Top 5 Monday, Nov 12–Sunday, Nov 18
In a certain sense, this retrospective of the career of Andy Warhol (1928–1987) is somewhat redundant. After all, if you want to see his work, just look around you: Warhol anticipated our free-market cultural landscape of short attention spans and narcissistic social media engagements. But he also represented a classic example of American self-invention, going from a skinny, nerdy kid from Pittsburgh to the world’s most famous artist. This show, the first major Warhol survey since 1989, takes the measure of his achievements.
The “dark grief” of African-American history is the subject of Rico Gaston’s latest show, which comprises film, paintings, sculpture and drawings. Along with compositions mining African tribal motifs, as well as portraits of civil rights heroes, the highlights include a video shot during a trip to Mississippi. In it, Gaston follows the trail of events leading to Emmett Till’s 1955 lynching and aftermath: From the store where the 14-year-old supposedly whistled at a white woman (which, decades later, she admitted never happened), to the site of his murder, to the spot where his mutilated body was dumped into the river by his executioners.
In his latest paintings, Salman Toor meditates on his life as a gay artist who divides his time between two diametrically opposite communities: New York, where he can live and love openly, and his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan, where the dictates of family and religion demand that he suppress his identity. The conflict plays out in scenes of everyday life suffused with a poignant sense of being trapped between worlds.
In 1977, Lorraine O’Grady created a series of 26 collages titled “Cutting Out The New York Times (CONYT),” in which the veteran artist snipped headlines and bits of display type from the Gray Lady to create “found newspaper poems.” They reflected O’Grady’s observations about being a woman of color, and in this show, she revisits and revises those works, refashioning them as “haiku diptychs” bridging her experiences between then and now.
The Russian artist boils down the ennui of existence into painted vignettes portraying snatches of Moscow life (people in cars stuck in traffic; passengers crowding subway escalators; beachgoers at the water’s edge) with quick, cartoonish brushstrokes.