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. 3, November

"6 Works, 6 Rooms": DAVID ZWIRNER
Six works in six rooms. A totally simple and modest curatorial idea, yet also a vainglorious one when the six works are by Dan Flavin, On Kawara, Sol LeWitt, John McCracken, Fred Sandback, and Richard Serra and the six rooms are sufficiently immense...
Action and Abstraction
NOT MORE THAN FORTY-EIGHT HOURS after Artforum's October issue hit the stands did I receive an e-mail from a friend and colleague expressing some ambivalence about the magazine's inclusion of excerpts from Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's Commonwealth....
Alec Soth: HIGH MUSEUM OF ART
Photographer Alec Soth seeks the American South neither in traditional small towns nor in the cities and suburbs of the New South but in the forest. His portfolio "Black Line of Woods," 2006-2007, commissioned by the High Museum as part of its ongoing...
Allora & Calzadilla: TEMPORARE KUNSTHALLE BERLIN
Since opening its doors in October 2008, the Temporare Kunsthalle Berlin has exhibited the work of contemporary artists residing in Berlin within a very basic white-cube construction, while just to its left, the Palast der Republik--former home to...
Andrew Reyes: GOODWATER
At first, Andrew Reyes's exhibition "Cryptique" presented itself as an obstacle. An enormous X straddled the interior of the gallery, a sculpture titled Body Bilder (all works 2009), that seemed to cross out the artist's previous oeuvre, which has...
Armin Boehm: KUNSTVEREIN BRAUNSCHWEIG
Armin Boehm's painting paradoxically concerns itself with ways of rendering invisibility visible. At the same time, his work constantly thematizes light. In the large-format nocturnal views of high-rise facades in the series "Untitled (Riot)," 2007-,...
Aspen Mays: GOLDEN
Escape, the sheer exhilaration of chucking it all and getting far, far away, seems much on the mind of Aspen Mays. While this Chicago-based artist never indicates just what she might so assiduously be fleeing, the urge to relocate, physically or psychologically,...
Attila Csorgo: GALERIJA GREGOR PODNAR
The beauty of mathematics is not something one often considers when walking through Berlin's galleries. Attila Csorgo's show "Magnet Spring" was an exception. The Hungarian artist, born in 1965, visualizes physical forces in settings resembling experiments,...
Billy Apple: WITTE DE WITH
In 1962, the British rock 'n' roll singer Billy Fury had a box-office hit with his film debut as struggling musician Billy Universe in Play It Cool. The same year, David Hockney caused a stir by wearing a rock-star-worthy gold lame jacket onstage to...
"Bright Morning Star": GALERIA ZE DOS BOIS
The art world continues to rediscover Kenneth Anger, most recently through the survey of his films this past summer at P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center in New York. In Portugal, too, his work has attracted fresh attention. In an unusual initiative--given...
"Character Generator": ELEVEN RIVINGTON
For this group exhibition, Matthew Lyons, a curator from the Kitchen in New York, gathered a collection of nearly all black-and-white works by nine artists undertaking a range of poetic and political challenges to the orderly system of language--what...
Chris Gentile: GREGORY LIND GALLERY
Chris Gentile's work places him in dialogue with Amy Adler, James Casebere, Thomas Demand, and Erwin Wurm, who photograph handmade objects that rarely--if ever--leave the studio in 3-D form. Gentile also creates sculptures and installations exclusively...
Christopher Mir: GALERIA SENDA
The ten paintings displayed in Christopher Mir's exhibition "The Dream of You Is Real" are tightly executed, smooth works of Photorealism representing sexy women, a lone caveman, galloping horses, flying birds and insects, and so on, all inserted into...
Claude Collins-Stracensky: HAMMER MUSEUM
Evidence of a manic, multitasking mind quietly pervaded the assembly of otherwise contemplative objects and larger architectonic maneuvers that constituted Claude Collins-Stracensky's solo show at the Hammer. Before entering the square, glass-walled...
Commonwealth: An Exchange
THERE HAVE BEEN TWO FOUNDATIONAL THEMES in Antonio Negri's work over the years. The first is an abiding faith in the capacities of the working class or the multitude (redefined as "the party of the poor" and therefore, according to Spinoza, the only...
Dai Qing: SHOPPING GALLERY
Shopping Gallery is situated in Shanghai's famous M50 art district; it is run by a consortium of the city's more successful artists, including Xu Zhen, Shi Yong, and Liu Jianhua, to promote reasonably priced works by emerging artists. The gallery's...
Dan Christensen: KEMPER MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
Whether delicately hushed or eye-poppingly intense, Dan Christensen's abstractions unfailingly offer an ever-changing mix of incandescent colors, looping lines, giant dots, frothy patches, and loose calligraphies. Christensen, who died in 2007,...
David Goldblatt: NEW MUSEUM, NEW YORK
SERENADING THE QUOTIDIAN has always been David Goldblatt's forte. He pries away the surface of the ordinary and pushes his audience to do the same. Dissatisfied with the spuriousness of easy conclusions--and having thus long eschewed the didactic aesthetics...
Fernanda Chieco: GALERIA LEME
Fernanda Chieco, a graduate of the University of Sao Paulo and Goldsmiths' College in London, is among the most promising of Brazil's new generation of artists. Her works are bizarre narratives of the body, strange stories that seem to echo the absurdity...
Francis Bacon: METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART
With photographs of and information about his two long-term lovers and various statements about his abusive parents supplementing the "twisted" relationship of the perversely intertwined figures in many of his triptychs and his use of "universal" Christian...
Fred Tomaselli: ASPEN ART MUSEUM
The buzz around Fred Tomaselli's meticulous painting-collage hybrids frequently centers on the work's more loaded materials--ephedrine, aspirin, saccharine, an assortment of brand-name pharmaceuticals, marijuana, and other psychoactive plants--which...
Gabriel Sierra
FOR GABRIEL SIERRA, function follows form: In an inversion of the old modernist dictum, his objects seem as if they are useful, but just what for is often ambiguous. Indeed, the artist studied industrial design in Bogota, Colombia, and this technical...
Heather Cantrell: KINKEAD CONTEMPORARY
For eight weeks last summer, Heather Cantrell's "A Study in Portraiture: Act I" transformed part of Kinkead Contemporary into a functioning portrait studio equipped with a stockpile of costumes and props: painted backdrops, animal skins, cardboard...
James Ensor: MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK
AMONG THE FOUNDERS of modern Western art, James Ensor created work that stands out as an indictment of bourgeois society--to a point of scathing derision. While many advanced artists kept their distance from the subject of the tawdry capitalist present,...
James Lee Byars: MICHAEL WERNER GALLERY
Shaman, charlatan, oddball, dandy--James Lee Byars carried off all these roles with flair, uniting them without contradiction. Like Yves Klein, whom he in many ways resembled, he brought to art a group of self-taught extracurricular ideas that set...
Johanna Billing: CAMDEN ARTS CENTRE
Drawn to contexts that might, in lesser hands, prompt lumbering pontification, Johanna Billing happily favors a direct appeal to viewers' senses and emotions over an overtly pedagogical approach. The videos that the Swedish artist showed here are watchable...
Kader Attia: CENTRE DE CREATION CONTEMPORAINE
The implications of Kader Attia's installation Kasbah, 2009, extended well beyond the gallery's bare concrete walls and low, unfinished ceilings. Occupying almost every inch of available floor space and requiring nimble footwork to traverse, this oppressive...
Kehinde Wiley: DEITCH PROJECTS
"The master's tools," wrote the poet Audre Lorde, "will never dismantle the master's house.'" "Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?" asked Andy Warhol. If the master's tools are portraits of kings, saints, and ornamental...
Len Lye: AUSTRALIAN CENTRE FOR THE MOVING IMAGE
In 1961 Len Lye wrote, "In tangible sculpture the aesthetic value of objects becomes secondary to that of their motion." This just about sums up the message of this revelatory exhibition, almost entirely gathered from the encyclopedic holdings of the...
Magnus Plessen: GLADSTONE GALLERY
Almost all of the nine canvases in Magnus Plessen's recent show include the form of a hand, frequently in multiple: a squat, glovelike shape, often truncated at the knuckles or just before the wrist, usually out of proportion to and floating free from...
Mary Reid Kelley
AS AMERICA'S MISADVENTURES in Iraq and Afghanistan continue, with Iran boiling on the horizon, war fills our minds. A growing number of artworks and films focus on our current crises, but what makes Mary Reid Kelley's videos particularly fascinating...
Matthew Barney and Elizabeth Peyton: DESTE FOUNDATION PROJECT SPACE
A makeshift tarpaulin body bag left on the road's shoulder signaled something nefarious, something noir. In the crepuscular light, a scrawny orange cat--a common sight on Hydra--fished under the tarp and apparently found something it liked. Soon a...
"Maurizio Cattelan Is Dead": TRIPLE CANDIE
"Maurizio Cattelan Is Dead: Life and Work, 1960-2009" was the most recent of a series of unauthorized homages organized by the Harlem gallery Triple Candie. In a general sense, these exhibitions investigate the ways in which an entity on the sidelines...
Michael Harrison: IVAN ANTHONY GALLERY
Michael Harrison's painting ventures an unfashionable mode of generalization, in which archetypes risk dismissal as stereotypes, deep truths as cliches. This tension is given force by the unusually restricted focus of the artist's investigation, which...
Mind the Design
If the legacy of modernism has emerged in recent years as the central preoccupation of contemporary art and architecture, interest in the Bauhaus and its key proponents has only intensified. Accordingly, as the storied design school celebrates the...
Nancy Spero: STUDIO STEFANIA MISCETTI
Blue, 2009, is a definitive statement in the long series of installations that Nancy Spero has dedicated to the history of violence against women. In this austere work, three black female figures on all fours are stamped onto the bottom of a wall--pushed...
New Jerseyy
New Jerseyy is a gallery based in Basel and run by curator Daniel Baumann, artists Tobias Madison and Emanuel Rossetti, and graphic designer Dan Solbach. With support from Nordtangente-Kunsttangente, the gallery has recently staged projects such as...
Olga Koumoundouros: REDCAT
Los Angeles-based artist Olga Koumoundouros converts two-dimensional graphics and typography into sculptural, at times quasi-architectural, forms. A recent example is her 2003 work Town Meeting: After Acconci--a wood-framed and sheathed buttelike structure....
Open Conversation: Thomas Crow on Charles Harrison (1942-2009)
CHARLES HARRISON may be the most important writer on modern art whom a good many readers of this magazine will never have encountered. As an accolade, that is indeed far too qualified: Harrison was one of a small handful of writers by whose standard...
Paul McDevitt and Cornelius Quabeck: STEPHEN FRIEDMAN GALLERY
Though Cornelius Quabeck and Paul McDevitt are now both based in Germany, the two first met while studying in London. Quabeck has recently been working on the West Coast, and it was in San Francisco that the two artists encountered the work of Albert...
Philippe Parreno: CENTRE POMPIDOU
A LARGE CANOPY OF PLEXIGLAS, neon, and rows of twinkling lights--the kind of thing typically found above the entry to a movie theater--announced Philippe Parreno's retrospective at the Centre Pompidou. Only after passing beneath Marquee, 2009, the...
"Plot09": Creative Time at Governors Island
A mile of water is all that separates Governors Island from downtown New York, but the metropolis's jackhammers and careening cabs couldn't feel any more distant. For all its past--as a US Army and then Coast Guard base before it started to be developed...
"Poor. Old. Tired. Horse." INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ARTS
Named after the legendary magazine published through most of the 1960s by the late Ian Hamilton Finlay, "Poor. Old. Tired. Horse." was a game attempt to trace, in the confines of the ICA's four petite spaces (and one passageway), five decades of the...
Rabih Mroue: Talks about "Letter to New York"
ACTOR, PLAYWRIGHT, AND VIDEO ARTIST Rabih Mroue has made the lecture-performance his metier. Picaresque journeys through Lebanon's recent history augmented by archival evidence of dubious veracity, his presentations are filled with engrossing narratives....
Rachel Harrison: HESSEL MUSEUM OF ART AND CCS GALLERIES AT BARD COLLEGE, ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NEW YORK
RACHEL HARRISON HAS A FLAIR FOR TITLES, even when borrowed, as in the case of her current midcareer survey, "Consider the Lobster." The name comes from a collection of David Foster Wallace's magazine articles, one of which finds the author at the annual...
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: HAUNCH OF VENISON
The experience of the "nexus between corporeality, representation and technology" promised by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's recent show began well before visitors entered the galleries in which the Mexicanborn, Canada-based artist's work was installed. In...
Ricci Albenda: RACHOFSKY HOUSE, DALLAS
HOW DOES A HOUSE SPEAK? Le Corbusier's famous declaration that a house is "a machine for living" may preclude any notion that a house--particularly an exemplar of austere postmodernism, such as Richard Meier's Rachofsky House in Dallas--could say anything...
Ritual Presence: Scott Rothkopf on Katharina Fritsch
IMAGINE THAT THE SUN IS A GIANT FLUORESCENT BULB. Now imagine that it's twilight, and you will have a sense of the eerie acidic crepuscule that seems to both illuminate and shadow Katharina Fritsch's work wherever it happens to be. This effect was...
Robert Morris: TATE MODERN
In 1971, when Robert Morris was at the top of his game, he constructed a site-specific installation composed of plywood ramps, beams, balancing platforms, ledges, and a massive sphere for Duveen Hall, the stately entrance to the former Tate Gallery...
"Solaris": GIO MARCONI
"Solaris," named for the planet in Stanislaw Lem's homonymous 1961 novel, was a show that, while respecting the specificity of the individual works displayed, also revealed symbolic relationships between them--connecting, for instance, the melancholy...
Suchan Kinoshita: GALERIE NADJA VILENNE
The desiccation of the art scene during the summer season can easily cause one to mistake the slightest relief in the landscape for an unexpected oasis. But it was not just the typical paucity of substantial exhibitions that accounted for one's feeling...
Systems Theory: Sanford Kwinter on Matthew Ritchie's the Morning Line
AMONG THE PROMINENT DEVELOPMENTS that have marked recent art has been the incursion of "method" into the heart of what has long appeared as an array of miscellaneous, even random art practices. By method, I mean nothing more than an approach in which...
Talent Is Overrated: Anthony Huberman on Robert Filliou
TRYING TO MAKE SENSE of the ravaged economy in the New York Times Magazine a couple months ago, Paul Krugman--Nobel-winning economist and Times columnist--pointed to the lasting relevance of Adam Smith's ideas in today's dominant economic model. Modern...
Taste Tests
Whether making work with moldy bread, melting wax, or Froot Loops screenprinted on massive mirrored boxes, Urs Fischer probes the inner workings of embodied experience and cultural production--reframing both process art and kitsch in turn. On the occasion...
"The Fantastic Tavern": CASEY KAPLAN
This summer's "Fantastic Tavern: The Tbilisi Avant-Garde" made the case for Tbilisi to be known as one of the principal enclaves of the early-twentieth-century avant-garde. It focused on the cultural energy of Georgia's capital city in its independent,...
"The Female Gaze": CHEIM & READ
The republication this year of Laura Mulvey's 1975 essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (in a second edition of Visual and Other Pleasures) is long overdue: In spite of the article's canonical status, Mulvey's fine-tuned concepts have too often...
The Gift That Keeps on Giving: AMY TAUBIN ON RICHARD KELLY'S THE BOX
RICHARD KELLY, the writer and director of the haunting and uncannily prophetic Donnie Darko (2001) and the much-reviled but spot-on vision of our hyperbolic, media-saturated political landscape Southland Tales (2006), has attempted to prove himself...
The Hole Truth: Seth Kim-Cohen on Doug Aitken's Sonic Pavilion
EVEN BEFORE I KNEW I would be going to Brazil, I had begun reading Conquest of the Useless, Werner Herzog's journals during the making of Fitzcarraldo (1982). Had I been reading something else, I'd perhaps have been less attuned to the pervasive sense...
The Most Famous Woman You've Never Heard Of: ALISON MCMAHAN ON ALICE GUY BLACHE
IN 1894, A YOUNG WOMAN named Alice Guy was hired as a secretary at a company in Paris that manufactured cameras and other optical equipment. Unknowingly, she had just stepped into the vortex from which cinema would be born. Barely twenty-one, schooled...
"The Quick and the Dead": WALKER ART CENTER, MINNEAPOLIS
From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. --The Apostles' Creed CONCEPTUAL ART, it could be said, gravitates toward either deductive or productive gestures. Deductive Conceptualism, as I'm calling it, concentrates on the conditions...
Tom Burr: BORTOLAMI
There was no single work in Tom Burr's recent exhibition "sentence" that was truly emblematic of the whole, but one pair at least came close. The two sculptures his personal effects (White) and (Natural) (both 2009) demonstrate a bold juxtaposition...
Tris Vonna-Michell: X INITIATIVE
If I were Tris Vonna-Michell, I might be tempted to use this occasion to embark upon an abridged, extemporaneous ramble about the convoluted path to my first New York solo exhibition, at X Initiative, with sashays through the New Museum's "Younger...
Troy Brauntuch: FRIEDRICH PETZEL GALLERY
Coming on the heels of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's recent "Pictures Generation, 1974-1984," Friedrich Petzel's retrospective--for that is what it was--dramatically underscored (often with intense poignancy) the thirty-year remove between Troy...
Vincent Vulsma: GALERIE CINZIA FRIEDLAENDER
There are some exhibitions that at first glance seem exciting and completely convincing--but then somehow leave you feeling perplexed. The young Dutch artist Vincent Vulsma's recent show in Berlin was one such puzzle. Vulsma does everything right:...