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New York Times T Magazine

Nancy Brooks Brody’s Delicate Final Works, on View in New York

By Laura Bannister

April 3, 2024

Throughout their lifetime, the artist and activist Nancy Brooks Brody — a native New Yorker and, from 1991, a founding member of the lesbian art collective fierce pussy — was concerned with the invisible. Moving between painting, drawing, sculpture and architectural intervention, Brody used commonplace materials to reveal unseen bodies and negative space. In “Broken Shells,” a series begun in 2002, the innards of smashed seashells were painted with jaunty enamels; arranged together, the cracked skeletons became a rainbow. An ink on newsprint series, “Merce Drawings,” outlined the outstretched limbs of Merce Cunningham dancers, containing and extending their movement.

Brody died in December, and an exhibition of their final body of work, “Ode,” opens this week at Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in TriBeCa, including several works made in the last week of their life. Brody hand-tore pieces of colorful tissue paper into ovoid forms, then affixed them to raw canvas. Each pared-back composition includes two stacked, hovering shapes that ripple, wrinkle and tear slightly along the taut surface, recalling the wheat-paste posters of fierce pussy. Marisa Cardinale and Joy Episalla, co-executors of Brody’s estate and longtime friends of the artist, compiled “Ode” with the gallery. The rounded silhouettes, they say, emerged from Brody’s longstanding fascination with circular forms in various iterations, including the growth rings of trees and painted coins. “Ode” is on view from April 5 to May 11,