Tag Archives: Shahryar Nashat


Daisy Hildyard in The Second Body: “Your body is infecting the world—you leak.” Shahryar Nashat once—not long ago—followed up with the question: “Where are the fluids?” The query remains unresolved; the leak has surged to a deluge. And we are drowning in it. The fluids, it seems, have been collected from carcasses drained of life, strung up on the disassembly line, packaged, contained, sealed, and ready for consumption. These are our surrogate selves suffocated in fat on a landscape of desolation and decay. This is an organic death: ethically sourced, carbon-neutral. Ed Smith: “I’m in no moo’d / said the cow.” (For Bruce Hainley.) There is a moment just before a body becomes flesh, before it becomes meat and bone, and then becomes simply matter. This is the threshold between life and death, when the body has been stripped of its faculties. An inert substance lacks the burden of memories. In a recent poem, Joyce Carol Oates writes: “The stroke / that wipes out / memory / is another word / for mercy.” We want to be nothing inside, we want to be merciful. Abstraction is just another word for dismemberment.

THEY COME TO TOUCH is the title of an exhibition by Shahryar Nashat. Taking place in a suite of vacated offices, the assembly of sculpture and video situates itself within the accretions of the building’s past life. Papier-mâché carcasses congregate and hang from the ceiling in concert with bags of urine and colorful rough-hewn cubes. The piss and “memory boxes” are accessories to the various accumulations, occupying the margins and corners throughout the multi-floor unit in which the exhibition takes place. A disembodied soundtrack floats in and out of earshot, animating the sculptures and finding interludes of synchronicity with a seventeen-second video that shows a figure falling to its knees, keeling over, and dying a digital death. The figure is trapped by this scenario—an endless sequence of three falling episodes, infinitely repeating in a simulated environment that takes its cues from the disused office where THEY COME TO TOUCH is situated. On occasion, the sound and image find their way to one another, and the figure falls in unison with a pulsating composition, which includes the exuberant rhythmic percussion of Maurice Ravel’s Bólero and a sorrowful lament by the cosmic superstar Dee D. Jackson. The ambient presence of sound permeates the exhibition and gives life to the sculptures just as easily as it maintains that they are wholly dead inside. — Aram Moshayedi

See link below for details.


Through May 2.

8762 Holloway Drive

West Hollywood.

Shahryar Nashat, They Come to Touch, 8762 Holloway Drive, April 8, 2021–May 2, 2021. Artwork images © Shahryar Nashat, courtesy of the artist.


What does a feminist exhibition on masculinity look like? This was the question asked by curators Eva Birkenstock, Michelle Cotton, and Nikola Dietrich while organizing MASKULINITÄTEN, their three-part exhibition now open in Bonn, Cologne, and Düsseldorf.

The Bonn section—curated by Cotton, head of Artistic Programmes and Content at Mudam, Luxembourg—includes work by Lynda Benglis, Judith Bernstein, Alexandra Bircken, Patricia L. Boyd, Jana Euler, Hal FischerEunice Golden, Richard Hawkins, Jenny Holzer, Hudinilson Jr., Allison Katz, Mahmoud Khaled, Hilary Lloyd, Sarah Lucas, Robert Morris, D’Ette Nogle, Puppies Puppies (Jade Kuriki Olivo), Bea Schlingelhoff, and Anita Steckel.

The Cologne section—curated by Dietrich, director of the Kölnischer Kunstverein—includes Georgia Anderson & David Doherty & Morag Keil & Henry Stringer, Louis Backhouse, Olga Balema, Gerry Bibby, Juliette Blightman, Anders Clausen, Enrico David, Jonathas de Andrade, Jimmy DeSana, Hedi El Kholti, Hilary Lloyd, Shahryar Nashat, Carol Rama, Bea Schlingelhoff, Heji Shin, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Carrie Mae Weems, Marianne Wex, Martin Wong, and Katharina Wulff.

The presentation in Düsseldorf—curated by Birkenstock, director of the Kunstverein for the Rheinland and Westfalen, Düsseldorf—features the work of Vito Acconci, The Agency, Keren Cytter, Vaginal Davis, Nicole Eisenman, Andrea Fraser, keyon gaskin with Samiya Bashir, sidony o’neal & Adee Roberson, Philipp GuflerAnnette Kennerley, Sister Corita Kent, Jürgen Klauke, Jutta Koether, Tetsumi Kudo, Klara LidénHenrik Olesen, D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Josephine Pryde, Lorenzo Sandoval, Julia Scher, Agnes Scherer, Bea Schlingelhoff, Katharina Sieverding, Nancy Spero, and Evelyn Taocheng Wang.

MASKULINITÄTEN will be accompanied by a catalogue published by Koenig Books, with contributions by—among others—CAConrad, Nelly Gawellek, Chris Kraus, Quinn Latimer, Kerstin Stakemeier, Marlene Streeruwitz, and Änne Söll.


Through November 24.

Bonner Kunstverein

Hochstadenring 22, Bonn.

Kölnischer Kunstverein

Hahnenstrasse 6, Cologne.

Kunstverein Düsseldorf

Grabbeplatz 4, Düsseldorf.

Maskulinitäten, a co-operation of the Bonner Kunstverein, Kölnischem Kunstverein, and Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, September 1–November 24, 2019. Cologne installation photographs by Mareike Tocha, except second from top and fourth from bottom, by Katja Illner. Images courtesy and © the artists, the institutions, and the photographers.


Playwright Bernard-Marie Koltès (1948–1989)—a key figure in French postwar drama—believed that dramatic action is always transactional because, writes stage director and Koltès scholar Fabrice Conte, “characters can only interact within the context of a form of negotiation.”

The relationship between the Client and Dealer in Koltès’ play Dans la solitude des champs de coton was the impetus for Adam Linder‘s contemporary opera THE WANT—at Redcat this week in its premiere Los Angeles engagement.

THE WANT will be performed by Jess Gadani, Justin F. Kennedy, Jasmine Orpilla, and Roger Sala Reyner.

Ethan Braun wrote the music and the lighting design is by Shahryar Nashat. The Los Angeles production is co-presented by CAP UCLA.

Working on projects in which our roles interweave, we don’t start with Shahryar as the maker of sculptures or of moving images. Because he’s worked in those mediums, his way of thinking has a particular texture. And because I’ve worked in performing arts and with liveness and theater, my way of thinking has a specific texture.

What interests us is how these textures either complement or productively resist each other. It’s not about the formal outcome of these mediums being combined. And that’s where I would ontologically separate our way of working together from the notion of the “interdisciplinary.” We don’t care about disciplines meeting, but about our sensibilities crisscrossing.Adam Linder

The reason why Adam and I say we never collaborate and are not interested in doing so is that we don’t really make work together. When he comes to me asking if I would do the stage design for a piece he’s making, I’m happy to work within his concept and apply my skills to his vision. For an artist, it can be playful to have these limitations—in an applied arts versus visual arts kind of way. Adam becomes a bit like my client. — Shahryar Nashat


Thursday through Saturday, September 19, 20, and 21, at 8:30 pm.

Sunday, September 22, at 7 pm.


631 West 2nd Street, downtown Los Angeles.

Linder and Nashat quotes are from their 2018 Bomb interview by Aram Moshayedi.

Adam Linder, The Want, 2019. Images courtesy and © the artists, performers, and videographer.