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. 46, No. 8, April

Accounting for Taste: Olav Velthuis on the Economics of Art
ON NOVEMBER 11, 1987, less than a month after stock prices on Wall Street saw the largest one-day decline in their history, Vincent van Gogh's Irises sold at Sotheby's in New York for $53.9 million. At the time, this was the highest price ever paid...
Adrian Ghenie: Haunch of Venison
In "Berlin Chronicle" (1932), Walter Benjamin equates the act of remembering with archaeology: Both involve digging to recover a buried past. The motifs favored by Romanian artist Adrian Ghenie are almost without exception oppressively hermetic interior...
Alex Hubbard: Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
In his seminal 1956 essay "The Legacy of Jackson Pollock," Allan Kaprow praises Pollock's use of everyday materials, noting that his "so-called dance of dripping" is ultimately more interesting and influential than his canvases themselves. "Pollock,...
Al Taylor: Zwirner & Wirth
Al Taylor's recent exhibition at Zwirner & Wirth focused on the creative efflorescence that resulted from the late artist's decision in 1984 to take a break from painting. The gallery presented a well-edited selection of three-dimensional "constructions"...
Ana Mendieta and Hans Breder: Galerie Lelong
A salutary foray into the history of postwar performance art and video, this pairing of work by Ana Mendieta and Hans Breder conjured an informative, if somewhat uneasy, reunion between the late, celebrated Cuban-born artist and her former professor,...
An-My Le: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Tucked between an installation of greatest hits from SF MOMA'S permanent collection and a show of Italian photographer Gabriele Basilico's images of Silicon Valley, An-My Le's exhibition "Small Wars" is easy to miss. The exhibition, which consists...
Anselm Reyle
"ANSELM REYLE'S WORKS are about their surroundings. When you look at a foil painting, you're looking at everything reflected in it," said Sotheby's senior director of contemporary art, Francis Outred, about lot 1 of his evening sale in London this...
Anthony McCall: Serpentine Gallery
In the 1970s, when Anthony McCall's Solid Light sculptures were first projected in galleries and loft spaces, cigarette smoke and dust particles filled the air promiscuously, allowing his room-size sculptural projections to function. Before the days...
"Archive Fever: Uses of the Document in Contemporary Art"; International Center of Photography
"Decision 2008" is shaping up as a campaign during which, collectively speaking, we are looking for equal parts inspiration and transformation. The sense of "history in the making" is palpable, the race also being played up in the media as an infinity...
Art and Its Markets: A Roundtable Discussion
EVEN AS GOLD rises and the dollar falls, the expansion of the global art market shows few signs of reversal. This growth has been characterized by incredible immediacy, liquidity, and transparency--but also by inequity, archaic ritual, and social spectacle....
Art and Its Markets: Historical Returns
Over the past decade, popular interest in contemporary art has soared to greater heights than at any other moment in our history; at the same time, the market for the art of today has broadened and deepened, becoming global to an extraordinary degree....
Bahman Jalali: Fundacio Antoni Tapies
Though not a formally trained photographer, for more than four decades Bahman Jalali (born in Tehran, 1944) has recorded historical moments in black-and-white photographs--scenes of which very few other images exist. I am speaking, above all, of "Days...
Barry McGee
NOT QUITE A BLACK MARKET, but rather shaded in gray, new circuits of distribution and exchange continually flow outside the art world's usual trade routes--and nothing seems to have traversed these channels more nimbly than the work of San Francisco-based...
Chris Ballantyne: Hosfelt Gallery
It was no great surprise when crumbling subprime mortgages tipped the US economy off balance recently; the residences that the loans almost bought are literally and figuratively built on illusions, whether financial fantasies, cheap construction materials,...
Crude Futures; Tom Vanderbilt on "1973: Sorry, out of Gas"
IN "1973: SORRY, OUT OF GAS," a show currently on view at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, the image that first arrests is of President Richard Nixon addressing the United States on November 7, 1973. A thin trickle of what is evidently...
Dirk Bell: Gavin Brown's Enterprise
That painting might be something like a map of the mind is an old cliche, and the homunculus theory--the notion that art is the product of an anthropomorphized subconscious--is mustier still. But in Dirk Bell's most recent New York show, "Openeng,"...
Diti Almog: Inga Gallery
A revealing detail: New York-based Diti Almog's paintings are done in acrylic on aircraft plywood. Now, when Yve-Alain Bois wrote his famous essay "Painting as Model," he surely didn't have model planes in mind. Yet Almog succeeds in suggesting that...
Emerging Market: Christine Mehring on the Birth of the Contemporary Art Fair
WITH THEIR RELENTLESS EMPHASIS on the new and the now, it is perhaps fitting that the origin of today's rapidly multiplying contemporary art fairs has, at least on this side of the Atlantic, disappeared into the dustbin of history. When and where,...
Entropy and the New Monument: Jeffrey Kastner on the Future of Spiral Jetty
Two dilapidated shacks looked over a tired group of oil rigs. A series of seeps of heavy black oil more like asphalt occur just south of Rozel Point. For forty or more years people have tried to get oil out of this natural tar pool. Pumps coated with...
Falke Pisano: Balice Hertling
In 1925, Ireland-born architect and designer Eileen Gray began work on a minimalist villa, E-1027, in the southern French commune of Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. In collaboration with Jean Badovici, Gray conceived the innovative project as a dynamic marriage...
Fischli & Weiss: Palazzo Litta, Milan
IN HIS ESSAY on the uncanny, Freud tells the story of a young couple who move into a house in which there is a wooden table with carvings of crocodiles. "Toward evening," he writes, "an intolerable and very specific smell begins to pervade the house;...
Gardar Eide Einarsson: Centre D'art Contemporain Geneve
Some critics refer to Gardar Eide Einarsson's work as "political," while others complain that his art is not only visually insubstantial but offers too little content; more neutral voices speak of the "contradictory" nature of his work. The Norwegian...
"Georges Seurat: The Drawings"; Museum of Modern Art, New York
I DO NOT QUITE KNOW what to make of the Museum of Modern Art's renewed insistence, ever since it reopened, on revisiting the nineteenth century. Holding onto a security blanket as it dives further into the confusing medley of contemporary art? Preparing...
Guy Ben-Ner: Postmasters
Sally Mann, an artist with whom Guy Ben-Ner is frequently compared, despite the vast differences between their practices, has tried to downplay the importance of family in her work, arguing that the significance of her landscape images equals that...
Harry Partch: Japan Society
Harry Partch's musical drama Delusion of the Fury premiered at the UCLA Playhouse in 1969, but despite the show's rapturous critical reception, the California composer was disappointed. Though he had made copious notes for the work's staging, choreography,...
House in Use: Arthur C. Danto on Steven Holl's New York University Department of Philosophy
UNTIL LAST MARCH, the main offices of New York University's philosophy department looked out over Washington Square Park from the fifth floor of a building on the park's east side. It is at once a tribute to the popularity of the discipline and to...
Jan De Cock: Museum of Modern Art
Jan De Cock's first US museum exhibition is a multipart installation featuring a complex display of framed images punctuated by boxlike plywood modules. A larger wooden structure, spotted with recesses and reliefs and evocative of both Minimalist sculpture...
Jeff Koons
WHEN TWO MAJOR PIECES from Jeff Koons's "Celebration" series, 1994-, came up for auction for the first time last November, a breach was torn in the fabric of the Koons market, not to mention the cultural cosmos. Diamond (Blue), 1994-2005, sold at Christie's...
Jeffrey Vallance: Margo Leavin Gallery
If Los Angeles were Paris, Jeffrey Vallance would surely be declared a national treasure, yet I'm convinced that any such public recognition of his peculiar genius would serve only to puncture it. That this exhibition was held at Margo Leavin Gallery...
Jimmy Robert: Cubitt Gallery
Comprising several collages, all named Untitled (Figure de style), Jimmy Robert's show--the first in this city by the Guadeloupe-born, London-educated, Brussels-based artist--was an exercise in elegance. Meaning either a literary trope or a sequence...
Joao Louro: Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art
The ongoing series "Blind Images," 2001-, is the body of work for which the Portuguese artist Joao Louro is best known. The "Blind Images" are monochromes--usually black but recently white and sometimes other colors--with "captions": emotionally powerful...
John Otte: Whitespace
John Otte is given not to grand gestures but rather to quietly commanding ones, as this selection of thirty-five works produced between 1982 and 2007 showed. His is an art of precisely composed images and finely wrought textures. Most of Otte's works...
Jorge Tacla: Galeria Ramis Barquet
Jorge Tacla paints a political wasteland: The pathos in his series "Rubble" is rooted in a sense of political betrayal. Tacla, who is Chilean, bore witness to the overthrow of Salvador Allende's social democratic government, Allende's subsequent murder,...
Judith Bernstein: Mitchell Algus Gallery
Those familiar with Judith Bernstein's work tend to know it for only one reason--its role in a fiasco. Horizontal, 1973, her charcoal drawing of a screwlike penis (or a penile screw?), was infamously withheld from a Museum of the Philadelphia Civic...
Katerina Seda: Renaissance Society
After thirty-three years spent supervising inventory in a state-run home-supplies store in Brno, Czech Republic, Jana Seda (1930-2007) retired and began to drift into a diminished old age. Widowed and living with her son and his family, she withdrew...
Kirsten Pieroth: Galerie Klosterfelde
Untitled (Loan) (all works 2007), the first work viewers encountered in Kirsten Pieroth's third solo show at Klosterfelde, comprised a vitrine and seven unframed photographs. An ironic examination of the international exhibition industry and its protocols,...
Lamia Joreige: Kettaneh Building
Lamia Joreige's Je d'histoires, 2006-2007, is a small, room-size installation that consists of an LCD screen, a control pad, a table, and an armchair. The viewer enters, sits down, and begins to play. (The title translates literally as "I of Histories,"...
Lee Lozano
VAN GOGH'S SUICIDE once seemed the epitome of artistic alienation, but by the mid-1960s, the dominant culture celebrated nonconformity and the gray flannel suit was the butt of jokes. As a new art public wrapped the artist in its sticky embrace--killing...
Leemour Pelli: Daneyal Mahmood Gallery
To paint an X-rayed body, as Leemour Pelli does in the works in her first solo exhibition at Daneyal Mahmood Gallery, is to confront several of the same formal problems that Wilhelm Rontgen's 1895 discovery posed to early-twentieth-century artists....
"Lost Cinema Lost": Galleria Civica
In "Lost Cinema Lost," the Galleria Civica in Modena brought together recent works by two artists in a unified presentation. Runa Islam showed four recent films, two made for this occasion, while Tobias Putrih created a pair of environments that functioned...
Luis Gispert: Mary Boone Gallery/Zach Feuer Gallery
A hand with pink painted nails reaches across a cluttered nightstand, pops open a pill bottle, then latches onto a glass of bourbon. And so we meet Nora, the overbearing mother of Waylon, an eleven-year-old who wets his pants ("four times this week")....
Mai-Thu Perret: The Kitchen
For an artist whose work is peopled only by women and thus clearly seems in some way to be "about" gender, Mai-Thu Perret nonetheless confounds attempts to understand its function in her practice. To some critics, Perret's variations on the theme of...
Marcella Vanzo: Galleria Continua
Marcella Vanzo's fourteen-minute double video projection, Summertime (all works 2007), focuses on two very different seasonal Mediterranean migrations: Illegal immigrants from North Africa arrive on the shores of the Italian island of Lampedusa, while...
Marjetica Potrc: Max Protetch Gallery
It's an irony that should be lost on no one: Ljubljana-based artist Marjetica Potrc, best known for community-driven interventions in urban and rural areas within the developing world, has recently turned her attention to a US city: New Orleans. "Future...
Mark Bradford: Sikkema Jenkins & Co
The titles of Mark Bradford's recent exhibition, "Nobody Jones," and of featured works such as the collage painting Ghost Money (all works 2007), hint that the show's abstraction of urban topography might find an echo in the notion of hauntology. The...
Marla Hlady: YYZ Artists' Outlet
Marla Hlady takes apart and rebuilds machines that make sounds. In recent years she has been preoccupied with rigging domestic objects, including toy drummers and teapots, to produce unexpected tones. Playing Piano, 2007, an installation shown recently...
Marta Marce: Riflemaker
To inaugurate its new second space in the House of St. Barnabas-in-Soho, an important eighteenth-century building on Soho Square, Riflemaker chose Marta Marce's "Diadem Paintings," which the artist began last year while on a residency at Camden Arts...
Maryam Najd: Crown Gallery
Maryam Najd was born in Tehran in 1965 and left Iran at the age of twenty-six to study and live in Antwerp. Just old enough to remember the Islamic Revolution, she grew up in a country beset by tumultuous events, where artistic expression was severely...
Meekyoung Shin: Mongin Art Center
An artwork carries so many layers of meaning that sometimes you have to sniff them out; a painting is no longer simply a decoration for the wall, nor a vase merely an ornament on a mantelpiece. In her recent works titled Translation--Vase, 2007, Meekyoung...
Mel Bochner: Marc Selwyn Fine Art
Situated somewhere within the overlapping boundaries of Conceptual, Minimalist, and post-Minimalist practice, Mel Bochner's career has, in recent years, proven remarkably susceptible to critical and historical reevaluation, primarily through theme-driven...
Modest Proposals
Industry, commercialism and the bourgeois are very much with us. This whole notion of trying to form a cult that transcends all this strikes me as a kind of religion-in-drag, you might say. I'm just bored with it, frankly. --Robert Smithson (1) AS...
Nayland Blake: Matthew Marks Gallery
The Nayland Blake piece that almost always comes to mind first when I think of him is a video from 2000, Starting Over, in which he struggles to perform a kind of disco scenario while wearing a bulky, heavy white bunny suit. (Blake is a big man; the...
Nora Schultz: Nora Schultz Is a Berlin-Based Artist. Here, She Focuses on Works of an Autobiographical Nature
1 MICHEL LEIRIS, L'AFRIQUE FANTOME (PHANTOM AFRICA), 1934 "October 27--The mask that I had taken, during the large post-funeral rites, to be the 'marabout' mask is in fact a caricature of a European woman. Her long loose hair, impeccably parted at...
Pascal Broccolichi: Galerie Frederic Giroux
Pascal Broccolichi's works have long explored the boundaries between sound and vision. In this recent exhibition, he presented an installation that highlights sound along with four photographs (three in the exhibition space and one in the gallery office)....
Paul McCarthy
IN THE FINAL SCENE of Paul McCarthy's video Painter, 1995, the artist climbs onto a coffee table and bends over. Under the watchful eye of a buffoonish dealer, a collector pulls down McCarthy's underwear and zealously sniffs his ass. "Yeah, very nice!"...
Paul Thek: ZKM Museum Fur Neue Kunst
In the late 1960s and the '70s, Paul Thek, the American artist to whom Susan Sontag dedicated her book Against Interpretation (1966), seemed to be everywhere. He had exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam (1969) and at Moderna Museet in Stockholm...
Peter Doig: Tate Britain, London
AT THE HEART of Tate Britain's retrospective of Peter Doig is a room of paintings for which the artist is perhaps most known: the "Concrete Cabin" series of 1991-96, comprising views of a modernist building seen through thick, dark trees. Among these...
Primary Sources; Johanna Burton Talks to Ann Temkin about "Color Chart: Reinventing Color, 1950 to Today"
IN THE CONTEXT of an issue concerned with the color of money, it might nevertheless be productive to consider a wider plethora of hues. Or so it would seem given the questions raised by "Color Chart," an exhibition recently opened at New York's Museum...
Public Retraction: Martin Herbert on British Arts Funding
EVER SINCE WORLD WAR II, the arts in England--as elsewhere in Europe--have been generously if variably funded by the government, by means of the Arts Council of Great Britain, which was split into four independent organizations, for England, Northern...
Shirin Neshat: Gladstone Gallery
In producing a body of work inspired by and named after Shahrnush Parsipur's experimental novel about five women's experiences in 1950s Iran, Women Without Men (1989), Shirin Neshat continues in the vein of her series of photographs "Women of Allah,"...
Speculations
TO WHAT DEGREE and in what ways have an expanded market and popular interest in contemporary art impacted and shaped the contours of art's making, collection, circulation, and display--and to what degree does our current situation have any historical...
State of the Union: Gregory Sholette on Artistic Labor
BEFORE AN ARTWORK can be exhibited, before it represents or refuses to represent anything, before it can be dealt, sold, or collected, there come research and planning, gathering tools, purchasing materials, and even alerting networks. Whether the...
Steina: SITE Santa Fe
The elemental throb of nature and the engineered pulse of electronic circuitry make for a potent combination in Steina's current retrospective at SITE Santa Fe. Steina and her husband, Woody Vasulka, have lived in Santa Fe since 1980. Yet longtime...
The Art of the Fair
Few, if any, contemporary art fairs would seem so emblematic of the phenomenon's increasing prominence and changing complexion within the globalized art world during the past decade as the Frieze Art Fair. Established in London in 2003 by Amanda Sharp...
The Horror: Paul Arthur on Errol Morris's Standard Operating Procedure
A KEY ASSUMPTION in cinema verite's once-dominant aesthetic program is that Truth and Beauty exist in inverse proportions. Accordingly, any overt display of artfulness or blatant shaping of rhetorical devices inevitably weakens a documentary's capacity...
The Public Interest: An Interview with Paco Underhill
Where does art stand within the broader landscape of mass commerce today? To answer this question, Artforum editor Tim Griffin sat down with retail anthropologist Paco Underhill, author of the best-selling books Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping...
Things Fall Apart: Graham Larkin on "The Object in Transition"
At this point I feel a little guilty when people want to buy [my latex works]. I think they know but I want to write them a letter and say it's not going to last. I am not sure what my stand on lasting really is. Part of me feels that it's superfluous...
Trading Places: Negar Azimi on the New Middle East Market
FOR THE WESTERN CRITIC, delirious Dubai makes the easiest of targets. What was only two decades ago a languorous trading post known mostly for pirates, pearl fishing, and gold smuggling has swiftly fashioned itself into the commercial and recreational...
Walter Swennen: Aliceday Gallery
Walter Swennen, born in 1946, has been a presence in the Belgian art world for many years, and his work is admired by many in his native country. His renown, however, does not extend much beyond the borders of Belgium. The reasons for this have to...
William Cordova: ThreeWalls
The title of William Cordova's exhibition at ThreeWalls, "the house that frank Iloyd wright built for atahualpa, fred hampton y mark clark," was the first clue that I might lack the knowledge necessary to recognize the artist's varied references. Wright...
William S. Burroughs: Stellan Holm Gallery
"Cut word lines--Cut music lines--Smash the control images--Smash the control machine--Burn the books--Kill the priests--Kill! Kill! Kill!" The abundance of such quotable quotes in the oeuvre of William S. Burroughs--this example is from his 1961 novel...

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