Magazine article Artforum International

Top Ten

Magazine article Artforum International

Top Ten

Article excerpt

1 AMERICAN MOVIE What a shame that Chris Smith's funny, big-hearted documentary about indie-film desperado Mark Borchardt didn't get nominated for an Oscar. Borchardt on stage, facing the academy, would have been a mind-blowing moment in pop history (has anyone ever imploded on live TV?) and a tribute to the life-transforming magic of media-caprice--somewhere between the Schwab's-drugstore-discovery legend and the career of Mark Wahlberg.

2 DESTINATION STARDOM (Pax Network) Weary of the entertainment monosystem? Tired of seeing the same names flog product on the airwaves and in the glossies? You're now ready for this refreshing amateur hour, beamed from Hawaii

and hosted by a willowy black lady and a native muscle man. Rediscover clean living as you root for hungry entertainers whose fame so far extends only to the local papers. Be genuinely amazed by suave nine-year-old magicians. Thrill to the unbridled voices of twelve-year-old divas. Aren't humans something? Do yourself a favor: Promise you won't watch ironically.

3 THE SUBURBAN Myths die hard, so most cool galleries still get situated in urban art ghettos. (Santa Monica, a suburb? Please. Winnetka--now that's a suburb. Are there cool avant-garde galleries in Winnetka? Nope. Nor are there in other American suburbs--with the exception of Birmingham, Michigan, which boasts two!) The Suburban, a new exhibition room run by artists Brad Killam and Michelle Grabner in Oak Park, Illinois, is thus a welcome addition. At seven by ten feet, the white cinder-block jewel of a space attached to their garage may be tiny, but how big does a next step need to be?

4 ELECTRICITY That we don't annually celebrate Electricity Day is unfathomable.

5 THE CLAIRE MITHELMAN PEN Mr. Claire Mithelman of Grinnell, Iowa, earned his livelihood selling corporate incentives--the inscribed keychains, pens, and such that companies distribute to promote themselves to clients. Humor must have been a strong sideline, though. When he died two years ago, each of the friends and relatives attending his funeral received a ballpoint pen inscribed with a message: "Your last pen from me. Claire Mithelman September 24, 1921-December 18, 1998." Imagine the presence of mind! Heartbreaking wit, small-town division.

6 HERMETIC GALLERY Minorkey cities have been major beneficiaries of our entrepreneurial age's do-it-yourself ethos. They're flowering. Take Milwaukee's Hermetic Gallery. Run by affable autodidact Nicholas Frank, it's as good as any artist-run storefront space in NY or LA. That's partly attributable to improved information flow, no doubt, but it's also a matter of attitude. …

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