The facts are encouraging. Instead of going to art school, Anicka Yi became her own apprentice, working through her 20s in the fashion–media complex (ad agencies, photo shoots as a stylist, a project for The Face). Moving from London to downtown Manhattan in the mid-nineties, the Bernadette Corporation rubbed off, and Yi, in her 30s, started making art.
Yi has called her viewpoint “techno-sensual”—a perfect description for an artist whose work engages the sense of smell as much as sight. She works out of science labs in the city as well as her studio in Bushwick. (In fact, she may prefer the labs.) Her materials have included kombucha, dead mammals and shellfish, fake fur, paper, dough, soap, flowers, and the bacterial samples of 100 women fashioned into paint.
Yi’s 3-D video THE FLAVOR GENOME is now on view as part of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, and her Hugo Boss Prize-winning show LIFE IS CHEAP will be at the Guggenheim until July 5.
ANICKA YI—LIFE IS CHEAP, through July 5
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM, 1071 Fifth Avenue at East 88th Street, New York City
ANICKA YI—THE FLAVOR GENOME, through June 11
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York City
See: Alice Gregory, “Burn After Reading [Anicka Yi],” T, February 19, 2017, 163–166.
Credit for all images below: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum