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. 47, No. 9, May

Artifacts
ONE DOESN'T HAVE TO LOOK VERY HARD to find a common thread running through the various texts in the current issue. Regardless of topic, it seems, nearly every contributor gravitates, sooner or later, to the same concern: that we are in the midst of...
Bertrand Lavier: Villa Medici
Bertrand Lavier's crowded universe of objects is taken from an iconographic territory that seems to have no limits. This stimulating survey, curated by Giorgio Verzotti within the historic setting of the Villa Medici, poses questions about genres and...
Breaking the Codes: Jim Jarmusch in Conversation with Amy Taubin
JIM JARMUSCH'S NEW FILM, The Limits of Control, is a cryptographer's dream. In this interpretation--fittingly, one among many--the cryptographer is at once the filmmaker, the viewer, and the film's protagonist, a professional hit man (played by Isaach...
Byron Kalet: Byron Kalet Is Founder of the Journal of Popular Noise, a Brooklyn-Based Audio Magazine That Will Publish Its Spring/summer Edition in June. Last Month, the Journal Released Leisure Time, the Debut EP from the Seattle-Based Post-Rock Duo Flexions
1 FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS Based on a 2004 film adaptation of a book from 1990, NBC's Friday Night Lights revolves around a high school football team in the small town of Dillon, Texas. The show is chock-full of pure Americana--football, BBQ, good Christians,...
Carl Michael Von Hausswolff: Gallery Niklas Belenius
The arc of Carl Michael von Hausswolff's thirty-year career suggests that at some impressionable age, he encountered Bruce Nauman's 1967 spiraling neon The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, took it as the gospel, and never looked...
Carolee Schneemann: P.P.O.W./Carolina Nitsch Project Room
Carolee Schneemann is an original, and a nexus. Lissome banshee-progenitrix of Body Art and downtown doyenne whose influences span the New York School, the Judson Dance Theater, and contemporary performance, she can connect, say, Joseph Cornell (she...
Chic of the New: Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen on the Ballets Russes Centennial
THIS SPRING, A FLURRY OF exhibitions in Europe and America will celebrate the centennial of Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes, which debuted on May 18, 1909, in Paris--an inauguration that was to have a profound impact on the way art, dance, and theater...
Curt McDowell: 2nd Floor Projects
Curt McDowell worked in San Francisco from the late 1960s until his death in 1987--a period that witnessed the Summer of Love, gay liberation, and the onset of AIDS, to which he succumbed at the age of forty-two. The author of numerous films that recast...
Divided Interests
Between the abundance of postwar Italy's "economic miracle" and the ascetic bent of Conceptual art, the artist Alighiero Boetti took up the multiple implications of making and thinking, consumption and revolution, local and global. His remarkable oeuvre...
Eileen Neff: Locks Gallery
In this exhibition of recent photographs, Philadelphia-based artist Eileen Neff bespeaks her interest in modernist experiments with the medium by deploying a panoply of photographic techniques--many of them digital. She applied these methods with great...
Elger Esser: Galleria Alessandra Bonomo
Elger Esser spent his youth in Rome before becoming a student of Bernd Becher in Dusseldorf, where he currently lives. This exhibition gave a general overview of Esser's work via eight pieces, each representing the nearly constant repetition of the...
Enduring Work: Christoph Cox on Max Neuhaus (1939-2009)
BY THE TIME OF HIS DEATH on February 3, Max Neuhaus was widely regarded as a, if not the, founding father of "sound art." Neuhaus never liked the term, which came into circulation decades after he began using sound as a medium in site-specific installations....
Erica Baum: Dispatch
For about a decade Erica Baum has quietly been making work, intimate black-and-white photographs that, in their selective focus and cropping, isolate uncanny textual coincidences in card-catalogue drawers and book indexes. The result is a kind of found...
Florian Maier-Aichen: 303 Gallery
Hailed by Christopher Bollen as the "anti-Ansel Adams" for eschewing straight photography in, among other things, privileging saturated color, Florian Maier-Aichen is also the Dusseldorf school's prodigal son. As is oft remarked, Maier-Aichen left...
"Fragile Monuments": Suzie Q Projects, Galerie Bob Van Orsouw
Bob van Orsouw invited Eva Scharrer to serve as guest curator for the second exhibition in his new project room, Suzie Q. The result was a small group show bringing together six artists currently living in Switzerland. "Fragile Monuments" assembled...
Free Form Radicals: Damon Krukowski on Musica Elettronica Viva
MUSICA ELETTRONICA VIVA are a collective that dates from that brave era the 1960s, when art was made unabashedly in the service of the revolution. As Frederic Rzewski, the pianist and composer who has served most often as the group's spokesperson,...
Gaylen Gerber: White Flag Projects
Chicago-based artist Gaylen Gerber's recent installation at White Flag Projects presented a group of his photographs in a constantly changing environment of color and light. The walls of the irregularly shaped gallery were painted in gentle tones of...
Guido Van der Werve
FOR TWENTY-FOUR HOURS, starting on April 28, 2007, our blue planet went one way and Guido van der Werve went the other. Compressing that day into eight minutes and forty seconds of time-lapse photography transferred to high-definition video, Nummer...
Guy Ben-Ner: Konrad Fischer Galerie
The charm of Guy Ben-Ner's videos derives in large part from his unusual choice of actors--often the artist himself, his wife, and their child. True to form, Ben-Ner continued to avoid professional actors in his most recent video, Second Nature, made...
Henry Taylor: Rental
Henry Taylor's touch is heavy. His acrylic buildups are sludgy, pasty, and crusty. Characters' irises bleed into their sclerae, and canvases are flecked with sloppy stains of wayward drips. Landscapes are dense color fields: the milky blue of a daytime...
Imitation of Life: James Quandt on Jia Zhang-Ke's 24 City
BABIES DEAD FROM MELAMINE in their milk, Rem Koolhaas's Beijing hotel up in flames, earthquake victims protesting lax construction standards, workers rioting as the tiger economy tanks: Chinese officials may have pulled off the vast, falsifying spectacle...
Jennifer West: Marc Foxx
For half a century, artists have been negotiating the vexed relationship between abstraction and representation. Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West's sexy, whimsical, painting-scale DVD projections walk that elusive line between pictorial modes...
Jimmie Durham: Musee D'art Moderne De la Ville De Paris / ARC
"Pierres rejetees ..." (Rejected Stones ...) surveyed the work made in the fourteen years since Jimmie Durham relocated to Europe--away, it would seem, from the immediate milieu of his American Indian identity. But like the character Nobody in Jim...
John Stezaker: Friedrich Petzel Gallery
John Stezaker's methodology--take a found photograph, do something to it, do something else to it--is an audaciously simple one, but it works. Stezaker, a British veteran of first-wave Conceptual art and the New Image group, has been enjoying something...
John Williams: Sister
For just over a decade, John Williams has been cleverly employing sculpture as a useful conduit for time-based action. In 1998, the Los Angeles-based artist produced the first objects of his ongoing "Record Projection" series, a group of small, flashy...
Julian Hoeber: Praz-Delavallade
One problem with postmodernist pastiche might be that, like postmodernism itself, one can't say for certain where it stops. With all things liable to fall into its ken, contemporary art sometimes resembles a no-holds-barred citational frenzy, where...
Justin Cooper: Moniquemeloche
A wheelbarrow balancing on a seashell, giant plastic leis whirling in loops of color, folding chairs and garden hoses flying through the air--it's a party all right, but frozen in place. Such is the paradoxically festive yet static atmosphere of...
Jutta Koether: Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
Regardless of one's expectations of transparency, glass can be a deceitful, paradoxical material given to both illusion and allusion. This became apparent with the twenty-eight-foot-wide wall of glass (with white, painted wood edges) that served as...
Kanishka Raja: Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke
Visitors to Kanishka Raja's "I Have Seen the Enemy and It Is Eye" were welcomed into the exhibition by Opening Ceremony, 2009, a giant, flattened chandelier applied in gold leaf against a stark black wall. The work was an appropriately dramatic entrance...
Katharina Sieverding: Galerie Thomas Schulte
In her latest solo show, which formed part of the "Forum Expanded" program associated with this year's Berlinale, Katharina Sieverding invited viewers to enter literally into a pictorial space in which--as critic Rainer Bellenbaum noted in a lecture...
Laurent Montaron: Institut D'art Contemporain
Laurent Montaron expands the cinematic space of his films into the real space of the gallery, treating light and sound as malleable physical materials. His audio installation Untitled (D'Apres la Sonosphere d'Elipson) (After the Sonosphere of Elipson),...
Leon Vranken: Stella Lohaus Gallery
One of the chief qualities of "The Traveling Riddle," an excellent exhibition by the young Belgian sculptor Leon Vranken, was its sense of tempo. Of course, like a performance in the theater or on film, an exhibition always has a conventional temporal...
Lindsay Seers: Matt's Gallery
The third and final film in Lindsay Seers's elaborate installation, "It has to be this way," 2009, shows art critic Michael Newman intelligently critiquing the work itself, discussing the connection between memory and technology and thus memory's inherently...
Lisa Kirk: Invisible-Exports
Inspired by the theatricality of street and media activism, Lisa Kirk's projects--or, as she sometimes calls them, "social occasions"--are marked by a winning combination of wit, nerve, charm, and aggression. For "The Greatest Show on Earth," her exhibition...
Louise Nevelson: Pacewildenstein
"I always thought, bluntly, that I was a glamorous, goddam exciting woman. I wanted to have a ball on earth." Tall, turbaned, draped in a caftan, swathed in smoke, her eyes shaded by mink eyelashes, Louise Nevelson--a pioneer American abstractionist...
Material Value: Jaleh Mansoor on Piero Manzoni at Gagosian
PIERO MANZONI HAS APPEARED in only a small handful of shows in the US over the past two decades, among them the grand "Italian Metamorphosis, 1943-1968" at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1994, curated by Germano Celant, and "Minimalia:...
Michael Borremans: David Zwirner
Welling up over and over in the sepulchral chamber carved out for it from David Zwirner's cavernous Chelsea multiplex, Michael Borremans's looped film The Storm, 2006, is poised--like the concise, affecting show it fronted--at the extremities of both...
Morgan Fisher: Portikus
The Portikus exhibition hall, newly built in 2006 on an island in the river Main and attached via a plank to Frankfurt's historical Alte Brucke, or Old Bridge, doesn't exactly look like a building designed for the display of contemporary art. With...
New Beginnings: Tim Griffin Talks with Daniel Birnbaum about the Upcoming 53rd Venice Biennale
ON JUNE 7, THE 53RD VENICE Biennale will open, curated by DANIEL BIRNBAUM--himself no stranger to the biennial format, having organized grand shows over the past decade in locations around the world, from Turin, Italy, to Yokohama, Japan. Titled "Fare...
Outer Spaces: Jeffrey Kastner on Bruce Nauman at the 53rd Venice Biennale
"BRUCE NAUMAN: TOPOLOGICAL Gardens," the title of the exhibition organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the United States pavilion at this year's Fifty-third Venice Biennale, may at first seem incongruous. Why use a mathematical term in connection...
Paul Graham: Museum of Modern Art, New York
HOW MIGHT WE ACCOUNT FOR the burgeoning interest in the British photographer Paul Graham--who, in addition to his solo debut currently at the Museum of Modern Art, recently had two concurrent commercial-gallery shows in New York? It is partly, no doubt,...
Philippe Decrauzat: Elizabeth Dee
The so-called neo-geo artists of the 1980s--New York painters Peter Halley, Ashley Bickerton, Philip Taaffe, and a few others--promoted an ironic distance from the often doctrinaire history of abstract painting, arguing that various art styles and...
Previews: Three Times a Year Artforum Looks Ahead to the Coming Season. the Following Survey Previews Fifty Shows Opening around the World between May and August
Katharina Fritsch KUNSTHAUS ZURICH June 3-August 30 Curated by Bice Curiger IMAGINE SOL LEWITT OR DONALD JUDD in love with old fairy tales, haunted not only by the formal archetypes of geometry but also by the iconography of piety, commerce,...
Rachel Mason: Andrew Rafacz Gallery
In 2004, Rachel Mason began to make groupings of small porcelain figures for every year of her life. Each set includes, in addition to a selfportrait, busts portraying global political and military leaders who were chief actors in some notable geopolitical...
Ray Johnson: Raven Row
A decade and a half after his death, Ray Johnson continues to occupy the marginal yet thoroughly involved position he held in life. The growing list of exhibitions and writings about his work serves to clarify rather than alter our understanding of...
Ree Morton: Generali Foundation, Vienna
ONE OF THE EARLIEST WORKS in the Generali Foundation's "Ree Morton: The Deities Must Be Made to Laugh: Works 1971-1977"--the first major institutional survey of the artist's oeuvre in almost thirty years--was Untitled, 1971-73, a humble-looking assemblage...
"Regift": Swiss Institute
Lewis Hyde asserts, in the introduction to his book The Gift (1983), that "works of art exist simultaneously in two 'economies,' a market economy and a gift economy." Recent contemporary art can be accused of focusing on the former to the detriment...
Renata Pedrosa: Galeria Virgilio
Two subjects have become conceptual pillars of the work of Sao Paulo-based artist Renata Pedrosa: the precariousness of life in large cities and the inexhaustible voracity for images. These topics acquired a more defined profile in 2001, when Pedrosa...
"Repartir a Zero": Musee Des Beaux-Arts, Lyon, France
IN A DARKENED AND CONFINING antechamber at Lyon's Musee des Beaux-Arts, two videos set the tone for what was to come: On a screen to the left, a mushroom cloud silently unfurled over Nagasaki; on the right played an excerpt from Roberto Rossellini's...
Richard Foreman and John Zorn: Ontological-Hysteric Theater
I first became aware of the work of Richard Foreman and his Onto-logical-Hysteric Theater thanks to a review of Rhoda in Potatoland in 1975. My recollection is misty but I think it was an assertion to the effect that Foreman was to Heidegger as Brecht...
Robert Barry: Yvon Lambert
A dash in the title of Robert Barry's recent exhibition at Yvon Lambert, "RB 62-08," might more accurately have been an ampersand. With one exception, the show's paintings, texts, and photographs date from either the 1960s or the past two years (or...
Rodrigo Oliveira: Galeria Presenca
For "Da Obra ao Texto" (From Work to Text), Rodrigo Oliveira's first solo show in Porto, the young Lisbon-based artist brought together two sets of works. One reflects his ongoing investigation of the legacy of modernism in contemporary life, especially...
Santiago Sierra: Galeria Helga De Alvear
Santiago Sierra's art often involves a group of people whose actions in the context of the work have--or should have--moral consequences. Economic necessity is almost always the reason that people agree to perform tasks that, to varying degrees, humiliate...
Sarah Michelson: Talks about Dover Beach, 2009
WHAT BECOMES A GIMMICK MOST? For that matter, what becomes a gimmick? This is the sort of question that vexes the choreographer Sarah Michelson. Was it a gimmick to serve rotisserie chicken during intermission in Dogs, 2006? To include the white limousine...
Screen Gems: Haden Guest on Treasures from American Film Archives IV
THE GRADUAL RELEASE of the American experimental film canon on DVD raises sobering questions about the continuity and legacy of small-gauge film (16 mm and Super 8) as a historic and artistic medium. These questions are given particular force by an...
Susan Rothenberg: Sperone Westwater
Nearly impossible, it seems, not to start with the horses, even though they make no appearance in Susan Rothenberg's latest canvases. Indeed, it is telling how very thoroughly, since first materializing in her work (over three decades ago), Rothenberg's...
Tate Triennial 2009: Tate Britain, London
TRUE TO ITS FUNCTION as a naming ceremony of sorts, Nicolas Bourriaud's Tate Triennial aimed at nothing less than inaugurating an alternative modernity. It understood itself as both harbinger and incarnation of this new cultural constellation and was...
Teresa Margolles: Peter Kilchmann
The Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, who trained in forensic medicine, recounts facts that are not exactly easy to digest. On the one hand, she takes as her theme the escalating criminality and extremely high murder rate in Mexico; on the other, the...
The Black and White Show
OUTSIDE, EAST SECOND STREET between Avenues B and C in 1983 was Manhattan's biggest open-air drug supermarket. It was always deathly quiet except for the continual cries of vendors hawking competing brands of heroin: "3-5-7, 3-5-7" and "Toilet, Toilet."...
The Poem Will Resemble You
WHEN LORRAINE O'GRADY would burst into art openings during the early 1980s in the character of Mlle Bourgeoise Noire, she sought to bring aesthetic issues to life--and, more specifically, to challenge both the art world's entrenched (and often overlooked)...
The Prime of Mister Larry Johnson: Bruce Hainley on the Art of Larry Johnson
Ookinglina for alltina arkdina + andsomehina. Not into ealthhina oodfina, into ampagnechina. Ollegecina ucatededina. Okingsmina or icotinenina ansdermaltrina ystemsina. Enjoys onglina alkswina on eserteddina eachesbina, eoplepina, Eoplepina, Arstina Ektrina:...
The Singer Not the Song: Greil Marcus on Marianne Faithfull
MORE THAN TWENTY YEARS AGO, in 1987--eight years after her shocking punk album Broken English, already twenty-three years after her worldwide smash hit "As Tears Go By" offered the angelic face and voice of a seventeen-year-old who soon enough didn't...
Thomas Bayrle: Museu D'art Contemporani De Barcelona
"I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" was, surprisingly, the first retrospective of the work of Thomas Bayrle, but it was worth the wait. The only question is why it took so long. Curated by Chus Martinez, this exhibition was exhaustive enough...
Wang Gongxin: Arrow Factory
Tucked away near the Confucius Temple, in one of Beijing's most quickly gentrifying neighborhoods, lies the antidote to the ostentatious exhibitions that have slowly become the norm in the city's urban fringes. This latest work from Beijing native...
Will Cotton: Mary Boone Gallery
It must have seemed a good idea at the time: to symbolize habits of consumption--habits of appetite and its indulgence--with images of candy and confectionery. Will Cotton began doing that over a decade ago, painting increasingly elaborate, increasingly...
William Pope.L: Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts
Invited to lecture or exhibit at Le Corbusier's only building in North America, artists devise surprising strategies to confront the modernist architect's legacy. Rabble-rousing performance artist William Pope.L was no exception: While inaugurating...
Xylor Jane: Canada
Xylor Jane's third solo exhibition at Canada, titled "NDE," as in "near-death experience," did not on first impression look to be about death. Products of a conceptual, task-based approach that Jane began developing in the mid-1990s, these new works,...
Yifat Bezalel: INGA Gallery
"Ulysses-Alices," the double title of Yifat Bezalel's recent exhibition, was a summons to numerous travels, calling on the epic and fantastic voyages of Odysseus, Leopold Bloom, and Alice in Wonderland. But unlike her sources, penned by male authors,...
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