Room of One’s Own: Donna Dennis and Downtown’s Vanishing Lofts

An organizer and advocate for the Loft Law to protect residents of former commercial spaces, artist Donna Dennis has spent decades fighting to keep her home and studio on Duane Street.…Read more

Issues & Commentary: Organizing the Museum

The successful campaign by New Museum employees to affiliate with Local 2110 is but one in a bevy of recent efforts on the part of highly educated, skilled workers to form collective bargaining units at workplaces not traditionally associated with unions.…Read more

Moving the Middle

Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange Across Medieval Saharan Africa” is both a general and a highly specific survey, featuring more than 250 objects from West Africa, the Middle East, and Europe, dating from the eighth to sixteenth centuries.…Read more

First Look: Sadie Barnette

For the sculptures in “Phone Home,” her solo exhibition now on view at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco, Sadie Barnette takes familiar household items and transforms them with glamour. …Read more

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Savannah Knoop’s first solo exhibition centered on a video delving into the clientele of the East Tenth Street Russian and Turkish Baths, which the artist considers to be a kind of chosen community. Over the past four years, with an all-queer film crew, Knoop, who uses the pronoun “they,” shot and edited footage of regulars at the East Village spa, a motley group that includes Russian immigrants, mixed-martial-arts fighters, and avant-garde ar

tists, among others. The resulting work, Screens: A Project About “Community” (2016–19), was housed in a wooden viewing booth at the back of the gallery. Based on the design of a sauna, the structure accommodated two people at a time. The exhibition explored themes of social belonging and the negotiation of public identity, concerns that can be linked to a particular episode in the artist’s life. In the late ’90s, as an eighteen-year-old, Knoop became the face of J.T. LeRoy, an authorial persona invented by Knoop’s sister-in-law, Laura Albert. LeRoy’s novels, which supposedly described his life as a gender-fluid teenage prostitute, became cult favorites of New York intellectuals and Hollywood celebrities alike. Through letters and telephone calls, “LeRoy” befriended figures like Dennis Cooper, Winona Ryder, and Asia Argento, who directed a film based on one of ...

Chanel Chiffon Thomas’s exhibition at Goldfinch, “Fractured Reality,” featured eight bold assemblages in which thick sinews of embroidery are joined with found fabric, painted canvas, and other mediums to create portraits and genre scenes. Based on her personal archive of family photographs, the works depict figures primarily engaged in mundane moments of interaction in domestic interiors: a woman barbering a young man, for instance, or a man

and child sitting at a kitchen table.Despite Thomas’s use of a homey medium and the intimacy of her source material, the results are utterly unsentimental. This is partly an effect of her unconventional technique: she works lengths of embroidery floss through pieces of screen door mesh, creating thick, fibrous layers that simultaneously delineate and engulf her figures. Often, the figures seem to merge with their surroundings, as in the aforementioned kitchen scene, RRR (Reaffirm, Refine, Resourcefully), 2018, where the man’s shirt blends in with the wall behind him. A tender image of a sleeping father and baby, A New Dad (2017), turns menacing, as the pair appears to sink into a jagged sea of blue and white stitches. ...

In the eleven photographs included in Rachel Granofsky’s exhibition “House Hunting,” quotidian objects like bedroom mirrors, ragged curtains, and cardboard boxes morph into visual puzzles that are nearly impossible to parse. Though the images at first appear to be the results of extensive postproduction editing, they in fact record optical illusions that Granofsky meticulously constructed in her studio by directly applying materials like paint

, tape, and contact paper to the space’s architectural surfaces and to various props and furnishings.Some works show isolated objects: Pawn (2014), for instance, features a milk carton turned into a marble bust, while Aeron (Rococo), 2017, depicts an Aeron desk chair seemingly superimposed over a gilded and embroidered eighteenth-century counterpart. Others have more elaborate, even prankish, compositions that conflate figures with their surroundings. In Bowl Sink (2017), a person appears to urinate from a faucet, while the placement of the figures in Madonna and Child (2015) against a piece of pink quilted mattress upholstery wryly nods to the Immaculate Conception....

At first, the ten small oil paintings on jute in Jennifer J. Lee’s exhibition “Day Trip” seemed entirely random in subject matter. What, for instance, does a mandala of spiraling pink turkey wings have to do with scenes of ocean waves? But the various juxtapositions created a stoned kind of logic. The poultry parts began to resemble legs on a beach, perhaps, their skin dimpled by a sudden chill. Nearby, a painting showing angled stacks of plas

tic chairs—Stacked Chairs (2018)—brought this narrative into backyard barbeque territory. The trippy vibe continued with Tubas (2018), where a grouping of the title instruments hypnotizes with its gleaming surfaces, and with Dandelions (2017), an especially exciting work hung in a hallway. The colors in this latter painting stand in vivid contrast to the muted palette of the other scenes—the effect is intoxicating. Two dandelions bleed red and blue from their sides, as if you’re hallucinating, or as if this were an image meant to be viewed with 3D glasses or were a badly aligned offset print. More colorful flora is found in Standing Flowers (2018), in which an arrangement of purplish buds and scattered sunflowers is set against a neutral-colored corner of a room to striking effect. Adorned with a satiny violet rosette, the arrangement suggests acknowledgment of some kind of even...


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Cecilia Vicuña, Franz West, Medieval Africa, Pia Camil, Fascist culture