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Ksenia Soboleva

Ksenia M. Soboleva is a New York based writer and art historian specializing in queer art and culture.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

OCT 2021

All Issues