Author Archive

Memory Banks

“Brand New: Art and Commodity in the 1980s,” recently on view at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., evoked the artistic strategies once employed in an eerily familiar era of unbridled commerce and archconservative politics.

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Regional Unreal

A retrospective now at the Whitney Museum in New York presents Grant Wood, long mistaken for a quirky midwestern local-color artist, as something far more substantial—a socially subversive, formally bold, and personally anguished interwar modernist.

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On the Ground

Known for tightly focused plein air paintings, Josephine Halvorson reflects on the complex locus—material, experiential, terrestrial, conceptual—of her observational practice.

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Layaway

The recent trend for public napping, abetted by new lifestyle firms and capsular designs, links harried consumers to a long-standing cultural trope: the sleeping artist as an embodiment of social resistance and creative release.

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Firsthand At Arm’s Length

Taking her father as a representative inmate, Sable Elyse Smith creates neon-text sculptures, videos, photo projects, and drawings that protest the bureaucratic excesses and racial bias of the US prison system.

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Atlas Dhaka

Once disdained by art world leaders in Bangladesh, photography is now a vital part of the country’s aesthetic life and a prime conduit to the wider world.

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Pictures with Sermons

Silent-era film director Lois Weber brought an evangelical fervor to her movie-making, treating such still-current issues as poverty, sexual exploitation, and abortion with melodramatic verve.

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Black Sights

Michael McCanne on Debi Cornwall’s Welcome to Camp America: Inside Guantánamo Bay and Edmund Clark and Crofton Black’s Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition.

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Photographer Unknown

Colin Westerbeck on Pamela Bannos’s Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife; plus related titles in brief.

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First Look: Domingo Castillo

In his montage videos, Miami-based Domingo Castillo satirizes the ways that news media, government agencies, and the real estate industry perpetrate urban fantasies via digital technology. 

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