Miami, November 28–December 4, 2022
Alina Yakirevitch’s “Mishka”
Presented by P.A.D. at NADA
Russian emigre artist Alina Yakirevitch’s sculpture “Mishka” is timely as it attempts to process patriarchy and politics while investigating how Putin’s war affects us on a personal and familial level. Meditating on a therapist’s leather chair, the sculpture consists of a disassembled leather chair—leather pieces are flattened and sewed onto a shipping pad—like a melted body, a hunter’s animal hide, or a crucifix. If you look closely, you will see a picture of Vladimir Putin peaking out of the torn leather. “A little devil peeking out of the hole,” says the artist. Much of Yakirevitch’s work is about archetypes. She left Russia to move to Israel in the 90s, but all of her mothers family is in Russia and in denial about the war—which pains her. Putin is to blame. “I am dealing with him as an archetype–as an angry father figure–a Jewish father who is, like many Jewish men, very feminine,” she says. She chose the therapist’s chair as a metaphor for authority but also to highlight that therapy is a forum where people face, overcome, or succumb to the evil inside them. An accomplished artist, her work has also been exhibited at Tel Aviv Museum, and she has produced two of Roee Rosen’s films, one a commission for Documenta14.
A work with many layers, its title “Mishka” refers to the Russian Olympic mascot from the 1980s, and, Yakirevitch has as the daughter of a Jungian psychiatrist who frequented many psych wards and psychologists. This type of thought-provoking, fiercely political, and theoretical work is more common in a biennial than in an art fair. Installed in the garden of New Art Dealers Alliance fair NADA it merits a stop, and perhaps a sear in the grass, for reflection.
Kelly Dabbah: “Daddy’s Issues”
Presented by Saphira & Ventura at SCOPE
It is common for people to say “she has Daddy Issues” to describe a woman who dates older men—a term which is both ageist, sexist, and vague, if you ask me—like, maybe he has issues? (But tbh, most probably you are the one with issues.)
In her playful showcase NY-based interdisciplinary artist Kelly Dabbah presents a large-scale mirror (49’’x90’’) and antIque chair reupholstered in her signature collaged pattern design. Together the works explore the trope by introducing the term: ‘Daddy’s Issues.’ “It’s about the relaIonship between your heart and your mind, the carefully curated and constructed, imagined identity and the uninhibited soul, what someone is supposed to do versus what the heart wants. The mirror is also here to show fragments of your focus and your reflectIon, including every projectIon and recurring rejectIon, whether you like it or not,” says Dabbah about her showcase. Her Middle Eastern heritage and interest in the country’s rich tradiIons in decoratIve arts have influenced her maximalist approach to patterns and detail. Her digital collages are printed layer by layer on mirrors and combine brightly colored photographs of friends, her own paintings, and other found imagery inviting the viewer to renegoIate their relatIonship to our oversaturated and mediatIzed culture.
“Daddy’s Issues” Dabbah’s second showcase at SCOPE, as someone who has followed her work for some time I am impressed by how she works across art, music, and fashion industries forging her own path moving between activations and work with brands to bringing immersive experiences to the white cube. Dabbah’s upcoming collaboratIons include Sadowsky Guitars, Nothing New, and Cami & Jax bathing suits.
Jo Messer and Clayton Schiff Museum Debuts and Work at 56 Henry
Work presented by 56 Henry at NADA
Solo-Exhibition at Rubell Museum
The booth’s standout piece is hands-down Al Freeman Jr.’s vinyl work “Soft Interest” which in effect displays the ‘0% INTEREST.’ I am seriously considering DMing it to my ex. You might know Freeman Jr. for her large-scale soft wall sculptures of everyday objects like extension cords, cigarettes, and jewelry, or her image comparisons on her Instagram that are obscure deep dives into pop culture.
As an exercise it is fun to match artists in museum shows with their work at galleries; this brings more depth to a reading or understanding of the artist’s market. Jo Messer and Clayton Schiff, two of 56 Henry’s NY-based artists, debut with solo-shows at the Rubell Museum while also showing at the galleries booth at NADA. LA-born artist Jo Messer’s paintings of women offer multiplicities, potentials, and agency to their subjects. Limbs extend beyond the canvas amidst familiar objects. For those who delve into titles, hers are poetic, narrative, and mysterious declarations. From her solo-exhibtion at the Rubell Museum: “She is afraid of nothing, especially not the sun,” “Something new comes along,” and “Walk-in through the back.” Tethering between erotic and absurd, abstraction and figuration, in vibrant colors the paintings are a beautiful balancing act. They remind me of the unapologetic feminism of the 90s, Kathy Acker-esque, messy but poignant and liberating. Compared to Messer, Clayton Schiff’s works have a sense of stillness, scenes captured in time. “Crossing” at NADA simply captures two figures as they cross each other. Although in motion there is something intangible and strange, nearly immobile about the painting. The exhibition at Rubell seems to channel dreamscapes or memories present a compelling disconnect between the viewer and what is depiction on canvas.
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Anna Mikaela Ekstrand is editor-in-chief and founder of Cultbytes. She mediates art through writing, curating, and lecturing. Her latest books are Assuming Asymmetries: Conversations on Curating Public Art Projects of the 1980s and 1990s and Curating Beyond the Mainstream. Send your inquiries, tips, and pitches to email@example.com.