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To get to Y Gallery in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, you have to climb five long flights of rickety stairs. But if you make it up there in the next few days, you get to see Natural Resistance, which makes the effort worthwhile. The show features artists Shay Arick, Adriana Ciudad, and Tamara Kostianovsky, whose work coalesces around the idea of an “exoticized imaginary” of the rainforest, the press release claims. This seems like a flimsy rationale that doesn’t quite capture the art on view, but regardless, all of it is visually fascinating.
The artists originate from Israel (two of them, one with a childhood in Argentina) and Peru, and their varied perspectives meet at the intersection of environmental issues and cultural concerns, all perceived through non-US lenses. Kostianovsky is showing dead birds made of tattered clothing strips, upholstery fabric, wire, and string that remind me of the work of Chaim Soutine in their wildness. For example, “Turkey Vulture” (2015), a sculptural form hung from its feet, has a frantic texture that hints at some atavistic spirit that possessed the bird and has not been tamed by death. Meanwhile, the hippopotami in Cuidad’s “The weight of water. Dark waters, Hippo” (2016) seem to materialize out of the ground, almost white against blue and black waters. The piece appears to reference the environmental impact of an oil spill, but the press release tells me that the animals are not native to the region, having been introduced illegally during the 1980s and now presenting a consistent danger to people living along the Magdalena River in Colombia.
While these two artists specifically allude to animal life, Arick’s work feels shoe-horned into the putative theme because, more than anything else, it aestheticizes an instrument of implicit violence. His “Uprising Knives” (undated) consist of the blades of large knives attached perpendicular to the gallery wall; from them grow flower shapes incised out of the metal. Knives are built to cleave objects, but here they become a garden of metal blooms so carefully devised that I intuit thoughtfulness and compassion in their making — tools of separation transformed into symbols of natural, delicate beauty.
Arick’s work points to perhaps the better connecting thread here: all the work is clever in its manipulation of materials, not for its own sake but in service of crucial ideas about our relationship to our environment.
Natural Resistance continues at Y Gallery (319 Grand Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan) through July 2.
“Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants—11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data—a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were…
In 1850, when Dr. Robert W. Gibbes commissioned J. T. Zealy to make daguerreotypes of persons held in slavery in and around Columbia, South Carolina, for Harvard Professor Louis Agassiz to use in support of his theory that African people were a separate species, daguerreotypes were at the height of fashion.
The show, which honors the 50th anniversary of an exhibition history once ignored, continues a series of projects documenting Wilmington’s contemporary art scene.
he ownership of images has a long and nuanced legal history, which has evolved dramatically in recent years as cultural standards and photographic technologies have rapidly advanced
Renty and his daughter Delia. Renty was an enslaved African, kidnapped from the Congo, sold and forced into slave labor on the South Carolina plantation of B.F. Taylor
Two K-12 art teachers will each receive a $1,000 cash gift and an additional $500 to put toward classroom art supplies. Nominations are due October 31.
As a scholar of African American history and photography whose work has focused on the status of violent images in museums and archives, I fully support the validity of Ms. Tamara Lanier’s claim and the amicus brief.
The daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor, Delia, Drana, Alfred, Jack, George Fassena, and Jem remained in an unused storage cabinet until 1975, when it was discovered by an employee of the Peabody Museum.
I am writing in support of the amicus curiae brief submitted by Professor Ariella Aïsha Azoulay of Brown University for the full restitution of the daguerreotypes of Renty Taylor and his daughter Delia, currently held by Harvard University, to their familial descendant, Tamara Lanier.