Finesse, in its most general sense, denotes skill and discretion when handling a situation— even the subtle manipulation of circumstances to one’s advantage. This may involve clever maneuvering, cunning, or artifice. Finesse can also designate delicate workmanship or refined comportment. It is synonymous to dexterity, trickery, and sleight. This publication brings together recent and newly-commissioned work by seven artists whose work deliberately finësses the relationship between the artist and the structures she occupies—whether material, social, or political. This tactic rests on the premise that those attuned to the conditions that reproduce a system are best positioned to transform them from within.

Exhibition Catalogue: Finesse
Additional Details

Preface by Deborah Cullen

Foreward by Rosalyn Deutsche

99 pages; 70 color illustrations

ISBN: 9781884919343




Leah Pires


The Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University

Publication Date


In print



January 18–March 11, 2017   “It is no longer a matter of trying to subvert or intrude. Those strategies are now recognized and invited. Now it is a matter of finessing, which is certainly not enough.”

Finesse | Exhibition Page