Ilana Harris-Babou: Decision Fatigue, Hesse Flatow, 508 West Twenty-Sixth Street, New York City, through March 21, 2020
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Ilana Harris-Babou drew public attention and critical praise in the most recent Whitney Biennial for works like Reparation Hardware (2018). In it, she took on the role of the creative director in a brand-lifestyle video, discussing the ways in which she sought to devise a stylish aesthetic that honored the history of slavery—“Their liberation was handcrafted,” she deadpanned. Such spot-on political satire played the fantasies offered by high-end home-furnishing companies against the reality of the injustices that have long produced those fantasies, including the occlusion of labor, the fetishization of troublesome histories, and the appropriation of marginalized cultures. Now, in her first solo outing at the Hesse Flatow gallery, Harris-Babou continues her fascination with aspirational lifestyles, turning her focus to self-help and wellness—overlapping discourses that seem to have found their apotheosis in Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop brand and Marianne Williamson’s recent run for the Democratic nomination.