Jimmie Durham's wryly humorous sculptures, paintings, and drawings can be seen as the composite self-portrait of a man with a contentious relationship to all ethnic and national identifiers. …Read more
Just as Rachel Dolezal's position at the NAACP did not give her a pass to misidentify herself as African American, neither should Jimmie Durham's work on behalf of Native people be confused with confirmation of his tribal affiliation.…Read more
The fact that I—like so many others—was oblivious to the extraordinary claims of “ethnic fraud” in Durham’s narrative raises troubling questions about who gets to write art history, about the effectiveness of our archives, and about whose voices are ampli…Read more
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Much of Javier Castro's work details everyday situations in the Old Havana blocks where he lives and works.…Read more
Anna K.E. alters the physical experience of her work by guiding her audience to unexpected perspectives.…Read more
Informed by experiences of life in different cities, French-Bosnian artist Maja Bajevic engages with the foundational concepts of modern society, such as gender roles, religious dogma, and the free market, and how these concepts play out in everyday life.…Read more
Norman Lewis’s striking painting America the Beautiful (1960) confronts visitors near the entrance to Tate Modern’s exhibition “Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power.” Initially, the work appears to be an abstract arrangement of craggy white motifs dancing on a black ground, but soon the shapes take on the form of Ku Klux Klan hoods interspersed with white crosses. Lewis’s painting embodies several core dilemmas facing African American artists during the tumultuous period the exhibition spans, from 1963 to 1983. Could black artists legitimately pursue art for art’s sake or did they have a moral obligation to produce art that served the cause of civil rights? Was abstract art capable of speaking to a black audience? Did such a thing as a black aesthetic exist?
“Soul of a Na...Read more
Carmen Neely titled the eight paintings in her first New York solo show after phrases she had recently heard (“Just gotta caress it a little,” “Don’t just hope it!,” “A good fortune can ruin your life”), often in her own conversations. In some instances, she appended the phrases to the paintings mid-production, but in most she used them as points of departure. This use of dialogue from her own life lent the work an intimacy that could have fostered an impression of navel-gazing, particularly given the inward qualities already associated with gestural abstraction, her formal language of choice. Instead, the works are relatable and even openly invite viewers to project their own interpretations.
Neely, who received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro last year, demonstrates a facility with many types o...Read more
Long before the forty-fifth president of the United States rolled out his demonstrably preposterous plan to build a security wall stretching two-thousand-plus miles across the country’s border with Mexico, Postcommodity was investigating that boundary as a site of fantasy and folly. Comprising three collaborators—Raven Chacon, Cristóbal Martínez, and Kade L. Twist—from the Southwestern US, the interdisciplinary collective spent years developing Repellent Fence (2015), a work whose ambitious aim to foster transcultural dialogue is particularly relevant at a moment when the president appears intent on muffling such dialogue for good. The work, the realization of which relied on the support of innumerable public and private collaborators on both sides of the border, consists of a two-mile-long row of giant tethered balloons hovering fi...Read more
The exhibition “Elemental Gestures” at the Kunstmuseum Bern charted the development of Terry Fox’s oeuvre over the course of his career in the United States and Europe, bringing together an extensive selection of his videos, sculptures, drawings, and installations, as well as documentation of his dramatic performative interventions. Fox (1943–2008) was born in Seattle and moved to Rome in the early 1960s to study at the Accademia di Belle Arti. He spent time in Amsterdam mid-decade and in Paris shortly thereafter. His decision to abandon a painting practice and begin producing action-oriented works can be viewed in light of the protests he witnessed in Paris at the end of the decade and his desire to engage more directly with his audience.
In the late 1960s and ’70s, Fox lived in San Francisco, where his peers included Chris Burden and...Read more
Jimmie Durham offers a dialogue for which neither the Native nor the non-Native world is ready.…Read more