The Institute for PostNatural History - ongoing installation project (@ Exit Art)
The Institute for PostNatural History presents earnest (if cheeky) educational displays of transgenic organisms/animals - that is, creatures brought into the world by processes of splicing and recombining genes. For the iteration of the project I saw (at Exit Art), there were live, luminous fish and a diorama on 'BioSteel' goats - spider-gened goats that produce silk for purposes of military manufacturing. There's a political cast to this work: questions of the potential dangers and ethical quandaries of 'producing' life. Mainly, though, it's an educational project - dispersing information that might otherwise go missing; of course, this itself is a highly political act. (I'd also like to note that I basically have a problem with live animals being used in art, but that's a whole other thing...)
Linda Montano - "Mitchell's Death" (1979) (@ the Guggenheim)
Inspired by ritual tradition, Montano chants a detailed account of the events leading up to the death of her husband Mitchell, aided by a few important tools (acupressure needles, a gong, a video camera). I feel like this piece highlights the coincidental magical and quotidian properties of death - death is a huge thing, but it happens all the time.
Emily Jacir - "Material for a Film" (2004-ongoing) (@ the Guggenheim)
In "Material for a Film" (I kinda hate the title but whatever), Jacir presents documentary evidence and artifacts on and around the 1972 assassination of Palestinian intellectual Wael Zuaiter by the Israeli government (a sort of retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of Israeli Olympic athletes by Black September). I like how Jacir presents information: lucid and accessible; not falling into the trap of being overly obfuscatory to prove how smart her work is; her work knows how smart it is.
Larry Miller - "Mom-Me" (1973) (@ the Guggenheim)
For this project, Miller had himself hypnotized until he believed himself to be his own mother; he then drew pictures and responded to old photographs of him/herself. I love my mom and all, but this project has a sort of immediate grotesque, horrific quality, which is part of its pull. The familiar blended with the horrific - a common theme, yes, but I've never seen it quite like this.