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. 9, May

Absalon
It's easy to misinterpret Absalon's work: as a Minimalist pastiche, for example, or a Bauhaus homage, a faux-utopian solution to the problems of modern living. But KW's retrospective of his output dismissed such clunky art-historical assumptions, concentrating...
Alejandra Roux
The work of Alejandra Roux, an Argentine artist who has lived in Madrid for twenty years, makes clear her ongoing belief in the narrative and emotional potential of painting. Based on the story by the Brothers Grimm, her recent exhibition "Hansel &...
Alison Knowles
Best known for her role as a founder of Fluxus some five decades ago, Alison Knowles has produced a remarkably multivalent yet precise body of work during the course of her long career, working in painting, sculpture, performance, sound, and in various...
"All of This and Nothing"
Jointly curated by Anne Ellegood and Douglas Fogle, the most recent installment of the Hammer Invitational (that museum's biannual contemporary group show, which typically has a local focus) featured an impressive lineup of seven young and midcareer...
Asuncion Molinos Gordo
Downtown Cairo is filled with decaying century-old early modern buildings, a testament to an era when the city aspired to be the Paris of the tropics, a desire shared by other municipalities from my own home-town, Rio de Janeiro, to Panama City. Abandoned...
Atrocity Exhibition
ON DECEMBER 13, 1937, the Imperial Japanese Army, having laid siege to Shanghai and other cities, invaded Nanjing, capital of Nationalist China. Surrendering Chinese soldiers were buried alive or massacred in the middle of the city, thousands of women...
Avant la Letterman
THE FIRST DOZEN YEARS of American network television hardly lacked for lowbrow brilliance--Lucille Ball, Burns and Allen, Jackie Cleason, Sid Caesar, Phil Silvers, the cast of Car 54, Where Are You?, to name only those performers whose product has...
Bridget Riley
If you want to know what interests inform Bridget Riley's work, you could study her modernist predecessors: Mondrian, perhaps, or Seurat. But it would be at least as illuminating to go on a nature walk with your eyes wide open. Implicit in Riley's...
"British Art Show 7"
"The best British art show ever," gushed the The Guardian when "British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet" opened late last year at Nottingham Contemporary. Could the London outing of forty artists born or resident in the UK live up to the fanfare?...
Bruno Peinado
Half a century after the beginnings of Pop art, French artist Bruno Peinado has reenergized the punchy midcentury aesthetic, complicating it with visual play avid verbal pun. In an interview with Patrice Joly, published in the catalogue accompanying...
Candida Hofer
Exhibition spaces in museums and private collections were the subjects of the photographs in this recent show--but always without artworks, having been photographed immediately before the installation or afterward, when the works had already been taken...
Charles Atlas and Mika Tajima
THE WAY MIKA TAJIMA AND CHARLES ATLAS DESCRIBE IT, their collaboration was less kismet than strategy, shared sympathies occasioning projects in which the two could work independently, together. With curator and artist Howie Chen, Tajima founded New...
Claire Beckett
Claire Beckett's crisp, large-format photographs of US soldiers preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan capture the complexity of the nation's post-9/11 military operations in their intertwinement with imaging systems--photography and film/video--that...
Clifford Owens
Clifford Owens has written that he doesn't want to he pigeonholed as a performance artist, yet his work is deeply enmeshed in classic performance-art interrogations: What is the role of the document? Can performance and the museum coexist? Most explicitly,...
Dario Robleto
For an "abstract" medium composed of invisible sound waves traveling through air, music generates a considerable number of fetish objects. The idea of performing can itself become a substitute for direct experience: Even the shyest individual may harbor...
Dennis Oppenheim (1938-2011)
READING POSITION FOR SECOND DEGREE BURN, 1970, was one of the first of Dennis Oppenheim's works I ever saw. I was struck less by the willingness of this fair-skinned artist to inflict pain on himself than by the title of the book on his chest--Tactics:...
Edgar Arceneaux
Edgar Arceneaux is an artist intensely concerned with the relationship between individual experience and collective memory, an interest he manifests through cross-media installations designed to promote forms of personal and social understanding. At...
Emily Roysdon
"If I Don't Move Can You Hear Me?"--Emily Roysdon's first solo US exhibition--investigated the ways in which individual and social bodies communicate. Engaging the grammars and conventions--linguistic, architectural, institutional, or otherwise--that...
Emmanuelle Laine
The French artist Emmanuelle Laine, born in 1973, has previously given us bio- or even anthropomorphic drawings and roughly finished sculptures made out of materials ranging from concrete, plaster, and resin to grease, chocolate powder, and glue: bachelor...
Excitable Speech
IN 1993, I PUBLISHED an essay in Salmagundi titled "The Academic Woman as Performance Artist," which sympathetically examined the rise of a cluster of brash female provocateurs who were challenging the staid conventions of scholarly life. One of the...
Foreign Exchange
THE ANTHOLOGIZING HABITS of medieval Arab authors produced many texts that are as intriguing for their degree of cultural specialization as they are for their deeply suggestive arcaneness. These compendiums range from collections of graffiti left by...
Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern
Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstcrn's biography is almost as fantastical as his art. Born in 1892 in East Prussia, he muddled through life until, at the age of twenty-six, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to a sanatorium. One year later...
Funny Games
John Smith's films and videos, made over the past four decades, are puzzles that won't be solved. Just when the logic of their structural precision begins to seem familiar to those acquainted with British and North American experimental filmmaking,...
Helga Hansdottir and Magnus Palsson
In 2008, Dr. Helga Hansdottir and Dr. Sigriour Halldorsdottir published a research paper titled "Dialogues on Death: A Phenomenological Study on Views of the Elderly Toward Life and Death and End-of-Life Treatments" in the medical journal Open Longevity...
Hermann Nitsch
Over the course of two consecutive evenings this past February, Hermann Nitsch executed the first American "Painting Action," officially the sixtieth such performance since 1960, when he debuted this mode at the Technisches Museum in Vienna. The Painting...
Hilary Lloyd
1 THE SHARD, LONDON The Shard, designed by Renzo Piano, will be the tallest building in London. Since construction began two years ago, I've been watching the site from a narrow footbridge that runs alongside it. It's unusual (in London, at least)...
Ibon Aranberri
"Organigrama" (Organogramme) is a transparent exhibition that combines various installations in the gallery space, exposing the multiple possible intersections between them and revealing both the production processes and their results in the here and...
Institutional Mystique
IF YOU'VE PAID ATTENTION to contemporary art in Britain since the early 1990s, the chances are good that Artangel--the exemplary, catalytic, London-based arts trust currently marking its twentieth anniversary--has gifted you with some indelible memories....
Into Thin Air
IN 1976, THE PRESIDENT of Union Carbide attempted to reassure the company's Manhattan employees about their imminent relocation to Danbury, Connecticut. In a human-relations spot, he described their two presumed concerns: "The first is, What will it...
Jiri Kovanda
The work of Czech artist Jiri Kovanda involves a continuous struggle to overcome boundaries. This is apparent not only in his well-known performances of the 1970s, but also in his later paintings, assemblages, and installations from the mid-'80s to...
Joachim Koester
Past the gallery door, and then past the heavy curtains keeping the gallery's main room in darkness, a small screen hung in the center of the space; on it, the New York-based Danish artist Joachim Koester's most recent 16-mm film, I myself am only...
Jose Antonio Vega Macotela
GOING DANCING, visiting a prostitute, watching a son's first steps, getting drunk at the baptism of a nephew: These are the kinds of ordinary pleasures and transgressions that make up everyday life, and artist Jose Antonio Vega Macotela has partaken...
Josef Dabernig
Distributing a medium across the thousand plateaus of perception is an exercise that visual artist and filmmaker Josef Dabernig has mastered like no one else. He studied sculpture, but since then has been dissolving the concept of sculpture in the...
Josh Kolbo
"Pictures have a knack for supplanting the concrete, sliding as though self-lubricating around the globe, like poltergeists, they haunt the world they represent like vague recollections, inhabiting concrete forms briefly until slipping off to another...
Laurie Simmons
Perhaps, to paraphrase the old Freudian misquote, it's possible for a doll to sometimes just be a doll--but certainly not in Laurie Simmons's work. The photographer and filmmaker has built a thirty-year practice by drafting a town's worth of figurines,...
"Lee Ufan: Marking Infinity"
SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM. NEW YORK * June 24-September 28 * Curated by Alexandra Munroe LEE UFAN WAS A CHAMPION of the global long before the global turn actually came to pass. As the theoretical pillar of the Mono-ha, or Things School, the...
LG Williams/Estate of LG Williams
LG Williams's caustic commentary on the state of contemporary art is as poignant as it is funny, and his latest show at the Super Window Project gallery in Kyoto was bound to make one do a double take. Yet there was nothing declamatory or political...
Light Impressions
GET READY TO GO BACK: The Fifty-fourth Venice Biennale, titled "ILLUMInations," promises a historical and aesthetic return to the tenets of the Enlightenment--and even the Renaissance--when it opens on June 1. Curator BICE CURIGER will revisit classical...
Luis Camnitzer
PROGRESSIVE INSTITUTIONS such -is New York's Museo del Barrio can epitomize the crisis of confidence in contemporary art. Their programming, often extremely well conceived and executed, tends to delineate such a radically democratizing role for art...
"Malevich and the American Legacy"
This dazzling exhibition contrasted six Kasimir Malevich paintings with the work of twenty-five putative American legatees. Malevich carried the day, while the "legacy" side of things--distinguished efforts to be sure--struck me as a roster of usual...
Marcel Dzama
Marcel Dzama is one of a number of artists in their thirties and forties--such as Elizabeth Peyton and Amy Cutler in New York, Jockum Nordstrom in Europe, with Neo Rauch, perhaps, an elder statesman--whose work for varying purposes recalls the drawings...
Mark Lombardi
While living in Houston during the late 1980s, Mark Lombardi wrote two seemingly unrelated book manuscripts: one on panoramic painting and the other on the decade's domestic and international drug wars. He then began to collect information on a subject...
Mark Morrisroe
His life cut short by AIDS, Mark Morrisroe worked tirelessly to the en J. Yet his art was in no way stunted. From his early photos of the 1980s Boston punk rock scene to his last images of his own bedridden body, his work consistently evinces a yearning...
Merlin Carpenter
On January 30 (coinciding with the Art Los Angeles Contemporary fair), Merlin Carpenter opened his second show at Overduin & Kite. The premise was simple: A friend asked the artist for an old painting that Carpenter had made in 1990. In return,...
Northern Soul
AS THE ARREST OF HENRY LOUIS GATES JR. on the steps of his own house made clear, the dynamics of racialized subjection are particularly vexed in ivory-tower towns like Cambridge, Massachusetts. On the one hand, black bodies are continuously surveyed...
Olga Chernysheva
The title of this show, "In the Middle of Things," reflected that this is where you inescapably find yourself when looking at Olga Chernysheva's art. But the "things" commanding our gaze and attention are rarely spectacular. "I work quite consciously...
Open Secret
With its blurry photocopied type, its rubber-stamped admonitions--CLASSIFIED, it may say, or SUPPRESSED--and its thick lines of black marker obliterating everything we really want to know, the redacted document is a paradox, an iconic representation...
"Painters & Poets"
In 1950, Hungarian emigre Tibor de Nagy and American impresario John Bernard Myers announced their new gallery. "Not only will painting and sculpture be here," they declared, "but also anything that an astonished or adoring eve might select instantaneously...
Pat Steir
Since 1989, Par Steir has remained committed to producing her signature "Waterfall Paintings," for which she pours thinned, almost aqueous oil paint in multiple layers onto a dry, primed ground so that it cascades down the canvas. Reminiscent of their...
Paul Gabrielli
For the major part of Paul Gabrielli's sophomore solo exhibition, "Generally," half a dozen everyday institutional features--a railing, a fire alarm, a soap dispenser, etc.--installed around the gallery's front room at points appropriate to the functions...
Potential Energy
IN ORDER TO ACCOMMODATE the seven light columns of Cerith Wyn Evans's S=U=P=E=R= S=T=R=U=C=T=U=R=E ("Trace me back to some, loud, shallow, chill, underlying motive's overspill ...' 2010, Norway's Bergen Kunsthall had to make special arrangements with...
Ricky Swallow
Ricky Swallow, who represented Australia at the 2005 Venice Biennale, is best known for painstakingly carved wooden sculptures that update the vanitas tradition with imagery such as serpents slithering through a bike helmet, a skull sinking into a...
Rirkrit Tiravanija
Rirkrit Tiravanija has always understood, intuitively and intellectually, that a gallery is a social frame, at once quasi-private and quasi-public, wherein a diverse range of encounters and frictions connected to rituals of making, displaying, and...
Sarah Anne Johnson
The first photograph encountered in "Arctic Wonderland," Sarah Anne Johnson's fourth exhibition at Julie Saul Gallery, portrays a man dressed in heavy-duty outdoor gear, the kind meant to withstand extreme weather conditions, in the midst of what appears...
Shahryar Nashat
Shahryar Nashat investigates and questions the fetishization inherent in the display of works of art in museums, and, more broadly, the mechanisms for the presentation of art and the opulence of its symbols, rich with political and economic significance....
Susan Hiller
IN 1974, following several years in which she ritually renounced painting--chopping old canvases into little rectangles and stitching them together into tomblike blocks, preserving the ashes of burned works in vials--Susan Hiller found her enduring...
Terence Koh
For better or worse, Terence Koh is a serious artist. You have to be serious to spend twenty-six days in a gallery circumnavigating a mountain of salt on your knees, as Koh did for "nothingtoodoo," his solo debut at Mary Boone Gallery. And you really...
Thea Djordjadze and George Maciunas
In 2008, the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis launched its Front Room, a modestly sized gallery space off the entrance lobby, in which guest curators organize experimental, short-run shows. This March, an unlikely pairing of works by the late, Lithuanian-born...
The Re-Enchantment of the World
THE FIRST SUBSTANTIAL BODIES of sculpture Pino Pascali produced in the four short years of his mature career seem so different that they could be the work of separate artists. Pascali emerged in 1964-65 with a series of object paintings: canvases seemingly...
The Ultimate Ken Jacobs
OF THE SENIOR AVANT-GARDE FILMMAKERS STILL working in New York, the three most prominent have been remarkably prolific in recent years. Jonas Mekas (b. 1922), Ken Jacobs (b. 1933), and Ernie Gehr(b. 1943) might owe something of their productive energies...
"The Vorticists: Rebel Artists in London and New York, 1914-1918"
LINED UP NEATLY in the first gallery, the sepia-soaked portraits of Vorticism's leading lights--Wyndham Lewis in a suit, Edward Wads worth in a bow tie--hardly betray their subjects' defiance of post-Edwardian propriety. Only Ezra Pound in a broad-collared...
Varda Caivano
You forget how hard it is to make a really good abstract painting until someone does it and keeps doing it again. Then you notice how surprised you feel. And you forget, too, how rare truly abstract paintings really are--I mean paintings that are not...
Victoria Sambunaris
The border between the United States and Mexico has been contested since 1848, when the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended war between the countries. It took survey teams six years just to draw the line, then marked with small obelisks...
William E. Jones
Three time-based works dominated William E. Jones's third solo show at David Kordansky Gallery. Projected floor-to-ceiling on three contiguous walls, In Mathew Brady's Studio, Berlin Flash Frames, and Spatial Disorientation--silent works (all 2010)...
"William Leavitt: Theater Objects"
IT MUST HAVE BEEN A THRILL when poststructuralism hit the scene in Los Angeles in the early 1970s: Hardly a picture, it seems, could pass through an artist's studio without a new kind of caption being affixed, totally altering that image's sense. For...
Zarina Hashmi
What do you do when home is somewhere you will never be? You could bemoan your exile with hilariously depressing fiction a la Salman Rushdie. You could fashion crystal-studded paintings of hybrid beasts (neither fish nor fowl, but always glittering)...
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