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Alex A. Jones

Alex A. Jones is a writer currently based in Brooklyn. Her project “Art and Ecology in the Third Millennium” is supported by the The Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

In Conversation

HANNE TIERNEY with Alex A. Jones

Twenty years ago Hanne Tierney founded FiveMyles, a non-profit art space in Crown Heights. To readers of the Rail who go back a long time in New York, perhaps those have a shared history with Tierney in the SoHo art scene, FiveMyles is a familiar and highly regarded establishment.

In Conversation


Once a part of the East Village scene, Ellen Berkenblit has been showing in New York since graduating from Cooper Union in 1980. Her earlier paintings had an affinity for the tubular, economical figure-style of vintage cartoons and comics, but have since sharpened, featuring pointy, angular forms and contoured intervals of explosive color.

In Conversation

SHARA HUGHES with Alex A. Jones

I met with Hughes before the opening of In Lieu of Flowers to discuss the evolution of her work and her relationship to the landscape genre. Hughes is quick to confirm that her paintings aren’t really about “nature,” which begs the most interesting question: what are they about?

Grant Wallace: Over the Psychic Radio

Of all the forms of fine art found in Chelsea today, the art of communicating with spirits remains little-represented. Ricco/Maresca is one of the few galleries known for bolstering self-taught artists. The current show unveils a practice which has been mostly hidden in Grant Wallace’s family archive since his death. However, it would be a mistake to label his work “outsider art.”

Aneta Bartos: Monotropa Terrain

In an erotic view of nature, the body is a psychedelic concept. That is to say, it’s a matter of altered perception. “The body” can swell to replace the scientific and colonial terms that typically delineate nature: an ecosystem is a body; the land is a body. It is the mutability of the body—and the eros of its constant becoming and unbecoming—that Aneta Bartos touches with her video-based exhibition Monotropa Terrain.

Ivy Haldeman: The Interesting Type

Since 2016, Ivy Haldeman has been exhibiting erotic paintings of feminine, anthropomorphic hot dogs. These ladylike link-sausages, with pouting lips, svelte human limbs, and Cinderella-heels are seen lounging seductively inside pillowy hot dog buns.

Betsy Damon: Passages: Rites and Rituals

Betsy Damon’s current solo show in New York successfully frames her as a pioneer of such a healing practice, and as a key artist through which to consider the relationship between art and activism.

Ella Kruglyanskaya: Fenix

The most revealing painting in Ella Kruglyanskaya's show at Gavin Brown's Enterprise is Painter, Discontented (2018). The seven-foot-tall oil depicts a painter in messy negligee sitting before a canvas, onto which a few marks have been splashed from the brush in her hand.

Ecstatic Landscape

These paintings invited the joy that is particular to landscapes, allowing us to experience the panel not as a mere decorated surface, but as an imagined place.

The Disco Beast

Monaghan’s show investigates the unicorn as a symbolic being, demonstrating in surprising ways its historical richness, multivalence, and relevance to the digital age.

Kathy Ruttenberg: Twilight in the Garden of Hope

The courtyard of Chinatown gallery Lyles & King is a brick-and-concrete panopticon of apartment windows looming five stories high. AC units pump stifling exhaust into the air, combatting a July in which global heat records were set. But the machines’ buzzing is broken by a babble of cool water, which streams from a spout-like branch in the face of an anthropomorphic tree. It is the centerpiece of Kathy Ruttenberg’s fountain installation, which turns this glorified air shaft into a paradise garden.

We are Ghosts

Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley’s films This is Offal (2016) and In the Body of the Sturgeon (2017) approach the grim mysteries of death with madcap humor.

Viktor Timofeev: God Room

Upon entering the apartment gallery, the resonant sound of a slowed-down clock pendulum conjures a sensation of time slipping slowly away, similar to the attenuated experience we may associate with waiting.

Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg: Delights of an Undirected Mind

The forest and the house are two psychologically-charged domains in the Western imaginary, both ruled by the play of light and shadow. When we can’t see the far edge of the trees, a forest becomes an unfathomable mystery, and its secrets take on a more threatening character with the fall of night.

The Institute of Queer Ecology: Metamorphosis

The four-episode series resembles an educational nature show, with essays spoken over digital animation and found footage, narrated by nonbinary artists Mykki Blanco and Danny Orlowski. As its name implies, Metamorphosis takes multiple forms as an artistic project.


You could say it is a terrible time to open a gallery show. New York City languishes in an ongoing lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic, while a nationwide civil rights movement calls for our attention. But for one of the few exhibitions recently opened in the city, the timing feels powerful. It is a show about ecological urgency in the time of a global crisis. It speaks to activism as an artistic strategy, and points to the entanglement of struggles for social and environmental justice.

Genevieve Goffman: Here Forever

What future epoch do our own dreams precipitate? Goffman points to the importance of our collective fantasies, which are not only escapist pastimes, but dreams that race ahead of us, bearing on reality’s course.

New Grey Planet 

Blinn & Lambert’s multimedia exhibition New Grey Planet feels as much like a theoretical experiment as an aesthetic experience. Presenting still life and video works that juxtapose the effects of CGI and 3D imaging with material forms, the artists invite us to participate in exercises of perception that complicate the ontology of objects through technological vision.


Michelle Handelman’s body of work Hustlers and Empires, of which a new installment currently appears at Signs & Symbols Gallery in the Lower East Side, is a symbolically-layered, operatic examination of “the hustler.” Here the label encompasses those who transgress society’s norms as a way to survive, and those who must survive in spite of their transgressions, including the sex worker, the pimp, the drug dealer, the addict, the queer outsider. The newest film, LOVER HATER CUNTY INTELLECTUAL, focuses on a character who is in fact a “layering of persons,” portrayed by the queer feminist artist/activist Viva Ruiz, whose performance is partly autobiographical and partly inspired by the libertine 20th-century novelist Marguerite Duras.

Swamp Hunters (2018)

This painting appeared in a solo show at Andrew Edlin Gallery called Gamekeepers, a title which refers to those who manage land to ensure proper conditions for hunting wildlife. It is a paradoxical stewardship, nurturing life to prepare for the hunt.

Resting Position

The thirteen paintings in Resting Position, all completed in 2018, range from 16 to 36 inches square, a modest scale that invites contemplation rather than immersion.

cymbals of sleep uncurtain the night

Despite the humming palettes of pink, orange, violet, and indigo, it feels chilly in these paintings. Maybe it’s because now, in late March, we enter the gallery from the frosty street with ever-more impatience for the turn of season that these images predict.

A Wild Ass Beyond: ApocalypseRN

Surveying the national cultural landscape of doomsday preppers, survivalists, contemporary homesteaders, and “tiny house” enthusiasts—communities within which notions of self-reliance and apocalypse can appear as driving fantasies—these four artists of color inject a counter-narrative into a predominantly white—and in some sectors overtly nativist—conversation about the nature of survival in “the end-times.

On Harriet Feigenbaum

The aesthetic of regeneration is different from the picturesque. It is about the perception of a certain type of beauty found in the surprising incarnation of life as it emerges from neglect, or death. Down in the mining pit, locust trees grow up out of stinking dark water, but as I walk by, a group of colorful wood ducks fly out from their undergrowth, shouting in annoyance.

Double Helix

I worship twin gods, the image and the text. They are like two chemical elements, irreducible to one another. Words calcify meaning, while images abide by a logic of infinite growth. An image can contain the universe, as in a spiral carved upon a stone.

Austin Osman Spare’s Psychopathia Sexualis

These drawings visualize a grotesque menagerie of sexual beings. It is through a psychological paradigm that Spare’s erotica must be read, for, like all his work, these drawings emerged from a psychic flow-state in which bodies often personified meaning.

Pen + Brush

Pen + Brush was founded in 1894 as a private club for women artists and writers. This makes it older than any other professional women’s organization in the United States.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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