“Thomas Cole: Eden to Empire”
The Greek root of “architecture” means “power” or “mastery.” The word’s etymology conveys trust in a designer’s ability to create a sound and useful space. But in other traditions the built environment is understood as collectively created, shaped by social needs and exchanges. That is the premise of “Pacha, Llaqta, Wasichay, ” a seven-artist exhibition whose title lists three words in the Quechua language that refer, respectively, to world, place, and construction. Ecuador-born Ronny Quevedo makes drawings and collages with markings derived from the playing grounds of both Incan and modern American sports, as well as other ancient and modern systems of delineation and measurement. Claudia Peña Salinas creates sculptures whose shapes recall Indigenous structures in Central and South America. In all, the show’s artists—who also include William Cordova, Clarissa Tossin, Livia Corona Benjamín, Jorge González, and Guadalupe Maravilla—do not revive pre-Columbian traditions and concepts so much as reveal their persistent presence in spite of colonialism.
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).
L.A.-based artist Julie Becker, who died at age 43 in 2016, created a heterogeneous body of work that now seems to anticipate the output of certain internet-savvy artists working today, among them Samara Golden and Bunny Rogers. Encompassing installation, sculpture, drawing, video, and photography, and blending story lines taken from real life, movies, and her imagination, Becker’s oeuvre offers an episodic, yet nevertheless potent narrative—in which a gritty 1990s Los Angeles is both backdrop and central character—of precarious lives in late 20th-century America.
Kentucky artist Jessie Dunahoo (1932–2017), who was born deaf and lost his sight as a young man, made astonishing quilt-like panels from plastic shopping bags, fabric scraps, and yarn, each the exact size of his work table, and each a visually sophisticated arrangement of colors and textures; irregular voids and regimented grids; solid shapes and imprinted images and words. Institute 193’s Phillip March Jones, who will open a branch of the Lexington-based space on the Lower East Side this fall, has curated an installation of Dunahoo’s work in Elaine de Kooning’s former studio in East Hampton, New York.
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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