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Material Practices: Stitching, Fabric, and Textiles in the work of Contemporary Chinese Artists

Yin Xiuzhen, Portable City, Sydney, 2003       photo: Yin Xiuzhen         collection by Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation, image courtesy the artist

Mao Zedong once said that revolution is not a dinner party. Less famously, he said it is not embroidery, either. Interestingly, however, some female contemporary Chinese artists have chosen to work with thread and textiles—and embroidery—in experimental, maybe even revolutionary ways. From Lin Tianmiao’s overt exploration of sexuality, fecundity, and the aging and decay of the body, to Yin Xiuzhen’s use of the embodied memories[.....]

Geoffrey Farmer: A Light in the Moon at Mercer Union

One imagines that Geoffrey Farmer must go through millions of X-Acto knives a year. The Vancouver-based artist is known for his cutouts of images culled from books, magazines, and other printed material, which have been exhibited at Documenta(13) and at the Tate. In his new work Boneyard (2013), currently on view at Mercer Union, Farmer adapts his signature technique—excising  any traces of context through the[.....]

Graeme Patterson: Secret Citadel at the Art Gallery of Hamilton

Patterson_Graeme animation still 7

Despite its universal connotations, Secret Citadel, a mixed-media installation and video projection by Canadian artist Graeme Patterson, explores the nuances of male bonding and friendship from an intensely personal perspective. The narrative of the exhibition, currently on view at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, unfolds in four parts featuring two distinct characters—a bison dressed in blue and a cougar dressed in orange—at seemingly disparate stages[.....]

Yayoi Kusama: I Who Have Arrived in Heaven at David Zwirner

Yayoi Kusama. Manhattan Suicide Addict, 2010-present; Video projection and mirrors; overall dimensions vary with each installation. Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner.

Still working in feverish catharsis at the age of 82, Yayoi Kusama is Japan’s most famous living artist. Yet in the United States she has only recently received a slice of the recognition that her expansive body of work and visionary approach deserve. Following a critically acclaimed retrospective at the Whitney last year, Kusama was picked up by David Zwirner in early 2013. For her[.....]

Valentina Vannicola: Dante’s Inferno

Inferno. Tolfa, Rome, Italy, April 2010 February 2011. ### Infer

In Dante’s Inferno Italian artist Valentina Vannicola merges staged photography with socially engaged practice, resulting in a rich body of work reminiscent of the postdramatic theater of Romeo Castellucci and the Societas Rafaello Sanzio. Using non-professional performers from her hometown of Tolfa, north of Rome, Vannicola has constructed absurdist scenes recreating Dante’s journey through the strata of hell. While the outcome could easily have been[.....]

Susan Flavell: Freud’s Desk at Turner Galleries

Early in 2013, six Australian artists made a pilgrimage of sorts. They left a sweltering southern summer for the gray frigidity of London, where they spent three weeks working on-site at the Freud Museum; Susan Flavell and I were among their number. At the museum, we encountered the shrine-like space of Sigmund Freud’s study, preserved as it was in the final year of his life,[.....]

Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art at NYU’s Grey Art Gallery

Jean-Ulrick Désert. Negerhosen2000 / The Travel Albums, 2003. From a series of forty digitally printed images, pigmented inks, and pencil on archival paper with mixed media collage. 11 3/4 x 8 1/4 in. Courtesy the artist.

How is Blackness performed?  Most African American contemporary artists will admit in confidence that they are often expected to perform their Blackness for the power players of the art mainstream, regardless of their choice of artistic medium. Artists working in two dimensions such as Kerry James Marshall, Kara Walker, and Wangechi Mutu have gained currency by creating work that makes the construction of black identity[.....]