What to See in New York Art Galleries This Week

ROBERTA SMITH

Photo

A still from a video of a group of jaded L.G.B.T. activists that was narrated by Juliana Huxtable for the show “A Split During Laughter at the Rally,” at Reena Spaulings.

Credit
Courtesy of the artist and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, NY/LA

JULIANA HUXTABLE

Through June 4. Reena Spaulings, 165 East Broadway, Manhattan; 212-477-5006, reenaspaulings.com.

Juliana Huxtable is a transgender model, D.J., writer and artist whose most prominent art world exposure to date has been as the nude subject of an iridescent 3-D sculpture by Frank Benson at the 2015 New Museum Triennial, where her photographs were also on display. Ms. Huxtable’s current show, “A Split During Laughter at the Rally,” at Reena Spaulings on the Lower East Side, reverses that dynamic: Rather than her body, Ms. Huxtable’s voice — funny, acerbic, malicious even — is on display.

The show’s centerpiece is a video she narrated, represented by a close-up of her lips painted a shimmering baby blue. The video follows a group of jaded L.G.B.T. activists marching around New York chanting “No K.K.K., no fascist U.S.A., no Trump.” (“Girl, I am over this,” complains one protester to another.) In the process, the group discovers a crunk beat lurking within the call-and-response and a possible “rhythm conspiracy,” in which white protest movements have borrowed from black culture without acknowledging the debt.

A nearby text-and-photography installation goes further, arguing that white skinhead culture is also derived from black culture, particularly rude boy Jamaican street culture. The installation includes images of white celebrities with shaved heads, labeling them “low-key skinheads,” and white L.G.B.T. people accompanied by text that reads “Queer hairlessness and punk machismo flippancy as radical antagonism skinhead.”

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