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. 50, No. 1, September

A Different Slant
Martin Herbert's negative--indeed, curiously scornful--account of the work of Susan Hiller in his review of her recent retrospective at Tate Britain [Artforum, May 2011] rests on a number of damaging insinuations that beg scrutiny and omissions that...
Adrian Villar Rojas
LIKE MANY CURATORS, I have an abiding fear of becoming blind to art that doesn't have a "look" I am already comfortable with. So many up-and-coming artists seem to fit into well-established categories, whether the etiolated figurative painting of Kai...
A Garden of Forking Paths: James Quandt on Raul Ruiz's Mysteries of Lisbon
I will tell you everything at the appropriate time. --Dom Alvaro de Albuquerque, in Mysteries of Lisbon A TWOFOLD RESURRECTION, of both the life and the career of Chilean maestro Raul Ruiz, Mysteries of Lisbon was made as the itinerant director...
Alan Shields: Greenberg Van Doren Gallery
Luckily for him, and happily for me, Alan Shields doesn't fit into any neat category. He's been linked with the so-called post-Minimalists, even as he traces his own heritage back to Kandinsky and Klee. Like both those artists' oeuvres--the touchstones...
Apichatpong Weerasethakul: New Museum, New York
IN APICHATPONG WEERASETHAKUL'S 2009 installation Primitive, a constellation of seven video pieces that recently took over a floor of New York's New Museum, the spiritual is political. Much has been made of the role of Buddhist thought and animist belief...
Blinky Palermo: Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC; Dia: Beacon, Beacon, NY; Hessel Museum of Art and CCS Galleries at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
BLINKY PALERMO'S LOVE for America has long gone unrequited. The German painter's art was inaccessible for decades on this side of the Atlantic, save for small commercial-gallery surveys and the Dia Art Foundation's holdings of certain significant works....
Boris Mikhailov: Galerie Barbara Weiss
For more than four decades, Boris Mikhailov has photographed the shifting visual landscape of his native Ukraine, utilizing a range of formal approaches while never fully abandoning the spontaneous, amateur quality of what initially began as a hobby....
Carlos Cruz-Diez: Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Though long a paramount presence in his native Venezuela and the Parisian milieu he entered more than fifty years ago, the eighty-eight-year-old maestro Carlos Cruz-Diez has enjoyed a surge of interest in the past decade, and this traveling exhibition,...
Catalina Parra: Ludlow 38
During its exurban heyday of the early 1970s, Land art wasn't known for political critique. But by the 1980s, artists such as Agnes Denes and Maya Lin were tracing a different trajectory of its co-option of Minimalism's formal simplicity, understanding...
Chandler Burr: Curator of the Newly Established Department of Olfactory Art at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, Chandler Burr Is the Author of the Novel You or Someone like You (Ecco, 2009) and the Former Scent Critic for the New York Times
1 GREEN ROOFING I love cities the asphalt and towers and vibration. I also have an obsession with the whole primordial lush emerald-green nature-on-steroids Avatar planet thing. (Apparently, as Avatar proved, a few billion other people do too.) But...
Chris Kraus: Real Fine Arts
Over the past decade, writer and cultural critic Chris Kraus has gone to great lengths to distance herself from her earliest works, a handful of experimental films made between 1981 and 1996. In a recent lecture, she described them by turns as "unwatchable"...
Clem Crosby: Rachmaninoff'S
I don't think that Clem Crosby's work is mainly derived from Abstract Expressionism (or any of its European cognates), despite some evident commonalities: the emphasis on gesture and improvisation; the play between form and formless, between plasticity...
Daniele Buetti: Galerie Nicola Von Senger
Daniele Buetti's images first strike the viewer as colorful, bright, and playfully burlesque. They seem like shiny high-tech hybrids of ancient mosaics, stained-glass windows, and puzzles, in whose surfaces viewers find themselves reflected under the...
Diana Shpungin: Stephan Stoyamov Gallery
It is perhaps axiomatic that many of the qualities of grief that make it an enticing subject for artistic exploration--the intensity of feeling it provokes, its inextricable ties with memory, the way its specifics are totally intimate yet its contours...
Documentation Celine Duval: Semiose Galerie
The artist Celine Duval, who chooses to be known as documentation celine duval (all lowercase), has steadily built up a huge stock of photographs and classified them according to personal impulse. She is best known for her appropriation of amateur...
Eduardo Consuegra: Richard Telles Fine Art
Eduardo Consuegra's Untitled (2%), 2011, is a tidy combine of two vintage magazines, each opened to an advertisement for food: The larger of the two offers a full spread for Kellogg's Corn Flakes; the smaller single-page ad that overlays it advertises...
Forest for the Trees: Dieter Roelstraete on the Art of Goshak Macuga
ART AS RESEARCH, RESEARCH AS ART: This is a powerful new force in contemporary culture, its development partly driven by a momentous shift in art education, where scholarly methodologies and knowledge production are increasingly emphasized. London-based...
George Shaw: South London Gallery
George Orwell once gloomily prophesied that the future of England would be in the "light industrial areas and along the arterial roads ... everywhere, indeed, on the outskirts of great towns." This depressing vision of modern suburbia has been given...
Gillian Wearing: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery
Long before Facebook, Gillian Wearing was pulling apart the conflicted, mediated relationship between our real selves and those we present to the world. Whether photographing strangers on the street holding signs that state what they're thinking ("Signs...
Heart of Daftness: Rachel Haidu on Sven Augustunen's Spectres
THERE IS A MOMENT about twenty-five minutes into Sven Augustijnen's film Spectres, 2011, that goes straight to the heart of how politics, history, and empire intersect in Belgium. Historian (and Chevalier) Jacques Brassinne de la Buissiere is driving...
Holy Terror
WITH JOHN WATERS ON THE JURY, there simply was no chance that Christoph Schlingensief's pavilion would fail to win the Golden Lion. And that, I think, is an excellent thing. The opening of this year's Biennale was packed with Germans complaining about...
Horst Ademeit: Hamburger Bahnhof-Museum Fur Gegenwart
Born in Cologne in 1937, Horst Ademeit was a trained craftsman who worked odd jobs and lived a significant part of his life in a low-income housing project, ill, paranoid, and immersed in legal proceedings concerning fees that he owed and complaints...
Huseyin Bahri Alptekin: Salt Beyoglu
Among the works in Huseyin Bahri Alptekin's exhibition "I Am Not a Studio Artist" was a dazzling assemblage of objects including an old-fashioned typewriter, a plastic model of a taxicab, a hammer, a letter opener, rubber stamps, two clocks, four bars...
Inkie Whang: Arko Art Center
There are miraculous moments in contemporary Asian art when a reconciliation of Eastern tradition and the Western avant-garde really does seem possible; Inkie Whang's discovery of Lego blocks around 1994 and his systematic application of similar units...
Jack in the Box: J. Hoberman on Jack Smith's Posthumous Career
AMONG THE MANY EVOCATIVE ELEMENTS to be found in "Thanks for Explaining Me," the recent exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in New York devoted to the work of Jack Smith (1932-1989), was the unmistakable sound of the artist's voice, at once somnolent and...
Jasper Johns: Matthew Marks Gallery
Despite my effervescing anticipation, Jasper Johns's "New Sculpture and Works on Paper" inspired but a cool response. This owed, no doubt, to the academicism that has crept into Johns's work over several decades now--that is, if we think of academicism...
Jean-Baptiste Maitre: Galerie Martin Van Zomeren
A young French artist based in Amsterdam, Jean-Baptiste Maitre is engaged in a project that might be described as the deconstruction of the modernist text. Not Necessarily Words, 2010, the work that gives his solo show its title, appeared, at first...
Jirl Thyn: City Gallery Prague
"Archetypes, Space and Abstraction" was the title and subject of the latest exhibition by Czech artist Jin Thyn. Like a number of contemporary artists who in this time of crisis have chosen to mine the hopeful era of early modernism, Thyn conceives...
Juan Downey: Mit List Visual Arts Center
Juan Downey's video Plato Now, 1973, combines footage of the artist's early-1970s performance-installations with studio images, often shot through water. A motif that runs throughout his work, water's many potentialities--to flow, to mark time, to...
Kara Walker: Sikkema Jenkins & Co./Lehmann Maupin
There are things one expects in a Kara Walker show: rape, lynching, dismemberment. Trees against stark sky, pert breasts, petticoats, high cravats. Women black or white with snaky tresses, field hands with huge erections, hatchet-faced overseers, little...
Leap Year: Yve-Alain Bois on Martin Barre's Greenwich, 1957, AND 60-T-44,1960
TEMPORAL GAPS in cultural transmission can be quite puzzling. For various reasons--the market's perennial thirst for new figures, the glut of academic research on American postwar art, the recognition of concordant aesthetic concerns by a younger generation...
Liu Wei: Minsheng Art Museum
"Trilogy," Liu Wei's largest solo show to date, was an abstract but ambitious exhibition in which the artist presented a trio of major new works. Where his oeuvre previously leaned toward the conceptual, making sly critical jokes about the psychic...
Louise Lawler: Metro Pictures
By photographing artworks in situ, wherever that situ may be--collector's home, museum hall, warehouse--and framing her photos to include careful slices of the surrounding environment, Louise Lawler has made a practice of severing art from the aesthetic...
Maria Hedlund: Elastic Gallery
Swedish artist Maria Hedlund's exhibition "Upplost" (Dissolved) included several series of striking gelatin silver photographic prints. The subject of "Hyttodammen II," 2006--11, is a private collection of insects (dragonflies, butterflies, flies,...
Marianne Mueller: Peabody Essex Museum
The popular strategy of inviting artists to interact with a museum's collections has clear benefits for the institution, creating new and potentially unexpected juxtapositions among objects, and encouraging an audience for contemporary art to engage...
Marie Jager: Pepin Moore
The passage of time is a major leitmotif of Thomas Mann's 1924 novel The Magic Mountain. Indeed, one chapter of that bildungsroman, set in a sanatorium in the Swiss Alps, is even titled "Excursus on the Sense of Time." Really an excursus on the procedure...
Mark Grotjahn: Anton Kern Gallery
Anyone walking into Anton Kern Gallery and expecting to see a suite of Mark Grotjahn's ubiquitous Butterfly paintings would have been taken aback. Myself included. For instead of the those well-known abstractions, in which monochromatic spokes in various...
Matt Keegan: D'amelio Terras
Titling his recent exhibition for Milton Glaser's iconic I*NY logo but replacing the original's stylized heart with a stylized apple, Matt Keegan framed the show as a tribute--albeit a periodically ambivalent one--to the city. In an interview that...
Mel Chin: Thomas Rehbein Galerie
"I was wondering, how do you get an idea into a system, and let it replicate within that system," Mel Chin once remarked in an interview. He was talking about In the Name of the Place, 1995-97, a project for which, in collaboration with the gala Committee,...
Mel Ramos: Albertina
Everybody knows Mel Ramos as the tits and ass man. But the disdain behind the association was recently repudiated by a retrospective, his largest to date, in honor of his seventy-fifth birthday. Of course his exhibition, titled "Girls, Candies and...
Michael Stevenson: Museum of Contemporary Art
David Hume on the problem of induction is one of several sources Michael Stevenson integrates into the narration of On How Things Behave, 2010, his most recent video work, which prominently includes tracking shots of a seawall in northern Spain that...
Olivia Plender
OLIVIA PLENDER IS A CONNOISSEUR of a certain mystical or spiritual Englishness. And mysticism, in England as in the United States, has frequently been inseparable from politics. Much of the London-born, Berlin-based artist's work has mined the territory...
Oscar Munoz: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art
"Imprints for a Fleeting Memorial," an exhibition of installations, videos, and works on paper by the Colombian artist Oscar Mufioz, haunts the viewer with images that evaporate, disintegrate, or in some other way vanish before our eyes. These ingenious...
Out of Time
AMONG THE MORE PUZZLING PREOCCUPATIONS of dialogues around art during the past five years has been "the contemporary," a seemingly self-evident description that, to date, has operated largely in reverse--that has been put forward, in other words, as...
Pae White: Kaufmann Repetto
The new works that made up Pae White's recent exhibition, "A piece of the almost grey sky ...," had each been assigned an allusive and ironic title. Two large tapestries with white backgrounds, coming after those enormous ones with black backgrounds...
Phyllida Barlow: Kunstverein Nurnberg
Her former students Tacita Dean, Douglas Gordon, and Rachel Whiteread are internationally famous. But Phyllida Barlow herself? She earned her bread not as an artist but as a teacher at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, though she never stopped...
Richard Long: Sperone Westwater
With River Avon Mud Crescent, 201 1, Richard Long achieves the unlikely effect of making the twenty-nine-foot-high ground-floor gallery of Sperone Westwater's young Bowery outpost seem cramped. A disc of black acrylic gesso overlain by a waxing moon...
"Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective": Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
IT IS DIFFICULT to imagine drawing without sculpture in the work of Richard Serra. We inevitably invoke them together, even when drawing is the topic at hand. Drawing is always understood to be secondary, yet Serra himself has long said that his sculpture...
Ryan Trecartin: MOMA PS1, New York
EMULATING THE INFORMATION NETWORKS that are its chief distribution platform, Ryan Trecartin's digital cinema doesn't tell stories--it generates content. And then some. His exhibition at MOMA PS1, "Any Ever," presents seven films: the trilogy Trillogy...
Safety in Numbers: Claire Bishop
WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT, eight years ago, that the biennial as an exhibition format had peaked? In hindsight, it appears that Okwui Enwezor's Documenta 11 in 2002 and Francesco Bonami's "Dreams and Conflicts: The Dictatorship of the Viewer" in Venice...
Sarah Browne: Project Arts Centre
Sarah Browne's recent exhibition took its title from her work Second Burial at Le Blanc, 2011, which consists of a silent color 16-mm film projection and a glass-domed object identified as a "ticker-tape countdown clock." The film documents an event...
Sarah Morris: Capitain Petzel
Halfway through Sarah Morris's film Points on a Line, 2010, a man signs a credit-card receipt in the Four Seasons restaurant in New York. He's typical of the establishment's diners: a wealthy suit who's probably just enjoyed a decent lunch before heading...
Subodh Gupta: Hauser & Wirth
Over the past twenty-some years, Indian artist Subodh Gupta's work has been characterized by the use of stainless steel. He has employed the shiny metal--a material Jeff Koons has called "proletariat silver"-- to create replicas of Indian kitchenware,...
Sung Hwan Kim: Kunsthalle Basel
"The aspirations of those who would isolate art from the social world arc analogous to those of Kant's dove, which dreamed of how much freer its flight could be if only it were released from the resistance of the air. If we are to learn any lesson...
Tabula Rasa: Paul Galvez on the Art of R. H. Quaytman
IT IS NO COINCIDENCE that the person who makes R. H. Quaytman's panels was formerly a collaborator of Donald Judd'S The fastidious construction, the often dazzling optics, the play between 'transparency and opacity: Quatrivan's painting and the Minimalist...
Takeshi Murata: Ratio 3
Takeshi Murata's recent show at Ratio 3 arrested the pixelated frenzy of the artist's earlier breakthrough video work, trading in visual pyrotechnics for glossy listlessness in a series of nine vibrant, if seemingly banal, still lifes. Titled "Get...
"The Cult of Beauty": Victoria and Albert Museum
Paintings of velvet-swaddled damsels, with fiery hair and mournful pouts, fraternized with blue-and-white china, japonaiserie costumes, and gilt-edged tomes of illustrated fairy tales in "The Cult of Beauty: The Aesthetic Movement 1860-1900." Plush...
The Ignorant Schoolmaster
DID THE VERSION OF THE "OPEN WORK" we inherited from relational aesthetics ever suspect that it was already infected with a pathological possibility, that the office without walls and the convivial zone of the project could also be spaces of violence...
The Italian Job
THE VENICE BIENNALE may be the mother of all biennials, but it is also their Jekyll and Hyde. The Jekyll Biennale is the one the contemporary art world knows and praises. The Hyde Biennale is the one continually raped by the schemes of the Italian...
The Scream: David Joselit on Nicolas Guagnini's the Panel Discussion, the Tennis Match, and a Bodegon
NICOLAS GUAGNINI'S The Panel Discussion, the Tennis Match, and a Bodegon, 2011, centers on a long plywood table that holds two groups of miniature wooden figures, one at either end. The back row, commissioned from a professional caricature wood-carver,...
The Witches of Finnmark: Gary Indiana on the Steilneset Memorial
IN FINNMARK, at the Arctic tail end of Norway that lops over Sweden and Finland, American artist Louise Bourgeois and Swiss architect Peter Zumthor collaborated on a monument to the ninety-one persons burned there as witches in the seventeenth century....
Timing Is Everything
HOW LONG IS A PIECE OF STRING? This is the banal question prompted by the twine trailing down the wall in the first room of the Russian pavilion at this year's Venice Biennale. Emerging from seemingly nowhere, it beckons one to pull it--and lengths...
Tintoretto Lite
NO DOUBT, THE THREE TINTORETTOS that curator Bice Curiger and her team selected for the main room of the Central Pavilion in Venice look splendid--not least because these late-sixteenth-century paintings were specifically restored for the Biennale....
Truth or Dare: David Joselit on the Art of Witnessing
IN AN INTERVIEW published when his 2008 work Das Auge (The Eye) was installed at the Power Plant in Toronto earlier this year, Thomas Hirschhorn declared: "I want to give a form which resists facts, which resists opinion and which goes beyond actuality,...
Walead Beshty: Regen Projects
Around 2006, a transition occurred in Walead Beshty's work that brought him from the margins of photography-as-art to the center of art photography: the catalyzing "Travel Pictures," 2006-2008, a group of photographs shot in an abandoned Iraqi embassy...
Zofia Rydet: Broadway 1602
If she is now remembered at all, Polish photographer Zofia Rydet (1911-97) is probably best known for "Zapis Socjologiczny" (Sociological Record), 1978-88. This epic cycle of images--her last--consists of more than thirty thousand negatives and documents...