I happened to run into the artist Tamara Kostianovsky when I visited Y Gallery recently to see her solo show, To Prevent Bad Luck. I had previously written about her work reminding me of Chaim Soutine, the modernist painter who created powerfully visceral portraits of animals that often became his supper. Kostianovsky agreed with that reference, saying that her work is about consumption. And it is, in a visually obvious way. Her birds — magpie inventions of fabric bunched to form limbs or internal organs, with upholstery cut and shaped to form feathers — are suspended on hooks and thus look like fresh kill. Some are half disemboweled, some are folded in on themselves, except for one wing that lacks the volition to stay in place.
The surprise is in how the work otherwise alludes to consumption: all the fabric used in the pieces comes from Kostianovsky’s personal belongings. When she arrived in Philadelphia from Argentina in 2000 to attend art school, the value of her pesos dropped catastrophically. She had to find materials to work on from what she brought with her. The work here is evidence of a kind of cannibalism and resurrection: clothing, towels, and upholstery have been consumed and yet find a second life here in this gallery of garments masquerading as dead fowl. These fastidiously fashioned creatures are ironically proof of life, proof of vitality, proof of a will to survive. Kostianovsky evidently believes in the power of breakthroughs borne of necessity.
How does a selective competition fit with the contemporary art world’s aspirations toward greater inclusivity?
Critical race theory, which has been attacked by conservative lawmakers, is conspicuously absent, as are many contemporary and living Black artists.
“Dignity of Earth and Sky,” unveiled in 2016, raises questions about who should depict Native people and how they should be portrayed.
In this online exhibition, Indigenous artists reclaim realities long denied them by US and Canadian federal governments — including moments of collective reverie.
At this year’s Sundance International Film Festival, more than half the feature-length movies were made by directors who identify as women.
In her novel Tell Me I’m an Artist, Chelsea Martin questions whether art offers a refuge from the world.
Ten artists will receive studio space and access to faculty, staff, students, workshops, and programming at an arts institution in the heart of Philadelphia.
The US government has lifted a Trump-era ban that kept formerly imprisoned people from accessing their works.
A work of art will be on the line when the Philadelphia Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday.
With two exhibitions at SoFi Stadium, the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection seeks to engage a different art audience.
The works that best exemplify a uniquely German grotesque in Reexamining the Grotesque are those that reflect the war and Weimar years.