“In the thin hallway gallery adjacent to the bulk of the show, prints made with the obsolete hectographic method—the kind used by the anti-colonial activists—use agar-agar, a common Asian dessert ingredient, to display English, Vietnamese and French iterations of the pro-immigration rallying cry “We are here because you were there.” The artist’s royal purple agitprop hangs over the observer’s heads like Damocles’ sword, a powerful reminder that history is written in blood and spoken through the gnashing of teeth. One leaves the show with eyes open, but blurred by now-knowing tears.”
“Her eponymous exhibition at James Cohan Gallery last fall spawned a tempest when New York Times art critic Kevin Johnson appeared to write off the show with strokes broad and base enough to hazard accusations of sexism.
‘Nothing in all this [the exhibition] is more interesting than the unexamined sociological background of the whole,” Johnson wrote in his concluding paragraph. “If the show were a satire of the artist as a comfortably middle-class tenured professor and soccer mom, it would be funny and possibly illuminating, but it’s not.’
In unhinging his jaw to devour the middle class (already an endangered species!) and women in general, rather than Grabner’s work specifically, Johnson made a crucial misstep. He has every right to not like Grabner’s work, of course, but in his generalization—and too-casual tossing off—of the work, Johnson committed the cardinal sin of damning the artist, not the art (and did so incorrectly, at that: Grabner never played soccer, nor was she ever a soccer mom).
All of which makes Grabner’s soccer balls—brightly banded with her signature gingham print—a most pointed sphere indeed.”