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March – April 2020 Feature

Many of us have been waiting for a major exhibition of the work of An-My Lê. Now, two have arrived, one following on the heels of the other, albeit on different continents. Beginning March 14, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh is presenting On Contested Terrain, the artist’s first…

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January – February 2020 Feature

One of the most nuanced photographs in the 2014 Whitney Biennial was Dawoud Bey’s portrait of Barack Obama, made in Chicago in 2007, two years before the future president was sworn in to his first term. It was direct and consistent with classical representations of powerful people – a straightforward,…

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November/December 2019 Feature

In late September, I interviewed the cantankerous photographer Duane Michals, now 87, who is known for composing photographic dramas that often include his handwritten text. Over the phone we talked about many people and things, about Robert Frank (whom he loves) and Allen Ginsberg (loathes), Giorgio de Chirico (loves), John…

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September – October 2019 Feature

Blood is the first thing I see when I approach Elle Pérez’s photographs at the Whitney Biennial on a Wednesday morning at 11 am. In Pérez’s photograph Dahlia and David (fag with a scar that says dyke), 2019, crimson liquid pools in the shape of the letters D-Y-K-E, etched into…

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July – August 2019 Feature

As the divisions between mediums increasingly blur, and museums move towards less hierarchical department models, artists’ allegiance to one way of making art is becoming similarly elastic. Three notable shows in Northern California this summer provide examples of how sculpture, and the idea of sculpture, are explored in photo-based work:…

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May – June 2019 Feature

Emile, Man of the Future, 2016-17, barely even looks like a man. The large photograph, installed in Lucas Blalock’s first solo museum show, at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in downtown Los Angeles through July 21, is more like a vaguely figurative set of incisions balancing on a collapsed…

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March – April 2019 Feature

  At this point in her career, the barriers faced by South African photographer Zanele Muholi – barriers preventing her from speaking her truth and taking control of her own image – would seem to have been dispatched, conquered by the force of her powerful photographs and stunning, theatrical self-portraits….

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January – February 2019 Feature

In the waning days of April 1975, North Vietnamese soldiers pushed toward Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), the then-divided nation’s largest city, determined to expel American forces. Recognizing, finally, that the American presence in Vietnam was dangerously untenable, U.S. Marines executed a harried mission to evacuate American civilians and endangered…

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November/December 2018 Feature

In Deana Lawson’s 2017 photograph Nikki’s Kitchen, a woman kneels on an old wooden chair, hand under chin, staring at the camera with some defiance. She wears a leopard print jersey jumpsuit that falls off her shoulder and seductively contrasts with the Victorian wallpaper that only partially covers the walls…

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