Lia Wilson

From this Author

Self-Taught Genius at the American Folk Art Museum

Self-Taught Genius seeks to frame the collection of the American Folk Art Museum as an archive of the culture of self-education in the United States. The exhibition’s organizers draw their interpretation of the word “genius” from roots in the Enlightenment and Romanticism, embracing a definition that underscores the potential in all human beings for exceptional creativity, intuition, and insight. The use of the term “self-taught” embeds[.....]

Suzanne Opton: Soldier at Sikkema Jenkins

Suzanne Opton. Soldier: Doherty- 302 days in Afghanistan, 2004. Archival Pigment Print. 41 x 52 inches. Courtesy of Sikkema Jenkins

Soldier, a series of large-scale color portraits by the photographer Suzanne Opton now on view at Sikemma Jenkins, adheres to a simple framework. It features close-ups of the faces of young soldiers who recently served in Iraq or Afghanistan, all of whom assume the same position before the camera: lying prone, one cheek resting on the ground, face turned toward the camera. While this pose[.....]

Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties at Brooklyn Museum

Sam Gilliam. Red April, 1970; acrylic on canvas, 110 x 160 in. Courtesy of the Iowa Museum of Art, Gift of the Longview Foundation.

As someone born two decades after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, I received visual access to the civil-rights era predominantly through photographic documentation. Black-and-white photos in history books, documentary films, and microfilm of front-page newspaper stories shaped my understanding of the period, suggesting a more or less linear sequence of events. Witness: Art and Civil Rights in the Sixties, now at the Brooklyn Museum,[.....]

Malick Sidibe at Jack Shainman Gallery

Malick Sidibe, Soiree, silver gelatin print, 1972-2008. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman gallery, New York.

The photographs of Malick Sidibé remind us how the political content of an image can shift and evolve under the unpredictable influences of time and the arrival of new contexts. Currently on view at Jack Shainman Gallery, Sidibé’s work is a mix of black-and-white portraits and candid shots of local people from his native Bamako, Mali. The artist first began his work in photography by[.....]

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art

Sheila Pepe. Your Granny’s not Square, 2008; Crocheted shoelaces and yarn. 72 x 144 x 48 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

Queer Threads: Crafting Identity and Community, currently on view at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, confirms how productive a dialogue between queer theory and critical craft theory can be. The twenty-four participating artists in the exhibition interpret and complicate the rich histories of these theoretical frameworks in a variety of ways. The resulting conversation illuminates certain commonalities between the two fields,[.....]

Coco Fusco: Observations of Predation in Humans at the Studio Museum in Harlem

Coco Fusco.

Critical distance can be an ambitious aspiration for an artist, particularly if her practice strives to directly engage complex economic, environmental, or social-justice issues. How can traditionally partisan discourses be avoided? Can a political viewpoint be communicated without merely contributing to a staunchly divisive cultural dialogue that is easy to tune out? There is no one strategy or formula for this challenge. Coco Fusco’s recent[.....]

Fabricators: Blurring the Insider/ Outsider Boundary

There have been many times when I have felt uneasy looking at group shows of “Outsider Art”. There can be some crowds, and lots of things for sale, and a lot of people buying them, but mostly what can cause apprehension as a viewer is the wild range in the work. Often there is no thematic or formal thread that could tie all of these[.....]