I never met Vivian Maier and doubt whether we’d have gotten along if I had. Taciturn, solitary people obsessed with their own struggles don’t often make friends. Yet we walked the same streets, went the same places. We probably crossed paths more than once, but it was as strangers—the way so many do in the city—never meant to know one another as anything but passersby. Now, many, many strangers know Maier, or think they do. She probably wouldn’t like the […]
Since the 2016 Presidential election, some within the American left have suggested the existence of an inherent tension between advocating for the working class and being an inclusive movement for those of all sexualities. (This article from Slate has a good overview of the debate.) The art in the recent show “The Work of Love, The Queer of Labor” at Franklin Street Works stands as a welcome counterargument to that. The art featured within examines areas in which queer sexuality […]
How does one properly capture a work of art using only words on a page? If the artwork in question is a painting or sculpture that can be easily walked around and observes from a host of angles, the task becomes more plausible. There’s a way to describe the way a work is arranged, the craft of brushstrokes or molded material, the sensation of proximity. What happens, though, when the work of art is something more vast? What happens when […]
When the elevator doors open on the fourth floor of the New Museum I don’t know which way to look first. Every wall is covered snuggly by pictures and words. Some drawings are framed, others just tacked to the wall the way a teenager might display a band flyer swiped from a club wall after a gig. It’s a dense polyphony which demands attention without giving the viewer much guidance. A quick scan yields glimpses of Kennedy, Reagan, Bush, and […]
The first thing I saw when I walked into Danger Came Smiling: Feminist Art and Popular Music, an exhibit at Stamford’s Franklin Street Works, was a diamond-shaped portrait featuring the faces of two iconic musicians. Shizu Saldamando’s Alice Bag and Martin Crudo juxtaposed the images of two punk vocalists who have decades’ worth of presence and inspiration between them. It was a memorable introduction to the exhibit to come, which both ventured into dynamic cultural spaces and repurposed musical imagery […]
The Park Avenue Armory is a deeply American space. At least, that’s what ran through my head on a recent visit there to see Martin Creed’s The Back Door. (It will run through August 8th.) Most of the interior looks divorced from the modern era, as though a visitor could round a corner and witness archaic soldiers in preparation for a war below a flag with a reduced number of stars. A video monitor near the entrance displayed a slideshow […]
Philadelphia, 1995: Shannon’s walking me through a maze of bright white art studios. Soon faces appear and voices erupt: New friends greeting each other. Introductions are made. Lori is tallest, and her voice distinguishes itself from the others. From the moment I heard her speak, Lori Ellison’s characteristic contradictions were immediately legible in her voice. I noticed first what wasn’t there: Almost every other artist or peer I met in the ‘90s talked with a layer of self-protection, whether it […]
Dmitry Samarov looks at the work, life, and posthumous reception of photographer Vivian Maier, examining questions of artistic intent, visual legacy, and more–along with a look at the film Finding Vivian Maier.