One’s skin is a uniquely intimate identifying trait. It bears the marks of not only one’s birth, but travels, adventures, hurts, and spills, physiological traumas and recoveries. But as a doorway, it swings both ways: it’s a record of a body’s experience of a singular life, but it’s also a random palimpsest of whatever genetic heritage one has. Moles and marks appear where they are not bidden or provoked. Though skin is a key sign of who we are and where we have been, it also bears witness to an ancestral endowment that we didn’t choose and is difficult to change. The exhibition at Invisible Exports, Cheap Suitcase, brings to mind this aspect of the body. Much of the work in the show goes back and forth between what is volitional and what just happens to us.
Take Ariana Page Russell’s “Toile 2” (2006), a photographic print of flower-like patterns Russell made on herself, exploiting her condition of dermatographia — her skin’s tendency to have a kind of allergic reaction to slight scratches. These patterns turn her physical precondition into a kind of decorative wallpaper. Then there are the mastectomy scars in Clarity Haynes’s oil paintings, such as “Michael” (2014), which is a kind of account of self-struggling with the body to keep it healthy by excising parts of it.
The rest of the show includes photographic, sculptural, and abstract painting work by Ron Athey, Byron Kim, Hannah Wilke. This work, especially Kim’s hazy paintings of healing bruises, speaks to how we gainsay our fragility. The exhibition reminds me of what the writer Nancy Mairs once said in her essay “Carnal Acts“: one doesn’t just have a body; one is a body, which suggests that being a body is a willful act. That’s the rub: our bodies are caught in that vortex between what we make ourselves to be and who and what we already are.
The Project of Independence at MoMA probes the limits of modernist construction in South Asia.
The newly opened Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art & Culture — also known as “The Cheech” — celebrates, spotlights, and complicates representations of Chicano art.
Convened by Erika Sprey, Lamin Fofana, Sky Hopinka, Emmy Catedral, and Manuela Moscoso, the public program unfolds this summer at CARA in New York City.
The Detroit-based artist draws from her Russian, Ukrainian, Jewish, and African American roots to create a dazzling new ornamental language.
Stuffed with references to historical and contemporary film, Olivier Assayas’s miniseries version of his own 1996 film Irma Vep is sometimes too clever for its own good.
The Bay Area art book fair is back this July with free programming at three different on-site venues, new exhibitors, and fundraising editions from renowned artists.
The authenticity of the works, whose owners say Basquiat sold to Hollywood screenwriter Thaddeus Mumford in 1982, has been heavily scrutinized.
The Utah site has been subject to longstanding contention over federal lands management.
Shows at the Hudson Valley’s Hessel Museum of Art feature artists Dara Birnbaum and Martine Syms, as well as new scholarship on Black melancholia as an artistic and critical practice.
At a time when many Black artists turned to figuration, Gilliam harnessed the power of abstraction, freeing the canvas from its support.
The artist’s portrait of her mother, painted in 1977 and reproduced on the vaporetti of Venice, may be one of the most evocative artworks in the Biennale.
A new box set of four of the Iranian director’s features offers a great opportunity to get to know his singular style.