Contemporary Senegalese artist Omar Ba has made a mark on the art world in Africa and Europe, and now he is doing the same in the US. Ba spent 2020 in New York City, and that pandemic experience became his crash course in American culture. During this time the artist came to see similarities amongst the issues that affect people back in his home of Dakar, Senegal and in the United States. This became the impetus for his exhibition at Galerie Templon in New York, Right of Soil Right to Dream, and his US museum debut at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Political Animals.
South African artist Gabrielle Goliath and curator Emily Edwards spoke with me to discuss Chorus, Goliaths first institutional exhibition in the United States. Goliath dismantles the complex traumas of colonialism and apartheid by constructing communal spaces of remembrance and mourning. Chorus is an elegy to Uyinene Nene Mrwetyana, a nineteen-year-old student from the University of Cape Town who was raped and murdered in 2019. She was killed in the Clareinch post office in Claremont, Cape Town, by postal worker Luyanda Botha while going to collect her mail. Mrwetyanas death sparked the national #AmINext movement in South Africa and outrage abroad, putting in bold the international issue of gender-based violence.
Richard Jackson often gets referred to as a performance painter; and while theres some truth to this, I think its more interesting that he works in and around the gestural properties of paintingoften liberating paint and pigment from the direction of the artists hand entirely. It would be inaccurate to classify him as a digital artist, yet his work uses technology to extend (and often complicate) the limits of what viewers might understand as an organized and balanced composition.
The crazy, ersatz glamor of Tom Sachss pure products could be considered in the context of commodity fetish if he hadnt already recognized that weve passed that point of purchase long ago. In his novel Kingdom Come, J.G. Ballard summarized the dematerialization of coveted property into properties of pure exchange: At the sales counter, the human races greatest confrontation with existence, there were no yesterdays, no history to be relived, only an intense transactional present.
The Irving Sandler Essay
When did you last make a fool of yourself? When did someone make a fool out of you? Can you act a fool on purpose, or do foolishness and self-consciousness cancel one another out? If what they say is truethat everybody plays the fool sometimethen who or what are you a fool for?