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. 49, No. 4, December

1st Ural Industrial Biennial
Sean Snyder's film Exhibition, 2008, appropriates footage from the Soviet propaganda film Noble Impulses of the Soul (1965). We see Ukrainian agricultural workers standing before reproductions of paintings from Dresden's Staatsgalerie in the 1960s;...
29th Sao Paulo Bienal
SOME THREE DECADES AGO, writing in the context of Transavanguardia's emergence on the global scene, Jean-Francois Lyotard famously railed against a "period of slackening" in art typified by what he deemed a kind of realism: work that adhered precisely...
Adam Fuss
"Home and the World," Adam Fuss's third solo exhibition at Cheim & Read, showed his most austere work yet. The artist whose photograms have previously incorporated rabbit entrails, ejaculate, and cow livers hasn't forsworn corporeality altogether,...
Adeela Suleman
Most of the seven sculptures by Adeela Suleman recently on view at Aicon Gallery (all works 2010) may be called reliefs. Crafted from hammered steel, the works rise slightly from the gallery walls, appearing abstract as they glisten with intricate...
Alison Rossiter
Alison Rossitcr's photographs--made without a camera, using expired, vintage photo paper--are a lot like paintings. She applies developer as a painter might, dipping the edge of a paper into a bath to create a slender, Barnett Newman-esque zip or letting...
Al Taylor
It is hard to know where to begin describing Al Taylor's imagination. His practice was a somewhat hermetic, hybrid one, a private marriage of drawing and object making. Taylor (who moved to New York from Kansas City, Missouri, in 1970 and died of cancer...
Amy Taubin
1 The Social Network (David Fincher) An adrenaline-pumping, coolly analytic, fast-talking look at a young Master of the Universe, obsessed with his start-up and untroubled by questions of loyalty or ethics. Brilliant direction, brilliant storytelling,...
An-My Le
For the past decade, public attention paid to the United States armed forces has understandably focused on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet our country currently has more than 1.4 million actively deployed troops, and an overwhelming number of...
Anna Oppermann
"Somewhere in this world, complexity must still be valued." Anna Oppermann (1940-1993) wrote these words midway through a brief yet prolific career during which she endured the disdain of many critics perplexed by the large, unruly installations she...
Ann Toebbe
Though each of the nine works in Ann Toebbe's "Housekeeping" exhibition resonates with the discourse of authenticity often assigned to the craft-based, naive/folk style that characterizes her aesthetic, one would be hard-pressed to identify a specific...
Ben Russell
Ben Russell picked a fine word when he chose trip as the lexicographical genesis of "Trypps," the experimental film series he's been producing since 2005. Though idiosyncratic, the name serves as a catchall for every kind of trip in the dictionary,...
Best of 2010
Every December, Artforum invites a wide range of artists, critics, and curators to take a look back at the year in art. In the pages that follow, fourteen contributors choose their top ten highlights of 2010, while three others pick single standout...
Bjorn Copeland
1 Secret Project Robot: Art Experiment, New York This Brooklyn art gallery and performance space, run by founders Rachel Nelson and Erik Zajaceskowski along with a troop of volunteers, has been hosting shows and events for the better part of a decade....
Brian Kennon
Club Donny is a website, an open-ended "club," and, most concretely, a biannual magazine that functions, according to its subtitle, as a "strictly unedited journal on the personal experience of nature in the urban environment." Humorously taking its...
Brigitte Weingart
How to convey to an English-reading audience the spell cast by an untranslated piece of German literature--when even the title defies rewording? The work in question is Thomas Bernhard's story "Goethe schtirbt": "Goethe dies," or rather "diez," as...
Craig Kauffman
Bemused condescension is a nuanced mind-set. Yet it is familiar enough to the New York art world, as when, some forty-plus years ago, the cognoscenti encountered the team of young Light and Space artists who were then emerging in Los Angeles. It is...
David Velasco
1 "American Realness" (Abrons Arts Center, New York, January 8-10, 2010) All the legendary children of the New York dance world served up over one crash-course weekend intensive: Miguel Gutierrez, Jack Ferver, Trajal Harrell, and don't forget Ann Liv...
Dino Dinco and Julio Torres
"Todos Somos Putos" ("We Are All Faggots), an exhibition created by Los Angeles--based Dino Dinco and Mexicali artist Julio Torres, was, as its title suggests, an argument for the persistence of nonassimilated queer culture on both sides of the border....
Do-Ho Suh
If R. Buckminster Fuller were around today, he would likely be entranced by the idiosyncratically Utopian vision and technical ingeniousness of Do-Ho Suh's "Perfect Home: The Bridge Project." Suh, working with a team of collaborators--architects, engineers,...
Eszter Balint
1 Scout Niblett, The Calcination of Scout Niblett (Drag City) This album doesn't add any frills, change the pace just because it's time, or release (never mind please) the listener in anyway. Most striking is Niblett's way with the guitar. It is pure...
Femi Kuti
1 John Coltrane Quartet, The Complete 1962 Copenhagen Concert (Domino Jazz) Coltrane is my inspiration. He just got better and better in the 1960s the more he played maybe because he kicked heroin in the late '50s. To me he remains a total genius....
GAO Brothers
Whether touched directly by the Cultural Revolution or not, many Chinese artists work with that bloody, turbulent time as recent history. The Gao Brothers (Gao Qiang and Gao Zhen), driven by the memory of their father, who was arrested in 1968 as a...
Gudrun Gut
1 Four Tet, There Is Love in You (Domino) With great production and sensitive programming/writing, this album is a must. The sound repetition used here reminds me of the Swedish band the Field (in a good way). I had the record playing nonstop all summer....
Guillermo Kuitca
Guillermo Kuitca is a fitting choice to inaugurate Sperone Westwater's new Foster + Partners building on the Bowery, what with the artist's long-standing representation by the gallery--this marks his eighth solo show--and even longer-standing interest...
Hew Locke
There have been more than a few processions in art in the past decade or so; actual performances aside, one recalls the cinematic one in William Kentridge's animated Shadow Procession, 1999, for instance, as well as the motionless sequence of rhesus...
James Quandt
1 O acto da primavera (Rite of Spring) and The Strange Case of Angelica (Manoel de Oliveira) Oliveira's 1963 passion play, now restored to glory, culminates in nuclear apocalypse. His latest film--a love story in which the object of obsession is inconveniently...
Jasia Reichardt
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin's concept of the transcendent state of mind and the evolving consciousness of the universe lies at the core of Don DeLillo's short novel Point Omega (Scribner). His story involves three men and two women and leaves us facing...
Jerome Bel
Jerome Bel's Cedric Andrieux, 2009, begins promisingly enough, with the handsome, virtuosic, eponymous French dancer walking casually onstage and plainly announcing: "My name is Cedric Andrieux. ..." In the iteration performed in September at the Joyce...
John Waters
1 Domain (Patric Chiha) My favorite movie of the year. A forty-year-old alcoholic aunt (played by Beatrice Dalle--"Betty Blue" herself!) and her gayish teenage nephew form a perversely close relationship by taking walks together. Lots of walks! So...
Laura Letinsky
Artists wince if you call their work pretty. Beautiful admits the fierce and strange. But pretty connotes nonthreatening desirability and the acceptance of established ways to please; it encodes uncritical femininity. This is worth remembering when...
Laurent Grasso
With their 1991 novel The Difference Engine, which imagines the social repercussions on Victorian Britain had Charles Babbage successfully invented the mechanical computer in the 1820s, William Gibson and Bruce Sterling created the definitive novel...
Locky Morris
The Troubles not only shaped the political landscape in Northern Ireland in the last third of the twentieth century but also influenced local artistic practice there, leaving a mark on local life and imposing on art an ethical imperative to respond....
Louise Herve and Chloe Maillet
The Drachenhohle, or Dragon's Cave, near the village of Mixnitz in southeastern Austria reportedly takes its name from the large bones found there, formerly thought to be dragons' bones. Artifacts in the deep sediment at the bottom of the cave suggest...
Lundahl & Seitl
Most accounts of Christer Lundahl and Martina Seitl's Symphony of a Missing Room, 2009, cast it as magic realism: a melange of fairy-tale hallucination and reality beyond doubt. At appointed hours an audience, limited to six, assembled and, once outfitted...
"Make Yourself at Home"
"Make Yourself at Home" set out to explore notions of hospitality in a world marked by globalization, muss displacement, and growing xenophobia. Curators Charlotte Bagger Brandt and Koyo Kouoh invoked everything from the writings of Jacques Derrida...
Manuel Graf
German artist Manuel Graf's exhibition " Mediterraneo" (Mediterranean) opened with its invitation card, which lay upon a table and revealed an image similar to an illustration from an archaeological exhibition catalogue--that is to say, showing a series...
Marc Newson
In the machine age, designers turned to the most advanced technologies of travel as sources of inspiration. Le Corbusier wrote odes to ocean liners and airplanes. Charlotte Perriand fell into raptures over automobiles. Marcel Breuer fashioned his tubular...
Marie Losier
1 Trypps #7 (Badlands) (Ben Russell) A gorgeous woman tripping on acid, experiencing myriad emotions. There's a mirror, a loud gong, wind for sound--and the Badlands. A real trip! [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 2 Le amiche (Michelangelo Antonioni) Antonioni's...
Mark Webber
1 Make it new John (Duncan Campbell) Seamlessly blending archival footage with newly scripted material, Campbell pushes documentary form in his study of John DeLorean's ill-fated foray into Northern Ireland and the effect his fall from grace had on...
Martin Wohrl
"Was auf der Alm eine Alm ist, ist in der Stadt ein Stuberl" (What on alpine meadows is an alpine hut is a cozy little pub in town): In the catalogue for Martin Wohrl's new show, this is how writer Andreas Neumeister describes the institution of the...
Masami Akita
1 Maroon at ACB Hall, Tokyo Maroon invited me to see this show, and I was intrigued since I had heard they were a vegan straightedge metalcore band from Germany. Incidentally, it's hard for me to go to concerts in Japan, because venues are generally...
Matthew Day Jackson
Matthew Day Jackson aims high: life, death, presence, absence, the A-bomb. Like Damien Hirst or Jeff Koons, he's a go-for-the-glory kind of artist, less interested in gray subtleties than in absolutes, extremes, and what literary critics used to call...
Maurizio Cattelan
Maurizio Cattelan first appeared on the scene around 1990 with nearly imperceptible performance actions that manifested a fear of failure and an intolerance of every constrictive system. In recent years, however, he has occupied increasingly visible...
Mel Bochner
Challenging the claim that "photography cannot record abstract ideas," Mel Bochner used the medium to do just that. In this career-spanning exhibition, ten photo-based works documented the Conceptualist's efforts to upend photographic convention. (The...
Meng Huang
The Chinese painter Meng Huang is on an exploratory path. In his recent "Flyover" series, 2008-, he approaches the human form in five stages, almost as if crossing a mountain, first painting the whole figure from below, then moving in to show the hunched...
Michael Fullerton
Just how many skills is a twenty-first-century artist expected to master? If Michael Fullerton is the measure, then--per his recent exhibition "Columbia"--the contemporary artist must be an expert researcher, writer, draftsman, storyteller, sleuth,...
Michael Hakimi
The exhibition pavilion of the Overbeck-Gesellschaft is right in the heart of Lubeck but nonetheless has an air of peaceful isolation about it. You access it indirectly, via the classical Behnhaus, an elegant residence that has been converted into...
Mike Kelley
In Detroit, it is difficult to use an architecture-based vocabulary in a civic context without striking a topical note. The city--which since the 1960s, when white flight triggered a slow, decisive economic decline, has shrunk to less than half its...
Mircea Cantor
The melancholy that permeates Mircea Cantor's work here stems from a mournfulness specific to our epoch's need to capture every transaction, identity, and event in the sprawling prison of digital memory. We have lost not so much the ability to forget...
Monica Bonvicini
Entering Monica Bonvicini's exhibition "Both Ends," one became caught in a face-off between two works that confronted each other across the kunsthalle's atrium. In the rotunda on one side was the seven-paneled are of These Days Only a Few Men Know...
Nancy Holt
Standing tall in black aluminum at twenty feet, Nancy Holt's monumental outdoor sculpture Solar Rotary, 1995, comprises a swirling design that casts tribal tattoo--like shadows on a plaza's grounds at the University of South Florida, Tampa. Beneath...
Norman Rockwell
THE ILLUSTRATOR Norman Rockwell's rehabilitation as a painter can be dated to the fin de siecle retrospective that originated at Atlanta's High Museum of Art in November 1999 and toured the US (Chicago; Washington, DC; San Diego; Phoenix; and the Norman...
Patrick Jackson
Patrick Jackson's "Tchotchke Stacks," 2010, comprise just that: stacks of trinkets separated by sheets of glass in five, six, and seven layers. Each layer holds just four trinkets, some on little mirrored pedestals that equalize their varying heights,...
Paul McCarthy
In 1968, Paul McCarthy built a hollow, galvanized steel structure shaped like the letter H and laid on its back. He titled it Dead H (the H standing for human), making additional versions in the years that followed--notably, Dead H Crawl, 1999, inside...
Paul Winstanley
1301PE For the past three decades, British artist Paul Winstanley has been painting the future past--that utopian architectural imaginary of the postwar years concretized in a range of quasi-public/quasi-private milieus, from the airport to the...
Rebecca Ann Tess
Not long ago, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle married his boyfriend of many years. Chancellor Angela Merkel sent her personal congratulations. Christopher Street Day--a gay pride celebration--is a familiar occurrence in major German cities....
Rob Pruitt
If The Book of the Courtier, the etiquette guide penned by the sixteenth-century Italian diplomat Baldassare Castiglione, is known at all today, it's probably for its coinage of sprezzatura, a word it uses to describe a very particular, and very practiced,...
Sarah Sze
Five years have passed since Sarah Sze's last New York gallery show, and she took her most recent exhibition as an opportunity to fill Tanya Bonakdar's bilevel space, including the stairwell, office, and foyer. Her nine installations (all works 2010)...
Simryn Gill
In the lemon-colored twilight of a muggy, monsoon-season evening, Simryn Gill's exhibition "Letters Home" gave rise to unsettling fancies. Mine, 2008, seemed to stir eerily. As the light danced between the work's misshapen spheres (concocted from banana...
Sue Williams
"I just figure all women are feminists unless they really hate themselves." This statement issues from Sue Williams, in a recent interview with fellow artist Nate Lowman, as she accounts for shifts over the past twenty years in both her practice and...
The Artists' Artists: To Take Stock of the Past Year, Artforum Contacted an International Group of Artists to Find out Which Exhibitions and Events Were, in Their Eyes, the Very Best of 2010
RICHARD ARTSCHWAGER "Gerhard Richter: Lines Which Do Not Exist" (Drawing Center, New York) After seeing many of Richter's paintings on a recent trip to Saint Louis and San Francisco, I enjoyed his show at the Drawing Center this fall all the more....
The Year in Climate Controversy
WHEN WALTER LIPPMANN (1889-1974) wrote his masterpiece The Phantom Public eighty-five years ago, he vividly demonstrated that democratic ideals were at risk. The reason lay in what we would now call globalization, a geopolitical shift that was already...
The Year in Education
Sometimes people are good And they do just what they should. But the very same people who are good sometimes Are the very same people who are bad sometimes. It's funny, but it's true. It's the same, isn't it, for me and ... Fred M. Rogers, 1967 [ILLUSTRATION...
The Year in Television
THIS YEAR we watched even more television at work, usually in the form of YouTube clips--if we weren't streaming entire episodes on Netflix, Hulu, or sites operated by the networks themselves. Such moments of pseudosabotage of the traditional working...
Thomas Wrede
All that can be seen for miles is an undefined milky white surface. Amid a welter of footprints, two tiny figures meander toward the horizon. Im Nebel (In the Fog), 2004, is part of Thomas Wrede's series "Am Meer" (Seascapes), 2001-2007--images that...
"Today I Made Nothing"
For the past decade and a half, increasing numbers of artists have devoted themselves to considering the radically altered relationship between work and leisure in contemporary society, which makes a great deal of sense, given that art occupies a uniquely...