BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews | 26 JAN 24

The Best Shows to See in New York This Winter

From Jade Guanaro Kuriki-Olivo’s acid-green dreamscape to Pipilotti Rist’s personal utopia

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews | 26 JAN 24

Jade Guanaro Kuriki-Olivo
New Museum, New York
12 October 2023 – 3 March 2024


For her first solo institutional show, ‘Nothing New’ at the New Museum, Jade Guanaro Kuriki-Olivo (a.k.a. Puppies Puppies) has taken up residence in the lobby gallery for a durational performance that perverts and estranges our senses of sight and sound. Revelling in the playfulness of readymades, the artist has carved up the space into a railroad-style apartment with a Zen garden to the front, a central bedroom and a back room full of budding marijuana trees. The gallery and the museum’s café have both been stocked with a vast array of acid-green products (perhaps, a nod to her first name), including, but certainly not limited to: four jugs of emerald Fabuloso; six dark bottles of liquid chlorophyll; six bags of Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion crisps; eight cans of Del Monte cut green beans; seven bottles of lime perrier; three jars of Loisa Sofrito; three canisters of Dial aloe vera hand soap; 25 bottles of Ito En green tea; and two boxes of Ito En Oi Ocha green tea bags. In this reflexive environment interleaving performer, performance and product, the artist is omnipresent. – John Belknap

Pipilotti Rist
Luhring Augustine, New York
18 November 2023 – 24 February 2024

Tu mich nicht nochmals verlassen <Do not abandon me again>

Pipilotti Rist is not a feminist. Or rather, as she told the Guardian in 2011, she is ‘politically’, but not ‘personally’ – a bold blurring of the 1970s maxim that the personal is always political. Rist would prefer other adjectives like ‘wild and friendly.’ The kind of utopia she builds is a pre-political one; more Garden of Eden than militant commune.

Rist’s new exhibition, ‘Prickling Goosebumps & a Humming Horizon’ features windows named after activists like Sojourner Truth and Amaranta Gómez Regalado, a wink to the political realm without offering explicit commentary. She was also inspired by other avant-garde women artists like Yoko Ono. Rist’s work can certainly come across as innocent, with a similar whimsical affect to that of Icelandic popstar Björk. Both women have used art to gesture towards powerful new worlds, ones that captivate us with their vast reimagining of the damaged one we live in. – Grace Byron

Shilpa Gupta
Amant, New York
21 October 2023 – 28 April 2024

Shilpa Gupta, ‘I did not tell you what I saw, but only what I dreamt’, 2023, installation view. Courtesy: the artist and Amant, photograph: Sebastian Bach

For the past few years, Shilpa Gupta has tried different variations on memorializing poets punished by governments for freely expressing themselves. Her best-known work, For, In Your Tongue, I Cannot Fit (2017 – 18), is a sound installation commemorating the verse of 100 historically and presently incarcerated writers. Speaking to the lonely and desperate plight of jailed poets everywhere, the piece comprises 100 menacing metal spikes piercing sheets of paper on which are typed excerpts of poems as well as the years in which each of its writers was detained. Above each spike hangs a hollowed-out microphone retrofitted with a speaker playing a recording of each poet’s work being read or sung in its language of origin. Sometimes individual, sometimes in unison, the orations furnish a striking sonic representation of the persistence of poetry notwithstanding extreme repression. – Jasmine Liu

Ligia Lewis​​​​​​​
CARA, New York
30 September 2023 – 4 February 2024

Four figures at the center of a room: one on the floor, one bent over, another draped over them, and the last standing, with arm raised

Ligia Lewis, Mame Diarra Speis, Miguel Angel Guzmán and Corey Scott-Gilbert are frozen in angular positions on the ground. As I walk in, they are breaking out of their paralysis in slow, jerky movements that variously evoke shock, exhaustion and resurrection.

study now steady (2023) – the eponymous ‘rehearsal made durational’, as the press release defines it, of Lewis’s exhibition at the Center for Art, Research and Alliances (CARA) – is thick with the pauses, slips and dizzy landings that populate the artist’s earlier performances for stage and camera. There is the leg-slapping, foot-stomping stepping and wobbly piling-together of minor matter (2016) that insists on urgent collectivity. There is the clamour of ‘falling flesh’ – a term Lewis used recently in conversation – of Still Not Still (2021), where bodies come crashing down against one another and onto the floor, losing their fixity, their signification. Guzmán echoes the beginning of Water Will (in Melody) (2018) as he mimes a melodramatic smile flipping into a frown. Lewis’s shifting eyes flicker with conspiracy and then quickly withdraw into a deadpan blankness – a powerful mechanism of withholding in deader than dead (2020), screening in CARA’s first floor gallery. – Mariana Fernández

Aki Sasamoto
Queens Museum, New York
12 June 2023 – 4 July 2024

Aki Sasamoto, Sink or Float

‘Get out, get out!’ Aki Sasamoto shouted from behind a wall with a green door. The nondescript façade – mere moments prior, an inert stage forming part of her installation-cum-performance Squirrel Ways (2022) – was suddenly revealed to be as mobile as the artist who, still yelling, rapidly wheeled it toward the seated audience. Viewers hesitated, uncertain, before they began to scatter. The wall ludicrously continued its surreal advance until everyone had been pushed out of the room. The performance was over.

Squirrel Ways, which had its stateside debut at the American Academy of Arts and Letters this spring, featured a fluid environment of reconfigurable partitions inspired by Japanese fusuma and shoji – sliding panels used to shape a home’s interior spaces and demarcate interior from exterior. Prior to ejecting viewers from the ‘house’ and performance, Sasamoto moved the partitions around, contorted herself to slip and squeeze between them and slashed open the shoji’s mulberry paper panels to extricate embedded fishing lures and rulers. As she flouted notions of architectural fixity, the artist ruminated aloud about our relationship to our belongings and to one another, highlighting the instability of more ontological borders. At what point do our objects become extensions of us, or do we become extensions of objects? To what extent is the boundary that separates self from other, or inside from outside, permeable? What about rearrangeable? – Cassie Packard

Main image: Ligia Lewis, study now steady, 2023, documentation of performance at CARA, New York. Courtesy: the artist and CARA, New York

Contemporary Art and Culture