July 2, 2020

The Couch Gallery Crawl

By Thomas Benfield

Simone Leigh, Sentinel IV, 2020. Photo: © Simone Leigh Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth

Each week, we’re gathering the art world’s latest and best virtual museum and gallery offerings. Here, how to look at art from the safety of home.

1. The artist Simone Leigh has created an edition sculpture called Sentinel IV — 25 examples in the edition, each $25,000 — with 100% of the proceeds going to Color of Change, the progressive racial-justice organization. Available at her gallery, Hauser & Wirth.

2. TRNK’s group show of portraits of queer artists of color, curated by Tariq Dixon, is titled “MIEN.” Each work is presented as a limited-edition poster, $75 unframed, $250 framed. All proceeds will be donated to the Ali Forney Center to combat LGBTQ youth homelessness in New York City.

3. Denny Dimin Gallery presents Sean Fader’s “Thirst Trap.” Insufficient Memory recalls the 1999/2000 Hate Crimes Prevention Act while it was debated in Congress and not passed. The project took shape with the discovery of an old Sony Digital Mavica that inspired Fader to look into other forgotten things from that camera’s cutting-edge heyday. Fader ended up traveling to, documenting, and archiving 80 sites of hate crimes. See these sites through that grainy old resolution — like the memory has been foggy but we’re remembering now.

4. UTA Artist Space, Beverly Hills, “In the Time Of” takes on our current moment, giving artists Texas Isaiah, Kambui Olujimi, Kenny Rivero, and Aaron Wojack a platform to show works made in — or connected to — life in quarantine. Check out Kenny Rivero’s Embers, 2020, a work mostly taken over by a textural black paint, as a simplified-to-shapes figure watches the embers glow. In a Texas Isaiah photograph, a man against the forest green compressed wood of a construction zone looks up at a bright sky, covering his mouth.

5. Fotografiska, with Hedges Project, has created an online viewing room for two bodies of work — at times very much about bodies at work — by Andy Warhol. The first, “Sex Parts & Torsos,” and the second, “Ladies & Gentlemen.” Both provide an intimate look into Warhol of the ’70s, when gender and identity increasingly fascinated him. I’d say “not safe for work,” but I don’t think that plays anymore … maybe just “not safe for roommates.” But maybe you need to get new roommates if so.

6. Carpenters Workshop Gallery’s new exhibition, “Roger Herman,” marks a pivot in Herman’s work — from painting on canvas to painting in highly unpredictable glazes onto ceramics. See the purposeful imperfections and the happy accidents of Los Angeles’s Basquiat.

7. Long Gallery Harlem has a window display show, “When the Night Comes — I Believe.” By Alteronce Gumby, it imagines racism as an evil spirit, then filled Long’s window display cases with Nkisi Nkondi — Kongo mystical idols that hunt enemies — made of painted paper, painted glass, and mylar. Sunlight catches the mylar, charges potted plants, charges the lapis lazuli and the amethyst — the installation charges the community, charges the city.

8. From Richard Beavers Gallery, it’s time to reach into the archives, to resurrect their Summer 2018 show “God Is. Trans.” In the show, Genesis Tramaine marks large canvases with oil stick, acrylic, spray paint, and gouache to form naïve-style figures. The canvases depict faces with a street-art streak — these figures are many things at once, have many eyes, mouths, and colors at once. See God, Sisters, 2018, where back to back, two sisters stand in white robes, their underdrawings still visible. Set in front of a pink field with a rainbow halo, the sisters glance back at each other in an eternal loop.

9. James Fuentes Online just opened “Abstract with Figure,” a group exhibition slated through July. Scenes drifting in and out of legibility, abstraction and figuration un-synthesized competing for your attention—the show selected their artists for this disruptive quality. See Kathia St. Hilaire’s Beauty Exchange, a South Florida Hattian diasporic community painted in oil-based relief and skin lightening product on a paper collage. A girl bounces a soccer ball on her head—a boy tries to pull her down, women sit at a table with a small mirror. Dressing hair, maybe.