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Wednesday
Oct042017

Rain Like Cotton in BOMB

Driving on four lane highways with intermittant stoplights past strip malls and the airport... Climate collapse 13,000 years ago, ice, floods, an inland sand sea... The Shakers with their radical ideals of shared property, transcendence and celibacy, feminism. The landfill, the airport, dreams of utopia, suburbs of utopia, dreams of flight, Nabokov's endangered butterfly, modernism. All happen here on the same stretch of land, a primordial landscape that is harbinger of what is to come and a relict of the past. As research for my book GROWING UP MODERN, I wrote a hybrid braided essay for BOMB, "Rain Like Cotton."

Wednesday
Sep202017

Ellen Lesperance- feminism, knitting and protest in Frieze

Ellen Lesperance once had a project to knit her body in white fluffy yarn. The question of bodies and messages and feminism has always been part of her work, so too knitting – something that could seem essentialist, reductive. Instead she reclaims knitting and its history to make talismans, create safety and explore protest, looking at how it was used at Greenham Common in the UK where women camped for years to protest nuclear arms. She pulls together all of these.

On Election Day I wore one of her sweaters emblazoned with a labrys. The sweater was modelled on one worn Greenham Common and her work looks at channeling, haunting, messages...  how they can convey, how ideas travel... Read more in Frieze

Wednesday
Sep202017

Rochelle Feinstein in Frieze

 

Rochelle Feinstein at On Stellar Rays, New York, USA

Words drip from a curtain: ‘HEARTB/ROKEN/DEARM/EMBERS/HARTI/SLAND/DEARW/HITEP/EOPLE/HEARTS/HAPE/
FEEDB/ACKL/OOP/FEMINISTIC/ORIGIN/ALIS/M’. The words, though, are broken, handwritten, a lamentation. The line breaks force me to re-read them. ‘DEARM/EMBERS’ scans as ‘dream embers’. ‘ORIGIN/ALIS/M’, with its dangling ‘M’, could be shorthand for ‘men’ cut off from their ‘origin’, while ‘ALIS’ reads as ‘allies’. In her show ‘Who Cares’ at On Stellar Rays, Rochelle Feinstein offers the dream embers of our present. Her curtain might be a shroud. The piece Ear to the Ground (2017) cuts the gallery in half, while the paintings in the show are all halves and doubles, diptychs and triptychs that capture the current sense of helplessness not just in politics or society, but in art too, when its ability to create change can seem limited. The show’s title, ‘Who Cares’, is both a question and statement, as in ‘who gives a damn’.

Read more in Frieze.

Thursday
May042017

Colleen Asper in Frieze

What happens when representing the body is a trap? When the gaze is always "male?" When representation a dialectic? How do you flip that? Colleen Asper explores existential portraiture, the facts of bodies, not the truth of the women represented. Including her own body which she will represent as a board the exact size and scale of her own body, held out by her two hands before her, while she herself is obscured, while her face is concealed. There are so many reasons I love Asper's work and I write about her in the essay "New Questions" in the March issue of Frieze.

Thursday
Dec222016

The Fairytale in Granta

In December Granta published an excerpt from the book I'm working on GROWING UP MODERN. In the book I look at the values inherent in places from the modernist suburb where I grew up to where I live now in the Catskill Mountains. I'm trying to uncover civic values, what holds us together, the bigger things and ideas that bind us and how they come to be represented. Here in "The Fairytale," I'm searching for what was driving the dream of modernism. I grew up thinking my parents' Swedish flatware could change the world. Granted I was a kid wiht a skewed perspective on the adult world, but I go back to try and understand how such beliefs came to adhere to things. I am in part nostalgic for that time, and for the idea that the world is improvable and that things-- even as simply as cutlery--could have some power for change. So I return home as my mother is dying and ask all the people my parents' age who are still left in the community what modernism meant to them and why.

I go looking for their progressive ethos and find, yes, co-ops and collectives and left-leaning values, but behind the walls of glass I also find the Cold War, spies and the CIA, and am left with questions about my father and his values. You can read more on Granta's site here: