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It seems like a betrayal to perceive Gabriela Salazar’s exhibition with the eyes instead of the hands.
This exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago takes up the Westward expansion of the art world in three generations of Midwesterners, tracing the lesser-known histories of a now well-established artistic milieu in an effort to set the art historical record straight.
To stage a retrospective of the works of Merce Cunningham is to take up two of the most challenging concerns of museum display: How to exhibit the ephemeral, and how to manifest a vast network of artistic collaboration without losing focus on its central figure.
“I ask no favors if the play is unreadable!” declares a thin young man standing atop a milk crate at the corner of a fluorescent-lit corridor. He sports a frizzy green hairpiece with a bald rubber forehead and a white doctor’s coat.
Among the many ironies of the ongoing Palestinian crisis, a salient one for visitors to this year’s Qalandiya International (Qi2016) was that no individual could have visited all of its sites. The third iteration of this promising young biennial stretched from the West Bank to the United Kingdom, with exhibitions in Ramallah, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Gaza, Haifa, Amman, Beirut, and London. Besides showcasing broad international solidarity for the Palestinian cause, Qalandiya International’s multi-site itinerary demonstrated the obdurate reality that some borders are impassible. No matter the nationality of one’s papers, at least one of Qalandiya International’s locations likely represents deep political contention.
Curator Omar Kholeif insists that Otobong Nkanga is first and foremost a draughtswoman—her works ideate from sketches even if they end up as paintings or poems, several of the latter which are published in this exhibition’s catalogue. His intuition bears out in the first United States survey of her work, which includes solidly sculptural works alongside paintings on paper, as well as tapestries that work their own glimmering magic in an expansive, all-encompassing gallery.