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This heart-rending issue follows seventy printings of Quaranzine, a daily one-page zine that Public Collectors has published on a Risograph printer in Marc Fischer’s basement here in Chicago during the worldwide pandemic. It’s a substantial labor of love and commitment to community.

Pamela Jorden: Reflector

Reflector comprises five, large-scale oil-on-linen paintings. They are variously shaped, and consist of two interrelated parts, like bodies embracing whilst moving through space, easily bringing to mind an improvised dance—figures in motion, relating, communicating, combining.

News From Prescient Yesterdays

Ayo Akingbade’s trilogy No News Today made me reconsider the ways in which living situations are deeply intertwined with various forms of wellness, a topic that has taken on increasing weight during pandemic times.

Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?

The core of the YBCA’s census awareness program was and still is a group exhibition titled Come to Your Census: Who Counts in America?, in which more than 20 artists, mostly from the Bay Area, could exhibit their work on citizenship and civic presence, supported by workshops and performances in line with the organization’s multidisciplinary program.

Painting the Essential

Chris Martin has brought together fifteen painters, including himself, that are united by time—the eighties—and place—downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn—but resolutely different in style. This is a marvelous show that summarizes the American artistic sensibility of our times: a house decidedly divided against itself.

Nari Ward and Robin Rhode: Power Wall

Extrapolating from American poet Robert Frost’s iconic reflection “Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,” we see in Power Wall both the brute reality of the wall and its much-loved qualities. Something in the work of both Robin Rhode and Nari Ward invites us to see the wall as so many things: barrier, writing surface, canvas, community center, basketball court, dance floor, and even decorative backdrop.

Reza Shafahi: Pomegranate Garden

I sit on a thin carpet laid on a wooden floor smoking and gazing up at colorful drawings of people and animals. There are no children; the figures are mature humans whose eyes and mouths are open conduits of pleasure. Perhaps the subjects are depictions of specific people, but they feel like expressions or metaphors of emotional conditions in a world boiled down to experiences of joy, laughter, and contentment.

Public Images

Public Images, a virtual exhibition now on view on the website of New York gallery Carriage Trade, a space that often interrogates big social and political issues, bursts precisely this “frictionless” conception of city-dwelling, exposing it as the ultimate illusion.

Karla Knight: Notes from the Lightship

Karla Knight is interested in conveying an extraterrestrial symbolism that is informed by both canonical modernism and outsider art. She is a trained contemporary artist, with a degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, whose father was the author of books which dealt with UFOs and extrasensory perception.

AP: Assembled Personalities

Musing on the accumulative, highly malleable nature of individual and social identity, the works in the Kadist Video Library’s most recent online “episode,” AP: Assembled Personalities, provide a trenchant framework through which we may examine the confluence of material and virtual practices that define our current reality.

The Art of Daily Living

Lodged within the contours of daily life and hidden between its repetitive rhythms are moments of exaltation, potential conduits to transcendence rooted in the ordinary rather than the astounding. Our attention to the trivial proceedings of life, as Andrew Epstein observed in his 2016 study of everyday poetics, Attention Equals Life, constitutes an ethical move—one that gives meaning to the mundane and in so doing, makes artists of us all.

Ana Mendieta & Carolee Schneemann: Irrigation Veins

Co-presented by P.P.O.W. Gallery and Galerie Lelong & Co., Irrigation Veins pairs Ana Mendieta’s work with Carolee Schneemann’s, a concept that was proposed by Schneemann herself in the last year of her life. This is the first time that the artists have been put in direct dialogue with one another in a two-person show.

Allan McCollum: Early Works

McCollum approaches multiplicity and diversity with a gentle omniscient hand that both demands that we examine each and every object with a fresh eye, but also, through his presentation, quells the inevitable rising panic of the human psyche in the presence of infinity.

Saul Steinberg: Imagined Interiors

The intimate drawings in this virtual show, astutely curated by Michaëla Mohrmann, associate curatorial director at Pace, take viewers on a charming, witty, ironic, and droll perambulation through the landscape of Saul Steinberg’s mind.

Rashid Johnson: Untitled Anxious Red Drawings

These are frantic times defined by uncertainty, emergency, and dread. Worse, there is seldom space for anything else. Johnson ’s drawings capture these heightened emotional states, but instead of producing catharsis, they keep viewers hanging in the air.

Alberto Alejandro Rodríguez: Destruktion

The exhibition title, a term used by Heidegger, made its way to Alejandro Rodríguez via the writings of Derrida, whose famed attention to the play of binary oppositions plays a role in the artwork: here, we find such an oscillation between absence and presence. Above all, Alejandro Rodríguez’s project is invested in the imagination of ruin, exploring how images of destruction are constructed.

Sam Lavigne and Tega Brain: New York Apartment

In its sparest incarnations, in new developments and renos, all we see are the sanitized appeasement of rented furniture, stock art, and stainless steel appliances. In this way, New York Apartment evokes the disturbing logic of gentrification in what its pictures hide: the displaced.

Brandon Ndife: MY ZONE

Even as it feels like a representation for the mass decay we experience, it is also, if only accidentally, a preservation of a time when decay still felt like a metaphor or imaginative exercise.

Alice Momm: The Gleaner’s Song

Momm’s artistic practice—which blends poetry, sculpture from found materials, and photographs of nature—delights in revaluation and recycling.

Brandon Ndife: MY ZONE

Ndife lures us into examining these bizarre hybrids, which evince a process that simultaneously involves decomposition and growth. A mysterious form of allegorical and biological change emerges as the protagonist of this show, with each sculpture testifying to its strange presence.

Stephen Kaltenbach: The Beginning and The End

Stephen Kaltenbach’s story is framed by hereafters. He comes and goes, came and went, reappeared to prove he never left. Fitting that the hereafter is a euphemism for something unending—Kaltenbach is always in the ether of contemporary art.

Theresa Bloise and George Boorujy: Messenger

Messenger does not in and of itself repair the environment, but as it poses the future as an unanswered question—left blank in Boorujy’s voids and given one possible vision in Bloise’s landscapes—it offers a space for rethinking and re-feeling our ethical relationship to our shared Earth.

Flânerie in the Time of Corona

Born on Long Island in the 1960s, Fitzpatrick has somehow retained an unconditional enthusiasm for the simple textures of the world, a tendency that usually disappears with the onset of adulthood.

The Dream Had Me

As COVID-19 restrictions continue, finding art that can be fully experienced while ensconced at home requires diligence. Earlid, an online audio gallery developed and curated by Joan Schuman, presents work that lives as comfortably online as anywhere else.

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art, 1972–1985

With Pleasure: Pattern and Decoration in American Art 1972–1985 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles presents an affirmative and celebratory survey of a less-studied yet deeply influential movement that presents a historical background for some of the trends we see in contemporary art today.

How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This?

Co-curated by Barbara Pollack and Anne Verhallen as a platform for the exchange of art and ideas at a time of crisis, How Can We Think of Art at a Time Like This? is an exhibition without walls, created almost overnight to respond to museum and galleries’ closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a platform for free expression, inviting visitors to post responses on its Comments page.

Candice Breitz: Too Long, Didn’t Read

There are issues with the presentation, and over 35 hours of footage is daunting, but it is a worthy attempt to highlight the committed work of this important Berlin-based White South African artist, despite the regrettable loss of an impressive slate of public programs that the museum had scheduled around the social themes of these films: mainly the refugee crisis and the criminalization of sex work.

Michael Williams: Opening

Michael Williams was among the unlucky artists who had a solo show shuttered when New York went into lockdown in mid-March. On view for only two weeks, his exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in Chelsea featured 11 large paintings and five small collages. While these works are now accessible on the internet, this isn’t an ideal way to view them—partly because of the way they were made, and partly because his installation was integral to how you respond to his art.

Sindy Lutz: Seascapes

Crayon and graphite on paper allows Lutz to direct our eyes to very specific cues: cloud shape, the color of the sky, and the relative placidity or querulousness of weather and water are all communicated by details of mark‐making.

Cortney Andrews: I See You

The show was created before the pandemic but feels particularly prescient. A current of surveillance and confinement—the windowless warehouse, the proximity of the dancers (off, off damned coat!)—ripples throughout.


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2020

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