Critical Eye: Art in the Age of Sexual Disruption

The clash between entrenched patriarchal attitudes and the newly awakened #MeToo consciousness found some striking counterparts in New York exhibitions such as Monika Fabijanska’s “The Un-Heroic Act: Representations of Rape in Contemporary Women’s Art in the U.S.," which represented three generations of women artists whose works are variously reportorial, poetic, activist, and contemplative. ...Read more
NEWS

Hollow Laughter: Vanessa Place’s Rape Jokes

It would be wrong to reduce the problem of this book to “taste,” which might imply that the failure here is primarily an aesthetic one.…Read more
NEWS

Land Studies: Ecocriticism at the Princeton University Art Museum

The ecocritical gaze draws the eye toward latent environmental aspects that have not been explicitly addressed previously, telling a different story about American art.…Read more
MAGAZINES

Your Face Tomorrow

Dragonfly Eyes (2017), the first feature film by the celebrated Chinese artist Xu Bing, grapples with China's extensive surveillance infrastructure, which is transforming not just daily life but also the filmmaking process.…Read more
MAGAZINES

The Dubai Effect

They say that museums are where art goes to die. But it might be more apt to say that of storage facilities—from an artist’s bedroom closet to multibillion-dollar freeports found chiefly in Geneva, Zurich, Luxembourg, Monaco, Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore.…Read more

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Reviews

This exhibition started with curator Regina Tattersfield’s realization that the available material on art made in Mexico using Super 8 film all but excluded women artists. This prompted her to travel with a moviola—a device that allows one to watch 8mm films without projecting them, reducing the risk of damaging them—digging up cartridges from libraries, archives, and artists’ personal collections to explore the ways women have used Super 8

since it first arrived in Latin America in the late 1960s. The result is a show spanning five decades that includes works by twenty artists from Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, and Argentina. The first gallery presents viewers with documentation from the ’60s and ’70s, an era in which Super 8 was wildly popular and the feminist movement arose in the Americas. The interviews, black-and-white photos, posters, and publications evoke the artist-led discussions around the role of women in society that were happening at the time. This room also houses Marta Minujín’s Nido de Hornero (Hornero Bird Nest, 1976/2015/2018), an ovenlike adobe structure that one can walk into to watch two versions of her 1976 film Autogeografía (Autogeography); in both, she sits atop a white sheet wearing mirrored sunglasses, smiling as unseen hands bury her in dirt. ...

Kayode Ojo’s sculptures feature glimmering objects placed atop mirrored or chrome pedestals, like jewelry at Barney’s. When I first saw these prismatic displays on Instagram, I suspected they were perhaps too beautiful, their seductive techniques rendering any potential critique of the market moot. The materials, however, are not as expensive as they may sometimes appear. Ojo shops for them online and like the consumer population at large—whos

e class anxiety drives the market for fast fashion and affordable home design—seeks out inexpensive things that look high-end. One work features what the checklist calls a “Mirrored Pyramid Living Room Accent Side/End Table.” I found it on sale on Target.com for $44.99. Haim Steinbach said in a 1986 roundtable organized by Flash Art that the artist-shopper must take on, simultaneously, the perspective of the general consumer to whom the commodity is marketed and that of the more detached critic. In performing a kind of drag version of the aspirational middle-class consumer, Ojo adopts the behaviors of a demographic that many in the art world might look down on. And yet, when his components are assembled into works displayed in a gallery (and shown in photographs online), they are alchemically transformed into more convincingly luxe objects. While the effect is ironic, it’s not th...

Rina Banerjee’s midcareer retrospective at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), “Make Me a Summary of the World,” feels like a serendipitous pairing of an artist’s corpus and an exhibition space—even though Banerjee’s sculptural installations, brimming with sundry “exotic” materials, were in fact made to be site-specific elsewhere. The show gathers over two dozen such pieces, including those she created for the 2000 Whit

ney Biennial in New York and the 2017 Prospect New Orleans, alongside works on paper and two early videos.The exhibition is distributed throughout PAFA’s historic American wing, a neo-gothic structure, where Banerjee’s installations disrupt—in welcome ways—the surrounding artworks and architecture. It is jarring, for example, to look through an archway bracketed by two monumental portraits of George Washington and see The promise of self rule . . . (2008), a work in which a parasol with only a quarter of its paper remaining is attached to a Victorian-era chair from which hangs a length of mesh netting festooned with feather fans and one curled cow horn. The seat of the chair is ringed with pink lanterns, and a trickle of glass beads sways beneath the feathers, conjuring the grandeur of chandeliers. Across the hall, near a nineteenth-century painting of American colonists encounte...

Gray Foy (1922–2012) is scarcely known today but should be part of the canon of midcentury American art. In the 1940s and ’50s, he was recognized as a refined practitioner of the US offshoots of Surrealism and, more specifically, Magic Realism. He shares a sensibility with artists such as Peter Blume, Ivan Albright, Paul Cadmus, and Pavel Tchelitchew, who were also considered Magic Realists and with whom he often showed at the time. This recent

exhibition, curated by Foy biographer Don Quaintance and comprising thirty-one works spanning 1941 to 1975, focused on his most significant achievement—an expansive body of finely wrought drawings. Born in Dallas, Foy was raised by his mother in Los Angeles after his parents divorced when he was three. He studied art at Los Angeles City College and gravitated to theater set design, inspired in part by Eugene Berman’s work in that field. By the late 1940s, living in New York, Foy had established a modest career as a designer of book and album covers. His earliest “fine art” drawings in the show suggested a rather personal, psychosexual exploration. Their infinite spaces and eroticized imagery recall those in early works by Salvador Dalí and Max Ernst. Exquisite, uncanny examples like Untitled (Interior with Distorted Figures and Armoire) and Untitled (Interior with Morphing Figu...

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