Henry Art Gallery University District
April 27–Sept 15, Wednesdays–Sundays
Recommended by Jasmyne Keimig
Cecilia Vicuña's pieces gently demand a certain attention to detail, a certain kind of intentional observation and consideration. Her art is largely composed of material that's been discarded and overlooked; it contemplates displacement and climate change, embodied across several mediums. While many of her practices are deeply rooted in conceptual, land, and feminist art and the culture of the Andes, her global concern with the environment and displacement cracks open meaning to the close looker. Take Burnt Quipu (2018). Tethered to the high vaulted ceiling of the lower gallery, dozens of lengths of knotted unspun wool are arranged in a forest-like fashion. Vicuña has been making these quipus for decades, in reference to an ancient method of remembering (or record keeping) involving knotted cords, used by the Incas and other Andean cultures. Being among the wool quipus is a sort of "reading." Walking through these unstructured wool beams is a feeling unlike any other—it's just to the left of traipsing through the forest and just to the right of being lightly wrapped in a blanket.