Nina Wolpow is a writer in New York. She is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Her nonfiction work has been published by Vox, Refinery29, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, Rolling Stone, and Bon Appétit.
Warren’s work is overwhelming, eccentric, outside the bounds of the normal, but it is not crazy. In fact, Warren performs carnivalesque realities no less insane than our own.
A fragmented mural in which pale nymph-like figures gallivant under exotic-seeming trees; life-size copper shipping containers made to look oxidized by the elements; ceramic casts of breadfruit in various stages of ripeness and rot—these are the components of Southern Oceans (2018), a multifaceted and layered installation in Bedford Stuyvesant.
This summer, West (whose estate Zwirner acquired this year) is the inspiration for This Is Not A Prop curated by two 26-year-olds who work at Zwirner: Alec Smyth and Cristina Vere Nicoll. As Smyth puts it, “In a way, [West] embodies the ethos of the gallery, which has always been to show artists that are surprising and exciting and weird and doing something outside of what you would normally think of as art.”
The point of painting in a digital age is not to rehash what’s already been done, or what a camera or computer can do better, but to twerk reality at the behest of curious, exploratory minds.