Critical Eye: Town and Country

The urban experience in the United States is an increasingly consistent and shared reality.…Read more

In the Studio: Cheryl Donegan

We all have that kind of ouroboros relationship with the digital, with the phone and the touch screen. …Read more

Issues and Commentary: The New Property Regime

The history of copyright shows that a technological fix is not as effective as a social or juridical one. …Read more

What Cave Art Means

It has become a truism in the study and in the public presentation of Paleolithic cave art that we will likely never know what it means.…Read more

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Three of the five large paintings in Vienna-based artist Anna Schachinger’s first New York exhibition (all works 2018) have nearly identical compositions. Measuring roughly six by five feet and rendered in ink, oil, and acrylic on linen, they show two women: one facing the viewer and ironing a piece of cloth, the other tending to a pile of fabric behind her. Painted with dabs of color and some broken, undulating lines, the pile reaches the top of

the image and encircles the ironing woman’s head and upper body as if it were an elaborate headdress or the back of a large throne, endowing her short, stocky figure with a regal quality. Another pair of figures is present in the scene: a nude male running with a female thrown over his shoulder appears in outline on the portion of cloth that hangs over the ironing board’s side. The fluid, linear style of this vignette recalls that found on Classical vessels. The outstretched leg of Schachinger’s male figure reaches beyond the edge of the cloth, making him a kind of floating presence in the ironing room: an apparition, a daydream, a myth. ...

Over the last twenty-five years, Ghada Amer has developed a body of work centered on installations and embroidered paintings exploring women’s self-determination and sexual independence. Born in Egypt in 1963, Amer earned an MFA in painting at the Villa Arson in Nice, France, in 1989 and moved to New York in 1996. In light of the #MeToo movement, her relevance has perhaps never been greater—or her approach more controversial. The current career-

spanning show at the Centre de Création Contemporaine Olivier Debré speaks not only to Amer’s championing of female autonomy but also to debates over personal strategies of empowerment. Does her consistent focus on attractive young women glorying in their own bodies triumphantly transcend male fantasies or merely reinforce them? “The sexual life of adult women is a ‘dark continent’ for psychology,” Freud alleged in The Question of Lay Analysis. Curator Élodie Stroecken adopted “Dark Continent” as the title for the exhibition, evoking the psychological depths of Freud’s women, the interiority of female sexual organs, and Western notions concerning Amer’s home continent. Displayed in an all-black gallery, the paintings on view offer a broad optical spectrum—from figurative to abstract, from monochrome to multicolor, from grid-based to fervently “gestural.” The la...

Shana Moulton’s alter ego Cynthia is back, and she’s still very, very anxious. The star of Moulton’s long-running video and performance series “Whispering Pines” (2002–) suffers from agoraphobia and hypochondria. She turns to self-care. She soaks with bath salts, carries out a synchronized swimming–like floor routine, and demonstrates a full-throated embrace of New Age spiritualities: anything to realign her chakras and cushion the har

sh contours of daily life. The series takes its name from Moulton’s parents’ senior-citizen mobile-home park, which is located on the edge of Yosemite; it all feels very crunchily Californian. This tenth installment was originally conceived as a single-act operatic performance based on Moulton’s video series and was produced in collaboration with composer Nick Hallett. After receiving a grant, the duo adapted the opera for the internet, in the form of an episodic web series. Its first three videos were recently on view at Canada gallery and can be found online (; four more will eventually follow....

The heroically scaled wall-mounted compositions in Elliott Hundley’s exhibition (all works 2018) might initially register as dense painted abstractions. Drawing close to them, however, one sees that they are collages and assemblages teeming with individual images and materials. In Pulse, the microcosm includes a grid of brightly colored squares, each a fragment of an image framed by lengths of colored string affixed with sewing pins. Pins also imp

ale cutout human figures swarming over the work’s surface. Some of these figures (a model from a picture in Robert Mapplethorpe’s Black Book; Laurence Fishburne in The Matrix) were appropriated, while others were taken from original photos by Hundley, including several nude or partially draped men striking a variety of poses, their bodies often streaked with bands of color. The photographs from which these latter fragments were clipped are apparently themselves baroque affairs. Hundley has stated that such figures are friends and family he shoots in ornate tableaux influenced by opera and Classical mythology. Trying to find narrative threads in the final works, however, proves fruitless, and not just because the figures have been plucked out of these tableaux. There is simply too much going on to “read” the compositions in any definitive way. It is best to enjoy their sensual ple...


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Internet Shows, Cave Art, Harald Szeemann, Cheryl Donegan