Artforum International

An international contemporary art magazine covering sculpture, painting, mixed media, and installation works, as well as architecture, music, and popular culture. Includes artist interviews and reviews of individual artists and/or galleries; reviews of fi

Articles from Vol. 32, No. 4, December

Alexander Calder
These two monumental--indeed, gigantic--sculptures, Big, Big Black, 1957 (a mobile) and Spunk of the Monk, 1964 (a stabile), show the heroic possibilities of a master's late style. It is as though Alexander Calder were epitomizing himself for posterity:...
Alexis Rockman
Alexis Rockman's new series of paintings, collectively titled "Biosphere," 1992-93, is inspired by one of the artist's favorite movies, Silent Running, 1971. I've seen this film several times, although many of its details (no doubt indelibly etched on...
Angus Fairhurst/Caroline Caley
Angus Fairhurst revels in disjointed humor which he has compared to the move of the knight on the chessboard: bound by rules like all the other pieces but free to strike out in different directions. In failing to live up to expectations without entirely...
Annette Messager
In The Uses of Enchantment, 1975, Bruno Bettelheim asserts that, for a child, the psychological function of fantasy and especially fairy tales is to gain "understanding . . . not through rational comprehension of the nature and content of his unconscious,...
Anthony Viti
In its repeated use of the cross, Anthony Viti's series of paintings entitled "Elegies," 1993, becomes like a field of tombstones for those who have died of AIDS. But Viti's crosses are poignant less by reason of this association than because of the...
A Thousand Words
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but that doesn't mean that artists take words lightly. What does the art world read? We phoned a number of artists, writers, filmmakers, and critics and asked: What has been the most influential book in your life?...
Attitude Is Everything and Everything Hurts
By refusing to have a career or to make history, |Chet Baker~ managed to do both, and in the end achieved that rarest of prizes. He had a life in the arts . . . in real time. Dave Hickey, "Chet Baker: A Life in the Arts," 1991 In a 1965 essay, "Minimal...
Aziz + Cucher
The first thing everyone notices about the nude figures in Aziz + Cucher's new series of digitized Ektacolor prints, "Faith, Honor & Beauty," 1992, is that they appear to have had their penises and vaginas rubbed out. Closer inspection reveals that...
Ben Kinmont
"Public Projects: 1990-1993" displayed the archive of Ben Kinmont's ongoing investigation into the creation of what he calls "Social Sculptures." Over the past three years, Kinmont has developed three public works that originated in the city's streets...
Ben Pranger
Ben Pranger wistfully transforms found objects with an eye toward making them reveal poetic resonances. He changes contexts, proposes absurd usages, descends to puns, and creates curious conglomerations, all while discovering the frailties of literal...
Bob Flanagan
In this ongoing series, writers are invited to introduce the work of artists at the beginning of their careers. Watching someone drive a nail through his penis isn't usually my idea of a compelling art experience, but Bob Flanagan is something else....
Claudia Hart
Claudia Hart's most recent show, "NEW WORLD ORDER," was a variation on an earlier show at the gallery's Cologne space. Here, though, Hart eliminated the photoworks due to the lack of space. Subtitled "A Game of Social Surrealism," the exhibition consisted...
Critical Reflections
The racial stereotype, considered "a major discursive strategy" of imperialism, is endlessly in need of confirmations for its classifications, and is ingenious in discovering them. The tremulousness of the relationship between those who are victims and...
David Tremlett
David Tremlett's exhibition consisted of both large wall drawings and a small series of drawings on paper. This concise retrospective, the English artist's first in Italy, was organized by Marco Meneguzzo. Tremlett is well known for using a completely...
Deep Forest
ECOCULTURE This summer's most unlikely club hit took you by complete surprise by being uncannily familiar. This is what we've come to expect from pop hooks. It's as if certain grooves had been lying dormant in some cryostasis of the collective acoustic...
Eve Andree Laramee
In her recent work, Eve Andree Laramee continues to follow her interest in the estrangement between cultural practice and scientific process. From our distorted perceptions of the differences between them, she draws shared properties and principles....
Five Lesbian Brothers
THE FRATERNAL FEMININE Bitter jealousy, glorious revenge, corrupted innocence--these are the tropes of an emerging pulp lesbian sensibility that traffics in the tawdry castoffs of '50s and '60s American pop culture. The territory of fanzines, girl bands,...
Francoise Quardon
With its constellations of tentacled playpens, prophylactic umbrellas, sacred-heart menorahs, and levitating bathtubs suspended under the dome of a 19th-century chapel-turned-gallery, Francoise Quardon's Take me to the river (all works 1993) does not...
Geoff Lowe
Geoff Lowe's visits to Vietnam, in 1991 and 1992, are reflected in three groups of work: straightforward drawings and gouaches of Hanoi, Halong Bay, and the Mekong River; the banners and posters he made to advertise his exhibition in Hanoi and Ho Chi...
Gruppa
Formed in 1982, Gruppa (Ryszard Grzyb, Pawel Kowalewski, Jaroslaw Modzelewski, Wlodzimierz Pawlak, Marek Sobczyk, and Ryszard Wozniak) exhibited provocative paintings and drawings (including the collectively produced gigantic works on paper called papiery)...
Hakan Rehnberg
With his new paintings, Hakan Rehnberg continues along the narrow path he embarked on three years ago. But instead of plates of lead or steel, he now uses acrylic sheets as support--a rather "dead" or banal material that has the advantage of being relatively...
Inexorable Dissolve: James Coleman Blindsides Art
I am standing before James Coleman's La Tache Aveugle (The blind spot, 1978-90), a slide projection derived from a brief sequence, less than a second long, of the 1933 film The Invisible Man. I witness an outrageously attenuated and inexorable dissolve--20...
It's a Wound-Erful Life
Rosa von Praunheim's new movie, I Am My Own Woman, made the rounds last year in Europe, showing up in just about every international festival and winning the Rotterdam film critics' award. Scheduled to open officially next month in New York, it's a docudrama...
It's Been Nice Gnawing You
Like fashion, current art is seeking to "get over" the '80s, and is looking to the '70s and '60s, that is, to the prehistory of that moment, to oedipally murder it. The uncannily excrementalized styles of the recent past appear so fresh, so "modern,"...
James Hyde
Like ruins from some future archaeological dig, James Hyde's nonrepresentational "frescoes" on large chunks of Styrofoam give suggestive shape to the fleeting landscape of the present. Unlike much theory-fueled abstract painting, Hyde's works are at...
Jane Kaplowitz
Jane Kaplowitz would agree with Jean Cocteau that "style is the soul." She is a connoisseur of Pop, of camp, and of "appropriation." As if to establish her post-Modern credentials beyond a doubt, she has made an ironic play with motifs from Pablo Picasso,...
Javier Codesal
Spain is a country of silences. A sort of tacit pact exists that certain aspects of the social order are acceptable as long as they are not mentioned--homosexuality, for example. The silence surrounding the issue of AIDS is merely an extension of this...
Jonathan Lasker
Perhaps the most interesting thing about a Jonathan Lasker painting is its title, or more particularly, the disjunction between title and work. Without the pseudointellectual titles--The Outsides Are In, Moral Fantasia, Between Theory and Reality, Reverse...
Kim Adams
Dodes 'Ka-dan, 1993, the centerpiece of Kim Adams' latest show, examines a consumer culture in which utilitarian values have gone into hyperdrive. Loosely titled after Akira Kurosawa's 1970 film about an adolescent who drives an imaginary trolley through...
Komar and Melamid
It's all very Russian. The work for which Komar and Melamid became famous was about the frightening absurdity of the Soviet system, and was directed toward the dismantling of that system. Now that the system has been dismantled, Komar and Melamid are...
Linda Stojak
For her second solo show, Linda Stojak relied heavily on the redoubtable image of the crucifix to embody a haunted and private martyrology. At a distance, her somber, dangling, androgynous torsos, bobbing "heads," and helpless limbs look as if they were...
Narratives of No Return: James Coleman's guaiRE
"In using what I considered traditional symbols," W. B. Yeats observed ruefully toward the end of his life, "I forgot that in Ireland they are not symbols but realities."|1~ Culture in these circumstances cannot be reduced to an esthetic pursuit at one...
Patrick Ireland
"Patrick Ireland" is a pseudonym adopted by Irish-born Brian O'Doherty in 1972, "until such time as the British military presence is removed from Northern Ireland." This miniretrospective of his work, curated by Russell Panczenko, was a revised version...
Philippe Favier
Philippe Favier draws minuscule figurines or borrows tiny images from encyclopedias, then paints or glues them under glass, appropriating a popular Central European tradition. His subjects are thus painted backwards; and though they require the viewer...
Real Life Rock
GREIL MARCUS' TOP TEN 1 Lee Smith: The Devil's Dream (Ballantine, $10). "One time years back, when she was sitting on the porch hooking a rug and singing one of these mournful old hymns, as she frequently did, little Ezekiel asked her, 'Aunt Dot, how...
Rob Craigie
With "Sublime Air Clot," 1993, an installation of ten sculptural wall ensembles that hold various fluids, foods, and gases percolating through a system of laboratory jars, surgical tubes, and beeswax replicas of such objects as basketballs and aortalike...
Sean Scully
Without the boxiness of his previous work, Sean Scully's new paintings are certainly less physically overbearing. Each large canvas contains a smaller, inset one that evokes projections collapsed back onto their supports--as though Scully wanted you...
Siah Armajani
Both this exhibition and a concurrent one at Max Protetch gallery in New York were filled with continuities, as well as departures, from Siah Armajani's earlier work. While his interest in the political structure of American public spaces remains, two...
Stephan Balkenhol
Stephan Balkenhol's recent exhibition consisted of 12 small female nudes carved from a single block of wawa wood. The figure and pedestal are all of a piece, and seem to be worked from inside the wood--a technique that recalls his 57 penguins from 1991....
Street-Level Video
Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, founder of Street-Level Video (S-L.V.), organized what was a spectacular collaboration, a one-day, video-installation block party called Tele-Vecindario: A Street-Level Video Project, sponsored by Sculpture Chicago. With a complicated...
Susan Fenton
This recent exhibition of Susan Fenton's painted photographs presented two bodies of work, one produced in France and one in Japan, where the artist is now living. Place has always been a factor in Fenton's work, a subtext that underlies the immediately...
Suzan Etkin
Suzan Etkin's work seems divided against itself: though her concerns merit a certain clarity, enigma is pursued with such anxiety that in the end it is somewhat starved of meaning. Etkin has said that she hopes to achieve "a continuing provocation, an...
Tabboo!
"Is this a bed or a cloud?" sighed John. "Percy, Percy--before you go, I want to apologize." "For what?" "For doubting you when you said you had a diamond as big as the Ritz-Carlton Hotel." Percy smiled. "I thought you didn't believe me. It's that...
"The Cave." (Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, New York)
Race, ethics, gender politics, cultural history, geography, the Torah, the Koran, and current affairs: these are the seemingly improbable ingredients of The Cave, 1993, a majestic music-theater collaboration between video artist Beryl Korot and composer...
"The Final Frontier." (New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, New York)
The frontier examined in this exhibition is both an internal and external one: that of the body as it meets and dissolves into the technological. It is becoming clear that the things we have thought of as integral and unique to the body no longer are,...
"The Urban Aboriginal." (Jan Weiss Gallery, New York, New York)
Featuring four contemporary Australian artists of Aboriginal heritage--Lin Onus, Bronwyn Bancroft, Sally Morgan, and Karen Casey--this show presented work actively involved in the reclamation of Koori (Aboriginal) identity. Though marked by a diversity...
Thomas Locher/Hans Weigand
"I know that what I'm saying is wrong, but still I think it could be right," reads the inscription on one of Thomas Locher's chairs. It articulates the fundamental problem of the modern subject: it admits the inadequacy of language to grasp the world,...
Thomas Trosch
Thomas Trosch is an amusing, playful painter whose work could easily be dismissed as idiotic, as the farthest thing possible from serious painting. Remember Philip Guston, whose audience said, "See ya Phil," the minute a figure stepped onto his buttery...
Vienna Letter
Vienna suddenly seems quieter than it has been for some time. Curator Kasper Konig has gone back to his job as director of Frankfurt's Stadel school, and his Swiss colleague Hans-Ulrich Obrist has taken up a project in Paris; "Der zerbrochene Spiegel"...
Wes Mills
What does desire, incessant, unclear and unanswerable, look like? This, as much as anything else, is what Wes Mills' work is all about: it's a kind of cartography of desire. According to a Lacanian diagram, the drive sweeps in past the margins of an...
Willem De Kooning
Willem de Kooning's art has fallen into a strange twilight since Elaine de Kooning's death and the subsequent legal battle over his guardianship. No new paintings of de Kooning's have been exhibited since 1987, but those were of a breathtaking incisiveness...