The Easel

7th May 2019

At 84, Sheila Hicks Is Still Making Defiant, Honest Art

A bumpy interview. Hicks likes her tapestries and wall hangings big. Sadly, they are sometimes thrown out when foyers get a make-over. Hicks is unfazed by the implied lack of recognition of her art. Of her piece shown at the last Venice Biennale: “The idea of its monumentality is to envelop you … you’re not thinking about the grains of the sugar. You’re into a very big meringue”. A better, older interview is here.

Devan Shimoyama’s Vision of a Dazzling Black Future

A review, dense in parts, but worth it because of the artist. At just 30, yet already with two solo shows, Shimoyama is perhaps a soon-to-be big name. A series of works, set in barbershops, explores “queerness and blackness”. Not all see these as explicitly political images. What is plain, though, is Shimoyama’s “impulse to complicate conventional notions of masculinity”.

30th April 2019

We’ve Been Looking at Jean-Michel Basquiat All Wrong. He Was a Conceptual Artist, Not an Expressionist—and Here’s Why

Early on, Basquiat attracted labels like ‘radiant child’ and ‘primitivist’, leading many to surmise his work expressed inner turmoil. His frenzied scrawls may resemble European expressionism but only by accident. Instead, the key to his complex work is text. Basquiat was “an artist of words and thoughts, [like conceptual artist Jenny Holzer], not of instincts and inchoate emotions.”