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. 4, December

"1+1+1=3: Robert MacPherson, Manfred Pernice, Katerina Seda": Culturgest
For curator Trevor Smith, what separates Robert MacPherson, Manfred Pernice, and Katerina Seda is as consequential as what unites them. Representing distinct generations and practices, the output of each emerges from its local culture to reflect the...
2008 on the Ground: Common Sense
It is not easy to chart turbulence. But amid the world's wild swings--between the crisis of the dismal science and the crests of political optimism--such an endeavor seems particularly timely. To this end, Artforum invited ten artists, writers, and...
"Abstract Expressionism: A World Elsewhere": Haunch of Venison
This sweeping show of Abstract Expressionism, organized by the British art historian and critic David Anfam, was long on firsthand pleasures, and offered room to reflect on what abstract meant initially and what it means now--not simply "a world elsewhere,"...
Alessandra Spranzi: Fotografia Italiana Arte Contemporanea
The enigmatic title of this exhibition, "Selvatico (colui che si salva)" (Savage |He Who Saves Himself]), refers back to Leonardo da Vinci; the exhibition itself had the force of a political statement, albeit one made in the form of somewhat surreal...
Amy Taubin
1 Milk (Gus Van Sant) The past is present in this biopic of gay activist Harvey Milk, a role brilliantly and unreservedly inhabited by Sean Penn. Like its hero, the movie gradually gains stature, evolving from chamber agitprop piece to epic tragedy....
Ann Goldstein
Ann Goldstein is senior curator at the museum of contemporary art, los angeles, where she recently co-organized (with donna de salvo) "lawrence weiner: as far as the eye can see," now on view at k21 kunstsammlung nordrhein-westfalen in dusseldorf....
Arthur Zalewski and Eiko Grimberg; Artrepco
"The infinitely identical and the infinitely varied are extremes between which all man can do is split things apart and put them together again," Paul Valery wrote in his Cahiers in 1918. In his view, similarity is what activates the intellectual free...
Ayse Erkmen: Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum Fur Gegenwart
Visitors wishing to enter the first retrospective of the work of Ayse Erkmen were required to pass through a security gate complete with metal detector. This initially irritating prelude is paradigmatic for the aesthetic method of Erkmen (who divides...
Beijing
BEIJING'S SLUGGISH APPEARANCE became glittering and contoured this year. The city's countless drab concrete blocks even seemed to give off an enthusiastic glow after their Olympic paint jobs. But perhaps more than its face-lifted surfaces and liquid...
Berlin
AT THE BEGINNING OF 2008, the Palast der Republik--the formerly gold-mirrored (and asbestos-contaminated) showcase building of the German Democratic Republic--was still a recognizable feature of the center of Berlin, albeit only as a raw skeleton....
Betty Parsons: Spanierman Modern
The biographies of New York School artists are often sprinkled liberally with the name of Betty Parsons, who is acclaimed for staging groundbreaking shows of their work at her Fifty-seventh Street gallery. She is less well known as an artist in her...
Bob Nickas
1 Abstract painting With a new book under way, I've spent as much time in studios as at exhibitions this year. Among some memorable visits: Charline von Heyl, where I spent three hours (I left only because I had another appointment); Carrie Moyer (ditto);...
Bonnie Camplin: Tate Britain
The earliest of the five short videos Bonnie Camplin presented as part of the Tate's "Light Box" series of artist's films and videos was Good Health, 2003, and it set the tone as well as the formal parameters for the rest. "What's immediately striking...
Bram Bogart: Jacobson Howard Gallery
Bram Bogart offers platters of painterliness, one might say, served up raw yet uncannily refined, even in such turbulent works as Geen twijfel (No Doubt), 2005. But it's not that simple, even if one regards Bogart's strikingly material paint, often...
Brenna Youngblood: Margo Leavin Gallery
Brenna Youngblood's second solo exhibition at Margo Leavin at times felt redolent of Richard Prince or Robert Rauschenberg. The evocation owed less to the strategies that Youngblood shares with these artists--she'll produce a Prince-like deadpan photograph...
Brigitte Fontaine
1 Portishead. Third (Mercury Records) The 1990s outfit came back this year even better than before, with great new sounds yet the same strong charm. Beth Gibbons's voice is un enchantement. You can listen to it all day and night. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]...
Briony Fer
An empty swimming pool drained of water; the burned-out shell of a Chinese fighter plane; abandoned apartments; a ruined casino, still glittering in its devastation: This is the landscape of J. G. Ballard's childhood in wartime Shanghai. It is described...
Carlos Cruz-Diez: Americas Society
In his systematic experiments with color--influenced, like much Venezuelan work of the 1950s and '60s, by the practices of geometric abstraction then being reconsidered in postwar Paris--Carlos Cruz-Diez betrays the meticulousness of a scientist or...
Chris Johanson: Deitch Projects
Comprising paintings and one large installation, Chris Johanson's second solo exhibition at this gallery was equal parts cryptic and clear-cut, lighthearted and sarcastic, comic and tragic. Most of the artist's new works employ a Crayola palette and...
Christine Macel
1 Monika Sosnowska (Schaulager, Basel) This thirty-six-year-old Polish artist mounted the most compelling exhibition I saw this year (curated by Theodora Vischer). For the first time in her career, Sosnowska brought together old work and some new--nine...
Chus Martinez
1 Alexander Kluge, winner of the 2008 German Film Prize for Lifetime Achievement One particular sentence in Kluge's film Die Patriotin (The Patriot, 1979) keeps running through my head: "The closer you look at a word, the more distantly it looks back...
Clegg & Guttmann: Galleria Lia Rumma
In this complex yet amusing exhibition, "Studiolo Nuovo," which Lis Rumma installed in Milan after showing it in her space in Naples, Clegg & Guttmann take as their point of departure the Renaissance studiolo, or study--a private place, crowded...
Cosima Von Bonin: Friedrich Petzel Gallery
As the diminutive ending of its title, "The Picrres at the Petzellette," made clear, Cosima von Bonin's third solo show at Petzel was meant to be intimate. Encountered in the anteroom of the gallery space, the forlorn twenty-inch-high Doorstop (Concrete...
Damon Krukowski
1. Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt, Oblique Strategies Eno and Schmidt's set of instructional cards for solving creative problems--originally printed in 1975-is now available as an iPhone application. Instead of checking messages, you can draw one of its...
Dan Flavin: Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts
It appears we are in the midst of a Dan Flavin renaissance. In recent years, his work has seen a host of exhibitions around the world, including, most notably, a comprehensive retrospective organized by the Dia Art Foundation and the National Gallery...
Dan Graham and Jeppe Hein: Galerie Johnen + Schottle
The American artist Dan Graham has always been a source of fascination to Jeppe Hein, who is more than thirty years his junior. But Hein became a real fan in 1998 when, still an art student, he curated an exhibition in Copenhagen that included Graham's...
Daniel Birnbaum
1 Alexander Kluge, Nachrichten aus der ideologischen Antike (News from the Antiquity of Ideology) (Suhrkamp/Insel) Kluge, now seventy-six years old, is still the German artist who fascinates me most. For this work, he implemented Sergei Eisenstein's...
Daniel McDonald
Broadway 1602, New York PLAYING WITH DOLLS is a pastime for sissies and shut-ins, and, as artists from Hans Bellmer to Todd Haynes have shown, it is also a hands-on means of objectifying the terrors and traumas of one's time, whether in psychotherapy...
Diana Al-Hadid: Perry Rubenstein Gallery
Diana AI-Hadid's sculptures read as folkloric, narrative, even literary. Deftly handmade amalgamations of materials (including polystyrene, steel, cardboard, and wax), these hulking, unfinished-looking towers masquerade equally as medium-scale models...
Empty Nest
TOM VANDERBILT on Sarah Morris's Beijing "WHAT INTERESTS ME ABOUT BEIJING is that it's not resolved in any way," says artist Sarah Morris, looking at a monitor in her studio, on which clips from her upcoming film, titled after the city, are playing....
Eran Shakine: Gallery 39 for Contemporary Art
Forty-two years after the publication of Robert Morris's Notes on Sculpture in these pages, the reception of Minimalism and post-Minimalism remains a live issue, so it is not altogether surprising to witness the reappearance of these idioms as mediated...
Fernando Arias: Galeria Eduardo H. Fernandes
Choco, one of Colombia's thirty-two provinces, lies on the country's northwest border with Panama. Fernando Arias settled in the town of Nuqui in the jungles of Choco in 2006. There, he helped found Casa Chocolate, a cultural center aimed at doing...
Gary Simmons: Metro Pictures
In this exhibition, titled "Night of the Fires," Gary Simmons evokes a period in which Los Angeles was burning, in the racial, social, and economic fires that culminated in the Watts riots in 1965: a watershed moment that came to emblematize urban...
Giorgio Morandi: Metropolitan Museum of Art
This exhibition of some 110 of Giorgio Morandi's works--mostly paintings, but also a fair share of watercolors and etchings--is simply beautiful. But how such bliss was achieved is not quite so beautifully simple. Morandi (1890-1964) lived quietly...
Hannah Collins: Caixaforum
Titles are most certainly one clue to the meaning (or at least part of the meaning) of a work of art. Hannah Collins has given a generic name--"Current History"--to her exhibition in Barcelona. This is also the name of three film projections (all 2007),...
Jack Bankowsky
1 Gustave Courbet (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth-Century Media Culture (Princeton University Press) I know it's lame to award the top slot to...
Jackie Tileston: Holly Johnson Gallery
Jackie Tileston layers images expressed in a pluralized vocabulary. In a single painting, she will typically combine photographic transfers, atmospheric fields of rubbed-on dry pigment, painted details appropriated from classical Chinese landscapes,...
James Meyer
The struggle for civil rights is the most iconic of 1960s stories, and the Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, followed the next year by Rosa Parks's refusal to cede her seat to a white man on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama,...
James Quandt
1 and 2 Itineraire de Jean Bricard (Jean-Marie Straub & Daniele Huillet) and Le Genou d'Artemide (Jean-Marie Straub) The high point of Cannes and of the year, Jean-Marie Straub's twin farewells--to a past in which political resistance was a matter...
Jane Hammond: Galerie Lelong
We are the willing and unwilling recipients of so many altered images over the course of a day that assessing their truth content no longer seems important. As a result, the eeriness of photographic manipulation is largely lost to us. Jane Hammond...
Jason Meadows: Shane Campbell Gallery
Jason Meadows now lives in Los Angeles, but he's originally from Indianapolis and attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As this exhibition everywhere suggests, at some point he got inculcated with the core traditions of Chicago art,...
Jerome Bel
Sadler's Wells, London IN THE LAST PERFORMANCE (A LECTURE), 2004, French choreographer Jerome Bel narrates his own development, from dancer, during the 1980s; to student of poststructural theory, in the '90s; to his present-day status as a leading...
John Samson: Seventeen
You can watch excerpts from all three films by the late John Samson on view here on YouTube--Tattoo, 1975, Dressing for Pleasure, 1977, and Arrows, 1979-and see for yourself how spectacularly dreary Britain was in the 1970s. Samson made these documentary-style...
John Waters
1 Sorry, it's a tie: (A) Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Woody Allen) Does anybody not think this is the best American movie of the year (even though it was made in Spain)? Come on, it's got a great script, the actors look like real movie stars, and Woody...
Jorge Pardo: Museum of Contemporary Art
Organized by Bonnie Clearwater of the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, Florida--and here overseen by Margo A. Crutchfield--Jorge Pardo's first museum survey is constructed as a spacious, well-furnished house. The domestic spaces (front garden,...
Josef Strau: Malmo Konsthall
The sheer quantity of language in Josef Strau's installations generates a logorrheic din that could test the patience of even the most committed viewer. Yet his installations are by no means chaotic, but instead rather modest or even cozy: Floor lamps...
Karen Cooper
1* The Edge of Heaven (Fatih Akin) The brilliant German-Turkish director considers the surprising, even dangerous ways strangers may be drawn into intimate relationships and family members rendered unfathomable to one another. Starring Fassbinder muse...
Katie Grinnan: Mak Center for Art and Architecture
In recent years, Katie Grinnan has shown an almost magnetic attraction to ruins. In the summer of 2006, the Los Angeles-based artist navigated Rubble Division-interstate, a ruinous parade-float sculpture, from the High Desert Test Sites in California...
Kay Hassan: Jack Shainman Gallery
Johannesburg-based artist Kay Hassan's New York solo debut may have signaled a departure to viewers familiar with his large-scale figurative collages, composed of torn billboard advertisements, his found-object sculptures, and his room-size installations,...
Keith Tyson: Pacewildenstein
"Fractal Dice," British artist Keith Tyson's recent exhibition at Pace-Wildenstein, was the result of a game--one that, like any game, came with a set of rules. Reproduced for visitors on sheets of graph paper, these rules indexed a system by which...
Ken'ichiro Taniguchi; Mikiko Sato Gallery
The conventional wisdom used to be that there was no spot on earth that hadn't already been mapped and surveyed. But in recent decades, artists have been showing us how much we've overlooked, inventing or postulating new criteria to help us locate...
Lagos
THE POLITICAL SLOGAN "Eko O ni Baje" (Lagos won't spoil), a rallying cry of Nigeria's Action Congress Party, aptly expresses the vision of a place that has experienced numerous assaults over the past two decades. Lagos, a megacity of approximately...
Lawrence Weiner: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
ALMOST FORTY YEARS AFTER Statements (1968), Lawrence Weiner's first and foundational book, was published by Seth Siegelaub and sold for $1.95, the Whitney's Donna De Salvo and Ann Goldstein at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles convinced...
London
"NOTHING BETTER THAN a touch of ecology and catastrophe to unite the social classes." This acerbic sentiment--which served as the subtitle of Martin Beck's autumn show, "Panel 2," at South London's nonprofit art space Gasworks--seems quite timely as...
Lorraine O'Grady: Alexander Gray Associates
In 1980, at Just Above Midtown Gallery in New York, Lorraine O'Grady presented her first official (which is to say first invited) public performance piece, Nefertiti/Devonia Evangeline. The work followed closely on the heels of the artist's more (in...
Los Angeles
DESPITE THE CITY'S PLACID EXTERIOR, apocalypse is LA's perennial leitmotif. Gazing down from Mount Shasta toward the distant Los Angeles basin, Clarence King, the first head of the United States Geological Survey, mused that in the California lowlands,...
Lynne Cooke
1 Jorge Pardo (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) Pardo's visually stunning, conceptually provocative reinstallation of LACMA's collection of the art of the ancient Americas proved, predictably, a lightning rod for debate. Taking archaeological excavation...
Masaki Fujihata: Cornerhouse
In a quiet, meditative space furnished with just a desk and chair, there lies a book on the desk--a digitally projected book. Its pages "turn" when tapped with a pen that lies nearby. Touching individual images in the book also produces other results:...
Matthew Day Jackson: Nicole Klagsbrun/Peter Blum
Any exhibition that name-checks Jorge Luis Borges while explicitly quoting a list of artists including Goya, Bierstadt, Brancusi, Buckminster Fuller, Bruce Nauman, and Charles Ray would seem all but fated to read as a hopelessly derivative muddle....
Matthew Higgs
1 Klara Liden, Elda for krakorna (Heating the Crows) (Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York) At Reena Spaulings's Lower East Side space, the Berlin-based Swedish artist Liden constructed a temporary waiting room-cum-antechamber that prevented access to...
Michael Hardt
The financial crisis of fall 2008 is one symptom of a transition in the nature and form of global order. The most important question this transition raises is what new possibilities it is opening up; but before asking that, one has to understand also...
Michael Lin: Shanghai Gallery of Art
In Michael Lin's first solo show in Shanghai--two years following his arrival in the city--his usual colorful flowers and patterns were nowhere to he found. Lin seems to have discovered a new formula with which to transform the vernacular into the...
Michael Ned Holte
1 Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics Note to artists--and you know who you are: Stop attempting to produce spectacle. The real thing is always so much more, well, spectacular. New characters and narratives (Michael Phelps, Yao Ming's homecoming, creepy underage...
Michael Sailstorfer: Johann Konig
It has been stormy seas for the world's stock markets, and financial giants are tumbling from their pedestals, but meanwhile, a silver metal storage building on a snowy meadow is pulsating: The metal walls puff up until they look about to burst, then...
Moris: El Eco Experimental Museum
Moris (Israel Meza Moreno) is a thirty-year-old Mexican artist whose work rapidly caught the eye of gallerists, collectors, and the general public. Un animal muere porque otro tiene hambre (An animal dies because another is hungry), 2008, his baroque,...
Moscow
THE DREAM OF AN IDEAL FUTURE has always been a leitmotif in Ilya and Emila Kabakov's "total installations." But this theme was particularly poignant for Moscow's artistic fortunes when it came to the appearance this past fall of the duo's Alternative...
Naples
AS ORSON WELLES'S CHARACTER famously observed in The Third Man, "In Italy ... they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had...
New York
I REMEMBER SEEING THE FIRST LOT scattered around the city's sidewalks at the very beginning of the year, when it was still cold enough to snow: thousands of television sets, quietly abandoned here and there by renters and homeowners in every borough,...
Okwui Enwezor
1 Steve McQueen, Hunger, 2008 McQueen's new film, which garnered the coveted Camera d'Or in Cannes, is justly celebrated. Depicting the last weeks of Irish Republican Army hunger striker Bobby Sands at Maze Prison in Northern Ireland, Hunger is a spare,...
Olav Westphalen: Maccarone
A onetime comedy writer and political cartoonist known for his absurdist disruptions--e.g., presenting the props from a remote-controlled dirigible race as an art installation--Olav Westphalen should be an artist we can count on in such harrowingly...
Philip Tinari
1 "Wu Shanzhuan: Red Humor International" (Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, China) As the first major solo exhibition of the most overlooked Chinese conceptualist--and especially as the first substantive retrospective of a living artist's work organized...
"Raspail"
WITH A SUMMER COLLECTION that applied cliched markers of painting (drips, splashes, areas of leaking color) to shoes and clothes, Yves Saint Laurent designer Stefano Pilati once again proved himself a worthy successor to his house's great namesake,...
Robin Rimbaud
1 Holy Fuck, "Lovely Allen" (Young Turks) Compulsively percussive, the motorik beats of this Toronto quartet hover on the edge of deconstructed electronica, channeling a new age of symphonic, carillon disco. If we lived in outer space, this single...
Roger Hiorns: Artangel at Harper Road
Having previously coated small models of gothic cathedrals, car engines, and other objects in bright blue copper sulphate crystals, sculptor Roger Hiorns took this technique to virtuosic heights with Seizure, 2008, encrusting an entire apartment wall-to-ceiling...
Roman Ondak: Galerie Martin Janda
A video shows a group of people on the banks of a river. They are occupied with the game of skipping stones. But the "river" is actually the Panama Canal. In order to carry out this deceptively simple project, Across That Place, 2008, in the Panama...
Roman Signer: Rochester Art Center
Though a finalist for the 2008 Hugo Boss Prize (or perhaps the winner, by the time this magazine hits the stands), Roman Signer is not well known in the United States; in fact, before the Rochester Art Center's recent exhibition, his work had not seen...
Ronnie Bass: 1-20 Gallery
Ronnie Bass's solo debut at 1-20 Gallery featured all the conventions of an epic story but none of the connective tissue. The recondite, messianic narrative--involving, it seemed, a boy, his band, intergalactic travel, and a vague accident featuring...
Ryoji Ikeda
1. Karlheinz Stockhausen, Japan, 1977. 3. Celeste Boursier-Mougenot, From Here to Ear (detail), 2008, wood, lino, dirt, seeds, electric guitars, chrome stands, tube amplifiers, guitar cases, birdhouse, finches. Installation view, Galerie Xippas, Paris....
Sabine Breitvvieser
1 ... for the Osmotic Compensation of the Pressure of Wealth. Alice Creischer: Works and Collaborations" (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona) Several recent exhibitions allow for confidence that an artistic offensive is under way that addresses...
Smadar Dreyfus: Extra City
Along the Israeli-Syrian cease-fire line in the Golan Heights lies the "Shouting Hill." One side of the hill is controlled by Israel, the other by Syria. Every year daring the annual Syrian Mother's Day celebration, Druze students who live in the Israeli...
Snapshot of 2008
FOR A FEW DAYS in mid-September, it was acute: the feeling that, however little the physical contours of the world might have changed, its form now was nevertheless imbued with a kind of virtuality. How else to describe the experience of, say, a city...
Stuart Comer
1 Bernadette (Duncan Campbell) Campbell's sharp, spartan study of Bemadette Devlin, a fiery 1960s activist from Northern Ireland, is a remarkable meditation on the politics of history and images. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 2 The Temenos (Lyssaraia,...
Susanne Kuhn: Museum of Contemporary Art Denver
The women in Susanne Kuhn's large-scale paintings are alone and isolated despite the crowdedness of their settings, which are frequently borrowed from the history of art. In Melanie-Melancholy, 2007, for example, a twenty-first-century woman sits in...
Suzanne Cotter
1 Peter Doig (Tate Britain, London) Few artists today are capable of creating narrative painting on such a scale and with such compelling formal and psychological tension. To look at Doig's paintings is to lose oneself in the constant shifts among...
The Standards of Living; Whitney Museum of American Art; Drawing Center; Museum of Modern Art; PARC Foundation Gallery (All New York)
COMPUTERS ARE WIDELY CREDITED with transforming architecture: Digital tools have changed even the most basic day-to-day design practice, largely replacing the rigors of the drawing board with the screen's more flexible capacities for spatial projection,...
"Traces of the Sacred"
Centre Pompidou, Paris A CONFERENCE AT TATE MODERN in London this fall titled "Landmark Exhibitions: Contemporary Art Shows Since 1968" drove home to me the degree to which the major temporary events on the art-world calendar have replaced museums...
Ulla Von Brandenburg: Irish Museum of Modern Art
Taking its title from the "Angel-talks" of Magus John Dee, astronomer, occultist, and adviser to Elizabeth I, Ulla von Brandenburg's exhibition "Whose beginning is not, nor end cannot be" was replete with references to doubles, ghosts, and the realm...
Vashti Bunyan
1 Lambchop, OH (Ohio) (City Slang) From the first listen--oh (love). [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 2 Brian Wilson, That Lucky Old Sun (Capitol Records) Of course, a miracle. This album throws me from nostalgia to confusion, and back. I was in a park...
Vik Muniz: Sikkema, Jenkins & Co
Vik Muniz's work of the past two decades is an art-historical hit parade, the subjects of his photographic series often famous images reconfigured in ordinary, humble materials--Leonardo's Last Supper in chocolate syrup, Caravaggio's Narcissus in junkyard...