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. 48, No. 10, Summer

454'33": Richard Deming on Stan Brakhage
STAN BRAKHAGE'S IMPORTANCE to avant-garde film cannot be overestimated, for this protean creator of some 350 works in a career spanning half a century taught us how to experience--and not just watch--film itself. His aesthetic ambitions were always...
4th Auckland Triennial
New Zealand recently made an appearance in the world media as the source of a novelty news item when a kakapo, a critically endangered flightless parrot, attempted to mate with the head of a presenter on the BBC television show Last Chance to See....
Adriano Pedrosa
CONTEMPORARY ART INSTITUTIONS perpetually run the risk of inadequately performing their fundamental task of exhibiting work that artists are currently producing--and so are doomed, in a sense, to become ossified and therefore outmoded in the face of...
Albrecht Schafer
This show, "Ein Tag" (A Day), began just to the left of the entrance door, at a height of five foot three inches, the standard eye level for hanging exhibitions. From this point, Albrecht Schafer hung clippings from the German newspaper Die Welt from...
Andras Szanto: Cultural Consultant and Senior Lecturer in Art Business, Sotheby's Institute of Art
NOTHING SAYS "I have arrived" like a seat on a prominent museum board. This has been true at least since the days when Edith Wharton chronicled the rise of America's industrialist moguls. And so it remains in our own, somewhat tarnished gilded age....
Andreas Fogarasi
In the 1880s, King Oscar II of Norway transplanted buildings from all the regions of the country; he had them dismantled and then rebuilt, stone by stone, on a plot of land just outside Oslo. This astonishing architectural "collection" forms the heart...
Anna Maria Maiolino
During the five decades of Anna Maria Maiolino's career, she has left almost no artistic medium unexplored, from sculpture to reliefs, drawing, film, and performance. Her early artistic experiments date back to the 1960s and Brazil's artistic ferment...
Anne Tismer
What would Hitler say? This question has recently gone from being posed ironically in Germany to a global musing. YouTube now has more than 140 mash-ups of the movie Der Untergang (The Downfall) (2004), which answer the question by using subtitles...
Ann Goldstein: Director, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
WHEN I FIRST JOINED LA's Museum of Contemporary Art as a volunteer in 1983, I wanted to be part of a museum of a sort that didn't exist when I was an art student in Los Angeles in the late 1970s. Having only come to a consciousness of the contemporary...
Ann Philbin: Director, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES PRESENTS its own set of problems and obstacles when it comes to museums. This city's vast geography means that people can be isolated and thus often seek connection and social engagement as part of their cultural experiences. This has made...
Ann Pibal
The paintings in this exhibition, Ann Pibal's second at the gallery, feature narrow rivulets of color zipping across and around monochrome backgrounds. They make clear that masking tape, with its chastening, restrictive qualities, is as important to...
Ann Temkin: Chief Curator of Painting and Sculpture, Museum of Modern Art, New York
ONE OF THE CONTEMPORARY MUSEUM'S SECRETS--not exactly dirty but far from squeaky clean--is the storage dilemma resulting from the exponential growth of its collections. While this is a problem that affects all museums to some extent, of course the...
An Odd Thought concerning a New Sort of Exhibition
The persons to be employed should be painters, sculptors, carpenters, watchmakers, and other such folk. We may add gradually mathematicians, engineers, architects, boat-builders, entertainers, musicians, poets, book-binders, typographers, engravers,...
Barbara Kruger
Barbara Kruger's art has been confrontational at least since her landmark works of the 1980s, in which found photographs and sharp phrases addressed viewers directly, especially those viewers who thought the word you meant them. And it seemed that...
Before the Deluge: Michael Wang on "Rising Currents"
POLAR ICE IS MELTING, warmer water is expanding, and coastal cities--confronted with projections of eroded coastlines and ever more frequent flooding--are grappling with the looming question of how to keep the water out. As early as 2004, researchers...
Catherine Opie
Catherine Opie began her "public" artistic career in 1991 with a series of thirteen photographs titled "Being and Having." The title was a seeming allusion to Jacques Lacan's contentious psychoanalytic system that posits women as "being" the phallus,...
Celeste Boursier-Mougenot
Zebra finches are small, variously colored birds native to central Australia. They live in groups, enjoy plentiful singing, and often exhibit elaborate striped plumage and fanciful markings. In artist and sometime musician Celeste Boursier-Mougenot's...
Chantal Mouffe: Professor of Political Theory, University of Westminster, London
IT IS BY PUTTING THE MUSEUM in the context of radical democratic politics that I wish to address the question of its role today, considering in particular ways in which art institutions could foment new subjectivities critical of neoliberal consensus....
"Dance with Camera"
The etymology of choreography tells us that the word, at its most literal, means something like "writing dance" or "dance writing." Of course, the relation between inscription and dance is now so familiar that while we have come to recognize its mutability...
Deborah Hay
For three evenings this past March, Deborah Hay performed her new work, No Time to Fly, 2010, at the fabled St. Mark's Church in downtown New York. Over the course of fifty minutes, Hay--herself long a fixture of radical dance, now approaching seventy...
Deep Space: Mark Von Schlegell on Battlestar Galactica
THE SERIES FINALE of Syfy's Battlestar Galactica (2003-2009) still generates controversy among the show's activist, networked fans. For good or ill, the epic four-season melodrama, laced with visionary robots, planetary vistas, and spectacular battle...
Dominique Figarella
This exhibition, composed of forty-seven paintings made between 1992 and 2010, proposed neither a linear nor a chronological path through the work of Dominique Figarella. The challenge to interpretation was raised at the entrance, in the form of a...
Eileen Quinlan
The fact that nearly all of Eileen Quinlan's photographs are still lifes has often been obscured by the variety of other interests evident in her work. Critics have, perhaps too often, related her images to the historical precedents set by early modernists...
Emily Wardill
Emily Wardill's Game Keepers Without Game, 2009, cribs from La Vida es Sueno (Life Is a Dream), a seventeenth-century Spanish play by Pedro Calderon de la Barca, but the source is nearly unrecognizable. Whereas Calderon's play revolves around the life...
Fabian Bercic
Trying to find one's way through Fabian Bercic's maze of twisted shapes, to follow the interwoven coils of ornament in his recent exhibition "Natural," was an exciting challenge. Even more astonishing was to see that such sophisticated patterns of...
George Kontos
George Kontos's The Vision (all works 2010) is an elliptical short film in which, as is typical for the Los Angeles-based artist, meaning is only hinted at and resolution perpetually deferred. The protagonist of the four-minute sequence is a bearded...
Gerard Byrne
IMAGES OR SHADOWS OF DIVINE THINGS, an installation comprising black-and-white photographs that Gerard Byrne has been making since 2005, limns the specific sense of anachronism one sees so frequently in the Irish artist's work and served as an enigmatic...
Helen Molesworth: Chief Curator, Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
FOR ME, THE CORE DILEMMA FOR MUSEUMS TODAY is the sheer scale and scope of artistic production. At no other time has the world generated so many people who identify themselves as artists, who make so many things that people can buy, and who have so...
Imi Knoebel
What financial crisis? Thaddaeus Ropac has shown his bullish attitude by expanding his gallery empire with a "multiuse hall" in Salzburg, measuring some twenty-eight thousand square feet. This functional building doesn't look like much on the outside,...
Ines Katzenstein: Founding Director, Art Department, Universidad Torcuato Di Tella, Buenos Aires
THE DICHOTOMY between the traditional museum and the "new" museum is not the same everywhere in the world. In Buenos Aires, one of the most culturally active cities in South America, for instance, a museum with a consistent exhibition program, a curatorial...
James Gilbert
A pointed critique of the current regime of safety-consciousness, "Warnings & Instructions," James Gilbert's recent exhibition, took as its starting point a cartoonlike replica of a plane crash: an almost life-size fuselage, severed into three...
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller
Janet Cardiff first became known for works that she calls walks, in which her recorded voice guides headphone-wearing visitors through a site--a park, a museum--and modulates their experience of it through scraps of description and information, fragmented...
Jeffrey Deitch: Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
LOOKING BACK AT MY GALLERY during the past fifteen years, I've become increasingly aware of how it operated as a private ICA. Most of our programming was not commercial--for instance, the recent Josh Smith show of forty-seven paintings made directly...
Jessica Jackson Hutchins
When certain artists transition from emerging to emerged, the moment is palpable. This spring, it happened for Jessica Jackson Hutchins, with concurrent solo shows at Laurel Gitlen (formerly Small A Projects) and Derek Eller Gallery and her inclusion...
Jesus Martinez Oliva
Is there an ideology of geometry? This question is a key to Jesus Martinez diva's show, suggestively and disturbingly titled La escuela del miedo (School of Fear). What connection might there be among education, fear, and the supposed rigor of geometry?...
Jim Hodges
What city could be more suitable than Venice for an exhibition that expresses a phenomenology of love? This is the city of water and the sky reflected within it--all elements beloved by American artist Jim Hodges, who espouses a connection to the color...
Joanna Mytkowska: Director, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
MY EXPERIENCE AS THE DIRECTOR of an emerging art museum suggests that the institution can play the role of agent of change in the public sphere. The Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw is the first art museum to be built in that city since 1938. The building,...
Julian Rose: Designer and Critic, New York
THE CENTRAL PROPOSITION behind architect Jean Nouvel's design for the new National Museum of Qatar seems to be that good metaphors make good architecture. The first thing that everyone--the architect, the developer, the museum's director--wants you...
Justin Beal
Justin Beal's second solo exhibition continues his project of revealing the repressed of modernist architecture and design. At first encounter, his wall-mounted sculptures seem ascetic, cold. Slabs of slick-surfaced materials--aluminum, Plexiglas,...
Kathy Halbreich: Associate Director, Museum of Modern Art, New York
HAVING COME OF AGE IN THE 1960S, I've been unable to abandon a belief in a certain Utopian imperative. But it was being at Minneapolis's Walker Art Center--a medium sized museum in the middle of the country, with an incredible historical legacy--that...
Kaye Donachie
The modest proportions of the six paintings in Kaye Donachie's latest exhibition served only to sharpen the focus of the gaze she turns upon her subjects--a gaze that makes visible a kind of fruitful incoherence (to use artist Susan Hiller's endlessly...
Ken Price
Ken Price's output has consistently opposed contemporary art traffic--whether, in the early 1960s, simply by having been made in Los Angeles or, lately, in its unabashed courting of pleasure ("joy," he says, is the feeling he's after), to say nothing...
Laissez Faire: Maria Lind on Carte Blanche
AT FIRST GLANCE, it seems like selling out: the genie of capital being let out of the bottle once and for all. Carte Blanche, a unique project at the Galerie fur Zeitgenossische Kunst in Leipzig, involves eleven private individuals and companies who...
Lars Nittve: Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
A SWEDISH COURT will soon decide whether local authorities, sports clubs, and companies were justified in charging skiers a fee this past winter for skiing in the tracks these institutions had laid through the countryside. This issue is not just a...
Laura Larson
Laura Larson's video Electric Girls and the Invisible World, 2008, skims the edge of the impossible. Its deadpan tone exaggerates that of neo-avant-garde documentary, from Martha Rosler's Semiotics of the Kitchen, 1975, to Allan Sekula's Fish Story,...
Lee Lozano
The slogans for Moderna Museet's recent Lee Lozano retrospective were bold and beautiful: EAT COCK FOR MENTAL HEALTH graced posters in Stockholm as well as souvenir tote bags. Another version of the motto substituted "cunt" for "cock"; the phrase was...
Lewis Hyde
Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Lewis Hyde is a MacArthur Fellow; the Thomas Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio; a fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society in Cambridge, Massachusetts;...
Liz Craft
Liz Craft derives inspiration from any manner of cultural fodder: from high to low, from mundane to fantastic. Often, the spark seems to come when she mashes multiple aesthetics together, as in the sculptures featured in "Death of a Clown," an exhibition...
Lost in Translation: Robert Polito on the Killer Inside Me
IN THAT GHOST WORLD WHERE, as Godard proposed, all anyone needs for a movie is a girl and a gun, what about Jim Thompson, at once the acknowledged master of American noir and the crime writer whose novels have most obdurately resisted translation to...
Manuel Borja-Villel: Director, Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid
ALTHOUGH THEY RETAIN THEIR importance in the network of creative industries, as public institutions museums have lost much of their mediatory power and, further, have lost their privileged position in defining what we understand to be culture. This...
Many Happy Returns
Few individuals have so radically altered the vocabulary of architecture as REM KOOLHAAS, whose theoretical writings (Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan [1978]; S, M, L, XL [1995]) and groundbreaking structures (the IIT McCormick...
Marlene Dumas
There is an air of mournful intimacy to Marlene Dumas's paintings, a sort of muted pathos. The thinly painted figures in this recent exhibition, "Against the Wall," have a miragelike appearance appropriate to the emotional desert in which they exist....
Miguel Angelo Rocha
Portuguese artist Miguel Angelo Rocha combines explorations of basic pictorial and sculptural properties--point, line, plane, volume, and color--with an analysis of the sign value of found objects, merging formal investigation with the legacy of the...
Museum/Museum: Notes toward an A-Z (Work in Progress)
"I used to enjoy driving my car up and down the overpasses. It felt like I was weaving space." --Lygia Pape "The curator should be like a dervish who circles around the artworks. There has to be complete certainty on the part of the dancer for...
Museums on the Move
EVERY SEPTEMBER, like clockwork, it's the same thing: quick handshakes in the haughty opera director's pompous office, and then it's off with the artist to meet the press. Quite a list, after all these years: Tacita Dean, Richard Hamilton, Jeff Koons,...
New Foundations
ON A RECENT DAY IN EARLY MAY, two e-mails showed up in my in-box within a few hours of each other. The information they individually contained was unremarkable--the opening of an exhibition and the gift of artworks to a museum. Taken together, however,...
Nicola Pecoraro
Visitors to "The "Wandering," Nicola Pecoraro's third solo show but his first in Rome, ideally should have experienced the exhibition with a sound track in the background, perhaps of the sort of electronic genre one hears a lot of now, a mix of natural...
Olafur Eliasson
I LIKE TO DISTINGUISH between the museum as a reality producer and the museum as a reality container, with the museum of the future taking upon itself the responsibility of being, with its visitors and the artist, a coproducer--of models, of reality....
Olafur Eliasson
Olafur Eliasson has long combined aesthetic rigor with an emphasis on subjective experience. While the former is usually based on scientific theories, the latter tends to bring with it a considerable measure of entertainment. Enjoyment certainly seemed...
Oscar Ho Hing-Kay: Founding Director (2004-2005), Museum of Contemporary Art, Shanghai
TRADITIONALLY, THE CHINESE believe that true wealth must be accompanied by culture, and so, as our nation has become richer, we have in recent decades seen the cosmetic masking of affluence. It is noteworthy that among the most active supporters of...
Oscar Tuazon
In addition to works of the kind for which Oscar Tuazon is best known--sculptures made using industrial materials such as concrete, Plexiglas, and corroding rebar--his recent show at Maccarone featured a sound piece that served as the exhibition's...
Otto Dix
OTTO DIX IS A KEY FIGURE, but he has never been held in as high regard in America as his contemporaries, such as Max Beckmann and George Grosz. The German artist played no part in the fertilization of the New York art world by European refugees during...
Parables of the Theater: Diedrich Diederichsen on Rene Pollesch
AROUND TEN YOUNG GIRLS wearing pink nightgowns and toting crude wooden rifles take the stage. They strike various poses in rapid succession, threatening us, conducting drills, enacting tableaux vivants. Most of the poses arc taken directly from the...
Pawet Althamer
MY PRACTICE IS FOCUSED LARGELY on mediating between the collective and the individual, so the museum plays an ambiguous role: It can either present an obstacle or serve as a productive site of interface. One of my primary objectives as an artist, therefore,...
"Pergola"
A pergola comprises two parallel rows of colonnades that support an open roof of girders and cross rafters, providing a structure for climbing plants, usually set within a garden and attached to a house. The Palais de Tokyo--with its aspirations to...
Peter Liversidge
Peter Liversidge experiments with what he describes as the "notion of creativity." For the past several years, his exhibitions have been centered on the practice of writing proposals for artworks and performances, some to be realized and some not....
Pi Li: Assistant Professor, Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing
PERHAPS IN PLACES WITH LONGER HISTORIES, history is more easily cast aside. Two socialist traditions, those of Mao Zedong and of Lenin, held different ideas about cultural revolution and history: Mao believed that a thorough destruction of the old...
"Play Van Abbe"
WHAT WILL THE MUSEUM of the twenty-first century look like? According to the Van Abbemuseum, it won't present chronological arrangements against neutral walls and it will include numerous collaborative arrangements with artists. It will also serve...
Postscript: The Museum Revisited
AMONG THE MOST INTRIGUING ASPECTS of conversations around contemporary art is the language most commonly used to describe the unprecedented expansion of its field. More and more often, in this context, one hears references to democracy and democratization,...
Rineke Dijkstra
For nearly two decades, Rineke Dijkstra has used frontal photographic portraiture to register the unrehearsed innocence, inhibition, and insecurity that mark the difficult and often tragicomic transition from adolescence to maturity. "Liverpool" presented...
Ron Terada
The first thing that should probably be said about Ron Terada's project comes at the end of the catalogue for his largest exhibition to date, in the acknowledgments: "It is more than obvious that my work is indebted to others." Few artists have so...
Sam Durant
No one would accuse Sam Durant of restraint when it comes to contesting mainstream, representational narratives of American history. His recent work includes Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington D.C., 2005, which envisages...
Screen Memories: Douglas Crimp on Callie Angell (1948-2010)
IN JANUARY 2000, Callie Angell, curator of the Andy Warhol Film Project at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art, e-mailed me to wish me happy New Year. "I've been traveling a lot, out to PA nearly every week," she wrote, referring to the site...
Sean Landers
ANOTHER WEEKEND SPENT in bed watching television and feeling sickish. I watched so much TV I started to think the TV was talking to me, enumerating my every fault, pointing out my moral defects and character flaws, my incapacity for taking up a lifestyle...
Suzannah Sinclair
Suzannah Sinclair's wistful watercolor-and-pencil renderings of the female nude are positioned within a discourse on the construction of desire in a culture organized around the power of the male gaze. Her source material insists on this particular...
Tania Bruguera
A LONG LINE OF PEOPLE waiting to enter a museum seems to be one highly appreciated measure of success for the institution, as if the time lost in the queue is a currency nourishing the museum, as if entering a museum entails an assumption of disinterest...
Tatiana Trouve
In a text accompanying her long-overdue US debut, at Gagosian uptown, Tatiana Trouve remarks that "the body is simply of no use" when encountering her sculptures. Though referring to her tendency to play with scale, her comment also offered a potential...
Terms of Use
FOR YEARS, I've periodically wondered about the merits of organizing an issue of Artforum around a single, relatively straightforward question: What is art today? That project never came to pass, of course, for reasons probably easy enough to imagine....
Thea Djordjadze
Thea Djordjadze, a Berlin-based Georgian artist, is a former student of Rosemarie Trockel at the Kunstakademie Dusseldorf. From 1999 until 2003, she was part of hobbypop MUSEUM, a collective known for combining different media and artistic strategies....
"The Artful Pose: Early Studio Photography in Mumbai, C. 1855-1940"
A MELANCHOLY YOUNG WOMAN sits on the steps of a crumbling building, a pile of glistening fruit beside her. The folds of her white robe seem to glow. Do her garments symbolize purity? Is she a representation of the chaste goddess Diana? Instead of a...
Theodore Fivel
These were Theodore Fivel's first solo shows, marking his formal debut as an artist. Fivel's background is mainly in performance--in 2009, he founded the Parisian cabaret group Le Grand Bizarre--and this inflected both exhibitions in some intriguingly...
"The Storyteller"
In 1936, Walter Benjamin famously worried that the art of storytelling had been superseded by journalism and mass media. Working under the sign of Benjamin, "Storyteller" curators Claire Gilman and Margaret Sundell grouped together fourteen artists...
Tino Sehgal
WHILE THE ART MUSEUM might largely be considered a place for art history--a classifying repository for artworks of the past--there is another perspective that seems far more relevant when it comes to considering why the museum is so central to Western...
Tony Oursler
Visiting a show of Tony Oursler's sculpture-based video projections is unsettling and surreal on several levels. First, disparate voices accost the viewer from multiple directions, literally calling out for attention but at the same time blurring together...
Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die: Greil Marcus on Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010)
TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO Malcolm McLaren and Richard Hell politely faced off over "Who created punk?"--a question Lester Bangs once answered, after citing and dismissing Hell, by naming, among numerous others, himself, Lou Reed, Robert Mitchum ("the look...
Ursula Mayer
For her second solo show in Rome, Ursula Mayer chose a classical theme--the story of Medea--on which she proposed a series of thematic variations. The exhibition was divided into two parts, one consisting of a 16-mm film, Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight,...
Ursula Von Rydingsvard
Ursula von Rydingsvard's Blackened Word, 2008, an enormous, rippling accumulation of cedar and graphite, brings to mind the ruins of Angkor Wat as they appear in the final scene of Wong Kar-wai's 2000 film, In the Mood for Love, which finds the heartbroken...
Waltercio Caldas
Waltercio Caldas's drawing 1, 2009, is a straightforward composition of india ink and pins on paper; two diamond forms--one small and red; the other, larger and black--slightly intersect near a spot of printed text reading SIMPLES. While this word...
"Your History Is Not Our History"
This selection of work by twenty-two artists working in New York in the 1980s, organized by painters David Salle and Richard Phillips, was filled with many fine things. No surprise there: The artists in the show are all so well known that their names...