Archives for November 2016
A Tribe Called Quest just dropped their first album in 18 years, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Released mere days after the Great Debacle of 2016, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service is remarkably, if not thrillingly present tense. Wholly animate in both sound and vision, it is a record that is also uniquely relevant — as much for being in essential response to the angst and rancor of the day as it is for inspiring, as good art tends to do, a requisite spark that might yet ignite conscientious action in the days and months ahead.
Theirs, with this exceptional release, is the resounding shot of this new cycle, and it is one which heralds little quarter. Straight-in they reject a presidential promise that unblushingly assures “all you Black folks, you must go / all you Mexicans, you must go / all you poor folks, you must go / Muslims and gays…” The vitriol, borne high on foul national sentiments, amounts to a kind-of maniacal voodoo, to use their image, and they counter the venom with their own dream serum of living in a world inclusive of all, one without division “no matter the skin tone, culture or time zone.” We are long on a grim horizon from there, but in the storm that is surely in approach, “young leaders will rise / in the eyes of despair and adversity.”
Whatever Will Be
Reviewed by John Biscello
“To be human is to transform; to be human is to name, then name anew. I must remember the inseparable nature of word and action.” Erin Currier, 6 November, 2004 [Read more…]
New Museum, NYC
The New Museum’s three-floor exhibition, Pixel Forest, from Swiss artist Pipilotti Rist, is an immersive wonder. If you’re looking for an enchanting, into-the-wilds experience where you can literally lie around — beds and floor cushions are in plenty — then this is the show for you.
Look out Lucinda. The heir to blistering Americana is honing her craft and unleashing some heat on LA’s pulsing musical fringe, known otherwise as its de facto center. New Zealand-born, Los Angeles-based Jackie Bristow sculpts out some distinctive terrain with the formative blade of her exemplary band and the clement heart of her winsome songcraft. [Read more…]
The walls of 14th Street-Union Square subway station in New York City are tiling with Post-it notes in response to the recent election, with sentiments ranging from “This is the end of Democracy: Fuck Trump,” to “It’s not the end of the world, it’s time to take action,” to “More Love.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, whom we are to believe was just “passing through,” attached his own soft-footed missive to the mix, which says: [Read more…]
The following day on the skyline to the south they saw clouds of dust that lay across the earth for miles. They rode on, watching the dust until it began to near and the captain raised his hand for a halt and took from his saddlebag his old brass cavalry telescope and uncoupled it and swept it slowly over the land. The sergeant sat his horse beside him and after a while the captain handed him the glass. [Read more…]
The appropriately titled Curtains, Eileen Quinlan’s spare exhibition at Miguel Abreu, unsettles in ways few shows dare. The 24 black-and-white prints, all gelatin silver, communicate a spirit that is both cryptic and choleric. They dampen, these images, as in deaden. They silence. One feels in their presence as if having stepped into the afterings of a wake, casket still open, all guests gone. Something yet lingers. [Read more…]
The press release for Ascension describes an exhibition where “fragmentation abounds in multitudinous ‘selves’, highlighting large-scale interactions between national and, arguably, mystical realms.”
Moving through the Rox Gallery’s two-level group show, however, my impression was that the artists in the gallery’s meandering lower level were engaged in a far more interesting and urgent discussion about a virulent kind of masculinity that is proving to be not just failed but fatal to the longterm existence of our species. [Read more…]
I’ve not been to a wax museum but I can imagine the Frankenstein on display might look something like Corpus Americus, the new group exhibition at Driscoll Babcock. Then again, the better analogy might be in the source material itself, in Shelly’s nameless creature who to this day stalks the starless wilds of our imaginations. For beneath the patchwork of skins stitched loosely into an ungainly whole, there is indeed something alive at the heart of Corpus Americus.
The animating strike is the question, “what does it mean to be an American today,” an idea that resides as much in abstract notions of America as in a chimeric Americana, those fabled high periods of yore. America today is a country far downwind from those onetime peaks, and in the lowlands things have begun to smell a bit foul. The stench no doubt lifts from the Corpse Politicus, our national institution that’s been so supremely bungled by the very leaders we entrusted with its care. [Read more…]
Vincent Desiderio is perhaps settling too comfortably into the role of master. Long considered one of the more skilled and thoughtful painters of our generation, his impressive 2011 showing at New York’s Marlborough put him amongst our best. The exhibition remains a peak moment in Desiderio’s career, where decades of discipline, contemplation, experimentation and deliberate execution came together in an inspired and powerful grouping. His Mourning and Fecundity II, I liberati, and Sink are contemporary masterworks, while few else in the series fell exceedingly short. The collection spoke of an artist in that perfect present tense, aware as much of a considered audience as in the assured lead of his own explorative hand. The best of these paintings hung with a consciousness above craft, their ranging stories both lucid and open. You do not stand in front of Morning and Fecundity II without wending imaginatively through the grave hours prior, nor is it possible to stave away the nearer end. The effect, long one of the great pleasures in Desiderio’s work, is a movement within and beyond the canvas that feels wholly cinematic.
Little of that movement exists in the new collection now on view at Marlborough. And though the theme of this series is “reification,” which suggests a solidification that might intend a termination of movement in the technical narrative as well, too many of these paintings nevertheless feel inert beyond the theme, which should not preclude a heartbeat.
Two works in particular highlight the contrast. [Read more…]