CHRIS THURMAN: Chess games at the end of animalistic time
Wilma Cruise’s new exhibition presents animals in all their unknowable pathos, playfulness and cleverness, writes Chris Thurman
“The Queen’s Gambit is the most satisfying show on television,” gushed Rachel Syme in The New Yorker magazine last month — and few people who have watched the series, finding in it much-needed succour as this torrid year draws to a close, would disagree. But there is also something irksome about what Syme identifies as the show’s appeal: “An unlikely synergy between the heady interiority of chess and the sensual realm of style.”
She’s right, of course, but this is such a predictable New Yorker take (heady interiority, sensuality, style), written as if 2020 never happened. Or as if Beth Harmon, chess player extraordinaire, is an everywoman; as if we all have brilliant, multidimensional minds that can anticipate dozens of hypothetical scenarios and play them out with mathematical certainty. Two opponents, sitting across a chess board, present a rather flattering view of human beings — unique animals whose enormous brains can reconcile time future and time past, identifying patte...