In the Studio: Stan Douglas

Stan Douglas’s massively scaled images bear the weight that history paintings once did. …Read more

In the Room

Captioning an image is the task of both the photographer and those who preserve the image in perpetuity.…Read more

First Look: B. Ingrid Olson

B. Ingrid Olson's fractured works draw their power from the way they coerce the viewer into the artist’s viewpoint.…Read more

Digressive Sensitivity

No matter what genre Tillman is working in, her style suggests an endlessly unspooling talking cure.…Read more

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Elizabeth Catlett explored themes of race, gender, and class in her prints and sculptures, not only portraying the types of injustices she knew all too well as the granddaughter of slaves but also focusing on strategies of empowerment. Chelsea gallery Burning in Water’s recent exhibition “Elizabeth Catlett: Wake Up in Glory” brought together twelve of her sculptures and two of her prints in an impressive selection spanning 1946 to 2008. Althou

gh the gallery should be commended for assembling this mini retrospective, the venue is exceedingly small, and the works would have been better served by one of the more ample white cubes nearby. Navigating among the tightly arranged plinths, one couldn’t help but think that the situation in general spoke to the way the art world and art history have treated work by black female artists: not allotting it enough space.Catlett was born in Washington, D.C., in 1915 and died in Cuernacava, Mexico, in 2012. She did her undergraduate work at Howard University, after having been accepted to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) but ultimately denied entry because she was black. She was the first African American woman to earn her MFA at the University of Iowa, where she studied under painter Grant Wood. (This past July, the school named a residence hall in her ...

Upon entering Magalie Guérin’s exhibition at Corbett vs. Dempsey, “bunker,” one may have wondered whether the Chicago-based painter’s modestly scaled abstractions were assertive enough for the roomy venue. The eight paintings and nine drawings (all 2017) were nearly dwarfed by long stretches of wall space. The drawings, which hung in a row to the left, appeared at a distance to be a dull collection of graphite whispers. Further investigatio

n proved how thoroughly wrong such initial impressions were. In the drawings, for instance, Guérin’s mark-making is richly varied, joining subdued passages of cross-hatching in fine, soft pencil with bolder thatched areas and portions carved out with an eraser. Jet-black lines appear in different configurations: here a structuring grid, there a spiking zigzag. In Untitled (D1620-2017-10) bold pencil strokes laid in a basket-weave pattern hold down the lower register of the drawing, while ghostly frottaged circles float above. Guérin produces patterns not only through relief rubbings but also through hand drawing, and it can be tricky to determine which components she made by which method....

Contemporary music, like dance, has often been created in collaboration with its performers; composers have conveyed their ideas through a mix of graphic notations and verbal instructions. A historical performance can be re-created with a good degree of accuracy if both a score and a recording survive. If only one or the other is available, then performers can take some interpretive liberties. If neither exists, the work is gone.These are the condit

ions that those interested in the work of Julius Eastman (1940–1990) must contend with. A prodigious talent as a pianist and singer, Eastman studied composition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, wrote for and played with the renowned SEM Ensemble at the University of Buffalo, and was active in New York’s performance scene in the late 1970s and early ’80s. But when he was evicted from his East Village apartment in 1982, many of his scores were discarded. The traces of his life and work are scattered across institutions and among family, friends, and collaborators. Major efforts have been made to recover his output in the last fifteen years: Unjust Malaise, a three-disc set of recordings, was released in 2005, and Gay Guerrilla, a collection of essays about his work, came out in 2015. As a resident at the Philadelphia music nonprofit Bowerbird in 2014, filmmaker Tiona...

A haunting melody fills the fourth floor of the New Museum. A mix of ambient electronica and Greek folk music called rebetiko, the track accompanies a video projected in a corner. On the screen, figures dressed uniformly in colorful hooded trench coats run down an empty street in Athens. They start in tight formation. The red, white, and blue stripes spray-painted on the backs of the coats create a horizon that disintegrates as they charge away from

the camera. A grainy, slow-motion video, Manolis D. Lemos’s dusk and dawn look just the same (riot tourism), 2017, suggests the start of a political demonstration or street fight, both of which are common in the crisis-stricken city. But who are these figures and where are they going? Those questions are never answered in the short video. Instead the viewer is left with imagery that is beautiful but foreboding and ambiguous. The same could be said for many of the other works in the fourth New Museum Triennial, “Songs for Sabotage.”...


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