Art Hack


Installation view of “Rachel Harrison Life Hack,” a mid-career survey of the artist’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Credit…Charlie Rubin for The New York Times.

In her “Life Hack” exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Rachel Harrison corrals artifacts inside a circle of chairs facing away. Like eat my dust. Irony? Wit? Truculence? Genius? Contempt? Here’s how Holland Carter talks about it:

… I’ve learned that “life hack” is internetese for myriad improvised tricks or techniques devised to make the practical crises of daily existence — how to remove ketchup stains from a shirt, how to relax with strangers — more manageable. No doubt some of these interventions work better than others, but the fact that they’re a popular phenomenon, a thing, suggests that a lot of us are looking around and seeing chaos, and trying, with whatever panache we can muster, to make it productive. Ms. Harrison’s art is really good at that.

(Holland Carter, “Peas, Socks and Sidewalk-Trash Sculptures: Just Keep Looking,” NYTimes, 11-14-19)

I’m drawn to Harrison’s “Brownie,” which scans as a queasy skeleton gagging itself.


“Brownie,” from 2005, is a Giacomettian column embedded with life-size skulls. Credit…Charlie Rubin for The New York Times.

(c) 2019 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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