Magazine article Artforum International

Matthew Higgs

Magazine article Artforum International

Matthew Higgs

Article excerpt

Matthew Higgs is the director of White Columns, New York, and a regular contributor to Artforum. His exhibition "I Am the Billy Childish" is on view at Lehmann Maupin in New York until January 21, 2012.

1 "ANDY WARHOL: SHADOWS (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington. DC; curated by Yasmil Raymond) The 102 canvases that make up Shadows, 1978-79, had never been shown together in their entirety before this exhibition. Curated by Dia's Yasmil Raymond and coordinated at the Hirshhorn by Evelyn Hankins, the show with its inspired staging of Warhors late masterpiece as a near-continuous loop wrapping around the museurrt's notoriously challenging circular space was a revelation, and one of the most extraordinary presentations of a single artwork I have ever seen.

Organzed by Dia Art Foundation.

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2 HANS-PETER FELDMANN (Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; curated by Katherine Brinson) When, as winner of the 2010 Hugo Boss Prize, Feldmann received a slot on the Guggenheirrt's 2011 exhibition schedule along with a $100,000 honorarium, he elected to combine the two parts of the award, displaying his money in lieu of conventional artworks. One hundred thousand used one-dollar bills completely covered the gallery walls in neat, overlapping rows. What could have come across as an overly literal. even pedantic gesture turned out to be an unexpectedly melancholic and aesthetically seductive experience.

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3 FRANCES STARK, MY BEST THING Stark's peculiar feature-length animated video was one of the few bona fide hits in an otherwise subdued Venice Biennale. Starring low-tech, fig leaf-clad avatars, one of which represents the artist, the film reenacts Stark's respective video chat room trysts with two anonymous men. The resultant vignettes private conversations between strangers made uncomfortably public are by turns embarrassing, awkward, laugh-out-loud funny, and deeply affecting.

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4 CHRISTIAN MARCLAY. THE CLOCK Last fall at Londo's White Cube gallery, I watched part of Marclay's twenty-four-hour video with a gallery-owning friend, who declared that the hour we had spent semihypnotized by the work was the longest time he'd "ever spent in someone else's gallery." Subsequent viewings in New York and Venice suggest that Marclay's exquisitely edited montage of found film and television clips may well prove the first universally popular artwork of the twenty-first century.

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5 "THREE STONES IN THE CITY OF LADIES" (Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery, UK; curated by Elisa Kay) This idiosyncratic and quietly ambitious show was structured around a small group of paintings by little-known British Surrealist Marion Adnams. As counterpoints to Adnams's enigmatic imagery, works by Annette Kelm, Lee Miller, Eileen Quinlan, and Lucy Skaer explored, in subtly different ways. repetition as a form of abstraction.

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6 MERLIN JAMES (Sikkema Jenkins & Co., New York) Like his near contemporaries Peter Doig and Luc Tuymans, James takes painting's multiple and overlapping histories partly as his subject matter and partly as a point of departure. The paintings are stylistically promiscuous it is hard to describe or even imagine a "typical James. …

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