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Susan Harris

Susan Harris is a writer and curator. She is on the Executive Boards of Printed Matter, the Brooklyn Rail, and the International Association of Art Critics, United States section (AICA-USA).

Guest Critic

Recalling the Saints

As serious, trained professionals who care deeply about art and artists, and place a high value on the disciplines of art history and art criticism, we regularly reflect on the role of the art writer/critic—what it is today and what it should be in a rapidly changing art world.

In Conversation

BRAD KAHLHAMER with Susan Harris

Brad Kahlhamer speaks with Susan Harris about how he got his start in the art world, his working relationship with the Heard Museum, and his multi-discipline practice.

In Conversation

Kiki Smith with Phong Bui and Susan Harris

On the occasion of the traveling retrospective Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980–2005, the artist’s first full-scale survey (on view until February 11, 2007), Kiki Smith welcomed Rail publisher Phong Bui and independent curator/writer Susan Harris to her home and studio to discuss her life and work.


Ralph Humphrey’s exhibition at Gary Snyder Gallery illustrated his unique contribution to American abstract painting. In contrast to the metaphysical aspirations of the Abstract Expressionist painters whom he admired when he arrived in New York in the late 1950s, Humphrey’s territory was secular and nonspiritual.

Richard Tuttle: 18x24

Richard Tuttle: 18x24, the exhibition of new, exuberantly colorful wall reliefs on view at Pace Gallery in Chelsea, is an absolute affirmation of the supremacy of joy that can be had in the making and viewing of art despite—or, maybe because of—the divisiveness, anger, fear, and untruths that abound.

Howardena Pindell: Autobiography

The “Autobiography” series came about after a near fatal crash in which Pindell sustained severe injuries and memory loss. Early works from this series on view at Garth Greenan bear witness to the artist literally and figuratively piecing together fragments of her past.

Susan Harris
on Leon Golub

It is a thrill to see Leon Golub’s in-your-face paintings on the brutalist walls of the Met Breuer. During his lifetime, American painter Leon Golub received little institutional recognition—particularly from museums in the US.

Nancy Spero: Un Coup de Dent

Nancy Spero’s recent exhibition at Galerie Lelong reaffirms the artist’s status as a national treasure.

Beverly Semmes: POT PEEK

Beverly Semmes’s current show at Susan Inglett Gallery represents the multitude of modes and media with which she has been engaged for the last thirty years while introducing notable new elements that invite reflection on the relationship between her signature dress and ceramic sculptures and her “Feminist Responsibility Project” (FRP), an ongoing series in which she paints and draws over ’90s-era porn magazine pages.

Harold Ancart: Traveling Light

Harold Ancart is a Belgian-born, New York-based painter who seems to have catapulted into the limelight in recent years. His first one-person show at David Zwirner in New York fills two of Zwirner’s adjacent 19th Street locations with large, dazzling paintings, all created in 2020, that provide ample opportunity to consider his contribution to the recent reappearance of a familiar conversation concerning painting.

Brad Kahlhamer: Swap Meet

Brad Kahlhamer: Swap Meet is a succinct yet expansive exhibition composed of drawings, paintings, sculptures, and a mobile home trailer woven into a uniquely personal cosmology. Walking into the large open space of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art reminds me of Kahlhamer’s account of his first visit to the Heard Museum in Phoenix in the late 1970s.

Kara Walker: Prince McVeigh and the Turner Blasphemies & The Book of Hours

Installed in the first of the two back galleries of Sikkema Jenkins are several suites of modestly scaled drawings from the series “Book of Hours.” Referencing medieval Christian books of hours, the drawings on view reinforce the primacy of privacy. Viewers bear witness to the outpouring of stream-of-conscious thoughts, feelings, and reactions that Walker channels through line and liquid media onto paper.

James Luna: Take a Picture with a Real Indian

James Luna:e a Picture with a Real Indian is a posthumous installation at Garth Greenan Gallery of a performance/installation originally commissioned by the Whitney Museum’s downtown branch in 1991. The piece takes on issues of Native American identity and stereotypes, and explores how they land in largely non-Native spaces of viewing and writing about art.

Ursula von Rydingsvard

Ursula von Rydingsvard’s commanding new sculptures in natural, rough-hewn cedar are captivating in their correspondences to and departures from the awe-inspiring and warmly welcoming works that have defined her thirty-year oeuvre.

Chloe Wise: Thank You For The Nice Fire

Since her breakout moment in 2014 when she was catapulted into an arena where art meets fashion meets popular culture, Chloe Wise has become an art fair darling and has demonstrated herself as a witty observer of, and participant in, her millennial generation and culture.

Kate Shepherd: Surveillance

Surveillance marks a vast leap in a new direction. Working on, experimenting with, and percolating this new body of work for years, Shepherd dug deep into her self and her process to figure out how to make paintings that would essentially make themselves instead of her superimposing images on them.

Huma Bhabha: Facing Giants

Huma Bhabha: Facing Giantsis a tour de force of new sculptures and painted and drawn collaged works on paper that expands upon and distills Bhabha’s 30-year passage in transforming common and discarded materials into powerfully expressive testaments of the human condition.

Alison Elizabeth Taylor: Future Promise

Taylor’s subject material in Future Promise, at James Cohan Gallery, has taken a turn toward the personal in paintings that reflect the impact of quarantine on her as an artist, mother, and person.

Rona Pondick

The disparate parts of Rona Pondick's metal hybrids came together as unified, albeit disconcerting, wholes, but deliberate disjunctions characterize the new pigmented resin and acrylic pieces that accentuate their literal and spiritual ruptures.

Mildred Thompson: Throughlines, Assemblages and Works on Paper from the 1960s to the 1990s

Mildred Thompson: Throughlines, Assemblages and Works on Paper from the 1960s to the 1990s cracks the veneer of the 20th century, modernist canon to highlight a little-known body of work by an African American abstract artist who, in spite of being overlooked and criticized for her race, gender, and style, remained resolute in her vision.

Alain Kirili: Who’s Afraid of Verticality?

Entering Alain Kirili’s exhibition, Who’s Afraid of Verticality, is like joining a gathering of benevolent beings in a space that lifts one’s gaze and spirit.

Pat Steir: Color Wheel

Spanning nearly 400 linear feet, this body of work took ten months to realize and represents Steir’s largest painting installation to date.

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds: Standing Rock Awakens the World

His artworks create opportunities for contemplation, reassessment and, hopefully, healing for Native and non-Native people alike.

In Support

Combining painting, poetry, video, and sound in an immersive installation that invites attendees into the inner sanctum of his mind, Ceremonies is a powerful new work commissioned by The Kitchen as part of In Support, an exhibition that reflects on ways institutions offer and receive support.

Portrait of Perits-Har-Sts (Old Crow) and with His Wife, Ish-Ip-Chi-Wak-Pa-I-Chis (Good or Pretty Medicine Pipe), 2017

Swathed in sumptuous tribal garments and adorned with opulent accessories, a Native American Crow chief and his young wife are the subjects of a black-and-white photograph taken in 1873 by a white photographer to commemorate their visit to Washington, DC.

In Conversation

JUDITH STEIN with Susan Harris
Eye of the Sixties: Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art

You’ve done a beautiful job, a great service to us all in bringing to light so much valuable information on this quiet visionary, Dick Bellamy, who, by your account, was unintentionally drawn to, and pinpointed artists who went on to speak to and define a whole generation.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2023

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