The revelatory retrospective of Martin Wong at the Bronx Museum focuses on his painting at the expense of his poetry. Language is all over his paintings, from graffiti to inscriptions to sentences spelled out by pudgy hands forming the letters of the American Sign Language alphabet. Wong put little of his own writing in his mature work. "Voices," an exhibition at P.P.O.W Gallery on view through Saturday, makes up for that omission, and offers insights into how the ear and the voice of his later paintings came to be....Read more
A.i.A. editors suggest a few of the myriad events in Los Angeles this week: a performance of wound-licking dogs at Baik Art; a screening of reconstructed Bauhaus dances at Otis College; a program of early Phill Niblock films presented by Los Angeles Filmf…Read more
by Wendy Vogel
Betty Tompkins is no stranger to controversy. The 70-year-old artist started making her "Fuck Paintings"—large-scale photorealistic renderings of vaginal penetration—in 1969. Now, several examples from Tompkins's iconic series are on view in "Black She…Read more
The Chinese-American artist Martin Wong (1945-1999) celebrated both his cultural heritage and New York's gritty Lower East Side in paintings rife with firemen, convicts, pop icons, graffitied walls and ASL hand signs.…Read more
In Cheryl Donegan's New Museum exhibition "Scenes + Commercials", curators Johanna Burton and Sara O'Keeffe consider the artist's video work and so much more. The show serves as the debut of Donegan's DIY fashion line called EXTRA LAYER, created with P…Read more
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Reanimating the news, remembering the 1970s, surviving surveillance…Read more
In a two-channel video installation in MoMA PS1's "Greater New York," Sondra Perry, a Columbia University-trained artist now in residence at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, explores domestic rituals—some traditionally African-American, some newly contri…Read more
Artists' fiercely outrageous, often politically charged public actions galvanized the Russian cultural scene in the 1990s. Today, organizations like the private V-A-C Foundation seek to alter the urban fabric—both physical and social—in subtler, more perv…Read more
Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford went to CalArts in the ’90s, but he never embraced the kind of anti-aesthetic conceptualism that is the school’s signature. Instead, he found success through what he calls “social abstraction,” creating dazzling mixed-medium paintings by layering and subsequently excavating paint, paper and detritus sourced from his urban environment. So it was unexpected to see his first solo show at Hauser & Wirth’s Chelsea branch framed by two videos, one of which levels a site-specific critique—albeit a gentle one—at the gallery’s choice of location, a former roller disco and gay club called The Roxy.
Deimos (all works 2015), a one-and-a-half minute video projected stereoscopically across the length of an enormous wall, formed the introduction to the exhibition, titled &ldq...Read more
This retrospective of African-American painter Archibald J. Motley Jr. was the first in over 20 years as well as one of the first traveling exhibitions to grace the Whitney Museum’s new galleries, where it concluded a national tour that began at Duke University’s Nasher Museum of Art. Motley was one of the greatest painters associated with the Harlem Renaissance, the broad cultural movement that extended far beyond the Manhattan neighborhood for which it was named. Motley was born in New Orleans in 1891, and spent most of his life in Chicago.
Influenced by Symbolism, Fauvism and Expressionism and trained at the Art Institute of Chicago, Motley developed a style characterized by dark and tonal yet saturated and resonant colors. His paintings do not illustrate so much as exude the pleasures and sorrows of urban, Northern blacks from the 1920s to the 1940s. His fig...Read more
What are the classificatory criteria we use to distinguish celebrities from politicos, the orbit of Hollywood’s heavenly bodies from the operations of elected officials on the ground? Or Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger from Angelyne the L.A. Billboard Queen, all entertainment personalities who made gubernatorial bids in California? Why did only the first two win the vote? Kathryn Andrews’s “Run for President” organizes itself around such questions, suggesting that the answers have much to do with the coordinates of race, gender and sexuality on which we map these distinctions and thereby determine legitimacy in the political field. Throughout the exhibition, she deftly traces a visual history of the intersections of electoral politics, media and mass spectacle.
Placing unlikely interlocutors from the archives of Hollywood and A...Read more
Carolee Schneemann (b. 1939) keeps insisting that she is a painter and is even quoted in the catalogue of this retrospective as saying, in 1993, that she will die a painter. Still, when mentioned, she is usually identified as one of the most influential feminist performance artists of her time. With Interior Scroll (1975/77), she went down in art history for painting large strokes on her naked body and then extracting a text from her vagina as she read from it. Another benchmark is the film Fuses (1964-67), showing the artist and James Tenney (a musician and composer and her partner at the time) having sex. Shot over the course of several years, mostly from her cat’s point of view, the 18-minute film not only is erotic and self-aware, but also investigates celluloid through collagelike editing and physical manipulations, such as burning and scratching the fo...Read more
by Sue Taylor
In our September 2011 issue, art historian Sue Taylor tackled the subject of Malvina Hoffman's infamous Field Museum bronzes in a book review of Marianne Kinkel's Races of Mankind: The Sculptures of Malvina Hoffman.…Read more