Whitehot Magazine

Nature Pops! at Wave Hill

Wave Hill curatorial fellow Tracy Fenix



Presenting a group show of contemporary artists dealing with issues of Pop Art in their work, Nature Pops! offers a lively look at flora and fauna filtered through the lens of popular culture and consumerism. The eleven artists on view — Polly Apfelbaum, Roberley Bell, Justin Berry, JoAnne Carson, Kira Nam Greene, Laurie Hogin, Vandana Jain, Portia Munson, Emilio Perez, Amy Pryor and Shinique Smith — use painting, sculpture, collage, printmaking, video and installation art to explore themes of the environment in enticing ways.

Highlights of the show, curated by Gabriel de Guzman, include Portia Munson’s installation Stream, which features a substantial accumulation of found, blue, plastic objects flowing through two adjacent rooms; Kira Nam Greene’s colorful still life paintings of junk food on flower-patterned backgrounds; Emilio Perez’s Space Face series of screen prints of a photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope that are dynamically overlaid with the artist’s hand-cut stencil drawings of abstracted heads; and Justin Berry’s photographs of landscapes featuring stitched together imagery of digitally simulated environments from video war games.

Other standout works are a big calligraphic painting created with bleach on denim by Shinique Smith and an equally large woodblock print of animated, abstract flowers by Polly Apfelbaum, while two Project Space installations — Amie Cunat’s bold, room-filling mural and hanging, gridded sculptures and Joiri Minaya’s suspended cut-outs of body parts and tropical prints culled from a Google search for the tag “Dominican women” — nicely complement the spirited show.

Scroll through the images below to see more artists and curators at the opening and installation views of the show. WM

Installation view of Nature Pops! with work by Joanne Carson, Amy Pryor, Shinique Smith and Portia Munson

Joanne Carson with her painting

Wave Hill curator of visual arts Gabriel de Guzman and director of arts & senior curator
Jennifer McGregor with work by Shinique Smith and Portia Munson

Installation view of Nature Pops! with work by Polly Apfelbaum and Roberly Bell

Kira Nam Greene with her paintings

Installation view of Nature Pops! with work by Laurie Hogin, Justin Berry and Kira Nam Greene

Justin Berry with his photographs

Installation view of Nature Pops! with work by Laurie Hogin, Shinique Smith and Portia Munson

Amy Pryor with her painting and work on paper

Installation view of Nature Pops! with work by Portia Munson, Emilio Perez and Shinique Smith

Emilio Perez with his works on paper

Portia Munson with her installation

Verdana Jain with her video and mural

Installation view of #dominicanwomengooglesearch by Joiri Minaya

Joiri Minaya with her installation

Installation view of Hideout by Amie Cunat

Amie Cunat with her installation


Paul Laster

Paul Laster is a writer, editor, curator, artist and lecturer. He’s a contributing editor at ArtAsiaPacific and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art and writer for Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, Galerie Magazine, Sculpture, Art & Object, Cultured, Architectural Digest, Garage, Surface, Ocula, Observer, ArtPulse, Conceptual Fine Arts and Glasstire. He was the founding editor of Artkrush, started The Daily Beast’s art section, and was art editor of Russell Simmons’ OneWorld Magazine, as well as a curator at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, now MoMA PS1.



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