Public Humanities MA Student, Brown University. Previously: Delaware Art Museum/Fulbright Austria/Swarthmore. Arts/culture writer, future curator, lover of pop culture. firstname.lastname@example.org.
A mysterious, faceless figure smeared with blood is depicted at bust-length in a suit, presented against a pale blue ground. Only the forehead, ear, chin, neck, partial cheek, bottom lip, and brows are visible—the eyes, nose, and top lip are replaced with a sepia-hued photograph of a pair of legs moving on tiptoe, as if in the middle of a dance step.
Donna Huanca’s ‘Obsidian Ladder’ is purposefully discomfiting, and almost too visceral and sensual to be absorbed fully in one go. Once you enter the cavernous main gallery of the Marciano Art Foundation, Huanca’s multimedia installation of paintings, sculpture, performance, sound, and scent threaten to overwhelm your senses.
The most fascinating aspect of Sara Berman’s Closet, however, is neither the particularities of her story on its own nor any individual item or work of art on display, but rather its presentation as a continual mythologizing of a very real person’s life.
Pause is not an easy or a pleasant film to watch, but it does have individual moments and sequences that are simply transfixing, as well as a strong, well-defined painterly aesthetic. In particular, the frontal shots of the interior of Elpida’s and Costas’ apartment, with its glazed blue, slightly blurred stillness of contemporary realist paintings, are gorgeous even as they describe Elpida’s cage.
Taylor Swift albums usually drop in the autumn (see: every previous Taylor Swift LP). Taylor Swift's Lover has floated down to us on a summer breeze, dusted in glitter and drenched in color, less than two years after the moody, volatile Reputation.
The conventional wisdom about art in America is that New York is where the art gets made, and then it’s sold in California—in places like Los Angeles. The City of Angels is a city with a large population of wealthy art collectors and a rich cultural history of its own that has never included a particular school or coterie of defining visual artists. Perhaps in response to Los Angeles’s lack of specific painting tradition, Narrative Painting in Los Angeles, currently on view at Santa Monica's Craig Krull Gallery.
The Vision Board, currently on view at Los Angeles’ Kopeikin Gallery, uses photography, painting and other media to elevate “vision board” beyond the kitschy kind of thing you make for your soon-to-be-disregarded New Year’s Resolution. Curated by participating artist Elizabeth Valdez, the show is a powerful display of the necessity of the creative mind, and its unique, unfettered capabilities when it comes to envisioning the future.
The Art of Self-Defense pulls no punches. (There’s the pull quote for the billboard.) It’s a brutal, darkly funny parable of the dangers of toxic masculinity, and a stirring cautionary tale for the sort of men who worry that they aren’t following some circumscribed set of Rules for Men, and who think that the way to becoming the ultimate man is through violence.
It is, unfortunately, a prescient time to show a group of works that examines the history and practices of incarceration in the United States. Americans have short memories when we feel like it; the dominant cultural narrative of American innocence and exceptionalism absolutely crumbles in the face of reality, as explored in ABOLITION NOW!, a group exhibition currently on view at the Asian Arts Initiative.
If you run a Google search for “Stonewall exhibition,” you will find dozens upon dozens of arts and historical venues across the United States that put together shows related (with varying degrees of specificity) to the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. In Philadelphia, Stonewall is being commemorated at Drexel University’s Pearlstein Gallery, in a show of sixty Philadelphia-area queer artists.
It’s just these little touches of maximum effort (oops, wrong Ryan Reynolds movie!) that make Detective Pikachu as strong as it is—that, and, of course, Ryan Reynolds’ energetic, generous voice acting. A talking Pikachu with the voice of Deadpool should not be as absolutely adorable as it is, and yet here we are.
Appropriately for a novel that explores how people relate to one another and to themselves via the use of time travel, Kate Mascarenhas' The Psychology of Time Travel pushes and pulls the reader across various timelines, always keeping us slightly on our toes.
Red Joan has Judi Dench seemingly as the main attraction, but as pretty much every other reviewer has pointed out, that’s quite the red herring; Red Joan, after all, isn’t “starring” Judi Dench, but “featuring” her. The film is, instead, a plodding, intermittently entertaining showcase for Sophie Cookson (who you might recognize as Roxy in Kingsman) encapsulated within a cliched frame narrative.
Investigating human observation in Mia Rosenthal’s “Earth, sky, past, present” at Gallery Land Collective
Mia Rosenthal’s exhibition Earth, sky, present, past, is small and modest but enormous in scope. In just eight ink drawings, she explores humanity’s habits of observing the world around us — earth and sky — using drawing as a way to order and grasp at understanding and see connections between our present and the past.