“Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire”
By the time he died of AIDS at age thirty-seven in 1992, the largely self-taught artist David Wojnarowicz had established himself as a creative force in painting, photography, filmmaking, performance, critical and creative writing, and gay activism. A quintessential East Village figure (his friends included Kiki Smith, Peter Hujar, Zoe Leonard, Karen Finley, and Nan Goldin), he famously—and vociferously—took on such champions of bourgeois propriety as Cardinal John O’Connor, William F. Buckley, and the American Family Association. This retrospective of his work draws primarily from the museum’s own Wojnarowicz holdings.
For better or worse, our technology remains hindered by its human origins: it hews primarily to our own needs and understanding of the world. Thus, in the optical realm, it has often served the aim of faithfully rendering the image of three-dimensional space produced by our binocular vision. This exhibition explores the history and creative offshoots of this long-standing ambition. Organized thematically and starting with the invention of the stereoscope in the 1830s, it features scientific devices, pop culture artifacts, and approximately sixty artworks, including Richard Hamilton’s lenticular print Palindrome (1974), Simone Forti’s Hologram Striding (1975–78), and—requiring the familiar blue-and-red glasses—Lucy Raven’s video installation Curtains (2014).
In sculptures of futuristic buildings and cities, Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez (1948– 2015) articulated a utopian vision of a more productive, more peaceful, more just global community. Made from cardboard, paper, plastic, found objects, and printed commercial packaging, Kingelez’s exuberant models of soaring towers, streamlined buildings, and gracious public squares embodied his hopes for the newly independent African nation of Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and extended them to the wider world.
The closing exhibition at collector Antoine de Galbert’s storied Maison Rouge, “L’Envol” (“The Flight”) brings together some 200 works of vernacular, tribal, folk, contemporary, and outsider art, each of which relates in some fashion to the idea of human flight. Pieces ranging from American visionary artist Charles August Albert Dellschau’s early twentieth-century plans for imaginary airships to Fabio Mauri’s sky-high wooden extension ladder on wheels, Macchina per fissare acquerelli (2007), provide an apt finale to the Red House’s high-flying ten-year run.
Photographer Dawoud Bey on two shows in New York [published 08/09/2018]
Photographer Janice Guy on four shows in New York [published 08/07/2018]
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