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. 6, February

8th Encounters of Bamako, African Photography Biennale: VARIOUS VENUES
As part of the Eighth Encounters of Bamako, African Photography Biennale, photographer Emeka Okereke initiated the Lagos-Bamako project: Nine Nigerian photographers and writers traveled by road across the borders of Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Burkina...
Agnes Denes: LESLIE TONKONOW ARTWORKS + PROJECTS
What do you want out of life? Why not more? Which do you think will prove ultimately more important to humanity--science or love? What is love? These were some of the questions that Agnes Denes asked students in the late 1970s, their answers forming...
Alan Gussow: BABCOCK GALLERIES
In 1953, a twenty-two-year-old Alan Gussow arrived at the American Academy in Rome, thanks to a Prix de Rome fellowship he had received while a student of painting at the Cooper Union--as, at the time, the youngest American to date. He had impressed...
Alexander Brodsky: WINZAVOD CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART
Architects often aspire to build something larger than life, appreciated by multitudes. But bigness can also be banal--hulking residential developments that exemplify bare necessity in dense urban space--or even threatening, a reminder of the individual's...
Andrea Higgins: HOSFELT GALLERY
The intricately patterned surfaces of Andrea Higgins's recent paintings were inspired by literary classics--Sinclair Lewis's Babbitt, for example, or Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, or The Confessions of Lady Nijo (a graceful memoir of court...
Arshile Gorky: Philadelphia Museum of Art
THERE WERE TWO Arshile Gorkys to be found in this retrospective: Gorky the Authentic, and Gorky the Faker. As the exhibition made clear, most of Gorky's work teeters on the fulcrum point between these two categories. The installation in Philadelphia...
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I REMEMBER MY FEELING seven years ago, on first arriving at Artforum, that the situation of art could best be described using a relatively simple triangulation--a course any art magazine calling itself relevant would have to chart. First, there were...
Benjamin Verdonck: TIM VAN LAERE GALLERY
The Belgian artist Benjamin Verdonck is best known for multi-disciplinary projects in theaters, but in recent years he has also entered the stage of the visual arts, with performances as well as presentations in the context of exhibitions. Recently,...
"Besides, with, against, and Yet": THE KITCHEN
This past winter, 'twas the season of nonfigurative painting in New York, what with specters of abstraction past (Wassily Kandinsky at the Guggenheim, Georgia O'Keeffe at the Whitney) and harbingers of things to come (for instance, Bob Nickas's "Cave...
Body Doubles: Michael Ned Holte on Michele O'Marah
ACCORDING TO HER WEBSITE, Pamela Anderson is "the millennium's most recognizable icon." The claim may seem a bit premature, but there's no doubt that in her twenty-year career, Anderson has proved a remarkably durable cross-platform pop-cultural presence--the...
Carlos Huffmann: GALERIA ALBERTO SENDROS
After seeing Carlos Huffmann's recent show, you might think that the artist's own private bible has become The Atrocity Exhibition, the 1970 collection of experimental writings by J. G. Ballard, the science-fiction prophet of the postindustrial world....
Ciprian Muresan: GALERIA PLAN B
"If we wanna understand the Humans, we gotta see them at their lowest. The Evil--as they call it--that's what we study today." This line is the protagonist's pessimistic view of humanity that opens Ciprian Muresan's video Dog Luv, 2009, which premiered...
"Dance of Colors": FUNDACION MAPFRE
The drawings of Vaslav Nijinsky were first exhibited in 1932, thanks to his wife, nee Romola de Pulszky, and while they have regularly aroused the interest of those who remain fascinated by his revolutionary achievements as a dancer and choreographer...
Dan Flavin: DAVID ZWIRNER
Somehow, no matter how many times I see Dan Flavin's work, I always seem to harbor the exact same misconceived expectation, namely that I'm going to encounter things of striking perceptual luxury--light mobilized within spatial scenarios a la James...
Danh Vo: Talks about "Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects without Specific Form"
PERE LACHAISE CEMETERY is the site for an ongoing battle among dead stars using their life dramas, fighting to attract the attention of myriad pilgrims from around the world. The overdose of Jim Morrison; the trial of Oscar Wilde; the execution of...
Edith Dekyndt: GALERIE KARIN GUENTHER
In 1977, copies of a golden phonograph record filled with sounds bearing witness to human civilization and Earth's flora and fauna were shot into space onboard both Voyager probes; they have been hurtling through space and time ever since. It will...
Eduardo Basualdo: RUTH BENZACAR GALERIA DE ARTE
As in a Shakespearean tragedy, atmosphere plays an unusual role in Eduardo Basualdo's exhibitions. The scenes unfold in faint light: The vision of the dagger, the witches' dance, the sleepwalking lady, the glimmerings of the sky, occur at the hour...
"Embrace!": DENVER ART MUSEUM
In the late 1990s, the Denver Art Museum sought to bring the "Bilbao effect" to Colorado. It selected architect Daniel Libeskind to oversee a $110 million expansion, and he designed a jutting, crystalline building with sharply sloped walls and ceilings....
Fergal Stapleton: V22
In a 2007 review, and prompted by Fergal Stapleton's choices of title (Planet of the Clowns, 2006, for instance, or This Is Mars, 2007), critic Andrew Bonacina drew a suggestive comparison between this artist's illuminated three-dimensional works and...
Folkert De Jong: GRONINGER MUSEUM
Since 2001, Folkert de Jong has been working with Styrofoam and polyurethane foam, the now common insulation materials produced by Dow Chemical--whose laboratories also, of course, produced napalm and dioxin. This dubious backdrop, together with the...
General Idea: ESTHER SCHIPPER
About halfway into his twenty-five-year collaboration with Jorge Zontal and Felix Partz, AA Bronson described one major reason why the three came together in Toronto in 1969 to form the group General Idea: the absence of their own visibility or self-representation...
Gerhard Richter: MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY
Gerhard Richter's indebtedness to a range of photographic practices has been the taproot of his intensely admired achievements. The incipient force of this approach first emerged in the painter's adaptations of Andy Warhol in the early 1960s (modifications...
Gianni Colombo: Castello Di Rivoli, Turin, Italy
THE CONTEXT FROM WHICH Gianni Colombo (1937-1993) emerged was that of late-'50s Milan, where, after the period of art informel, artists were attempting to make work that reflected new ideas about how we perceive time and space, drawing not only on...
Gustav Metzger: Serpentine Gallery, London
AFTER A DECADE of producing abstract paintings, Gustav Metzger began a new phase of his career when, in 1959, he wrote his manifestos of "auto-destructive art," aiming to harness the destructive powers of modernity for aesthetic experimentation. Importantly,...
"In & out of Amsterdam": Museum of Modern Art, New York
GLOBALISM AND CONCEPTUALISM: It has become increasingly apparent that these two notions are indissolubly linked, but how? "In & Out of Amsterdam: Travels in Conceptual Art, 1960-1976" is only the most recent curatorial effort to examine this association,...
James Welling: DONALD YOUNG GALLERY
"I picked up this wonderful word, 'ventriloquism,' and when I discovered photography, I realized that it was the perfect ventriloquist's medium," James Welling said in a 2003 interview with critic Jan Tumlir. "I could throw my voice into different...
Jennifer Steinkamp: ACME
Jennifer Steinkamp's installations frequently induce a level of immersion that is unusual, the familiar act of looking shading quickly into something more like swimming. The four works in her series "Orbit," 2008-, for instance, are each like a fall...
Jesko Fezer
A Berlin-based architect and artist, Jesko Fezer has collaborated with the architecture cooperative ifau to realize projects in Berlin, Munich, and Stuttgart, Germany; Utrecht, the Netherlands; Graz, Austria; London; and New York. He is cofounder and...
John Delk: THOMAS ROBERTELLO GALLERY
Like a sly human computer, Brooklyn-based artist John Delk amasses vast quantities of data, which he processes and shuffles, changing up the platform to reconsider the content. A typical project is Pressed (all works cited, 2009), in which he took...
Kaari Upson: MACCARONE
"I am bound to have some anxiety about this so please if I say stop, don't stop." The run-on title of Kaari Upson's recent show at Maccarone served as fair warning of the quality and quantity of neurosis concentrated therein, while the gallery's statement...
Leda Catunda: ESTACAO PINACOTECA/GALERIA FORTES VILACA
Leda Carunda's retrospective exhibition at Estacao Pinacoteca, with seventy-three works dating from 1983 to 2008, coincided with the premiere of a new installation at Galeria Fortes Vilaca. Emerging in the 1980s, Catunda participated in the return...
Leslie Hewitt: Huey Copeland
DURING THE PAST DECADE, signs of black dissent have appeared with increasing frequency in American artistic production--a phenomenon that is part and parcel of a larger turn among contemporary artists toward imagery of the 1960s and '70s. Consider...
Life in the Balance: Scott MacDonald on Artavazd Peleshian
THERE IS NO BETTER EXAMPLE of a remarkable cinematic accomplishment not finding an audience--at least in the United States--than the work of documentary filmmaker Artavazd Peleshian. Born in 1938 in Armenia, then a part of the Soviet Union, Peleshian...
Material Remains: Irene V. Small on the Afterlife of Helio Oiticicas Work
"THE FIRE LASTS and suddenly one day it goes out, but while it lasts it is eternal." This was the Brazilian artist Helio Oiticica, writing in July 1966 about appropriation as anti-art. The appropriation in question was a fire can, one of the innumerable...
Michael Joo: ANTON KERN GALLERY
It stands to reason that pretty much everybody knows what a zebra looks like, either from photographs or the zoo, a tourist safari or Animal Planet. This was obviously not always the case, as for instance when George Stubbs painted the zebra that had...
Obscure Objects: Andrew Hultkrans on the Thing
HALF MACGUFFIN, HALF HOLY GRAIL, the "impossible object" driving Jonathan Lethem's novel Chronic City (Doubleday, 2009) is a vase of transcendent attractiveness called a chaldron. Some readers may take the word to be the author's coinage, but it dates...
Otto Zitko: KLERKX
In an Otto Zitko exhibition, one usually expects a wall drawing that covers the entire interior of the space, and this is precisely what occurred here (with Untitled, 2009) in the artist's first solo show in Italy. Yet this time there was also something...
Peter Sacks: PAUL RODGERS/9W
Collage seems consigned to barely more than miniature. Its size would be a function of the width of newspaper columns, of the decorative patterns of wallpaper, of bus tickets and candy wrappers. Only Guernica broke with this scale of bits and scraps....
Phillip Lai: STUART SHAVE/MODERN ART
Right from the start, you could be certain only that there would be no certainties. Just inside the door of this show, on the floor of the gallery's lobby, Phillip Lai had installed Untitled (all works 2009). On and around a low pile of foam slabs...
Pilgrims Progress: Melissa Anderson on Jessica Hausners Lourides
THE PROTAGONISTS of Austrian writer-director Jessica Hausner's three feature films are all odd girls out. Frequently the subjects of gossip and backbiting, they are each defined, to varying degrees, by a certain attachment to Catholicism. The titular...
"Pole, Jew, Artist: Identity and Avant-Garde": MUZEUM SZTUKI
Summing up the experience of the Jewish pioneers of modernism, the artist Henryk Gotlib observed in 1932: "It is not important what Jews became for painting but what painting became for the Jews." Without claiming to be a survey of art produced by...
Primal Siblings: George Baker in Conversation with Kaja Silverman
IT IS A RECURRING EXPERIENCE: I am doing a studio visit, and there on the artist's shelf is a book by Kaja Silverman. I see The Subject of Semiotics (1983) or Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992): The artist has an interest in psychoanalysis. Or...
Reaction Time: Ursula Eagly on Deborah Hay
THE AMERICAN CHOREOGRAPHER Deborah Hay has minimal interest in movement. She'll tell you herself: She is not interested in athletic movement, or in abstract movement, or in movement that comes naturally. After nearly fifty years of experimentation--beginning...
Reena Spaulings: SUTTON LANE
A visitor to "The Belgian Marbles," the recent exhibition by the Reena Spaulings collective, would have noticed two things right away. First, thanks to a series of colorful lithographs of the shadows of palm trees called "A Place in the Sun (Shadows)"...
Roger Ballen: GAGOSIAN GALLERY
No photographic, or even artistic, category quite encompasses the complicated, engrossing, and at times unsettling images in South Africa--based artist Roger Ballen's new series "Boarding House," 2003--2008, several dozen images from which made up...
Scott Myles: PROJECTS IN ART & THEORY
In this show, "Search and Research," Scottish artist Scott Myles filled the center of the gallery with a triangular wooden sculpture that dominated the room. The severity and perfection of the form is unambiguously Minimalist, yet at the same time...
Signal to Noise: Ina Blom on John Cage and "The Anarchy of Silence"
THINKING OF JOHN CAGE, we tend to think of a specific aesthetic template: a program enjoining the random, impersonal, and open-ended distribution of aural and visual phenomena. So it is striking that "The Anarchy of Silence: John Cage and Experimental...
Sister Mary Corita: ZACH FEUER GALLERY
The cover of Newsweek of April 12, 1965, shows a Vietnamese man, wearing only a pair of shorts, being pushed through a field by a helmeted American soldier. "Profile of the Viet Cong," the caption reads. The man looks angry and desperate; the soldier's...
Sopheap Pich: TYLER ROLLINS FINE ART
Sopheap Pich is one of very few Cambodian artists exhibiting internationally at present, having appeared in exhibitions in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Norway, and in triennials in Japan and Australia. At the end of Pol Pot's devastating rule, an eight-year-old...
Spencer Finch: POSTMASTERS
In a darkish room you focus on the outline of a window, cast on a wall by a street lamp outside. Every so often a brighter light sweeps through the space, from the headlights of a car driving past, briefly lifting the room from darkness to a kind of...
Stephen G. Rhodes: GALERIE ISABELLA BORTOLOZZI
With his exhibition "Dar Allers War Ne'er Eny Bear Bear" (There Was Always Never Any Bear Bear), Stephen G. Rhodes imported popular myths from the United States to Germany. The show had two central points of reference: Stanley Kubrick's The Shining...
Stuart Sherman: 80WSE GALLERY
The influence of Stuart Sherman, although he was largely forgotten after his death from aids in 2001, runs deep and wide. The first comprehensive exhibition of his work, curated by John Hagan, Yolanda Hawkins, and John Matturri at New York University's...
Tere O'Connor: DANCE THEATER WORKSHOP
A few years ago, the choreographer Tere O'Connor issued a kind of challenge to those responding in print to his live pieces: "What would happen to the writing if you brought nothing to it? No pencil, no paper. It would have to be about a second sensation...
Terra Incognita: Luigi Fassi on the Art of Danh Vo
OFFICIALLY SPEAKING, the Vietnam War concluded in Paris on January 27, 1973, at the Centre de Conferences Internationales--an imposing belle epoque edifice that had begun its stately life as the Hotel Majestic. There, in a grand ballroom furnished...
The Uses of Disorder: Joe Scanlan on the Art of Felix Gonzalez-Torres
REMEMBER FELIX GONZALEZ-TORRES? The question isn't meant to be facetious. Rather, it's meant to point out how much the workings of politics and culture have changed since his first exhibitions in the late 1980s--and to start a debate on the role his...
Tomma Abts: GALERIE GITI NOURBAKHSCH
It's not often that we get to see new work by Tomma Abts. The artist's labor-intensive process only allows her to produce about ten paintings a year, so it is with a certain excitement that one waits to see whether she has succeeded in further refining...
Tomoo Gokita: HONOR FRASER
With their watery, atmospheric grounds, china-blue hues, and organic yet somehow robotic forms, Japanese artist Tomoo Gokita's sixteen new canvases mark a striking shift forward in the artist's style. Whereas the works in his 2007 show at Honor Fraser...
Tony Feher: D'AMELIO TERRAS
Five bright pink fan-shaped pieces of polystyrene, each four feet high, a foot deep, and eight feet wide, were laid out on the gallery floor for Tony Feher's recent exhibition. Taking literally the appellation of construction company Owens Coming's...
Victor Alimpiev: STUDIO LA CITTA
Two screens, one very large, one average in size, were in two different rooms, although both were at least partly visible from a single position. On them the same scene was running, but unsynchronized--or so we might at first have thought. In fact,...
Voice Recognition: Julie Ault on Nancy Spero (1923-2009)
IN 1966, NANCY SPERO concluded that the language of painting was "too conventional, too establishment," and she decided that from then on she would work exclusively on paper--flimsy, vulnerable, insignificant paper meant to be pinned to a wall. Having...
Walid Raad: PAULA COOPER GALLERY
The fifteen years of war that began in Lebanon in the mid-1970s, when Walid Raad was growing up there, and the enduring threat of violence in that country have been a steady presence in the artist's work, though in devious ways. Instead of bluntly...
"We Are Sun-Kissed and Snow-Blind": GALERIE PATRICK SEGUIN
"I love the authority of black. It's a color that doesn't compromise ... At once a color and a non-color. When light is reflected on it, it transforms it, transmutes it. It opens up a mental field all of its own." We owe this entirely personal definition...
White Columns Annual: WHITE COLUMNS
For the opening only, a video made in conjunction with this past summer's exhibition "Mirror Me" at Dispatch in New York's Chinatown was the lodestar of the fourth iteration of "Looking Back: The White Columns Annual," curated by James Hoff and Miriam...
Wilhelm Sasnal: HAUSER & WIRTH
This show really began two days before its opening date, with a screening at a local movie theater. Painter Wilhelm Sasnal directed and also largely served as cameraman for Swiniopas (Swineherd), 2008, his first 35-mm film--eighty-five minutes long,...
William T. Wiley: SMITHSONIAN AMERICAN ART MUSEUM
If American culture had to be grouped into two camps, what neater divide could there be than between idealists and pragmatists? The Pilgrim fathers, Emersons, and Clyfford Stills of this world would then square off against the Ben Franklins, Hemingways,...