Time Capsules 1986-1990

Article excerpt

RESEARCH: CHRISTINA CHO

CONSULTANTS: Carios Basualdo, Daniel Birnbaum, Diedrich Diederichesen, Richard Flood, Pamela Kort, Marco Meneguzzo, Scott Rothkopt

In this second installment of "Time Capsules," David Rimanelli picks up where his March look at the first half of the decade left off, tracking the high (and low) points of 1986-90.

1986 JANUARY

Joseph Beuys, the artist/shaman/ charlatan--take your pick--dies at age 64.

FEBRUARY

Sturtevant's "comeback" show opens at White Columns, New York; Eugene Schwartz, the renowned collector of contemporary art, serves as curator. An appropriationist avant la lettre, Sturtevant began making copies after Stella, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, and Warhol in the mid-'60s; Warhol even lent her his screens. She finds a devoted advocate in critic/curator Christian Leigh.

Karen Finley's Yams Up My Granny's Ass opens at the Kitchen, New York. in what is perhaps her most notorious routine, Finley assumes the character of a drug addict who tortures and sexually abuses his grandmother on Thanksgiving. She then smears canned cooked yams over her buttocks.

APRIL

Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurs.

United States bombs Libya.

MAY

Thierry de Duve, "The Readymade and the Tube of Paint," Artforum: De Duve challenges that trite opposition between painting and the Duchampian legacy. "It may seem that the fact that painters do not grind their own pigments anymore is a mere consequence of the availability of industrially processed tubes of paint. Yet this fact is crucial in understanding the cultural changes that disrupted the tradition of painting..."

Zone 1/2 appears. The following year, the first Zone Books (ed. Jonathan Crary, Michel Feher, Hal Foster, and Sanford Kwinter) titles appear: Foucault/Blanchot and Pierre Clastres's Society Against the State. The books, designed by Bruce Mau, are alluring physical objects, sensuous yet pointy-headed.

Reina Sofia opens in Madrid. The House of Bourbon continues its centuries-old tradition of artistic patronage, as Queen Sofia dedicates Spain's preeminent museum of modern art.

JUNE

First Sonsbeek since 1971, curated by Saskia Bos, opens in Arnhem, Holland. Sculptures by 50 artists scattered around Park Sonsbeek. Many "outdoor" works are in fact sheltered within glass pavilions. Bos: "More than ever, today's artworks are artificial products that are not suited to a natural environment, let alone being involved with it."

"Chambres d'amis," curated by Jan Hoet, opens in Ghent. The show includes installations and exhibitions in private homes by contemporary artists (from Carla Accardi to Gilberto Zorio).

Ernst Nolte's "The Past That Will Not Pass: A Speech That Could Be Written but Not Delivered" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) ignites the "Historikerstreit" in Germany. Large public debate among historians spreads to include theorists, philosophers, and writers pitting the notion of the singularity of German guilt against the rightist idea that the 20th century witnessed a "global civil war" of comparable totalitarianisms.

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges dies at age 86.

JULY

Mary Boone weds Cologne dealer Michael Werner. Romance cements the Cologne--New York axis, as Boone mounts numerous shows of Werner-associated artists (e.g., Lupertz, Baselitz, Polke).

SEPTEMBER

"Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture," curated by Elisabeth Sussman, David Joselit, and Bob Riley, opens at ICA Boston. The October crowd meets neo-geo. Works by Sherrie Levine, Jeff Koons, Haim Steinbach, Philip Taaffe, Robert Gober, et al. Notable in that the catalogue essays by Yve-Alain Bois and Hal Foster largely pan the work exhibited.

Museum Ludwig, founded by chocolate magnate and supercollector Peter Ludwig, opens in Cologne, fortifying the city's flourishing gallery scene with a major institution devoted to postwar art. …

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