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. 47, No. 2, October

Abandoned Painting
EVEN THOUGH THE SMALL REPRODUCTIONS of Jochen Klein's paintings that I saw many years ago, in a catalogue loaned to me by a friend, nestled themselves obstinately in my mind, I am always surprised by these inimitably weird and touching works when I...
"Action/Abstraction: Pollock, De Kooning, and American Art, 1940-1976"
THE BATTLE OF THE "BERGS"--Clement Greenberg versus Harold Rosenberg--is a scenario that has begged for serious treatment since Tom Wolfe's crude, witty satire of its more absurd extremes, The Painted Word, in 1975. Together, the critics personified...
A Life in Two Parts: Bruce Jenkins on Bruce Conner (1933-2008)
BRUCE CONNER'S DEATH this past summer was not his first. Back in 1972, in an attempt to stanch annual solicitations for inclusion in Who's Who in America, he wrote to inform the publisher of his death, only to find himself an entry in Who Was Who in...
Alison Elizabeth Taylor: James Cohan Gallery
As images, Alison Elizabeth Taylor's works tell oblique, partial stories of the American Southwest, which they cast as a place where an only ambiguously friendly terrain and local community meet cool young homesteaders who live geodesically, swim and...
Allora & Calzadilla: Haus der Kunst/Kunstverein
Milan Kundera once paraphrased Marx: "Optimism is the opium of the people." As the twentieth century has shown us, there is a fine line between jubilation and the eruption of violence--above all when there's musical accompaniment. In Europe, no melody...
Anish Kapoor Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston
WHO KNEW THAT MINIMALISM would have such generative power for those once seen as beyond its borders? It is as if all the women and "others" once presumed not to get it, got it--and got more of it than the founding fathers (Stella, Flavin, Judd) ever...
Art and Agency
AMONG THE MORE INTRIGUING SCENES in the AMC television series Mad Men, a drama set in the offices of a prominent New York advertising company at the beginning of the 1960s, is a sequence in which a few of the firm's executives sit down to view freshly...
Atelier Van Lieshout: Galerie Krinzinger
Joep van Lieshout, Dutch multitasker and founder of Atelier van Lieshout (AVL), the now-legendary anarchic free state in Rotterdam harbor, gets on well with Vienna. In 2001, for instance, he brought a mobile field kitchen into the city's elegant center...
Aurelien Froment
THE INTERACTIVE SCULPTURE Who here listens (to) BBC news on Friday night?, 2008, might be said to offer a key or a code to French artist Aurelien Froment's photographic, video, book, and object-based practice. The piece, whose title is a mnemonic for...
Barking Dogs United: Schalter
Crossing a threshold takes only a single step, but at Schalter your way of walking was instantly transformed, as your feet came to rest upon one of dozens of skateboards covering the floor in long rows. Involuntarily, you bent your knees to keep balanced...
Biennale of Sydney 2008: Various Venues
The entwinement of art and revolution would appear to be an impossibly quaint notion these days, especially when viewed from the comfort zones of the global art industry. The thought that art can spark a revolution of some kind--whether aesthetic or...
Burt Barr: Sikkema Jenkins & Co
There's not much to see in Burt Barr's videos. His work's visual terseness, along with its frequently droll content, can come off as a dead-pan sight gag. (Dolly Shot Twice, 2000, for example, runs with a double pun, comprising two dolly-shot pans...
Carrie Mae Weems: Aca Gallery of the Savannah College of Art and Design
The video in Carrie Mae Weems's installation Constructing History: A Requiem to Mark the Moment, 2008--a project commissioned by the National Black Arts Festival and the Savannah College of Art and Design (where Weems was in residence last year)--begins...
Carroll Dunham: Addison Gallery of American Art
Celebrated since the 1980s for his cartoonishly surreal paintings on wood veneer, Carroll Dunham is also a prolific and ingenious printmaker. Since he began making prints in 1984, in collaboration with Universal Limited Arts Editions, the artist has...
Ciaran Murphy: Kavi Gupta Gallery
All twelve paintings Ciaran Murphy showed in his recent solo at Kavi Gupta allude to nature. This was an exhibition of leering monkeys, blasted tree trunks, moonlit hills, hunting hyenas, palm trees, and wafting clouds, through which the artist, in...
Cy Twombly: Tate Modern, London
BY WHAT STANDARD are we to comprehend the career of an artist whose significance to artmaking, while everywhere felt, nonetheless manages to elude critical consensus? Cy Twombly has long been such a figure. Many artists (not just painters), now two...
"Dali: Painting and Film": Museum of Modern Art
The Museum of Modern Art was the last stop of a four-city tour for "Dali: Painting and Film," a voluminous show that included paintings, drawings, films, and film treatments. Originating in London (at Tate Modern), the exhibition moved on to Los Angeles...
Dancers, Artworks, and People in the Galleries
SINCE 1964, Merce Cunningham has been staging what he terms "Events": productions that assemble fragments of dances from throughout his company's historical repertory, repurposed for specific venues, from Grand Central Station to Persepolis. On the...
Danica Phelps: Zach Feuer Gallery (LFL)
Danica Phelps's fifth solo show at this gallery marked a watershed moment in her career. Although Phelps has blended art and autobiography for the past decade, her new work is more ambiguous, selective, and, at times, abstract. Take her previous two...
Diana Fiedler: Galeria Foksal
"The PLACE is a sudden gap in the utilitarian approach to the world," declared the founders of Galeria Foksal in a manifesto in 1967. In her new exhibition, "Double," Diana Fiedler returned to that utopian statement by covertly acknowledging the gallery's...
Eastern Promises: Markus Miessen on OMA/AMO at the Hermitage
IN THESE TIMES of requisite urban branding, the likes of Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid must be putting in extra hours at the office. Countless cities and cultural institutions are rethinking how to make their make on the global map--and architects and...
"Expo 58": Atomium
With all the fanfare surrounding the fortieth anniversary of May 1968, one should not overlook the period that led to its events. The year 1958 was rife with unresolved sociopolitical tensions that would pave the way for the protests to come. In this...
Fia Backstrom: White Columns
The prodding began before you entered Swedish artist Fia Backstrom's most extensive New York show to date, "That social space between speaking and meaning"; primary-colored vinyl lettering adorned the gallery's front door, spelling out multiple directives,...
Francesc Torres: Museu D'art Contemporani De Barcelona
Da Capo--the musical notation directing a player to return to the beginning of the score--was an apt title for MACBA's retrospective recapping over forty years of work by Francesc Torres. The result was vast, a sort of installation of installations....
Frederick Kiesler: Drawing Center
Having contributed to Dada, Surrealism, and later De Stijl, Ukraine-born, Viennese-American architect Frederick Kiesler offered a biomorphic conception of space that became a counterpoint to the rectilinear forms of architectural high modernism. Kiesler...
Further Orders: P. Adams Sitney on Temenos 2008
THE AVANT-GARDE FILMMAKER and American expatriate Gregory J. Markopoulos devoted the decade before his death in 1992 to reediting almost all of the nearly forty films he had made since 1947 (1) into a single, monumental work, Eniaios (1947-91), which,...
Gillian Wearing: Regen Projects
A self-described "couch potato" in her youth, Gillian Wearing assimilates television's vernacular into her videos and photographic projects. She tracks the ways in which the medium's representations of reality transform our popular imagination and...
Gyan Panchal: Ecole Municipale Des Beaux-Arts/ Galerie Edouard Manet
The architect Louis Kahn used to say: "I asked the brick, 'What do you like, brick?' And brick said, 'I like an arch.'" Citing Kahn's devotion to material as the determinant of form, French sculptor Gyan Panchal likewise conceives structure as a response...
Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn: Elizabeth Dee
For their second New York show, Harry Dodge and Stanya Kahn exhibited four videos, three dated 2008. This year's Whitney Biennial saw them widely praised as well, making for an annus pretty mirabilis. Industriousness is apparently their M.O. In key...
Ivan Navarro and Courtney Smith: G Fine Art
Sculptors Ivan Navarro (who also works in video) and Courtney Smith reconfigure common items--lightbulbs, usually fluorescent, in Navarro's case and vintage furniture in Smith's--to yield subtly totemic, mildly anarchistic structures that gingerly...
Jack Goldstein: Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Jack Goldstein's move into painting in the late 1970s was driven, in part, by truly damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don't decision making. "I didn't want to be this guy who did performances and films when all these other guys were painters," he admitted...
Jamisen Ogg: Hudson Franklin
The installation of Jamisen Ogg's New York solo debut, titled "Conscientious Objectifier," was not exactly bilaterally symmetrical, but each object installed on one side of the gallery had its corollary on the other. A quick glance suggested that the...
Joan Mitchell: Lennon, Weinberg, Inc
Three decades back Jill Weinberg Adams worked closely with Xavier Fourcade--Joan Mitchell's dealer at the time--and came to know the painter well. Now, as co-proprietor of her own gallery, she has called upon her long-time associations to assemble...
Koen Van Den Broek: Figge Von Rosen Galerie
One of the peculiar qualities of the built environment is that, despite its utter intricacy and diversity, it always contains the germ of pictorial abstraction. Depending on viewing angle, proximity, or clarity, images of buildings and streets can...
Liam Gillick: Casey Kaplan
"The state itself becomes a super whatnot"--whatever! I so want to believe in Liam Gillick's post-Fordist cosmology of poeticized socioeconomic rhetoric. Alas, the elegant array of new works grouped here under the aforementioned title phrase merely...
Little Ideological Annie: How a Cartoon Gamine Midwifed the Graphic Novel-And the Modern Conservative Movement
In the 1982 movie Annie, billionaire munitions industrialist Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks arrives in Washington to meet the Roosevelts, whose calls he usually refuses to take. They want his help organizing the New Deal, which he thinks a preposterous scheme...
Manifesta 7: Trentino-South Tyrol, Italy
MANIFESTA HAS ALWAYS come across as a complexly sensitized biennial, reactive not only to the morphing state of post-Wall Europe--the crucible in which it was conceived in 1991-but also to itself. The so-called European Biennial of Contemporary Art...
Mario Ybarra Jr: Lehmann Maupin
Most of Mario Ybarra Jr.'s art to date mines concepts of invisibility or threat, posed as lost slices of urban history, disappeared architecture, or dog collars studded with spikes, for example. In a recent show at the Art Institute of Chicago, Ybarra...
Marlene Dumas: Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
WHILE MARLENE DUMAS enjoys international renown, opportunities to see her oeuvre in its full breadth and depth in the United States have been scarce. Over the course of her thirty-year career, the South Africa-born, Amsterdam-based artist has had a...
Mein Leipzig
On June 29, 1912, Max Brod brought a shy, tongue-tied Franz Kafka to Leipzig to meet a daring young editor named Kurt Wolff. Wolff, then working for Rowohlt Verlag, read Kafka's brief tales and published them before the year was out. [ILLUSTRATION...
Michael Fliri: Galleria Raffaella Cortese
An American football player hurls himself against a wall of soft, colored Plasticine, which absorbs the impact--at which point he inevitably falls to the ground. The wall is indented by the blows of his helmet. The stadium is deserted. There is no...
Michelle Charles: Kettle's Yard
Born in London in 1959, Michelle Charles developed her artistic career during the nineteen years she spent in the United States before returning to her home country in 2001. This is her first major exhibition in England since then and (except for three...
Molly Zuckerman-Hartung: Julius Caesar
At the bottom of the checklist for Molly Zuckerman-Hartung's exhibition at Julius Caesar was a Shakespeare (mis)quote: "Macbeth: If we should fail? Lady Macbeth: We fail. But screw your courage to the sticking point and we shall not fail." This might...
Oscar Oiwa: Museum of Contemporary Art
Oscar Oiwa, born in Brazil in 1965 to Japanese parents, exhibited Whale I and Whale II, both 1989, in the 1991 Bienal de Sao Paulo. By comparing the great mammal's bones to the equally expansive top view of a nuclear-propelled submarine, this pair...
"Painting: Now and Forever, Part II": Greene Naftali Gallery/Matthew Marks Gallery
"Du hast keine Chance. Nutze sie!" You have no chance. Use it! So ran the title of an essay in this magazine in 1981, by Wolfgang Max Faust, quoting the then-young Neue Wilde painters of Berlin. To seize the chance you didn't have, as if it actually...
Peter Coffin and Djordje Ozbolt: Herald St
Our expectation upon entering a dark, black-curtained gallery is that we will be watching some "new media" projection. But no: In this collaborative work by installation artist Peter Coffin and painter Djordje Ozbolt, Untitled (Djordje Ozbolt) (all...
Peter Saul: Orange County Museum of Art
OK, I MESSED UP / WHAT'S NEXT? asks a man with an extra ear and nose, his ocher and hot pink face feverishly oozing beyond its familiar contours, in a typically nightmarish painting by Peter Saul (OK, I Messed Up ..., 2003). The question--a casual...
Rationality and the Structure of the Self a Two-Volume Study in Kantian Metaethics
Adrian Piper's practice as a first-generation Conceptual artist in the 1960s led her to Kant's Critique of Pure Reason; and this, in turn, to an in-depth study of philosophy that culminated in a Ph.D. in philosophy from Harvard and a successful academic...
Return of the Real: Amy Taubin on Ballast and Wendy and Lucy
REGIONALISM HAS LONG BEEN a watchword of American independent filmmaking, predating the identity politics that shaped the movement in its heyday from the mid-1980s to the early '90s. More often than not, it is synonymous with "the heartland," the vast...
Robert Baribeau: Allan Stone Gallery
What do Robert Baribeau's paintings show us that we haven't seen before? They're full of the painterly Sturm und Drang, the excitement about paint--narcissistic absorption in its fluid pleasures and seductive touch, self-dramatization through dramatizing...
Robert Hawkins: Half Gallery
Robert Hawkins's first solo exhibition in New York in a decade marked the welcome return of a native of the 1980s and early '90s East Village art scene. The five paintings displayed are at once brooding and celebratory, a triumph of a kind of "outsider"...
Ryan Gander: South London Gallery
"There exists only one definition for everything, everywhere at any one time": So reads the inscription disguised as a mathematical equation and engraved on Didactease, 2006, a Tiffanys sterling-silver coin discreetly worn as a pendant by a gallery...
Sarah Braman: Museum 52
Museum 52's boast that Sarah Braman "appears to work without inhibition, second-guessing, or self-consciousness" is a dangerous one, even for sculptures as seemingly thrown together as those on display in her recent exhibition at this newish Lower...
Shifting Identities: Kunsthaus
About every ten years, the Kunsthaus Zurich exhibits an interpretive cross-section of the newest contemporary Swiss art. In "Shifting Identities," the institution's curator, Mirjam Varadinis, set out to capture yet another turning tide in the country's...
Signs and Symbols: Julia Bryan-Wilson on Billboard Projects in Los Angeles
FOR ALMOST AS LONG as billboards have existed, laws have sought to limit their presence or ban them outright. Deemed "inartistic and unsightly" by a court ruling in 1911 and dismissed as "visual pollution" by another in 1975, the large-scale advertisements...
Simon Starling: Galleria Franco Noero
Nicknamed the Fetta di Polenta ("slice of polenta"), the eccentric yellow palazzo housing Franco Noero's new space, Casa Scaccabarozzi, is meant to serve as an experimental architectural laboratory and point of departure for the gallery's artists....
Spy Kid: He Had Rarely Paused to Consider Matters of Class; as a Pervert He Was above Such Vulgar Forms of Definition
Making drastic changes to a novel while adapting it for the screen is one thing, but doing so when the novelist is a close friend can induce new levels of anxiety. Scottish director David Mackenzie found himself in that situation when he decided to...
Stefan Burger: Kunsthaus Baselland
This past February, the Munich factory of Agfa met its downfall in a spectacular but quite deliberate explosion, thanks to the unprofitability of film-based photography. The monument's demolition became an allegory for a vanishing era of analog technology,...
Steve Roden: Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
Though better known in the field of sound art, Steve Roden is a polymath artist, most familiar as a sculptor and painter, whose work descends from West Coast abstractionist like Lee Mullican and Peter Krasnow. But Roden also has a Conceptualist's fondness...
Talia Keinan: Tel Aviv Museum of Art
As the winner of the 2007 Nathan Gottesdiener Foundation prize, the most prestigious accolade given to an Israeli artist under forty, Talia Keinan has finally come into her own. After a few years of uneven explorations in video, installation, and drawing,...
Tammy Rae Carland: Silverman Gallery
On view in Tammy Rae Carland's recent exhibition were twelve color photographs of aging objects--a coffee mug, knitted pot holders, faded Valentine's Day candy boxes, and the like. These things appear to be digitally excised from their original context,...
Tauba Auerbach
Tauba Auerbach is a San Francisco-based artist whose work is currently included in the group exhibition "No Information Available" at Gladstone Gallery, Brussels. She will present new work at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this February, as...
The Blackness of Blackness Huey Copeland on "Black Is, Black Ain't" at the Renaissance Society
AS EVER IN CHICAGO, there is no dearth of tragedy where racial politics are concerned: ongoing revelations about city hall's involvement in covering up police torture of black suspects; a recent 18 percent increase in the homicide rate that disproportionately...
The Circus, 1870-1950
Media circus, family circus, circus catch, political circus, Monty Python's Flying Circus, and the Circus Circus casino in Vegas--yet nowhere among these usages is there to be found an actual sawdust and elephant-scat circus. Before its devolution...
The Naked and the Daft: Norman Mailer's Chronicle of Chicago '68 Points Up the Pitiful State of Contemporary Political Commentary
First time tear gas, second time robo-polls: If Karl Marx were on hand today to record the progress of our long cultural civil war, one suspects this would be the law of history he would coin to describe its bewildering phases. The novelist Norman...
The Sun Also Sets
The indisputable highlight of the 2008 New York Film Festival is a complete retrospective of the films of Japanese provocateur Nagisa Oshima. As "In the Realm of Oshima" unspools this month at the Walter Reade Theater in New York, we asked critic JONATHAN...
Time and Materials: Carol Armstrong on Craigie Horsfield and Tapestry
LOCATED JUST OUTSIDE GHENT in Belgium, oil painting's Northern Renaissance site of origin and, coincidentally, one of the prime centers of modern machine-made carpet production, there is a place called Flanders Tapestries that specializes in weaving...
Tools of Engagement
OVER THE PAST two decades, Franz West has gained renown for his boundary-blurring installations of sculpture, furniture, and their perplexing mongrel offspring. Less well known, however, are the Austrian artist's formative efforts within the fervent...
Vivan Sundaram: Project 88/chemould Prescott Road
For some, India's cities are tomorrow's miracles. "India Shining," boast government slogans; "Mumbai will be another Shanghai," promise others. The veteran Delhi-based artist Vivan Sundaram, however, rubbished the idea that India's rapid urbanization...
Wang Jianwei: Zendai Museum of Modern Art
It is unsurprising that Wang Jianwei's epic solo show at Zendai MOMA, "Hostage," was inspired by a reading of the works of Pierre Bourdieu. Like Bourdieu, whose "theory of practice" was grounded in empirical data, Wang might also be considered a cultural...
Wendy White: Leo Koenig
For a show of just four paintings, Wendy White's "Autokennel"--her first solo exhibition at this gallery--proved exceedingly ambitious despite its modest selection of large-scale offerings, each cobbled together from several panels. That a selection...
"When I Open My Eyes in the Morning, I See a Film"; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw
Recent reassessments of the legacy of Eastern and Central European neo-avant-gardes coincide with a renewed public interest in the period around 1968. Good timing, then, for "When I Open My Eyes in the Morning, I See a Film: Experiment in Yugoslav...
Writing Sex and Gallows Humor
I rish writer Anne Enright has won literary awards for nearly every book she's published since her debut in 1991, the short-story collection The Portable Virgin (which earned her the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature). But for over a decade, the onetime...