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Ksenia Soboleva

Ksenia M. Soboleva is a New York based writer and art historian specializing in queer art and culture. She holds a PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU.

In Conversation

Radcliffe Bailey with Ksenia M. Soboleva

Ksenia M. Soboleva sits down with Radcliffe Bailey to discuss the wide scope of multifaceted references in his artistic practice from ancestral deities to family travels. They dive into the important role that music plays in Bailey’s life and work, the potential for memories to function as medicine, and his intimate relationship to Atlanta, where the artist has lived almost his entire life.

In Conversation

Elle Pérez with Ksenia M. Soboleva

Elle Pérez locates intimacy that moves beyond bodily matter. Ranging from portraiture to landscape, their photographs capture the lived experience of bodies and nature, the transformations that occur across time and space. The distinct configurations in which Pérez presents their work in exhibition spaces offer a glimpse into the artist’s thought process, allowing the viewer into their creative constellation. I had the pleasure of being in conversation with Pérez on the occasion of their exhibition Devotions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, as well as their inclusion in this year’s Venice Biennale The Milk of Dreams. We spoke about their introduction to photography, its malleable qualities, and the ways in which thinking about gender has taken a backseat. Pérez generously described the process around Devotions, as well as the photographs in the Biennale, taking me on a journey to Puerto Rico and their first visit back after Hurricane Maria.

The Moon Seemed Lost

The dysfunctional moon described by Calvino’s story and the exhibition title could not appear more timely than today, as we face the instability of our own planet and society, our movement is drastically restricted, and we are forced to turn inward.

Nicole Eisenman: Untitled (Show)

Last month, Eisenman opened Untitled (Show) featuring a total of twelve paintings and seven sculptures spread across two floors. The expansive room on the fifth floor presents a series of ten (mostly) large canvases depicting a range of subject matter.

Hekate’s Grove: Elizabeth Insogna, Karen Heagle, Kay Turner

On view at FiveMyles gallery in Brooklyn is a compelling three-person exhibition titled Hekate’s Grove. Featuring works by sculptor Elizabeth Insogna, painter Karen (Karsen) Heagle, and performance artist and folklorist Kay Turner, this show pays homage to the ancient Greek goddess Hekate, a rather obscure patron deity of witchcraft who is commonly associated with crossroads and entryways, and capable of both good and evil.

Josephine Halvorson: Unforgotten

While the French term nature morte literally means “dead nature,” the artist makes an argument for the contrary. “Still life” becomes “still alive,” referring not only to the subject of the painting, but also its maker.

Harmony Hammond: Accumulations

Over the last two decades, Harmony Hammond has largely retreated from her curatorial and writing efforts, instead focusing on her own artistic practice. Her current solo show Accumulations at Alexander Gray presents a series of new paintings from the last three years that speak to her continued dedication to material and process.

Darrel Ellis: Regeneration

Darrel Ellis (1958–1992) was engaged in a lifelong love affair with history, from the European nineteenth and twentieth century paintings that he meticulously studied on visits to the MoMA and the Met to the 1950s negatives he inherited from his photographer father. But like any love affair, this one did not come without quarrels. Traveling from the Baltimore Museum of Art, Darrel Ellis: Regeneration at the Bronx Museum is the first major museum exhibition of Ellis’s work. Expanded to triple the size of the previous venue in his birthplace, the Bronx Museum installation presents nearly two hundred works on paper, paintings, photographs, and archival material. It is an impressively comprehensive survey of Ellis’s oeuvre.

Louise Fishman: Ballin’ the Jack

What a brilliant cacophony of abstract gesture, I think to myself while taking in Ballin’ the Jack, Louise Fishman’s first solo exhibition at Karma Gallery in the East Village. The oil paintings on view in the main gallery revel in their messiness: thick strokes of paint crash into each other, clashing colors fighting for dominance, while the white gesso underneath reveals itself as a seductive promise of transcendence.

Looking Back / The 12th White Columns Annual

This year, the annual is organized by Mary Manning, an artist whose own practice revolves around mindful observation and the poetics of sequencing. Venturing out to see art during the pandemic became a welcome escape for Manning, while at the same time offering a space to contemplate everyday reality.

Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov: Snake Changing Skin

Ilya Fedotov-Fedorov’s current solo exhibition in New York, now on view at Fragment Gallery’s newly relocated space, speaks to the artist’s continued fascination with ambiguous forms of life, while also marking a move away from the conceptual strategies he is best known for.

Gerald Jackson

Gerald Jackson’s elusive persona—he is known by many yet notoriously difficult to track down—is reflected in his multidisciplinary art practice, which evades easy categorization. Jackson steps back to center stage with the exhibition currently on view at Gordon Robichaux, the first full-scale presentation of his work mounted since the gallery began to represent him not long ago.

Marcia Resnick: As It Is or Could Be

Resnick’s portraits of iconic figures such as Sontag, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kathy Acker, and Gary Indiana, among others, have become well-known documents of a much-romanticized period in the history of New York. Yet few are familiar with the photographer’s multifaceted and wide-ranging practice beyond these portraits, something the curators of this retrospective, Resnick’s first ever, hope to change.

Flânerie in the Time of Corona

Born on Long Island in the 1960s, Fitzpatrick has somehow retained an unconditional enthusiasm for the simple textures of the world, a tendency that usually disappears with the onset of adulthood.

Painting in New York: 1971-83

What became clear to me upon seeing the show is the unfortunate degree to which art historians have left painting out of feminist history, when in fact the paintings gathered together here share a lot of the sensibilities conventionally acknowledged as central to the feminist canon.

Barbara Hammer: Tell me there is a lesbian forever…

Centered in the gallery rests a motorcycle, a relic of someone whose absence has been palpable since she left the realm of the living in 2019. Barbara Hammer is the subject of a museum-quality show, albeit in a gallery, curated by Tiona Nekkia McClodden.

Eve Fowler: New Work

The exhibition of Fowler’s work currently on view at Gordon Robichaux shows us that her feminist pursuits are far from abandoned. Fittingly titled Eve Fowler: New Work, the solo show consists of a film, a series of collages, and a nine-channel video installation.

Kate Millett: Terminal Piece

A palpable feeling of suspense suffuses the space of Kate Millett’s Terminal Piece (1972). 46 wooden chairs are installed in two long rows behind a parallel series of vertical wooden bars that span the length of the gallery. The lighting is dramatic, with seven light bulbs suspended from the ceiling illuminating the space within the cage-like structure, while the territory of the viewer remains dimmed.

Ebony G. Patterson: …to kiss a flower goodbye…

In her second solo exhibition at Hales Gallery, …to kiss a flower goodbye…, Ebony G. Patterson continues to explore the garden as a multilayered metaphor for the colonial histories embedded in the Caribbean landscape.

Ron Athey: Queer Communion

The fact that the world has had to wait until 2021 to see a Ron Athey retrospective is a tragedy. A queer icon who indisputably helped shape the role of the body in performance art, Athey has only recently started to receive long-overdue art historical recognition.

Samantha Nye: My Heart’s in a Whirl

Marking a pivotal time in her career, Nye’s first solo exhibition My Heart’s in a Whirl is currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Jonathan Berger: An Introduction to Nameless Love

Not long before COVID-19 rendered in-person art viewing a faint memory, I walked into a dimly lit gallery where clusters of illuminated words appeared to float in space, like the digital rain of the Matrix. Yet unlike computer code, I could read these clusters of text—they were conversations, poems, confessions. “What can I ask you that nobody seems to ever ask you?” one began. “After months of being in that funk, I got accustomed to it,” another one continued.

Leidy Churchman: New You

Leidy Churchman is a queer gift to the tradition of American landscape painting.

Silky Shoemaker: Billboard Project

If art is to play a role in political change, the first step is to get it out of the galleries and into the streets. Silky Shoemaker’s Billboard Project, a series of four graphically striking anti-Trump billboards installed in rural Pennsylvania, is one example.

Michela Griffo: The Price We Pay

Falling between the cracks of history is a common side effect of queer identity. Few of the queer elders that fought for LGBTQA+ rights in the 1960s have received their due recognition, and as time goes on, less and less of them are still around to receive it. Seasoned activist Michela Griffo was at the forefront of the gay liberation movement, deeply involved in groups including Redstockings, Radicalesbians, Lavender Menace, and the Gay Liberation Front. And happily, Griffo has seen an increased interest in her activist career emerge over the last decade. What has remained largely unknown, however, is Griffo’s career as an artist.

Souls Grown Diaspora

It’s my first time at the Laurie Beechman Theatre, a cozy basement cabaret space that’s been around since 1983 and has retained much of its original charm. A dazzling woman wearing a shiny grey two-piece is scat singing to jazz music, performing the most creative cover of “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” that I have ever heard.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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