Set against the backdrop of Times Square’s towering video screens, Ivana Bašić‘s embryonic alien sculptures, fleshy pink humanoid creatures guarded by metallic shells, felt as if from a scene from Bladerunner. Stray, a group show curated by Tiffany Zabludowicz, on the 14th floor of an office building at W 43rd Street and Broadway, quite literally offers a unique perspective. Two-hundred feet in the air, the view of moving bodies and looping ads underscores the show’s themes of surveillance culture, consumerism, hypertemporality, and biosystems provoked by artists, Kelly Akashi, Bašić, Hayden Dunham, Marguerite Humeau, and Pamela Rosenkranz.
From Bašić’s blushing alien fetuses and rosy marble rocks (in metal vices gradually being pounded to dust) to Humeau’s translucent screen with a swirling salmon print (flanked by barbed totems of the same complexion), throughout the show, pink, oft-maligned as a frivolous girlish hue, is recast with sinister sci-fi significance. The pattern on Humeau’s screen is one the military uses to camouflage drones while the prevalence of “flesh-colored” hues in many of the works refers to another kind of violence, the flattening of human representation under white supremacy and the commodification of these biases from bandaids to concealers. Another gesture toward our ideas of healthy bodies and polluting entities: Dunham’s sculptures stage tableaux of discarded industrial guts sitting inert in puddles of medical silicone.
A nefarious future has already arrived. There’s an optimism, though, in the mutability of materials throughout the show. Akashi’s small fantastic sculptures in wax and glass especially are a quiet endorsement of imagining changeability. Nothing is forever, not even stone.
Now until January 30, Fridays and Saturdays 12pm to 7pm and by appointment.
1500 Broadway, (entrance on 43rd Street),
Times Square, NY 10036
Photos courtesy of Kyle Knodell.
Saturday September 23rd, the new Black-owned Bed Stuy gallery HOUSING, founded by Eileen Isagon Skyers and KJ Freeman, opened its doors with a group show titled Untitled Passage, on view until October 23 and featuring works by Khari Johnson-Ricks, Brandon Drew Holmes, Ginssiyo Apara, Kali Flowers, and Pastiche Lumumba.
Dedicated to supporting artists of color, last month, Skyers told ArtNews that “the gallery aims to de-gentrify the space,” previously occupied by American Medium gallery. With Untitled Passage, Skyers and Freeman have put together a show astute to layered narratives of displacement that feels poised to bring in a new audience. When they were installing, Freeman told me Lumumba’s painting, which reads “Drake is the light skinned nigga Kanye said he wouldn’t let come back in style” (in the font of Drake’s 2015 mixtape), was visible from the street. A guy walking by busted up laughing.
HOUSING has plans for solo shows by Keijaun Thomas, RAFiA Santana, and American Artist, in the coming months, as well as a group show with Parker Bright, Hamishi Farah, Sean-Kierre Lyons, and Bri Willians to open at the end of October.
For the third consecutive year, under the auspices of their performance collective Buoy, New York-based Viva Soudan and Bailey Nolan brought together artists from across the country for a week-long residency in rural Connecticut, which culminated in an immersive performance in the forest.
Witchy narratives were central to this year’s performance titled I Am Your Itch which abstractly grappled with the anxieties of the current political moment as well as the historical traumas of womanhood.
Complicity was a theme. The performers role-played scenes of abuse directly asking the audience, “Why aren’t you doing anything?”
The residency’s participants applied in pairs, submitting a duo manifesto and a video of them moving together.
While there were choreographed sequences of the two-dozen-plus performers moving together in unison, the piece was founded in the relationships and movement vocabularies these duos developed.
A spirit of fierce resilience and manic frenzy pervaded the work, exemplified above by Jillian Goodwin’s gaze. During a talkback following the performance, Soudan explained a goal of the work was to “reactivate the energy to riot.”
On February 5, India Salvor Menuez brought together artists and performers including Maria José, Sara Grace Powell, Rowan Oliver, Ser Serpas, Women’s History Museum, Ariel Zetina, Jahmal Golden, and Gia Garrison. Presented as part of MoMA Ps1’s Sunday Sessions series, their original works interrogated queerness, trans-feminine social dissonance, the othering of women, out identity, the symbolic connotations of garments, and collective consciousness.
The clean lines and functional design of the LC4 chaise longue seem to be overlooked by Sativa Rose in Teenage Spermaholics 3. She’s busy working, a dick in each hand and one in her mouth, while the Le Corbusier recliner sits neglected behind her, mostly out of frame. There are countless video stills like this one in We Don’t Embroider Cushions Here, but the familiar leather and stainless-steel lounger isn’t always so ignored — it’s debased and degraded too in films like Squirt Machines, Liquid Diet, The Ass Watcher, and Ass Worship 3 and 4. With its catalogue of stills archiving the LC4 as porno prop, crediting only the female performers, the 212-page book aims to spotlight the woman behind the iconic piece of modern furniture, Charlotte Perriand (1903–99), as well as the women on top of, in front of, and chained to it.
It’s a provocative statement paralleling Perriand, Le Corbusier’s unpaid and uncredited assistant, with adult film actresses. The first image in the volume, and perhaps the only G-rated one, is a black-and-white photograph from 1929 of Perriand reclining on an LC4, her feet up and her face turned away from the camera, the line of her body and the chair together tracing an S, perfectly demonstrating the lounger’s ergonomic elegance. Two years before this picture was taken, a 23-year-old Perriand had come to Le Corbusier’s atelier wanting to work for him. The book’s prologue relays the story, which has now entered design lore, of how Le Corbusier summarily dismissed the young Perriand with a curt “We don’t embroider cushions here,” only to see her raved-about exhibit a few months later and then hire her. She went onto design the LC4 in his shadow soon after.
The book’s authors, who juxtapose Perriand’s gendered mistreatment with the disrespect of women performed for the camera in adult films, are mysteriously credited only as sibling artists Augustine and Josephine Rockebrune. These presumably pseudonymous names make reference to another famous example of Le Corbusier’s bare-faced (and bare-assed) chauvinism. In 1926−29, at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin on the French Riviera, Eileen Gray built the vacation villa E-1027 with her lover, Jean Badovici, a critic and friend of Le Corbusier’s. After Gray dumped Badovici, presumably to go back to dating women, a naked Corbu, jealous, so legend has it, of Gray’s exemplary Modernism, covered the house with voluptuous murals which Gray is said to have hated. The Rockebrune sisters, whoever they may be, are clearly out to prick the macho mores of this complicated monstre sacré of Modernism.