New York Galleries: What to See Right Now

Jillian Steinhauer, The New York Times, July 31, 2019

Through Aug. 9. Fridman Gallery, 169 Bowery, Manhattan; 917-262-0612,


Heather Dewey-Hagborg has a gift for blending art and science in thrilling and terrifying ways. Her solo show “At the Temperature of My Body” continues her investigation into the uses and ethics of biotechnology with three new projects, two involving experiments and research. For “Lovesick” (2019), Ms. Dewey-Hagborg worked with scientists at the company Integral Molecular to create a “love virus” that boosts the production of oxytocin, a hormone associated with social bonding. Samples of the virus glow in wormy glass vials, looking benign but paranormal.


“Spirit Molecule” (2018—19), a collaboration with Phillip Andrew Lewis, is an attempt to engineer the DNA of lost loved ones into psychoactive plants, so that they could be consumed as an act of memorialization. Plants grow in the gallery near a tender, personal video that humanizes the outré-sounding project.


“T3511” (2018), made with Toshiaki Ozawa, is an experimental documentary that registers as dystopian fiction. The video follows a woman, played by the artist, who buys saliva online and becomes obsessed with the anonymous donor, analyzing his biological data and tracking him down.


While Ms. Dewey-Hagborg’s research projects have a radical utopian bent, “T3511” emphasizes the creepiness lurking within them. Her work suggests mind-bending possibilities for biotechnology, without ever losing sight of its dangers and abuses.