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Michelle Standley

Michelle Standley is a historian, writer, and artist with a PhD in History from New York University. She teaches at Pratt Institute in New York. For more see,

WOLFGANG TILLMANS Book for Architects

When German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans won the Turner Prize in 2000—the first photographer and the first non-British citizen to do so—he had already made a name for himself as a sympathetic chronicler of youth and gay cultures and of the ephemera of the everyday.

Pia Camil: A Pot for a Latch

If nothing else, Pia Camil’s work makes people smile. Or at least that’s the thought that struck me the other day as my companions and I exited the New Museum carrying a one-and-a-half-foot-tall green letter D and a wooden spoon large enough to serve peas to the Jolly Green Giant, to the amused stares of the people we passed on the Bowery. These were the literal takeaways from our visit to Camil’s first solo show, A Pot for a Latch, a“participatory sculptural installment.”


There’s a young woman sitting in a market stall. Behind her hangs a row of dresses. A small Turkish national flag is draped above one of them. She might be in Istanbul, recently arrived from the countryside.

Gimme Shelter

The problem begins with the wall-sized photograph of bright orange life vests just outside the entrance. The life vests make an attractive, rather benign, visual representation of the crisis.


Berlin is a divided city. Its inhabitants’ polarized reactions to the sudden influx of thousands of refugees—from acts of arson to massive volunteer campaigns—reveal a city torn between fear of change and a desire to embrace it.

Florine Stettheimer Painting Poetry

Not long after Columbus landed on Hispaniola, a new word entered the English language: “whim-wham,” to refer to “a quaint or decorative object or trinket.”

Bhupen Khakhar You Can’t Please All

Bhupen Khakhar was a true original. An iconoclast. Born in 1934 in Bombay (now Mumbai) to a middle-class family, Khakhar earned a degree in economics at the urging of his widowed mother, working for most of his life as an accountant.

RODNEY MCMILLIAN Views of Main Street

Be forewarned: if you have ever lived in a house in the suburbs—or have parents or grandparents who dreamed of such things—Rodney McMillian’s Untitled (2006) might make you cry.

Latin America in Construction: Architecture, 1955-1980

You might be tempted to walk past Development equation, the first piece in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibit Latin America in Construction: Architecture, 1955–1980. But don’t. Hanging unobtrusively to the left of the main entrance, the roughly five-foot-square metal-and-wood contraption sets the stage for the exhibit.


Feeling and seeing everything, you begin to feel and see nothing. What with the neverending cascade of bad news—the Paris attacks, the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, Donald Trump—my senses had been deadened to such a degree that I had begun to steel myself against feeling in order to survive.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2023

All Issues