Bat-Ami Rivlin ‘19 and Elzie Williams III Featured in 'Eponymous' at M23 Gallery

BY Catherine Fisher, January 14, 2022

Alumna Bat-Ami Rivlin ‘19 and current student Elzie Williams III are featured in Eponymous at M23 Gallery in New York City. This show is available for viewing until February 12, 2022. The exhibition's artists explore themes of history and power. French theorist and historian Michel Foucault is quoted at length in the press release, setting the tone for the show: “the proper task of a history of thought is: to define the conditions in which human beings ‘problematize’ what they are, what they do, in the world in which they live.” 


Much of the work in this exhibition is sculptural. In Williams’ They’ll Study You Like Textbooks, 2021, the artist uses a found bed frame, imagery from vintage magazines, and pigeon spikes among other materials. By placing images of Black people beneath the pigeon spikes, Williams invokes the racial disparities evident in American society. 


In Rivlin’s Untitled (fence, bedpans), 2021, similar themes arise. This multimedia sculpture uses only two elements: chain-link fencing and yellow kidney basins. In each iteration, the basins are covered in the fencing. This imagery brings to mind the violence of institutions like prisons and jails where one's freedom is removed by the government. 


Bat-Ami Rivlin’s recent exhibitions include the solo presentation Untitled (inflatable house, zip ties, blower) at A.I.R. Gallery, which was the culmination of a year-long fellowship; the two person exhibition Excess and Surplus: Anna Holtz and Bat-Ami Rivlin at Sharp Projects, Copenhagen; and the solo exhibition No Can Do at M 2 3, New York (2021). She was recently a New Art Dealers Alliance NADA House Govenor’s Island Residency Fellow (2020). Her work has been featured in publications including Artforum, The Brooklyn Rail, Bomb Magazine, and Flash Art International.

Williams has received the Lenfest Fellowship and Solomon B. Hayden Fellowship from Columbia School of the Arts. He has been featured in group exhibitions at Francois Ghebaly in New York, NY, and the Columbia University First Year Exhibition at Wallach Gallery, New York, NY. 

Bat-Ami Rivlin
Untitled (fence, bedpans), 2021
chain link fencing, yellow kidney basins
8 x 120 x 72 inches (20 x 305 x 183 cm)
Courtesy of M23