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. 38, No. 4, December

Alvin Booth
YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY Swathed in latex or bound and laced in modish leather garments designed by the photographer himself, the gilt figures that populate Alvin Booth's photographs are distinctly contemporary. Flexing in various positions, these...
Ana Maria Pacheco
NATIONAL GALLERY Every now and then, great institutions wake up in a cold sweat and--a bit like Kafka's Gregor Samsa--discover they have metamorphosed into something resembling a dinosaur. The National Gallery awakens intermittently and tries various...
Andreas Slominski
METRO PICTURES Considering the current climate in New York, it is mildly surprising that Andreas Slominski's first show here wasn't shut down by the ASPCA. I can see the headlines now, hear the mayor's heartfelt vows of support to all the city's...
Anna Zemankova
CAVIN - MORRIS A consistent source of formal and iconographic inspiration to academically trained; historically engaged artists throughout the twentieth century (from Paul Klee to Max Ernst to julian Schnabel), talented autodidacts like Czech artist...
Anni Albers, Robert Beck, Cady Noland, Joan Semmel, Nancy Shaver
MATTHEW MARKS / MITCHELL ALGUS / CURT MARCUS GALLERY, NEW YORK How to deal with the art of the past--especially the recent past? As we fumble around for alternatives to the old do-away-with-dad modernist model (passive-aggressive postmodernism--i.e.,...
Ann Veronica Janssens
"SUPERSPACE" Invited by curator Moritz Kung to participate in Utrecht's fourteenth annual Festival a/d Werf celebrating art, music, and theater, Ann Veronica Janssens took the opportunity to elaborate her notion of "superspace." Comprising twelve...
Best of the '90S: Books
Homi K. Bhabha: The times are out of joint. perhaps never more so than when we are seduced by that decade-end desire to say, One last time, what was the great work of the '90s? The '9os began in the late late '8os with the big bang of The Satanic Verses,...
Best of the '90S: Film
CINDY SHERMAN, artist: Thomas Vinterberg's brilliant The Celebration (1998) is especially important because it signals the future of the medium, away from Hollywood's excesses. JOHN WATERS, filmmaker: During the 1994 Cannes Film Festival was sick...
Best of the '90S: Music
CHRISTIAN MARCLAY, artist: Driving across Europe with only one cassette, I never tired of MC Solaar's Paradisiaque, a dazzling cross-cultural mix between American rap and chanson francaise--skillful wordplay in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp and Serge...
Boris Groys
1 "The Great Utopia: The Russian and Soviet Avant-Garde, 1915-1932" (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1992) Even before the Revolution, the artists of the Russian avant-garde dreamed of giving the new century an at once entirely new and unified aesthetic...
Bruce Hainley
(1) The Simpsons A comic Mobius strip of form/content--or is it thinking/feeling? The episode with Homer as an outsider artist taking pointers from Jasper Johns typifies what's at stake: the most acute and omnivorous analysis of contemporary American...
Carol Squiers
1 The Religious Right's Promotion of Photography The '90s brought the medium massive public attention when various "transgressive" imagemakers were caught dead-center in the culture wars. Some photographers were damaged in the skirmish; others became...
Cathy De Monchaux
SEAN KELLY/MITCHELL-INNES & NASH Meret Oppenheim on steroids, accoutrements one might find in a dominatrix's dungeon as outfitted by Industrial Light + Magic: It's easy to get flamboyant describing Cathy de Monchaux's sculpture. An alumna of...
Claude Closky
MAISON LEVANNEUR When Maison Levanneur, the Centre National de l'Estampe et de l'Art Imprime, was transformed into an exhibition space for contemporary art, its new director, Sylvie Boulanger, set out to create a program dedicated to recent work...
Dan Cameron
(1) "Places with a Past" (Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC, 1991) The premise behind curator Mary Jane Jacob's project--without question the most well-executed site-specific exhibition ever organized on American soil--was that the ghosts of southern...
Daniel Birnbaum
1 "Sigmar Polke: The Three Lies of Painting" (Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der BRD, Bonn, 1997) Large retrospectives are risky in that they always seem to push the artist's achievement--even a living one's--into the past tense. But Sigmar Polke's hallucinatory,...
Dave Hickey
1 "Robert Gober" (Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, 1997) Gober's installation, with its penetrated Virgin, subterranean tide pools, and waterfall stairwell, is my icon of the decade. In its intellectual rigor and plangent availability, it's...
David Rimanelli
1 Abject Art If abject art wasn't exactly the miserable stepchild of a market fallen on hard times, its various forms nevertheless found a perversely suitable terrain on which to thrive as we witnessed the overnight disappearance of an art scene that...
Diana Cooper
POSTMASTERS Diana Cooper's new show had something for everyone. For that side of you that loves chaotic dispersions, there was installation; for those who prefer the lure of the autonomous object, there was a little painting. Many of the works are...
Editor's Note
Enough About You It must be something about round calendar numbers. Over the past ten years I've kept my editorial cards pretty close to my chest, but as we prepared this special issue of the '90s--a period that happens to line up neatly with my...
Giles Lyon
FEIGEN CONTEMPORARY Looking at the extravagant surfaces of Giles Lyon's abstract paintings, it's hard to tell whether he's doodling his way into significance or just having fun. The artist's work has been hyped with all kinds of "advanced" theories--it's...
Jan Avgikos
1 Cady Noland The Queen of Goth. Elegant, but with edge to spare. No one taps into the perversity of late-twentieth-century culture with such relish for the seamier side of "everyday life." In Noland's postapocalyptic cosmology, abjection registers...
Janet Cardiff
ARTANGEL There are eight million stories in the naked city, or so the famous voice-over would have us believe. Maybe this is a huge underestimate; or maybe it's a wild exaggeration. Maybe, as film theorist Christian Metz once proposed of classic...
Janieta Eyre
CRISTINEROSE GALLERY March 1995, the Day I Experienced Love at First Sight: There should be a whole division of Hallmark for cards about love at first sight, but when Janieta Eyre takes that line for the title of a work from 1999, the most romantic...
Jenny Saville
GAGOSIAN GALLERY Jenny Saville paints women's bodies--bodies distorted to the point of being grotesque--but she also just paints, with an energy that enlivens her otherwise bloated, inert, sometimes carcasslike subjects. Much of the female body...
Julie Taymor
WEXNER CENTER FOR THE ARTS This twenty-five-year retrospective of designer-director Julie Taymor's career begins with an installation dedicated to her theatrical reinterpretation of Disney's 1998 film The Lion King, for which she won two Tony Awards....
Katurah Hutcheson
PAUL KASMIN GALLERY / ART RESOURCES TRANSFER There are paintings, and photographs as well, too reticent or self-absorbed to offer potential viewers a way in. More like objects than images, they most readily call to mind Maurice Blanchot's observation...
Kim Fisher
CHINA ART OBJECTS The allure of the monochromatic. Well, yes, of course, it's like the wish to say something so completely that the entire continent of saying can be left forever. And these big red paintings, marked with a kind of insignia or...
"La Peinture Apres L'abstraction"
MUSEE D'ART MODERNE DE LA VILLE DE PARIS Sometimes a silly idea can lead to a fascinating exhibition--even as the silliness still shows through. When I first heard about "La peinture apres l'abstraction," documenting work done in Paris between 1955...
Letters
VENETIAN BINDS To the Editor: When Katy Siegel asks, "Where was photography?" and "Where was painting?" [September 1999] in this year's Venice Biennale, she means, "Where were the Americans and Europeans?" The conceit of the Biennale, as I understand...
Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art
VARIOUS VENUES Currently undergoing a notable cultural revitalization, the port of Liverpool was the hitherto unlikely venue for the latest addition to an increasingly--and, many would argue, unnecessarily--long list of biennial exhibitions of contemporary...
Marco Maggi
HOSFELT GALLERY Like a lot of good art, part of the reason Marco Maggi's work is engaging is that it brings so many other things to mind. His inventions and ideas evoke a range of allusions--to the complexity of Mayan codices or the horror vacui...
"Metro: New Trends in Contemporary Greek Art 1999"
DESTE FOUNDATION "Metro," not "Metropolis" (a title used by curators Christos Joachimides and Norman Rosenthal for a 1991 show in Berlin), was the name Dan Cameron gave to the exhibition he curated for the Deste Foundation. This truncated word was...
Michel Majerus
NEUGERRIEMSCHNEIDER We know what lies beyond the looking glass, but what if Alice had stepped into a painting? The Berlin artist Michel Majerus shows us what Alice might have found: distorted images of virtually everything that has ever appeared...
Olivier Mosset/cady Noland
MIGROS MUSEUM FUR GEGENWARTSKUNST There has been little new to see in Europe from Cady Noland since her remarkable contribution to Documenta IX in 1992. For that event, she produced Towards a Metalanguage of Evil, a collage-based installation around...
Peter Plagens
The big bosses at Artforum asked for an annotated list of the ten best art thingies of the '90s, and that's exactly what they're gonna get. No Greil Marcus/Ron Rosenbaum-style envelope-pushing to slip in a remaindered CD by Animal Logic or the best...
"Philip Guston: Paintings 1947-1979"
KUNSTMUSEUM, BONN Philip Guston accomplished the neat trick of painting with one eye on his past and the other on his future while looking only at the canvas in front of him. He once suggested, rather apologetically, that viewers of his new paintings...
Rene Daniels
STEDELIJK MUSEUM, AMSTERDAM "It always comes down to painting," Rene Daniels once said, a statement that resonates with some dissonance across a body of work permeated through and through with writing, word games, literary references, visual puns,...
Robert Greene
RICHARD TELLES FINE ART Those familiar with Robert Greene's early paintings of figures, architecture, and landscape combined in fairy-taleish scenarios would recognize a shift in the artist's most recent abstract works. Nonetheless, these oils on...
Robert Rosenblum
1 The Revival of Portraiture Once occupying the lowest rung of the modernist ladder, portraiture is again alive and well. Central to the '90s (Close, Sherman, Ruff, Morimura), it has also reoriented our view with respect to the old masters. Within...
Sapphire
THE KITCHEN Occasionally a collaboration turns out so well that one can only marvel at the sum of its parts. Curator Carl Hancock Rux's invitation to stage director Jaye Austin Williams to realize an evening celebrating the poet Sapphire's most...
Silvia Kolbowski
AMERICAN FINE ARTS, CO. Silvia Kolbowski's multimedia installation, An inadequate History of Conceptual Art, 1998-99, comprises a 9-by-12-foot projection of a soundless, sixty-minute videotape loop featuring close-ups of different pairs of hands...
Susanne Kuhn
BILL MAYNES GALLERY Habituated to variously ironic, goofy, or studiously slipshod painting, I wasn't sure what to make of Susanne Kuhn's suite of ten acrylic-on-canvas landscapes with their careful draftsmanship and restricted palette of black,...
"The American Century: Art & Culture 1900-2000"
WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK Tocqueville was right. He thought that the inherent conflict between liberty and equality was the one big story the US had to tell, and "The American Century," the two-part survey show on view this year at...
Todd Mckie
BARBARA SINGER FINE ART In flatly rendered configurations of humanoids, animal creatures, plant life, and pottery positioned atop basically monochromatic grounds, the thirteen small-scale, brightly colored canvases in Todd McKie's recent show, all...