Fall 2023: Icons

What makes an artist iconic? It depends whom you ask. For us at Art in America, it has to do with their impact on other artists, their influence on visual culture, and, ultimately, their effect on history and society. That latter quality is a tough one to gauge; it’s a bit like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings. But the artists we feature in this issue as icons have left their mark, to be sure. 

Suzanne Jackson cultivated the talent of other Black artists with her Gallery 32 in the 1960s, and her own abstract paintings contain oblique references to the painful history of the American South. Cameron Rowland’s conceptual practice is a means for enacting reparations. For filmmaker Trinh T. Minh-ha, as Tausif Noor writes, “the idea of the personal-as-political is not a mere catchphrase but a philosophy of existing in a world defined by colonialism, imperialism, and military occupation.” Ed Ruscha, for his part, “doesn’t shy away from talking about commercial vernacular,” as fellow artist Dena Yago told us, while discussing how such vernacular “governs our lives as the substrate of capitalism.” In Yvonne Rainer’s work as a dancer and choreographer, A.i.A. senior editor Emily Watlington discovered an early foray into disability art. And G. Peter Jemison, whose work features in a special pull-out print in this issue, figures in the significant history of Native American art.

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

All these iconic artists are future-facing, but an icon of the past looms large in this issue. In our “Syllabus” feature, we offer a required-reading list devoted to none other than Pablo Picasso. This year marks the 50th anniversary of his death, and Picasso turns up again in our reviews section, where A.i.A. contributor Alex Greenberger takes on the controversial “It’s Pablo-Matic,” a Brooklyn Museum exhibition co-curated by a standup comedian that attempts to reassess the painter in light of feminism. Picasso makes yet another appearance in our “Appreciation” piece: Barry Schwabsky’s obituary for Françoise Gilot, the painter and Picasso wife/muse whose pointed memoir revealed the dark side of genius. When I interviewed Suzanne Jackson in her studio in Savannah, she described meeting Gilot when she went to teach in Idyllwild, California. Gilot was on her way out, Jackson was on her way in.

A photograph of the interior of a convertible car sunken into a tile floor, to serve as a sort of sunken couch.
Pippa Garner: Conversation Pit, 1973.


Don’t Call It a Comeback
Back in the spotlight, Suzanne Jackson is pushing the boundaries of what paint can do.
by Sarah Douglas

Undancerly Body
For Yvonne Rainer, who rewrote the history of dance to make space for her misfit physique, everything is a performance if someone is watching.
by Emily Watlington

Two to Tango
Trinh T. Minh-ha’s twofold commitment to film reveals worlds open for discovery.
by Tausif Noor

Rethinking Reparations
Enigmatic conceptualist Cameron Rowland takes financial systems as a medium, exposing institutions that continue to profit from slavery.
by Zoé Samudzi

The Ruscha Effect
Artists weigh in on the impact of the great Ed Ruscha.
by the Editors of A.i.A.

The Underground Museum
Kenyan architects imagine an indigenous museum model unique to Africa.
by Simon Wu

G. Peter Jemison
The Native American artist talks about connecting with his heritage and a work lost to time. A special pull-out print accompanies the article.


A highly discerning list of things to experience over the next three months.
by the Editors of A.i.A.

Issues & Commentary
As the world of tech shows its bad side, some of the best art/tech artists are logging off.
by Emily Watlington

Battle Royale
Marfa vs. Naoshima—art pilgrimage sites face off.
by the Editors of A.i.A.

A reading list for a crash course on Picasso.
by Alex Greenberger

A Q&A with Pippa Garner about hacking old cars and herself.
by Emily Watlington

Multivalent musician ANOHNI tells us what she likes.
by Francesca Aton

Hard Truths
A nonprofit director and an artist ask for advice. Plus, an interactive quiz.
by Chen & Lampert

A tribute to Françoise Gilot, the artist and author of Life with Picasso.
by Barry Schwabsky

Listen beautiful relax classics on our Youtube channel.

Book Review
A reading of Prudence Peiffer’s The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever.
by Walker Downey

Object Lesson
An annotation of Jesse Homer Smith’s City at Rest.
by Francesca Aton

Cover Artist
Suzanne Jackson talks about her drawing featured on the front of A.i.A.


New York
New York Diary
by Alex Greenberger

“Lonnie Holley: If You Really Knew”
by Monica Uszerowicz

St. Louis
“African Modernism in America, 1947–67”
by Merve Fejzula

San Francisco
“Kehinde Wiley: An Archaeology of Silence”
by Harley Wong

Riehen, Switzerland
“Doris Salcedo”
by Maximilíano Durón

St. Louis
“Monet/Mitchell: Painting the French Landscape”
by Emily Watlington

Source: artnews.com

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