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  • Source: The New Yorker
  • Author: Johanna Fateman
  • Date: November 18, 2021
  • Format: Digital


Kandis Williams

From “Kandis Williams: A Line,” a quadrant of ink and collage works on paper that explore the position of Black dancers amid the undercurrents shaping dance history, from Greek mythology to Orientalism and more. Courtesy of 52 Walker, NY

52 Walker is more than the new Tribeca outpost of the Zwirner gallery—its director, Ebony L. Haynes, plans to run the space like a Kunsthalle rather than a commercial enterprise, organizing long-running shows by artists whose approaches are research-based. The compelling inaugural exhibition, “A Line,” is by the polymath Kandis Williams, who has a background in dramaturgy and founded the Cassandra Press, an independent distributor of radical texts. Lining the gallery walls is a series of Williams’s diagrammatic collages, combining ink and photocopied, cutout images of dancers; the results suggest a novel, conceptual method of movement notation. The works’ lengthy poetic titles underscore the tangle of historical, cultural, and racial dynamics at play. In the back, these concerns recur in austere videos on a phalanx of monitors. Installed along the floor, potted plants are, in fact, sculptural assemblages, bearing fake fruit painted in a range of flesh tones, with collaged eyes appearing, uncannily, on the occasional leaf, uniting the botanical and the anatomical.