Fan Mail: Suchitra Mattai

Suchitra Mattai. Generally, I don’t think that way II, 2016; mixed media installation; dimensions variable. Courtesy of the Artist. Photo: Wes Magyar.

Suchitra Mattai’s work turns about conceptual and material inversions. It thrives on site-specificity while rejecting its basic premise—that specificity necessarily connotes place-ness. Having been raised on two separate continents and with cultural heritages tracing back to a third, Mattai is familiar with incongruities between the illusory promise of place and her lived experiences. Her practice is disjointed and dreamlike, yet throughout her uneasy landscapes runs[…..]

Alex Da Corte: A Season in He’ll at Art + Practice

Alex Da Corte, A Season in He'll, installation view. Courtesy of Art + Practice, Los Angeles. Photo by Joshua White.

There is a scene early on in Lamberto Bava’s 1986 low-budget Italo-horror schlock fest Demons 2: A sinister figure is seen limping down a hallway. He enters a room, picks up a knife that is covered in what looks like blood, and wipes it on his soiled apron. The camera then reveals the source of the gory substance: a jar of syrup that has been[…..]

Boom: The Art of Resistance at Random Parts

Amara T. Smith, Ellen Sebastian Chang & collaborators. House/Full of Black Women
Multiple sites, Oakland, CA
“Now You See Me” video documentation by Ginika Oruche
Original lantern used in performance with replica veil material

Impeccably curated by artist–organizer Leslie Dreyer at Random Parts gallery, Boom: The Art of Resistance is an exhibition that does not advertise its impact, and it could be mistaken for “scrappy” if one ignored the precision of the show and the assumptions jammed into that word. Installed in the small storefront/apartment space in Oakland, a few of the show’s works are in the well-used kitchen,[…..]

Joan Jonas: From Away at DHC ART

Installation view, Joan Jonas: From Away, 2016, DHC/ART. Joan Jonas, They Come to us Without a Word (Wind), 2015. Multimedia Installation (site-specific adaptation). Originally commissioned for the U.S. Pavilion of the 56th Venice Biennale by the MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Courtesy of The Kramlich Collection, San Francisco. © DHC/ART Foundation for Contemporary Art. Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay.

As psycho-historian, I try to diagnose the schizophrenia of Western civilization from its images, in an autobiographical reflex. (Joan Jonas, The Shape, the Scent, the Feel of Things) Joan Jonas’ retrospective exhibition From Away occupies two buildings at DHC/ART in Montreal. Arriving at the basement’s miniature cinema felt like entering a cauldron of the Jonasian universe, and moving up and down in the tightly vertical first building[…..]

Summer Session – @Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz

Ai Wei Wei. With Wind, 2014; installation detail, New Industries Building, Alcatraz. Courtesy of FOR-SITE Foundation. Photo: Jan Stürmann.

Our current Summer Session topic is celebrity, and today from our sister publication Art Practical we bring you a review by Heidi Rabben of artist Ai Wei Wei’s controversial show @Large. Rabben takes Ai’s position as an artist–activist–provocateur to task, suggesting that the show relies too heavily on his reputation without delivering the content to match. This review was originally published on November 24, 2014. This text is likely neither the first[…..]

Young Blood: Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph, the Underground Museum at Frye Art Museum

Noah Davis and Kahlil Joseph. The Sacred Garden, 2016; installation view. Design and production: Commonwealth Projects. Photo: Mark Woods.

Currently on view at Frye Art Museum, Young Blood is a large-scale exhibition of two prominent contemporary artists and brothers, painter Noah Davis and filmmaker Kahlil Joseph. The most elaborate display of their individual works to date, Young Blood includes painting, film, sculpture, and installation, weaving varied mediums together with precision and fluidity. Through the tone and cadence of their depicted world—one of beauty, mystery,[…..]

Art Dives Underground in Downtown D.C.


Today from our friends at BmoreArt we bring you a piece on an interactive art installation in an abandoned trolley station. Author Brendan L. Smith says of the space, “The curving walls of an oval-shaped room descend like stair steps next to a cluster of miniature buildings that resemble a child’s bristle-block creations.” This article was originally published on April 4, 2016. In an abandoned[…..]