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. 1, September

6th Berlin Biennale: Various Venues
IF POSTWAR ART BROUGHT US the "return of the real," an unruly move from high modernism down to materials, sites, and bodies, this year's Berlin Biennale intended yet another such return--but minus many of the complications. Under the title "Was drauBen...
Aaron Curry; DAVID KORDANSKY GALLERY
Day-Glo, both as color palette and modern invention, tricks the eye into believing that inanimate objects emit inherent electricity. "Two Sheets Thick," Aaron Curry's recent show of sculpture, collage, and painting, uses this trick liberally as if...
A Hero Ain't Nothin' but a Sandwich: STEVEN WATSON ON ROB EPSTEIN AND JEFFREY FRIEDMAN'S HOWL
PROBABLY NO WORK of American literature of the mid-twentieth century has taken on so many identities as Allen Ginsberg's 1955 poem "Howl": Beat anthem, First Amendment cause celebre, Lower East Side fringe festival. It's safe to say that even those...
Alexandra Bircken; KOLNISCHER KUNSTVEREIN
She just really likes handicraft. For many, such a statement would be insulting. But not for Cologne-based artist Alexandra Bircken: She's proud of her passion for handicraft--for fabrics and wood, knitting and knotting--a much-maligned genre in art....
Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer, and Andreas Siekmann
POTOSI WAS A SIXTEENTH-CENTURY BOOMTOWN. Four hundred fifty years ago, it was one of the most important sites in the world for the mining of precious metals. To grasp just how important it was, it is crucial to understand that the silver extracted...
Alice Creischer, Max Jorge Hinderer, and Andreas Siekmann: Talk about "Principio Potosi," 2010
FOUR DECADES AFTER ITS BIRTH, the art of institutional critique--that refractory offspring of 1960s site-specificity and Soviet factography--is under considerable pressure to settle into docile middle age. Of course, institutional critique's once radical...
Altered Ego: Sarah Lehrer-Graiwer on Stephen Kaltenbach
"BECOME A LEGEND." It was a command. But it was also a crazy dream to live by--a stunning credo Stephen Kaltenbach issued to himself and each of the thousands of readers of this magazine in the summer of '69. This was the eighth of twelve anonymous...
Amy Sillman; SIKKEMA JENKINS & CO
Not so many years ago, while teaching the "theory" class at an MFA program in New York, I was told winkingly by the (it so happens: tenured, male) chair of the department that what I offered the students was all well and good, but that at the end of...
Andreas Gursky; GALERIE SPRUTH MAGERS
Since the late 1980s, Andreas Gursky has been getting further and further away from his subjects. The evolution of digital manipulation techniques has enabled the Dusseldorf-based artist to occupy an increasingly remote vantage point from which he...
Andrew Lord: SANTA MONICA MUSEUM OF ART
This overview of two decades of Andrew Lord's practice affords a fluid view of five series of works, loosely grouped within the exhibition space. Two wall-based works installed near the entrance, between my hands and inside my mouth (both 2010), set...
Anne-Lise Coste; NOGUERAS BLANCHARD
Last winter, Anne-Lise Coste undertook a sort of exorcism of five years that she spent in clinical treatment during her youth. Working quickly and obsessively, she produced a large series of drawings (and one sculpture) that deals with that early traumatic...
Annika Eriksson; DAAD GALERIE
In Annika Eriksson's recent exhibition " Wir sind wieder da" (We're Back), a digitized 16-mm film loop showed a nocturnal scene of a group of punks casually conversing and drinking beer in a vacant lot filled with makeshift furniture: abandoned couches,...
Arakawa: (1936-2010)
THE ARTIST AND VISIONARY ARCHITECT Shusaku Arakawa, known by his surname alone, was in his midtwenties when he left Japan, under some kind of cloud, in 1961. Legend has it that he arrived in New York with fourteen dollars and Marcel Duchamp's phone...
At Seventy I Felt I Was Beginning
AT SEVENTY I FELT I WAS BEGINNING, maybe, to achieve a sense of my own personal style. Before that, there seemed to be no ordering principle to be found within my roles and directions. Even now, "Denise style," if it exists, is probably better defined...
Before It Was a Record-Player Needle
BEFORE IT WAS a record-player needle, a stylus was a tool used to write or draw. We go from stylus to style when we shift from reading these marks in a drawing as symbols and begin looking at them seismically, as traces of an activity. But even that...
Bracha L. Ettinger and Ria Verhaeghe; FUNDACIO ANTONI TAPIES
This demanding exhibition was not for anyone who might be in a hurry. It required patience, concentration, and above all, a great deal of time. Curator Catherine de Zegher, the former director of the Drawing Center, in New York, has long been looking...
Cengiz Cekil; RAMPA
Born in 1945, Cengiz Cekil is widely regarded as a founding father of Turkish contemporary art. Perhaps because he has spent most of his life outside Istanbul, however, the art establishment in the country's most cosmopolitan city has mostly overlooked...
Christian Schmidt-Rasmussen: OVERGADEN
Christian Schmidt-Rasmussen is a painter with a demythologizing relationship to painting. Whether his canvases are ironic, cartoonlike, or deliberately fast and sloppy--or executed with some other style or strategy--they resist the medium's historical...
Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster; DIA AT THE HISPANIC SOCIETY
More than futuristic imaginings or dystopian scenarios, what works of science fiction valuably convey to their readers is an acute awareness of materialist contingency. With sci-fi, at its best, everything from civilization to subjectivity is deeply...
Drama Queen: David Velasco on Ann Liv Young
IF SHERRY WERE ANY GOOD, she wouldn't have to insult other people. The Kitchen in New York won't present her work again, she guesses, "because I'm nasty to the audience." Sherry sure is nasty. And mercurial, brash, honest, and mean. Her T. J. Maxx...
Echoing the Mother Discipline
ECHOING THE MOTHER DISCIPLINE of history, which studies change over time, art history concentrates on changes of style, or the distinct manner of an artist, a school, or a period. The bedrock of mainstream art-historical analysis has been the morphology...
Edward Kienholz; DAVID ZWIRNER
"Marvelously vulgar artist. Marvelously vulgar. I like that work." This assessment of Edward Kienholz, conveyed to the artist's close friend and longtime business partner Walter Hopps, came courtesy of Marcel Duchamp, who--as Hopps recounted in a catalogue...
Ettore Spalletti; GALLERIA LIA RUMMA
Ettore Spalletti's works are invitations to meditation. The seventy-year-old artist's media have long been space and light: He mixes layer upon layer of powdered pigment with white plaster and then abrades the resulting surface, transforming it into...
Ewan Gibbs; RICHARD GRAY GALLERY
The tautly focused pursuit of infinitesimal difference within the incredibly tiny is an intriguing pictorial obsession, and Ewan Gibbs has a kind of atom vision. His standard procedure is to take black-and-white photographs and translate them onto...
"Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera"; TATE MODERN
By nature, as Aristotle said, people desire to know, and for this reason we love our sense of sight. But since we further desire knowledge beyond the limits of our unaided senses, and beyond the different limits set by ethical scruples and social convention,...
Forms and Functions: Style Is a Kind of Shared Perception. It Must Be Intersubjective to Be Noticed at All
YOU MIGHT MISS THEM AT FIRST. The deadpan numerals on the cover of this issue slowly emerge, one after another, only to recede back into a slightly tremulous gouache lozenge. But these digits are all around us. We know their glowing, electric font...
Greater New York: MoMA PS1
AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE for "Greater New York," organizers Klaus Biesenbach and Connie Butler (Neville Wakefield, the third organizer, was not present) admitted that it was a challenge to fill MOMA PS1's large, awkward space on such a small budget....
I Built a Dream House
I BUILT A DREAM HOUSE. I revamped an old house that I had dreamed about, struggled over, and wrestled with. I slowly nudged it and dragged it into something that could frame me and my stuff, and my work, along with my collection of nightmares and daydreams....
If Modernism Can Still
IF MODERNISM CAN STILL BE called a period style like, say, Rococo or Victorianism, it is paradoxically inspired by the attempt to avoid all references to the past. For example, minimalism in fashion is concise, logical, practical: reduced to the elementary....
I'm Fascinated
I'M FASCINATED by other people's style, and so from time to time I appropriate or travesty those styles. It's almost a form of drag. During the first eight years of my career, among other activities, I embroidered replicas of famous abstract paintings...
"I'm Not Here. an Exhibition without Francis Alys": DE APPEL ARTS CENTRE
With solo shows in three major European institutions this year (London's Tate Modern, Brussels's Wiels Contemporary Art Center, and the Bonnefantenmuseum, in Maastricht, the Netherlands), Francis Alys seems to be everywhere you look. So this group...
In January 2008
IN JANUARY 2008, responding to YouTube's corporate slogan, "Broadcast Yourself," a user of the site launched an unsolicited video for the song "Kids" by MGMT, which went viral and became instrumental in the branding of the band. Using partly found...
In the Third Meditation
IN THE THIRD MEDITATION, Descartes attempts to answer the solipsist's question as to whether there exists anything external to oneself, by considering whether he has any ideas about the external world that could not have arisen from within his own...
Jennifer Bolande; INSTITUTE OF VISUAL ARTS
Talent, Devid Robbins's 1986 photographic work assembling eighteen black-and-white headshots of precocious peers then orbiting the neo-Conceptual East Village gallery Nature Morte and the fledgling Metro Pictures, includes a portrait of artist Jennifer...
Jim Lambie; THE MODERN INSTITUTE
With his show "Metal Urbain," Jim Lambie created a dense metal milieu. Pushing the nature of the material, the artist experimented with metal's malleability as the core of his new work. The exhibition featured a wall-to-wall metal floor titled Metallica...
Jim Nutt; DAVID NOLAN
What struck me about this exhibition of Jim Nutt's works (perhaps it had something to do with the tidy elegance of the installation) was not the monstrousness of his figures, to refer to their place in the so-called Chicago monster roster, or to their...
Joe Bradley and Chris Martin; MITCHELL-INNES & NASH
In Chris Martin's painting Six Pillows Rose Up to Greet the Dawn--Good Morning! Good Morning!, 2007-2009, the six pillows--appended to a canvas in two rows of three--appear to have had a rough night indeed. But, per the title, they are nevertheless...
John Latham; WHITECHAPEL GALLERY/KARSTEN SCHUBERT/ LISSON GALLERY
John Latham, who died in 2006 at the age of eighty-four, remains best known for encouraging students at Saint Martins School of Art to chew up pages from the library's copy of Clement Greenberg's Art and Culture and returning the book as fermented...
Josephine Meckseper; Elizabeth Dee
Josephine Meckseper, well attuned to the ways in which consumer products are arranged to concoct desire, creates facsimiles of store displays in which all the elements are present, with the charm--that ineffable whiff of possibility that propels a...
Josephine Pryde; REENA SPAULINGS FINE ART
For all the vigilance with which Josephine Pryde's art guards meaning, it does reveal some of the ways in which its maker is alert to the complexities and mundanities of being a working artist. She has written for Texte Zur Kunst about stealing time...
Leon Golub; THE DRAWING CENTER
An analyst and chronicler of violence, Leon Golub was a great shifter of the content of painting, which he wrenched into a career-long consideration of the ancient endurance of the aggressive impulse and of both the artist's and the ordinary citizen's...
"Less Is More" and "Che Fare? Arte Povera-The Historic Years": HAUS DER KUNST, MUNICH/KUNSTMUSEUM LIECHTENSTEIN, VADUZ
IN SEPTEMBER 1971--in "Notes on the Spectator," his editorial statement for the inaugural issue of the Milanese art journal Data--Tommaso Trini discerned the collapse of a classic avant-garde opposition between art and anti-art. The embrace of previously...
Louise Bourgeois: (1911-2010)
CLAD IN A LUXURIOUS MONKEY-FUR COAT, a sculpture tucked firmly under her arm, Louise Bourgeois boldly confronts the camera with a mischievous grin. Shot in 1982, Robert Mapplethorpe's image has become iconic. Perhaps lesser known is its checkered history....
Lucas Michael; SILVERMAN GALLERY
Sexual compulsion is a primary subject of Lucas Michael's solo exhibition at Silverman Gallery, but the most graphic elements on view are literally numerals. Specifically, starkly presented combinations of "3688" and "321"--which, if you're in the...
Mark Geffriaud; ECOLE MUNICIPALE DES BEAUX-ARTS/ZOO GALERIE
Mark Geffriaud strives to obscure the clues of the individual artist's signature by inviting friends, critics, designers, and other artists to collaborate on his work. For his recent double exhibition at the Ecole Municipale des Beaux-Arts in Gennevilliers...
Michael Rother
German guitarist Michael Rother broke from the experimental electronic band Kraftwerk in 1971, along with with the late drummer Klaus Dinger, to form NEU! The influential Krautrock duo's four LPs, recorded between 1971 and 1986, were recently rereleased...
Molly Smith; KATE WERBLE GALLERY
For her third New York solo show--and her first at Kate Werble--Molly Smith grouped diminutive sculptures in casual table-bound cliques, with other, larger assemblages hugging the surrounding walls. Surprisingly evocative installation devices, these...
My Photographs
MY PHOTOGRAPHS are about removal: bringing people to nondescript locations, to places that aren't recognizable, removing their clothes, capturing them with a very limited style palette. I try to think about how timelessness, isolation, and style interact....
Noam Rappaport; WHITE COLUMNS
In the paintings of Noam Rappaport, the canvas assumes a character of its own, becoming an ingredient with weight equal to that of any other. In his first solo exhibition at White Columns, the artist gave stretcher bars--usually hidden completely--a...
Nobuyoshi Araki; TAKA ISHII GALLERY
Two years ago Nobuyoshi Araki, then almost seventy and diagnosed with cancer, completed what he called his "posthumous" cycle: a series of black-and-white photographs onto which he brushed kanji characters meaning "2THESKY, my Ender"--his word-and-image...
Paolo Canevari; CENTRO PER L'ARTE CONTEMPORANEA LUIGI PECCI
In this exhibition curated by Germano Celant, Paolo Canevari's works were presented without regard for chronology, instead reflecting the circularity of media and themes in his production over two decades. The materials he favors (tires from cars,...
Paradise Lost
SOMETIMES IT TAKES an exhibition for us to sec a familiar artist's work afresh. This is certainly the case for Paul Gauguin, whose reputation increasingly tends to obscure his achievement. Viewers have long been suspicious both of his art and of his...
People Are Talking More about Film Technique Than Ever Before
PEOPLE ARE TALKING more about film technique than ever before. Producers hire directors who have established a distinctive look in a music video or an online clip. Critics of earlier decades scarcely mentioned camera work or cutting, but reviewers...
Pernille Koldbech Fich; KUNSTLERHAUS BETHANIEN
Danish artist Pernille Koldbech Fich continues to refine her work in the genre of photographic portraiture. She has long situated her subjects within specific surroundings, with both subject and context characterizing each other reciprocally. For the...
Pierre Picot: JANCAR GALLERY
By the early 1990s Pierre Picot had largely left the exhibition circuit. A Frenchman who immigrated to the US in his adolescence, studying at UCLA and then CalArts in the '70s, he surfaced in the '80s amid waves of New Image painting, neo-expressionism,...
Previews: Three Times a Year Artforum Looks Ahead to the Coming Season. the Following Survey Previews Forty Shows Opening around the World between September and December
Paul Thek: Diver, a Retrospective WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART, NEW YORK October 21, 2010-January 9, 2011 Curated by Elisabeth Sussman and Lynn Zelevansky SOMEHOW IT'S FITTING that one of the largest holdings of Paul Thek's art is in...
Public Options: Christine Mehring on the Art of Charlotte Posenenske
CHARLOTTE POSENENSKE IS A MIRROR TO OUR BAD CONSCIENCE. In May 1968--as the revolutionary ambitions of the '60s reached their pinnacle--the thirty-seven-year-old West German artist expressed her struggle to reconcile her artistic practice with her...
Questions of Style
STYLE IS THE MAN HIMSELF. Today, the Comte de Buffon's ambiguous maxim is more resonant than ever: We live in a world in which nearly every thing and experience is stylized, designed, tailored, customized. And the notion of style, whether "period style"...
Rabih Mroue: BAK, Basis Voor Actuele Kunst, Utrecht, the Netherlands
ALTHOUGH WIDELY KNOWN for his performance pieces that build imaginative scenarios revisiting his country's traumatic civil war (1975-90), the Lebanese director, playwright, actor, and artist Rabih Mroue has only now gained his first solo show. We can...
Rafael Ferrer: El Museo del Barrio, New York
THE HAPPY FEW WHO SAW the Rafael Ferrer installations in "Anti-Illusion: Procedures/Materials" at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York in 1969 or at the museum's Sculpture Annual the following year are unlikely to forget the artist's attraction...
Richard Jackson; RENNIE COLLECTION AT WING SANG
Richard Jackson's show at Rennie Collection at Wing Sang, a private gallery that houses the collection of real estate mogul Bob Rennie and hosts occasional exhibitions, activates its venue, to use the artist's term. Wall paintings, sculptural installations,...
Rirkrit Tiravanija; GALERIE CHANTAL CROUSEL
The inspiration for this exhibition was a coal barge called the Louise-Catherine, which the Salvation Army in Paris commissioned Le Corbusier to transform into a floating shelter in 1929. Rirkrit Tiravanija reconstructed the 260-foot vessel in Thailand...
Rodney Graham; 303 GALLERY
"Don't Trust Anyone over 30," the title of one of Rodney Graham's catchy and drily humorous alt-rock songs, emblematizes the artist/ musician's uncanny talent for redeploying cultural cliches and received typologies--"'cause they're fucking old and...
Search History: CORY ARCANGEL ON INTERNET LINKS PAGES
IN A RECENT SPEECH titled "Remarks on Internet Freedom," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the Internet was now an integral part of US foreign policy. "Some countries," Clinton said, making a thinly veiled reference to China, "have erected...
Shi Qing; SPACE STATION
The perception of art history is one of the most contentious issues facing artists in China today. On the one hand, traditional artists and the state culture system emphasize the importance of traditional values and the so-called Chineseness of Chinese...
Short Selling: TOM GUNNING ON THE OBERHAUSEN FILM FESTIVAL
MAN RAY ONCE SAID, "The worst films I've ever seen, the ones that send me to sleep, contain ten or fifteen marvelous minutes. The best films I've ever seen only contain ten or fifteen valid minutes." A T-shirt for sale at the Fifty-sixth International...
Simon Fujiwara
HALF JAPANESE AND HALF BRITISH, raised in a remote seaside village in England and gay, with an education in architecture as well as in art, Simon Fujiwara has a biography that is almost too full of potential for our "glocal," multiethnic, multidisciplinary...
Tacita Dean; FRITH STREET GALLERY
Tacita Dean's new film, Craneway Event, 2009, is a 108-minute edit of a three-day rehearsal that Merce Cunningham led with his dance company in late 2008. Set in a disused factory on San Francisco Bay, the film pays unabashed homage to the late, then...
Tauba Auerbach
WHEN I WAS IN PRIMARY SCHOOL, each student in my class had to write on a yellow legal pad for a little while every day. I recall one of my entries announcing that I had decided to make a change in my handwriting: My lowercase a would from then on have...
The Long Take: Lucy Raven and Thom Andersen in Conversation
HOW DO YOU SHOW what's not there anymore--or what's not there yet? Answers run throughout the work of both Lucy Raven and Thorn Andersen, who trace processes and places that are gone, hidden, or changing so rapidly that we can hardly keep pace. Raven's...
Thomas Helbig; GALERIE GUIDO W. BAUDACH
This show of new work by Thomas Helbig was staged in two locations: Galerie Guido W. Baudach's extensive exhibition hall in the Wedding district, and its recently opened cabinet-like showroom in Charlottenburg. Precisely placed in self-contained arrangements,...
Thomas Struth; MARIAN GOODMAN GALLERY
Thomas Struth's exhibition of new photographs opened with a C-print of a rocky coastline under a cloudy sky. A streak of bottle green marks the horizon in Donghae City, South Korea, 2007; in the foreground, outcrops of ancient-looking stone align to...
Tod Wizon; NICHOLAS ROBINSON GALLERY
Rarely has a series been titled more aptly than Tod Wizon's "Little Darknesses," 1996. The acrylic panel paintings that make up this suite of fourteen nocturnes are a uniform eleven by eight inches and lean on a somber palette of dense blues, punctuated...
Trisha Donnelly; CASEY KAPLAN
Comb-like. This is the word Trisha Donnelly uses to describe (to divine?) the process through which sound (a Russian Men's Chorus) becomes sculpture. It appears in the typewritten text "The Vortex Notes," 2002, a guide of sorts related to her edifying...
Unspeakable Desire: Dennis Lim on the Films of Joao Pedro Rodrigues
THE MOVIES OF JOAO PEDRO RODRIGUES might be seen as attempts to film the unfilmable. Their ineffable subject is desire in all its guises (and disguises), and their modus operandi is to follow that desire to its logical--or illogical--ends. In each...
Urban Planning: Sofia Hernandez Chong Cuy Reports from Mexico City
THIS MONTH, MEXICO will commemorate the bicentennial of its independence and the centennial of its revolution with a massive, pull-out-all-the-stops celebration. The extravagant festivities have been preceded by a year of projects and events, ranging...
Vija Celmins; MCKEE GALLERY
Encompassing ocean waves and spiderwebs, desert floors and nighttime skies, Vija Celmins's subjects have long been immense and empyreal, and occasion equally lofty responses, inspiring purple prose from even the driest of critics--but there is nothing...
"Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers": HIRSHHORN MUSEUM AND SCULPTURE GARDEN, WASHINGTON, DC
IN 1958, YVES KLEIN scandalized the Parisian public by presenting nothing but a whitewashed room with a lone, empty vitrine at Galerie Iris Clert. The exhibition, known as "Le Vide" (The Void), was marked by the momentousness of its opening. Among...
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