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Posted inArt

Dancing Among the Dead

“If you want to survive the 19th century,” Allison Meier wryly observed, “don’t get on a boat or go to the theater.” Meier, who has been giving tours of cemeteries in New York City since 2011 (and is a Hyperallergic staff writer), held aloft a lantern illuminating the granite obelisk marking the mass grave of 103 people who perished in the Brooklyn Theater Fire of 1876.

Posted inArt

Listening to the Stories of Volta

This year’s Volta NY spoke many different dialects, but most of them seemed to stem from the same language. Although there were a total of 95 galleries exhibiting, with works ranging from the very minimal to the very ornate, a large chunk of the art on view was either obliquely or transparently narrative

Posted inArt

Are We Post–Black Art?

There are so many fault lines between art and politics, navigating them can feel dizzying and often futile. Conversations about identity politics, economics, heritage, corrective curating, and the broader issues of inclusion and exclusion are important but can be a drag on art itself, to the point where it can seem like the work vanishes behind real or imagined social mores. Such was the case with Ken Johnson’s review last fall in the New York Times of MoMA PS1’s Now Dig this! Art & Black Los Angeles 1960–1980 and the debate it engendered. The review spurned a lot of groaning about uninformed opinions and who constitute the “gatekeepers” of the art canon. A petition for the Times to reconcile this “editorial lapse” with its normally higher standard of writing was started as angry voices accumulated, gaining over 1,600 signatures.

Posted inBooks

Art History, Poetics, and Bad Grammar: The Love Letters of O’Keeffe and Stieglitz

The love letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz number upwards of 25,000. It’s such a prolific amount, it makes you marvel that they had any time at all to live the lives they did. The first published volume of their correspondence is some 700 pages, and it captures all the intimacies and intangibles one suffers for, because of, or in spite of love. It is also a valuable source of art history, self-help, bad spelling, and indulgent use of the em dash.