Gut Renovation

Matta-Clark often used the term “anarchitecture” to express his approach to the built environment.…Read more

In the Studio: Allen Ruppersberg

From the start, Ruppersberg has turned banality inside out, mining the heady mystery of the obvious.…Read more

Issues and Commentary: Attraction Pricing

Institutions that open their doors free of charge now seem not premonitions of a democratic world to come but relics of a bygone age. …Read more

Issues and Commentary: Here to Stay

Here to Stay and the protests against Fast’s show continue a lively lineage of Chinatown-based artistic activism.…Read more

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Biennials usually balance works from and about disparate places with site-specific projects and gestures toward local culture, often by local artists. As a site for such a show, New Orleans poses a particular problem, laden as it is with tradition and myth. It’s called North America’s most African city, its most European city, its most Caribbean city. It’s the “Gateway to the Americas.” It’s Catholic and carnivalesque. Its color could ea

sily overwhelm the bland, flat globalism of the standard international exhibition. But curator Trevor Schoonmaker has risen to the challenge with Prospect.4, the current edition of the New Orleans triennial, titled “A Lotus Despite the Swamp.” With seventy-three artists and duos showing at seventeen venues, the show nods to both tourist-brochure boasts and the art world’s global purview in a way that invigorates them, by reanimating histories of trade and exploitation, fusion and exchange....

“Disney on acid” may be the best descriptor for the eight paintings in Berlin-based Stefanie Heinze’s first exhibition in the United States. In the works (all 2017), abstracted cartoonish forms float on backgrounds rendered in mostly bright or pastel hues. Mickey Mouse noses emerge from the chaos, as does a Dumbo-esque head, suggesting that the show’s title, “Food for the Young (Oozing Out),” had two meanings. While the paintings do depi

ct forms resembling edible items (potatoes, a hamburger, a slice of Swiss cheese), they also seem meant as a commentary on the consumption of visual media. They turn the movies we “feed” children into nightmarish scenes. Heinze seems preoccupied with the corporeal. Eyeballs, tongues, breasts, fingers, and lips punctuate the images. In Cephalopod (Silken Touch), seven legs appear to emerge from a thick-lipped mouth whose crooked teeth chomp down on them. The motif, suggesting a sexualized marine creature, hovers against a background of light blue with inky black splotches. Heinze’s title is again clever: “silken touch” is the sort of gauzy phrase that could be used to brand any number of commercial products. It’s the name of a current line of house paint, for instance, and has been used in the past by various pantyhose companies. Indeed, the paint here is flat and even, as it ...

With their dusky sunset and sunrise palettes and their landscape-evoking forms, the paintings in the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive’s small-scale retrospective of work by Miyoko Ito (1918–1983) could very well have been used as cover art for Brian Eno’s ambient releases from the 1970s. Like those albums, Ito’s paintings offer restrained compositions that are diffusely atmospheric and generically pretty when encountered in passi

ng but highly absorbing when given closer attention.Guest curator Jordan Stein brought together twelve canvases spanning the years 1959 to 1983 in a sensitive arrangement that highlighted the Berkeley-born artist’s remarkable color sense and traced the development of her fantastic approach to figurative abstraction. Ito’s paintings are landscapes in only the loosest sense, as suggestive of sparsely dressed psychic interiors as they are of mountains or inlets. Ito employed forms resembling, variably, rods, tongues, clouds, and curtains, creating nested or stacked arrangements. Frequently, she incorporated scenic openings that, as with the trope of a window within a painting, create a sense of distance. In Oracle (1967–68), an orange cloud contains a boxlike form inset with a design recalling herringbone parquetry. The upper half of Tabled Presence (1971) features a proscenium of sor...

In “Fat Cat Came to Play,” Troy Michie explored the cultural significance of the zoot suit: the broad-shouldered, often striped suit that was popular with black, Italian, and Latino men in the United States in the 1940s. Central to the garment’s history are the Zoot Suit Riots, a 1943 wave of racially motivated violence in Los Angeles that began when white servicemen attacked a group of Mexican American zoot suiters. The exhibition included fo

urteen works, the majority of which were elegant, wall-mounted assemblages featuring bold pieces of solid-colored material, advertisements, and newspaper clippings against variegated black-and-white backgrounds. Pull a Comb through Your Coal Black Hair (2017) encapsulated the main themes and formal preoccupations of the work. The five-foot-high assemblage contains three components that immediately draw the eye: a yellow-painted section of a men’s button-down shirt, a semicircle of fuchsia fabric embellished with thick white rope, and a flat piece of green-painted wood with a cutout in the shape of a dress shoe. Looking more closely, one notices a portion of a poster for the 1981 film Zoot Suit in the background, as well as a small black-and-white photograph showing three light-skinned women of color. Michie often uses photographic material to disrupt modernist tropes in his work and t...


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