.”
This exhibition of paintings and drawings marks a bold and confident change in the working methods of Keltie Ferris. A significant departure has been made from the characteristically fuzzy and pixelated images taken and transformed from screens present in previous paintings. In their stead is an assertive—and risky—incursion of influence from high profile painters—George Condo, Christopher Wool, and Jonathan Lasker—but especially Wool, of whom Ferris has said, “I feel like Christopher Wool is so influential, he’s almost like our de Kooning right now. Everyone is copying him, or riffing on what he has brought to the table.”
Gerasimos Floratos’ paintings and sculptures play with the idea of site specificity and the notion of what it means to be ‘rooted’ in a single place. His works employ pyscho-figurative bodies as mechanisms for charting space in many forms; psychogeography of the globalised world, societies or microcosms built through commonalities of practice, and the internal space of the mind.
Ferris can always be counted on to push the perimeters of her intensely optical abstract paintings, and this show finds her, now 41, experimenting, rethinking, slowing down, mixing marble dust into her oil paint, laying down stenciled polygonal shapes, wiping out areas of canvas, and leaving severe spray-painted black lines as structure.
Leather queens, club kids, and bare-breasted femmes writhe and vogue in crystalline enclosures overlooking churning purple galaxies. Bound to one another and to sinister machines by a network of multicolored intestinal tubing, pliable virtual bodies pleasure and punish each other in acrobatic scenarios, their mechanical gyrations powered by a sovereign libidinal clockwork. The factory and the dance floor, Fordism and fetishism, play and werk, collapse into undifferentiated opalescence. Across a torpid twenty minutes, titillation yields to monotony, anhedonia, alienation. In a rapacious feedback loop, alienation transubstantiates to kink.
Pick up a pink glow-stick bracelet on your way into “Blessed Avenue,” Satterwhite’s impressive début with the gallery. A large screen bisects the black-walled space, playing a hallucinatory video—a Boschian sci-fi tableau—which attests to the artist’s command of digital animation and 3-D-modelling software. In the endless simulated shot, dancers and S & M performers populate a gay mega-club, a maze of fragmented machinery apparently adrift in space. The dystopian scene has a surprisingly poignant twist: the action is set to an electronic soundtrack created from cassette tapes of the artist’s mother, singing a capella. In the accompanying installation, a conceptual boutique, the artist hawks affordable items from pill organizers to tambourines, all printed with dashed-off drawings and charming, handwritten notes.
The girls were rebelling. The girls were acting out. The girls had run away from home, that much was clear. They were trying on a version of themselves that the world had thus far shown them was boy. FLoating a raft downt he Mississippi. Tucking smokes into the sleve of a T-shirt. Having a rumble. Living off the land. Cowboys, sailors, pirates, hitchhikers, hobos, train hoppers, explorers, catchers in the rye, lords of the flies – you name it, all the dominion of boys. If you wanted a place in the narrative, you had to imagine yourself inside of it.
Between 1997 and 2002, Justine Kurland traveled across the United States photographing girls living vastly different lives, but all in the tenuous places between childhood and adulthood. Kurland printed all 69 pictures taken over the four-year period for the first time this year, two decades after the project began. This is the first time they appear as a complete series.
I’ve been a fan of Keltie Ferris’s hot Day-Glo spray-painted, structured, multi-matrixed large paintings since she emerged fresh out of Yale’s MFA program in the mid-aughts. Always to be counted on for pushing the perimeters of her intensely optical abstract paintings, this show finds Ferris, now 41, experimenting, rethinking, slowing down, mixing marble dust into her oil paint, laying down stenciled polygonal shapes, wiping out areas of canvas, leaving severe spray-painted black lines as structure. The results are less lively, even, and visually arresting than her previous work, and they fit more into a tradition that might include Fiona Rae, David Story, and Guy Goodwin — artists more dependent on visible structure, clearer geometry, and deploying a menu of marks and configurations on canvas, all to lesser effect than Ferris has already reached — but I will not stop paying attention to this live wire.
Among the seventy fascinatingly varied works on view in this decades-spanning show is an untitled piece, from 1973, that meets the barest definition of a collage—it’s a single rose, cut carefully from a black-and-white photo, floating on a white background. With this breezy, refined gesture, the artist, who worked in the San Francisco Bay area until her death, in 1989, conjures her most famous painting, “The Rose,” from 1958-1966, which, as a Sisyphean two-ton grisaille relief, could not be more different.
There is a lot to see, hear and buy in Jacolby Satterwhite’s “Blessed Avenue” at Gavin Brown on the Lower East Side. A pop-up store in the gallery is selling cheap bespoke items like pencils, pill cases and bottled water. An eerie, disembodied voice, singing in an R&B-inflected falsetto, filters throughout the space and you can purchase Mr. Satterwhite’s new self-described concept album, also titled “Blessed Avenue.”
DeFeo was after something other than a chance meeting on a dissecting table of a sewing machine and an umbrella. For her, surrealism was not a technique, but a state of seeing and experiencing everyday life.
You enter the gallery as though walking into a club. A darkened hallway opens up onto a room pulsing with music, dimly lit by a purple neon sign near the far back wall. The cool glow of a massive video projection reveals a scene from some futuristic S&M rave: young people in black leather dance, vogue, crawl, pose, whip one another and lead each other around on leashes. Jacolby Satterwhite appears among them, on hands and knees in a leather jockstrap and harness, while artist Juliana Huxtable playfully flogs him with a long, braided whip. These are his friends, his social world, whom the artist has captured in green screen video and transposed into this animated technofuture.
On the third floor of an unassuming Chinatown building, a dark hallway leads to Blessed Avenue, Jacolby Satterwhite’s psychedelic quest into queer desire and memory, a twenty-minute digital animation created with Maya computer software. In order to do justice to the film’s bizarre rituals performed by Juliana Huxtable, Lourdes Leon Ciccone, and DeSe Escobar alongside Satterwhite, Gavin Brown’s enterprise orchestrated the gallery similar to an underground club, from glow-sticks occasionally available at the entrance to the pitch-dark atmosphere elevating the film’s visual and audial impact. The exhibition's titular piece runs on a large, two-sided screen, which emanates enough light to let visitors inspect a pop-up retail installation that displays merchandise complimenting the film.
In dream analysis, it’s said that the familiar nightmare of one’s teeth falling out represents anxiety over the possible loss of control. Fading beauty, or an inability to communicate might cause such a dream, but so too might a more catastrophic event: an illness or an eviction, perhaps. For artist Jay DeFeo (1929-1989) any of these occurrences could have provoked such a night terror, and walking through Outrageous Fortune: Jay DeFeo and Surrealism at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, one can’t help but wonder if teeth dreams had plagued her. The exhibition takes as its premise the thrum of Surrealism that murmurs through DeFeo’s body of work, and the reappearance of teeth is one of several tropes that surface.
Blessed Avenue is a cornucopia of monsters, misfits and dancers including Madonna’s daughter Lourdes in imaginary dreamscapes in clubland and beyond. Satterwhite has said he is more concerned for his work to be shown in museums than private collections. In contemporary art in New York, the industry thrives much more upon knowing the names and M.Os of the most cutting edge creatives, rather than actually owning any of their work.
Much of the recent work of GCC–the group of artists whose eight members hail from various Persian Gulf countries, and whose name references the acronym for a regional political and economic alliance known as the Gulf Cooperation Council–has focused on the growing popularity in the area, among both governments and the wider populace, of the "positive energy" movement.
GCC: GOOD MORNING GCC uses the tropes of daytime television talk shows across the Arab world, alongside references to Nam June Paik’s [satellite broadcast] Good Morning Mr. Orwell , Glenn O’Brien’s [1978-82 public access television show] TV Party, Chris Burden’s commercials and other artists who have used television’s potential to communicate to a wider audience. Arab TV networks have popularised the talk show format—which ranges from political to conversational—and cover many of the topics we are addressing in our programme. They reflect the trends and interests of the region, while creating a sense of connectivity.
It is in the post-Rose period that DeFeo experimented with new techniques or applications, things like cameraless photography and collage. Bruce Conner, the Rat Bastard leader, had suggested that DeFeo take pictures of the “things [around her] and turn them into other stuff . . . collage things.”) As described in the exhibition’s catalog by Dana Miller, The Whitney Museum’s Director of the Collection, DeFeo’s experiments, which the artist described as play, “meant not only taking risks, but also, at key moments, sharing authorship with forces of nature, randomness, or accident.” The irony is how DeFeo would come to embrace chance after methodically working on The Rose—one work—for nearly eight years.
“I’m so nervous,” admitted Jacolby Satterwhite. artnet News was visiting the artist at his Brooklyn apartment ahead of the opening of his upcoming show at New York’s Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, and he was feeling some jitters. “My first solo show, no one knew who I was,” he added, noting that the pressure is way more “intense” this time around. Satterwhite’s first solo effort in the city was in 2013. “So much has happened for me since then, creatively, cerebrally, and critically. I hope of all of that comes through in what I’m showing.”
Like other mid-century Pop artists, Kiki Kogelnik became a brand. And while the Austrian-born artist should primarily be remembered for her innovative “Hangings” series and her bold feminist motifs, history hasn’t been kind to her. In the United States, Kogelnik’s legacy unfairly rests more on her fashionable image and vibrant personality than on her work itself.
At 62, Pope.L is inarguably the greatest performance artist of our time. This is exactly the kind of label he would find absurd, but over the course of the last four decades, no artist has so consistently broken down the accepted boundaries of the genre in order to bring it closer to the public, with lacerating, perspicacious and gloriously anti-authoritarian projects that play with our received notions of race and class and almost always cut more than one way.
Featuring over 70 of the Beat generation artist’s works, “Outrageous Fortune” will showcase paintings, photographs, collages, and works on paper from Jay DeFeo’s oeuvre over the course of three decades, from 1955 to 1986. In a similar way to how the Dadaists and Surrealists invoked various symbolic emblems through unlike subjects, DeFeo’s juxtaposition of forms and mixed-media approaches messed with the role chance plays in art-making. The show will act as a teaser for New York audiences who can’t make it to Dijon, France, for a major survey of DeFeo’s work at Le Consortium.
The latest show, "Stories That We Tell: Art and Identity," runs through March 3, 2018 and features the work of seven groundbreaking female artists, all of whom have been affiliated with the department over the years, but have never shown together. Eleanor Antin, Barbara Kruger, Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler, Miriam Shapiro, Lorna Simpson and Carrie Mae Weems have created an assortment of works in varied media that explore the issues of identity, gender and race.
In the career of Jay DeFeo, her astonishing painting The Rose (1958–66) casts a long shadow. Spanning almost 11 by eight feet, it has a primordial-looking surface of oil paint mixed with wood and mica so heavily built up and excavated that it weighs more than a ton. This abstract, sculptural canvas, with radiating vectors that converge at a center point, occupied DeFeo for eight years—consuming her entirely for the last five of those. The Rose acquired mythic status when the artist Bruce Conner, her close friend, filmed it being cut out of the window of DeFeo’s Fillmore Street studio in San Francisco, in 1965, then hoisted by forklift onto a truck, and transported to the Pasadena Art Museum.
The exhibition was opened on the occasion of the Berlin Art Week in September 2017, and it is on view through February 26, 2018. The title of the show relates to the volume of the museum space occupied by the exhibition in relation to the volume of the artist’s body. Bonvicini, who is known for re-examining minimalism, conceptual art and institutional critique, took the gallery room as the first reference, and conceived the entire exhibition as an appropriation of the institution and its museological processes, commenting on the themes that she found outside its white cube—inclusion and barriers, subjugation and freedom.
Gerasimos Floratos’s solo show at Armada, “Soft Bone Journey,” is comprised of three large paintings in oil and acrylic, and three sculptures, each the size of a person, made of painted styrofoam. (All works are from 2017.) The colors are bold—canary yellow, acid green, pinkish orange. His approach to both mediums—simple lines, rapid gestures, rounded forms—has the feel of street art, a style that seems all too familiar, yet remains utterly foreign.
This show introduces viewers to the group's less well-known paintings: hard-edged, fluorescent geometric abstractions that evoke the pixelated silhouettes of eight-bit video games. They also allude to the mystical and political significance of stepped architecture in ancient societies, from Mesopotamia to the Mayans, where such structures were thought to lead to the gods. Exhibited alongside the paintings are plans for the "The 1984 Miss General Idea Pavilion," an absurdist beauty-pageant venue that, per the artists' lore, had burned to the ground, leaving only the footprint of the ziggurat.
“There is no going back into a weaving unless you unravel the whole thing,” says Brent Wadden. “So I usually just keep all the mistakes, as it’s a total pain in the ass to remove them.” With a resume of solo art exhibitions in galleries spanning from Paris, London, and Berlin to South Korea and New York, the charm of humility hasn’t been lost on the autodidactic weaver. This self-taught naïvety may just be the warp and woof of Wadden’s work.
In the past few years, there has been an uptick in an expanded form of painting that presents itself as a hybrid. A few current examples of this tendency include the work of Laura Owens, Keltie Ferris, Rachel Rossin, and Trudy Benson — artists who have explored multi-media paintings that rival sculpture. These works feel constructed as opposed to made, and engage with several forms of tactility, illusion, and physical depth.
The real surprise of the show is a series of paintings in the main gallery. Covered in allover patterns of interlocking ziggurats, two rectangular compositions from 1968–69 neatly combine stain painting with systemic minimalism. Nearly textbook examples of avant-garde abstract painting concerns of their day, these canvases split the difference between seriousness and burlesque.
Then, compare and contrast Agnes Martin’s use of contrasting color values with the work of the painter Julian Stanczak, known for his Op Art style that also boldly plays with the eye. Op Art is a type of visual art that creates optical illusions.
Canadian art collective General Idea (1969–1994), made up of Felix Partz, Jorge Zontal, and AA Bronson, gets its first solo show at Mitchell-Innes & Nash. The exhibition highlights their use of the ziggurat motif, an architectural form common to both the ancient civilizations of Mesopotamia and Mesoamerica and to modern skyscrapers.
The following interview—my second with Pope.L—was conducted through email correspondence over several months. His responses are written with the freewheeling, contradic- tory energy of his art, with both stuttered emotional reac- tions and carefully parsed explanations.
Gerasimos Floratos, who was born in New York City in 1986 and grew up in an apartment overlooking Times Square, self-assuredly fills the gallery’s space with large-scale paintings and three sculptures, all made with bold and decisive hues, and all vaguely reminiscent of street art. The paintings hint at figuration without coalescing into a linear narrative. Their emotive bodies are alter egos for Floratos, who develops his own personal language and pursues an internal investigation of sorts through the canvases.
In 2013, nine Khaleeji artists founded the GCC – an art collective – in the VIP room of Art Dubai, and this year they will return to their roots. The artists will transform The Room, an installation within the art fair, into a TV studio in which they will create the daytime show Good Morning GCC. This will combine segments on Arabic cooking and fair parties with art-historical references. Comprising Fatima Al Qadiri, Abdullah Al-Mutairi, Amal Khalaf, Aziz Al Qatami, Barrak Alzaid, Khalid al Gharaballi, Monira Al Qadiri, Nanu Al-Hamad and Sophia Al-Maria, the collective will examine power and economic relations in the Gulf – and how the area is perceived internationally – both mimicking and challenging stereotypes of the region’s young residents.
Handwoven panels of high-contrast stripes—pink and green, black and white—sewn together and mounted on canvas by the Berlin-based Canadian, split the difference between Op art and craft. In one small example, exposed seams and irregularities in the fabric create the same kind of visual stutters that another artist might achieve by painting sharp edges. Elsewhere, muted colors and diagonal lines suggest a range of allusions, from heraldry to upholstery. Wadden’s works also enlist the textures of the found and secondhand yarn that he uses: one rosy triangle, set against mixed knurls of oceanic blue and green, simultaneously brings to mind an endless beach, a scratchy couch, and the standard of a medieval army.
Formed in Toronto in 1969 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, the artist collective General Idea built its body of work on a strikingly diverse array of themes, constantly revisiting both the field of contemporary art production and the identity politics of the era that ultimately underscores so much of the artist’s act of world-making, critique and expression. No subject was safe from their intuitive and enigmatic lens, from the myth of the artist, the role of mass media, and the relationship between the body and identity, to questions of gender and sexual representation, and perhaps most famously, the HIV/AIDS activism of the 1980’s, a mode of critique that the group were pioneers of during an era of intense repression and governmental silence. Working in a broad range of practices, from paintings to performances, published editions to video, sculpture to installation, the group was almost constantly in a state of reinvention, speaking to the diversity and power of their collective vision.
The American artist is known for not being afraid to voice her political opinions. DW spoke to her about the state of the American Dream, the role of artists in turbulent political times and US President Donald Trump.
Born in New York in 1976, Karl Haendel currently lives and works in Los Angeles. He is known for creating meticulous, photorealistic pencil drawings, most of which are based on appropriated photographs. Haendel often works on a large scale, removing the images from their original context and playing with our relationship to familiar images, signs and signifiers.
Haendel’s work is in public collections in the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Modern Art, New York and the Guggenheim Museum, New York.
The prevailing memory of the 2017 Whitney Biennial will likely be the outrage over Dana Schutz’s painting of Emmett Till, but it would be a shame if that overshadowed Pope.L’s strange, complicated, and typically irreverent 2017 work, Claim (Whitney Version). A large, pink-colored cube, the installation was festooned with pieces of bologna, as well as small photographic portraits of what the artist claimed were Jewish people. (“Fortified wine” was also used as a material.) The enigmatic work proves especially complex amidst the current resurgence of identity politics, and in June, it netted the artist the coveted Bucksbaum Award.
The Estate of General Idea (1969-1994) had their first exhibition with the Mitchell-Innes & Nash Gallery on view in Chelsea through January 13, featuring several “ziggurat” paintings from the late 1960s, alongside works on paper, photographs and ephemera that highlight the central importance of the ziggurat form in the rich practice of General Idea.
The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles has acquired Mary Kelly’s archive, which includes various documents related to works the American artist made between 1968 and 2014. Those documents, along with various ephemera and materials, will be catalogued by the institute and then made available to the public.
Monica Bonvicini’s new exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie is an aural invasion. From most parts of the museum, the jangling buckles and leather tails of a 33-foot-long whip, titled Breathing, can be heard hitting the floor and walls. Along with the incessant slamming of a metal door, Bonvicini has crafted a jarring soundscape to house the rest of the museum’s collection of modern art from Berlin.
The importance of the ziggurat to General Idea’s practice cannot be understated. It is a central and repeated symbol in General Idea’s vocabulary, appearing (either implicitly or explicitly) in paintings, drawings, performances, photographs, sculptures, prints, videos and costumes spanning the group’s existence. An ancient Mesopotamian architectural structure of steps leading up to a temple, the ziggurat symbolizes as a link between humans and the gods. The symbol can be found in cultures ranging from Mesopotamia to the Aztec to Navajo Nation. General Idea appropriates this symbol of power and theism, utilizing the form as a framing device to examine questions of branding, architecture and spatial politics.
FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art announces the opening of Press and Professional accreditation and the Triennial's initial group of project highlights, which includes FRONT commissions and exhibitions that will activate unique and unconventional spaces throughout the city of Cleveland. These projects spotlight particular sites, buildings and locations in Cleveland that carry social, cultural or political significance in its history and current reality. In these unique spaces, FRONT artists will unveil a range of projects including site-specific works that engage the city’s rich identity, while allowing a broader contemplation of people and place to both residents and visitors.
Known for their unique approach to things and their meaning, General Idea appropriated the ziggurat as the icon of power and theism, utilizing its form as a framing device to examine questions of architecture, branding and spatial politics.
For them, the ziggurat stands, among other things, as an architectural device which communicates fame, money, success. The first series of Ziggurat paintings were created in 1968-69 by Felix Partz, but the group didn’t return to them until 1986, completing the sketches from the previous period that were never completed.
Gerasimos Floratos is an artist living and working in New York City. His newest exhibition, “Soft Bone Journey,” opens November 21 at Armada in Milan. In 2016 he staged solo exhibitions at White Columns in New York and Pilar Corrias in London. This Consumer Report finds Floratos in London for unspecified reasons. Here, he spends a week drawing, eating takeout, and looking at art, among other activities.
For 12 years, Kelly collected lint from her dryer to make the works, each of which is about ten feet wide. A “light noise” projected on each one appears as a kind of TV static, giving the illusion of movement while providing a nod to the historiographical importance of these three very specific moments in time, made universal by collective memory.
Kelly’s work first gained her both renown and notoriety in the 1970s as she made and expanded upon her Post-Partum Document (1973–79), a project that found her meticulously chronicling the first six years of her son’s life. The work was both an intimate record of a new mother’s unfolding relationship with her baby and an exacting account of the minutiae of childrearing that was, at the time (and still is), primarily a woman’s domain. Through Post-Partum Document, Kelly analyzed and exhibited everything from the child’s language development to the stains left behind in his diapers, revealing the (unpaid) labor, at once tedious and intense, that makes up much of so-called “women’s work.”
Three recent series by the veteran Conceptualist unite the personal and the historical using an unexpected domestic material: compressed dryer lint. “7 Days” re-creates covers of a defunct leftist publication; the jumble of early-nineteen-seventies headlines—“Germaine Greer Talks,” “Miners on Strike”—suggests a spin cycle of history.
The show premieres a film called “The Task,” plus a related installation. “The Task” runs two hours and presents the results of a three-day group relations conference organized by Ledare in Chicago this past spring. It owes its name and structure to the Tavistock Method, an approach pioneered by the British psychoanalyst Wilfred R. Bion, who in the late 1940s began to experiment with the notion that groups are greater than the sum of their parts. The task of a conference is to study group structures by studying itself: how authority is invested in leaders by others, the covert processes in operation, the problems encountered.
But there is a juxtaposition in the exhibition that saves me from the disappointment I’m left with, where Pope L. has interjected one of his text pieces. Most of these pieces by Pope L. are displayed in the entranceways between galleries, and they felt too editorial for me, like comments in the comment section of an online article.
Detroit and its surrounding areas present a case study in urban decline – one that has spurred many artists to work directly with local communities. In Flint, Michigan, for example – a once-thriving industrial city and now a symbol of post-industrial neglect and government corruption – an ongoing crisis over contaminated water has prompted several artist responses.
I had originally developed the lint medium to deal with war crimes. Over time, I thought perhaps it is also suitable for or evocative of the idea of historical memory, and maybe I can make an image, even though I don't generall work with images.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with an interview between AA Bronson and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Formed in Toronto in 1969 by AA Bronson, Felix Partz and Jorge Zontal, General Idea is recognized internationally for work that concerns subjects as the myth of the artist, the relationship between the body and identity, the role of mass media, issues of gender and sexual representation, and famously HIV/AIDS activism at a time when even talking about it was a taboo.
This exhibition, titled “The Practical Past,” is a reminder that Kelly’s work is fundamentally useful and that Post-Partum Document proposed new motherhood and early childhood as firsts in a long series of traumas, extending to the world of political upheavals, to the promise and failure of revolutions past and present.
On view, through bodies of work both new and old, is Lemieux’s timely consideration of the longstanding but increasingly visible political and social divide that’s often characterized between urban and rural Americans. The works identify film as a medium that can uniquely serve as common ground for many populaces; it can transport stories and ideas while often locating reference points for diverse audiences, traversing political bubbles. The films, with their discussions of censorship, pathologization, racism, and class division, resonate today almost as if they aren’t, in fact, decades old.
The exhibition also included six aluminum sculptures of clock hands hung near the gallery's entrance and, in the center of the space, two broad white tables covered with all manner of paraphernalia one might find in a studio, or in a carry-on bag: coins, X-Acto knife blades, scrunchies, gloves, wine glasses, and sleep masks. As she had done in previous work, Ross-Ho played with scale in this arrangement by including exaggeratedly large or miniaturized versions of some of the objects, such as jumbo paper clips and tiny beverage bottles.
Flint Water Project, supported by the Knight Foundation as part of the Knight Arts Challenge and a Kickstarter campaign, came about when What Pipeline invited Pope.L to create a project in Detroit. The Kickstarter page states, “When Pope.L was asked by What Pipeline to do a commission for Detroit, he felt that whatever he did it should not re-victimize the city as had been done too often in the past. What if Detroit could be the hero and come to the rescue of another Midwest city in need?”
The exhibition, titled Ants at a Picknic, which is on view until December 17, 2017, includes a series of new, frenetic large-scale mandala paintings, 17 tabletop painted bronze sculptures and drawings on paper. “The works in Ants at a Picknic make plain that Martinez has hit his stride,” said Dr. Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 director of the Davis Museum and curator of the exhibition. “The cosmic hooks, the summoning of spirits, the virtuoso line, the command of color and composition — it all adds up to its own kind of brilliance.”
Martinez doodles with a Sharpie, then blows up the sketch. The muscularity of his lines echoes his experience as a graffiti artist, and he walks a path between drawing and painting pioneered by Cy Twombly.
The black lines retain the doodle’s nonchalance, but the scale raises the stakes. Martinez fills in, paints over and around with self-effacing colors like avocado green and wan tomato red. He sprays, dabs, smudges and presses paint — his textures agitate, as do his rough, jagged lines. He tacks on bits of cloth. His signature, a bold “EM,” is part of the spiraling game board, too.
“The Practical Past” is a memoir from the artist’s current perspective on her life in the collective spheres she inhabited in the 1960s and ‘70s and their relation to events before and since. Much of this is writing made visual through letters from that time reflecting concerns and worries about how to live the engaged feminist life, These are transposed in digital projections that nonetheless reflect Kelly’s decision to do a kind of cottage-industry piecework. In a slightly mismatched gridded array, the overall text of handwritten correspondence renders originals as multiple iterations. What appears to shade and fade into historicism is also stuff.
Known for colorful paintings that recall midcentury abstraction, Martinez is plastering the Drawing Center with thousands of sketches that he will change throughout the exhibition’s run, a gesture that mimics his practice of keeping a wall in his studio reserved for drawings and studies. The show also includes paintings and large works on paper.
There are about two thousand drawings all told, from idle doodles to sketches for paintings, and the cumulative, very happy effect is of being inside the artist’s brain. The Surrealist technique of automatic drawing meets the chutzpah of a hand that’s been known to tag walls with spray paint. Martinez has been swapping in new works as the show goes along, upping the ante on drawing from life—this is drawing as living.
There is a peculiar, almost shameful, pleasure in visiting Mary Kelly’s laundry room. A pioneer of conceptual art, she is a model of precision in many ways. Her thinking is rigorous, her speech is eloquent, and her small home and studio up in the hills are sparsely and beautifully furnished with choice midcentury pieces.
Artists featured in “Women House” span continents and generations, including Martha Rosler, Claude Cahun, Zanele Muholi, Nazgol Ansarinia, Joana Vasconcelos, Cindy Sherman, and Laurie Simmons. Their work transforms domestic space into a public forum, entwines the female body within architectural design, and explores notions of exile and confinement in socio-spatial terms.
‘Even a stopped clock gives the right time twice a day.’ That stoner koan from the 1987 comedy Withnail & I floated into my mind while looking at Amanda Ross-Ho’s solo show at Mitchell Innes & Nash. Twelve large clock faces, scrawled with colourful brush-marks, and pencilled notes-to-self, line the walls. The dials are missing their hands. These are hung in a forlorn line, each set to half-past six, near the entrance to the show. If the clock faces tell us that time is one subject of Ross-Ho’s show, then the dirty, outsized wine glasses, cups, forks, art materials and tools scattered across two big tables in the centre of the gallery tell us that scale is her other topic.
This summer and autumn, General Idea has posthumous exhibitions at MAMCO, Geneva’s museum of contemporary art, and Mitchell-Innes & Nash in New York. Next spring, Esther Schipper and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin will showcase works by Bronson and his collective, as well those created under his pseudonym ‘JX Williams’. Outside of the gallery and institutional sphere, Bronson is compiling the group’s catalogue raisonné with Fern Bayer and developing a performance project at the Siksika Nation Aboriginal reserve in Canada.
In some regards, size has always mattered to Amanda Ross-Ho. It’s hard to even recall a show of hers in which she hasn’t taken a common object and enlarged it to an uncommon size. In her 2012 show at MOCA’s Pacific Design Center, Teeny Tiny Woman, Ross-Ho even went so far as to create an oversize photo enlarger, underscoring her impressive sense of both scale and formal wit. With several years of practice under her belt since then, however, Ross-Ho’s simple enlargements have seemed to evolve quite considerably, perhaps best exemplified by My Pen is Huge, Ross-Ho’s new exhibition at Mitchell-Innes & Nash, which sees her adding to own work’s discourse by including life size objects alongside her oversized sculptures.
“Eddie Martinez: Studio Wall” at the Drawing Center
Painter Eddie Martinez is never without pen and paper, drawing as he goes about his day and hanging the resulting drawings—created on the subway, at doctors’ appointments, and even at restaurants—on a wall in his Brooklyn studio. The artist will recreate this wall of artwork at Drawing Center, adding new pieces for the duration of the exhibition.
And yet, the "Flint Water Project" cannot be separated from the potential impact it may have outside of the gallery or the homes of individual collectors. Three years after it became widely known, the Flint water crisis is, after all, ongoing, and the human costs are all too real. (The water being bottled and sold at What Pipeline comes from the home of Flint resident Tiantha Williams, whose young son was born prematurely due to complications from her consumption of Flint water during pregnancy.)
Los Angeles-based artist Amanda Ross-Ho has built a career focusing on the studio as locus, metaphor, and container for the creative process. Keeping her interests tethered to this line of inquiry has given her the freedom to cover a swath of art practices including sculpture, painting, photography, installation, and performance. In MY PEN IS HUGE, she gives us a book of hours aimed not at religious devotion but rather devotion to creativity, parsed into minute snippets of time.