Legendary for her Studio Museum in Harlem performance, in which she licked a bloody line around the walls with her cut-open tongue, New Orleans artist Tameka Norris makes her New York gallery debut with a promising if somewhat jumbled show of abstract paintings and videos in which she stars.
My First Semester Yale School of Art (2011) features Norris as she recalls earning her M.F.A. through monologues and changing hairstyles. Meka Jean—Too Good for You (2014) seems like a straightforward music video, with the artist addressing an unworthy lover while she vamps in the shower and at the Laundromat.
Norris’s paintings—with their scattered images of houses and the Piggly Wiggly logo limned on patchwork fabric—attempt to evoke the chaos as her hometown continues to rebuild nine years after Hurricane Katrina. Still, these compositions only wanly suggest the struggles of a city in transition. Cryptic and too elegant by half, their tastefulness pales in comparison with the compelling presence of the artist herself.
—Joseph R. Wolin