Give Me Attention Now


 “Hardly in any sphere of philosophical science can we find such divergent methods of investigation and exposition, amounting even to self-contradiction, as in the sphere of aesthetics. On the one hand, we have elegant phraseology without any substance, characterized in great part by most one-sided superficiality; and on the other hand, accompanying undesirable profundity of investigation and richness of subject matter, we get a revolting awkwardness of philosophic terminology, infolding the simplest thoughts in an apparel of abstract science, as though to render them worthy to enter the consecrated palace of the system; and finally, between these two methods of investigation and exposition there is a third, forming, as it were, the transition from one to the other, a method consisting of eclecticism, now flaunting an elegant, phraseology, and now a pedantic erudition…A style of exposition that falls into none of these three defects but is truly concrete, and, having important matter, expresses it in clear and popular philosophic language, can nowhere be found less frequently than in the domain of aesthetics.” – M. Schasler





Always: Robert Rosenblum, Matthew Higgs, Amy Taubin, Peter Plagens, Steven Henry Madoff

Never: Jack Bankowsky, Isabelle Graw, Andrew Hultkrans






Gwen Allen




David Anfam




David Antin




Jack Bankowsky




Graham Bader




Daniel Birnbaum




Aaron Betsky




Yve-Alain Bois




Denise Scott Brown




Norman Bryson




Lynne Cooke




Dennis Cooper




Harry Cooper




Cristoph Cox




Jonathan Crary




Thomas Crow




Arthur C. Danto




Diedrich Diederichsen




Matthew Drutt




Carroll Dunham




Hannah Feldman




Hal Foster




David Frankel

11 (Kate’s love)



Michael Fried




Liam Gillick




Alison M. Gingeras




Tim Griffin




Mark Godfrey




Thelma Golden




Isabelle Graw




Bruce Hainley




Scott Hamilton^




Keith Haring




Martin Herbert




Mathew Higgs




J. Hoberman




Tom Holert




Suzanne Hudson




Henriette Huldisch




Andrew Hultkrans




Caroline A Jones




Jeffrey Kastner




John Kelsey




David Joselit




John Kelsey




Normal L. Kleebatt




Steve Lafreniere




Thomas Lawson




Pamela Lee




David Levi Strauss




Sven Lütticken




Steven Henry Madoff




James Meyer




Grail Marcus




Bob Nickas




Helen Molesworth




Philip Nobel




Jessica Morgan




Linda Nochlin

1 (Kate’s devotion)



Geoffrey O’Brien




Hans-Ulrich Obrist




Peter Plagens




Lane Relyea




James Quandt




Lane Relyea




David Rimanelli




Robert Rosenblum




Scott Rothkopf




Barry Schwabsky 




Paul Schimmel




Peter Schjeldahl




Debra Singer (Nancy)




Howard Singerman




Katy Siegel




Roberta Smith




Andrew Solomon




Matthew Stadler




Robert Storr




Tom Vanderbilt




Amy Taubin




Malcom Turvey




John Waters




Mark Wigley




Chris wood




Michael Wood





* just horrible


^ hasn’t written anything for AF, yet,  but just for annoying the crap out of me  at each Winter Olympics


Conclusion: No one is allowed to contribute more than 2 articles to Artforum.


Our journey begins sometime back in 2001 when I first became acquainted with Artforum. I had just moved to Cleveland, Ohio to take a new post as chief marketing director for a line of all-organic shoe care products. I needed an art magazine. I was in the bookstore. I liked what was on the cover of the Artforum they had on the shelf.  And Flash Art was like $10. Perhaps I should have bought the Flash Art. But I didn’t. I bought Artforum, and here we are now, which I should add, parenthetically, is not Cleveland.


And here go my distillations/reflections/need-to-check-outs from  every artforum issue I’ve gone back and re-read.  If you don’t see an issue here, it’s because a) it was that useless (impossible) b) it happened before 2001 c) I didn’t get to it in time before it got thrown on the artforum issue pile, which I will add, parenthetically, is in a very interesting location in my apartment (and not in Cleveland), and in which case, I will eventually get to it.




September 2002


Jack Bankowsky (September 1992, Ten years ago this month…)


Jack Bankowsky has a lot of interesting history to share (with us). But god damn, does he have to be so annoying? Can he just step back and stop injecting himself into every 3rd sentence? I would never do that. [-1]


Soup to Butts – Arthur C. Danto on The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné


Danto’s two-page review is cogent. Makes me want to learn more about Warhol. Danto also makes a clever good point when he says, “The typography is perhaps excessively designy, but who actually reads, as opposed to consults, catalogues raisonnés.” Do you see how funny that is?—that he refers to catalogue raisonnés, as if that were a going term. That’s good dry humor for my money. Go Danto. Go Danto. [+1] Unless

catalogues raisonnés is actually a going term in which case I’m stupid.


Todoli Awesome – Steven Henry Madoff on Tate Modern’s New Director


I have nothing negative to say about Mr. Madoff [+1]


True to Life – Andrew Solomon on Frank Moore


See previous.


Record Fable – Andrew Hulktrans on Wilco


Oh, I know I’m going to have a problem with this. (will fill in later once I’ve bothered to listen to Wilco enough to say “They suck, but not as much as Andrew Hulktrans,” which I’m sure they do)


Natacha Lesueur – photography [site]

Joao Panalva – photography [b. 1949]

Who is Ralph Eugene Meatyard – photography

Arno Rafael Minkkinen – photography (I keep wanting to not like this guy, because I’m uncomfortable with any and all nudity, but then he keeps winning me over)

Juliao Sarmento Fernando Calhau – is this two people? or one really long one? [gallery]




A bit late now, but a few things taken away from the 2002 previews I have. One, Sam Durant sounds great. I need to stalk meet talk to stalk meet him read the article. Polke, cool. Herzog and de Meuron, verdict still out? De Chirico? Always. Always. Always. Ariadne.


Documenta 11 [+1 for everybody; good show (contributors, I mean; not the show itself; the show sounded lame]


Linda Nochlin – Documented Success // Very well-written piece [text]


Tom Holert – Bataille That Binds // Some thought-provoking points raised.[text]


Mathew Higgs – Same Old Same Old // Great piece. [text]


James Meyer – Tunnel Visions [text]


Oliver Payne and Nick Relph talk about Mixtape (2002)


My friend (who has body piercings, which I don’t) has been assigned the task of finding and watching this video, and reporting back.


Daniel Birnbaum on Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 3


Haven’t seen. I don’t read reviews of films I  haven’t seen. [NR]


Dispersion – Jeffrey Weiss on Robert Ryman


Okay, I have no excuse. I’m just tired of this issue. [NR] NR means not read.


Openings – Olav Westphalen – Saul Anton [text]


I need to find out more about Mr. Westphalen.


Reviews – Joan Mitchell – Brenda Richardson (Nancy) [text]


Mitchell sounds very cocksure, very cocksure indeed. Mmmmm…cobalt blue.


Near FavoriteAlex Farquharson on the Turner Prize Shortlist [text]


This is a classic scathing, bilious attack. I really like this Farquharson.



January 2003


Survival of the Fattest – Andrew Hulktrans on Adaptation


This is perhaps the worst film review (of any length) I have ever read in a print publication. It’s just awful. And useless. And for me to call a film review useless, believe me, it has to be really useless. Any derogatory term I could think of would be scarcely sufficient and entirely  appropriate in describing Hulktrans horrible piece. Hulktrans, apparently, is the editor in chief at Bookforum. Let me say that this does little to increase the chances of my subscribing to Bookforum. Spike Jonze was until recently married to Sofia Coppola. I’m so knowledgeable. [-2]


Great DictationNorman Kleebatt on Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary


“Who wants to know about the intricacies and intimacies of Adolf Hitler’s daily schedule? Who cares what this heinous criminal ate for dinner, how he related to his girlfriend, or to his dog? More to the point, who could bear to witness this naïve, amoral functionary who served Hitler as stenographer, typist, file clerk?”


My first thought: exactly. And so then of course I had to read on. After finishing the piece, my second thought: exactly. I’m glad I didn’t bother with this film. Cold Bacon is not nor owns any personal holdings in “Jewish”.




The tragic thing about going back and reading old Artforums is that when you come across a review for an exhibit you really would want to see, you can’t. It’s long gone. David Anfam wrote a nice preview of the Philip Guston exhibit (Fort Worth, SF, NYC, London, 2004), which really made me want to go.  Damnit.  Oh well, at least now I will keep my eye open for Philip Guston (was discussed in league with Rothko, de Kooning, Pollock). Cool.


Amir Zaki VLHV – cool photograph? Roberts & Tilton


Sign of the Times – Philip Nobel on Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno’s Annlee project.


From what I can figure, the story is that the two artists bought a background character (a small, powerless, virgin) from a Japanese anime firm, which they named Annlee. They then used it in various art projects. The problem with this article? Review? Explanation? Teaser? Is that instead of bringing clarity to the enigmatic Annlee project, what it is and what it means, Nobel seems to want to take part in the fun himself (like Howard K. Stern).  He does reluctantly provide some facts as to what the project was about, but even then it’s like pulling teeth (from Howard K. Stern), and he somehow makes even the information he does give you seem uncertain. Nobel wastes too much time with wistful writing that is, for me, useless. The last paragraph:


“It’s not a death, it’s an existence,” Huyghe argues. “Ann will be enfranchised. We don’t have a term for it.” But we do now. Annlee is dead. Long live Annlee, a sign for banished signs, inaccessible, in a limbo nearly human.


Not sure if he thinks that approach is either creative or called-for, but it is certainly a waste of my time. The Annlee project itself does seem fairly intriguing, which is why I was annoyed at not having a better article. [-1]


Takeshi Murakami made this point in a recent essay: “Behind the flashy titillation of anime lies the shadow of Japan’s defeat in the Pacific War. The world of anime is a world of impotence.”


Shock Value – Damon Krukowski on Electronic Music


Damon explains (convincingly because I don’t know any better) that one anthology of electronic music is better than another. According to Damon, Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music 1921-2001 “feels more like one person’s whimsical mix tape than substantive work toward the definition of a thriving tradition.”  Whereas Ohm: The Early Gurus of Electronic Music, 1948-1980 “makes for a very listenable, and at times delightful, set.” Damon goes on to say, convincingly, “Music is always a sensual art, and the pleasure of Ohm offers insight into the central mystery of electronic music for many listeners: why some musicians would trade the warmth of voices and instruments for the chill of tape and electronics.


Okay so I bought it. Ohm I mean. I bought Ohm. Because of Damon. All I can say is thank god I didn’t get the other one!


Delia Brown’s Top 10 List


            Umm, yeah.  Ahem…


Show of Hands – Christopher Heuer [+1] on Hendrick Goltzius


            Goltzius sounds really cool. I wish I could have seen these exhibits.


“Although his right hand was disfigured in a childhood accident (he purportedly stumbled face first into a kitchen fire), he had developed an ingenious manner of grasping a burin that was easily adaptable to the brush.”


            “a hint of the avant-garde”


            “potentially surreal”

            “spiteful, obsessive neurotic”



David Frankel on Art-Rite (stupid title: The Rite Stuff)


Wonderful story about the short-lived, brightly burning Art-Rite magazine.  I love these kinds of pieces.


“There were six thousand copies; each was stamped three times, once per color; that is a lot of potatoes.)”


“(“She took three pages for a cover, and we were very poor, and very conscious of it, but we did it,” says deAk. “That was classy.”) It is a brilliant design.”


“Artforum had the inside track, it was the hot center, which Art in America was trying to nudge into. But Art-Rite was on the inside of the inside track of the young generation.”


“I’m struck by her generosity and by an endearing modesty that runs through her general flamboyance.”


“Cohn told Moore in 1974, “I think at this point Artforum is an imposition on artists. They feel obliged to read it and obliged to respond to it.”


And a couple of reviews I didn’t read very carefully because it looked as though I would have had to see the exhibits to have a real opinion.


Sam Durant by David Joselit / “Drawing Now” by Tim Griffin


Steve Lafreniere on Christian Holstad


Enjoyed this review. Sounds like a very interesting gay artist. [+1]


Tim Griffin on Wade Guyton


“…raised on slasher flicks…”  I don’t know. Maybe some other time. Or maybe my (lack of) response is Tim Griffin’s fault? But I shouldn’t judge. [NR]


Michael Wilson on Vargas-Suarez Universal


No strong feeling about reviewer or reviewee here. Great name though—such a lovely lilting name, Michael… [NR]


Christopher Miles on Gregory Kucera


Nothing obviously wrong with review, but I can’t decide from it what I think of the artist. [NR] So many NR’s?! Where are my balls? Oh, now NR means “not rated” whereas before it meant “not read.” Remember? Oh well. I’m like that. Sorry.


Kate Bush on Damian Ortega


Nice (-ly written) review. Artist sounds like he might be really interesting.  [+1]


Matthew Drutt on Luisa Lambri


Solid review. Might be an interesting artist to/for me. Though I must admit I am v. partial to those who would spread photography. [+1]


Daniel Birnbaum on Haegue Yang


Haegue Yang sunglasses: “I put them on and I saw everything…” I have nothing special to say about this review. Sounds like an intelligent artist. Will watch. [+0]


Kate Siegel on Chuck Ramirez


            Ramirez seems like a really interesting artist. Enjoyed the review. [+1]


Dennis Cooper on Andrew Hahn


            Sounds promising. Will watch. [+1]


Matthew Higgs on Matthew Sawyer [text]


Mr. Higgs writes well enough that I can never be sure whether it is the review or the artist which I am responding to. So I made a web site about Matthew Sawyer. His response was promising. But then he stopped responding to my emails. You wouldn’t do that to me. Would you? [+1]




Notes From artforum February 2003


Jason Middlebrook (Top 10 List) [NR]


Jason’s lame list included one website, one radio station, the Oakland Raiders fans, and seven other less-than-inspiring choices.


Lawrence Alloway (Eric Banks reassesses the career of the once-influential postwar critic). [NR]


“Not everyone appreciated Alloway’s taking target practice at other writers’ words, and perhaps that trigger-happiness went hand-in-hand with the critic’s topical promiscuity to help effect his relative future obscurity. Which is too bad: There is much on offer in Alloway’s grapeshot criticism. In the Francis piece, he wrote: “One problem seems to be the difficulty of sustaining a reductive art…The problem for the second-generation field painters…seems to be how to develop without resorting to more entertainment.” For a writer who eschewed a reductive stance at every turn, Alloway himself faced no such dilemma.”


Tim Griffin on Aleksandra Mir [-1]


Seems like some pretty ordinary conceptual art realized through some pretty ordinary materials. To me. Couple of cute ideas described, but really? I mean…


Philip Nobel on Dia Beacon [+1]


embarrassment of elbow room

architectural restraint

c. 1929 (who could forget) Nabisco box-printing factory

dan flavin, joseph beuys, on kawara, hanne darboven, agnes martin, robert ryman, michael heizer, fred sandback, richard serra, louise bourgeois

it’s perfect

a young New York firm wise enough to skip gewgaws and pretension

white walls, soaring ceilings, 30,000 square feet of north-facing skylights

signage will be spare, out of sight take-one brochures


Philip, I’m with you. But do you really think they could have done anything else?


Immemory LaneMichael Wood [~] on Chris Marker


Good description of Marker’s new CD-Rom entitled Immemory, a CD-ROM by Chris Marker. Nothing against Mr. Wood (professor of English and comparative literature at Princeton University). Nothing against Princeton. But I’ve seen La Jetée, and it’s not that good. I can’t immediately think of a more overrated piece of cinema. Nope. Oh yeah, I did just say that.


Larry Poons – Barry Schwabsky looks back on the early days of Larry Poons’ career, when a studio visit by artist Ray Johnson ultimately led to Poons’s first one-man show, at the Green Gallery in 1963.


And that’s pretty much exactly what you get in this nice little one-page mini-bio from Barry Schwabsky. Schwabsky tells a nice little story and doesn’t inject a lot of BS into it. Nice going Barry. I will not forget your effort. I appreciate you. I care. [+1]


SpiderAmy Taubin on Cronenberg’s latest insectorial work


  • An astonishing balancing act, Spider is both faithful to the novel and a distinctly Cronenbergian work. In both form and meaning, it is the most impeccably realized and rarefied film of the director’s career.
  • Even the greatest “subjective” film narratives—Bresson’s Pickpocket or Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, for example—depend on voice-over, a device more literary than filmic.
  • trope
  • “Fragile and ephemeral but punctuated with menacingly sexualized gothic imagery, Spider could have borrowed its yellow-brown and gray-green palette from Lucian Freud, while its hermetic mise-en-scène and elliptical editing style are comparable to Bresson’s. In its restraint and selflessness, Fiennes’s performance has a near Bressonian quality as well. Cronenberg is less interested in mapping the schizophrenic psyche as a world apart than in showing that Spider’s need to make meaning and to cling to the possibility of an all-embracing love is what makes him fully human. “Oh Jeanne, what a strange path I had to take to find you,” says Bresson’s protagonist at the end of Pickpocket.”


I think somebody clearly has a little case of Bresson on the brain. And I think we know who it is. [+1]


Kippenberger (The Happy End of Kippenberger’s Amerika)


Great piece wherein Kippenberger is presented through six different (brief, one-page)  recollections by artists/friends who knew him well. I really enjoyed reading this pooled take. I think this is a great way to present an artist. It’s not necessarily that these different takes are any more valid or useful than one long one (from one person). But the variety makes it easier to read and digest. And  I can’t help but feel as though hearing about someone from different people gives a broader perspective. Whatever. Great piece.


If anyone’s interested, maybe you can order the back issue.  If AF doesn’t have it, let me know and I’ll send you my copy.


Notes from Artforum December 2005


And so, like, the first fifty pages of this issue are mostly ads, and boring ones.  Langden Foundation, Düsseldorf, Neuss (what’s Neuss)? This has to be a Tadao Ando building. It just has to be. God. I guess now everyone’s got to have their Ando.  Kevin Wolff, please put your penis back in your pants. And then finally, something good, or at least so bad it’s, well, I’m not going to say so bad it’s good because it’s not good no matter how bad it is. But it is so bad that I have to say something.  It’s John Waters and his ludicrous one-liners accompanying his Top 10 Films of 2005.  Best if you just read them yourself. Let’s see if Amy Taubin is any better. 


Amy Taubin [+1]

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)

2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)

Blue Movie (Andy Warhol)

Last Days (Gus Van Sant)

No Direction Home (Martin Scorsese)


And five films I know nothing about.


Amy’s choices seem to be playing it safe, but her comments all make sense, don’t spoil, and give me relief (from John Waters).


Chrissie Iles

Not a single film I’ve heard of. All ten seem to be art films. Chrissie Iles (The Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Curator of Contemporary Art at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Co-organizing the Museum’s 2006 Biennial) And art films are stupid.


James Quandt

Three Times (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)

Moments Choisis (Jean-Luc Godard)

Last Days (Gus Van Sant)

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog)


And six films I know nothing about. Herzog is good.


Quandt seems smart. Let’s see what he says about Three Times: “Conscious summa or inadvertent sampler of Hou’s career, his triptych of love stories opens rapturously and ends attenuated; no one in contemporary cinema comes closer to Vermeer’s interiors with his pellucid lighting and composed domestic space.”   Yes, Hsiao-Hsien is definitely on my list (of directors to find out about). [return a year later…I have now seen a 3H film. Damn. He is good.]


John Waters [-1]

Last Days (Gus Van Sant)

Palindromes (Todd Solondz)

A History of Violence (David Cronenberg)

Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog)

Saraband (Ingmar Bergman)

Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch)

2046 (Wong Kar-Wai)


And three films I know nothing about. Saw Saraband at Lincoln when it opened. Saw Liv Ullman in the flesh. Yeah. That’s right.


These are all safe choices (once you get rid of Jarmusch), but again, if you read what he actually says about the films, you have to hold back puke.


Isaac Julien

Brokeback Mountain (Ang Lee)

Broken Flowers (Jim Jarmusch)

Three Times (Hou Hsiao-Hsien)

Last Days (Gus Van Sant)


And six films know nothing about.


John Waters’ comments may be ridiculous, but at least they’re mildly amusing.  Mr. Julien’s vague one-liners are just useless.


Last Days: “Art cinema and moving image art came another step closer together with this fragmented narrative that deconstructs cinematic time”


Dude, how many films have you seen in the last couple of decades? Just curious.


Three Times: With Hou’s focus on filmic duration, mise-en-scène becomes everything, leaving narrative in the lurch.


Dude, I haven’t even scene this film, and I can already explain to you where you’re wrong. The mise-en-scène does not replace the narrative, it simply presents it in a different fashion. I will give you twenty dollars if I see this film and there is a narrative in any kind of lurch. [okay, wait, you’re right; now that I know 3H, I can see how you could be right here.]


Broken Flowers: Jim is back with a laid-back, classic Jarmusch mood piece. Cool direction elicited a superbly understated performance from Bill Murray and a neat cameo by Tilda Swinton (in a black wig, no less).


Questions: Where did Jim go? I didn’t know he was ever gone.  Can you tell me more about this new thing called “cool direction?”  Murray, “superbly understated?” You mean like his last five films?  Who is Tilda Swinton and why do I care?





6 different top 10 lists for best music of 2005 with hardly any overlaps out of 60 albums. This proves either that there was a ton of great music made this year or that top 10 music lists are pretty useless. Wait—didn’t I already make this joke, like, with last year’s Best of issue? Huh. Well anyway it doesn’t matter because I-tunes will destroy the album forever. And you suck if you download all your music..


Page 90. I am almost one third of the way through.


The Artists? Please. There’s no pictures?


Oh my god. They’re going to do books. I’m skipping to page—


Oh my god when is this issue going to start?


My god, page 218 – Finally. I remember this. This is when we get to hear what  various editors/writers/critics liked from this year.  I am going to not look back at what I thought about any particular contributor until I’ve formed a fresh opinion here and now. This should hopefully reduce any bias.


New York – by David Rimanelli


Okay, let’s see. Last year I said he was [just kidding]. I won’t look. I will read the piece. Okay, now.


“…but why, I wonder, should one-liner artworks deserve any more than one-liner reviews?”


“Now, if you’ve ever been to Passerby, you know that it is a tiny space that often attracts uncomfortably large crowds.”


I start listing words I don’t know.


            Louche behavior


Ne plus ultra



Wow this guy is a gold mind—for new words.





Speaking of, I cannot read any more of this crap. I can waste my own time thank you very much Mr. Rimanelli. [-1]


Los Angeles – by Frances Stark


Discusses legitimacy of L.A.’s abundance of art schools (fifteen art schools for every registered voter). Talks about the perspective (complaints and resentments) from both those on the inside, and on the outside of this  mini-ring of official, ‘academic’ L.A. art scene.


Stark argues that the “L.A. art media” has “managed to form a convincing backdrop of public hostility toward any sort of complexity, and indifference toward the growing interest in the pursuit of a life as an artist. Connoisseurship in the arena of pop culture is encouraged; it’s acceptable to reference the record collection, but not the bookshelf.”


Huh. Sounds true.


London – by Stuart Comer


I’m just not interested in one person (Stuart Comer’s) sociopolitical opinions, even they are about London. I stopped ½ way through due to boring.


Paris – by Eva Svennung [+2] [text]


Makes the case for art going on outside of Paris.  Great thought-provoking ending, no really:


“But for those who still like to believe in the materialization  of local artistic scenes, Paris certainly remains confounding, although I’d be tempted to say relevant, In its lack of clear signals. However, two drastically different exhibitions—and stories—this winter might help you make up your mind. First, “Le voyage intérieur,” an exhibition on the subject of decadence, that Included both Paris and London-based artists, curated by Alex Farquharson and Alexis Vaillant, opened last month at the bourgeois Espace Electra (the French Electricity Foundation). Then, this January,   Nicolas Bourriaud and Jérôme Sans will throw themselves a farewell party in the form of a (still secret) thematic show gathering artists who have emerged in France during the ’90s. Hopefully, this new year (and era for the Palais) will make way for more demanding and reflexive situations—a confrontation audiences certainly deserve.”


The subtext (that I take from it) is who is the decadent one here? Or which one do we identify with? Or shouldn’t an art critic be like that. I wish I were.


  • philosopher Jacques Rancieres
  • Nuit Blanche in Paris
  • Thomas Hirschhorn’s “Swiss-Swiss Democracy’’
  • architects Francois Roche, Stéphanie Lavaux, and John Navarro of R&Sie(n)


Berlin – by Matt Saunders [text]


Is it just me or is this one of the better pieces I’ve ever read in AF? Can somebody please give this guy a position.


“MY YEAR CAME INTO FOCUS in someone else’s flashback. At a summer party in a socialist-era tower on Karl-Marx-Allen, the British artist Mark Wallinger reminisced about one of his performances at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie the previous October: It’s sometime after midnight, and he’s shuffling about inside Mies van der Rohe’s Iconic structure in a mangy bear suit, his sight framed by a snarling mouth (which is the only family resemblance between this creature and its intended cousin, Berlin’s mascot, ursus rampant). The suit is sweltering, and Wallinger pauses his performance for clandestine time-outs in his boxers to escape his private sweathouse. Tonight he can see no audience as he stands looking over an empty plaza at the stagy skyscrapers (lit up but largely unleased) of the new Potsdamer Platz, where, presumably, people crowd the few tourist restaurants and twin megaplexes. Suddenly, Wallinger later recalled, none of it made sense. All the steps leading to the moment were clear, but he couldn’t imagine what he was doing there at the very center of the city, somehow so strange and unmoored.”


“Countless articles will tell you that the city is in flux, so the artists love it, and I can’t dispute the boilerplate (it’s true that any egoist can make rent here), but that’s not enough. The hard part has been making a way.”


“It’s glamorous occasionally—if you romanticize coal heat, gray seas and smoky parties you could have skipped-but often it’s Just boring.”


“By this time next year, the Palast may finally be gone.”


“Suddenly, renovated is the new trashed.”


“…opened with a big scene and little follow-up.”


“Douglas Gordon eulogized his own tastes—“


“…there was merely the rumor that the attendant film program was worthwhile.”


“Let Berlin be a book, so I can recommend It to you; but I’ll be embarrassed to watch you read it. It’s hard going at times, and the reasons to love it must be particular and your own.”


“This is Berlin’s promise: an aimlessness that doesn’t close in. Few places can maintain this through so many cycles of buzz. It takes a certain unknowing. So, it may be that the city is actually best In the off years, those sleepy years like this one in which there are no hot new things, Just grand nothings and the fortuitous confidence of overlapped byways and continuous asides.”


Moscow – by Viktor Misiano [text]


In the midst of all this, Alexander Sokolov, the new minister of culture and mass communications, publicly accused his subordinates of financial abuses, a trend that recent sociological findings would appear to confirm—in two years Russia witnessed a tenfold increase in corruption.”


Alongside money, the mass media exists as the fundamental tool for bureaucrats.”


“Appropriately enough, throughout the course of 2005, the problems of resistance (to the authorities, money, and the media) came to the fore in discussions in the art world. If in the ‘90s (when art and politics were tangled in the general chaos) a critical position was treated as an affected posture, then today it has true meaning. At the risk of oversimplification, this developing discourse was defined by the collision of two main positions. The first was put forth by proponents of direct political activism, such as the artists and Intellectuals of the group Chto delat’? (or “What is to be done?’’), who have propagandized the Ideas of the Western Left in the pages of their eponymous publication. The second was put forth by proponents of the autonomy of art, in particular the artists Anatoly Osmolovsky and Dmitry Gutov, who pay attention to the fact that a critical stance In art risks making a mockery of Itself (fit is deprived of complexity and inner antagonism.”


Same old mess. When is Russia going to have a real democracy? And is this even what I want for it? For its art?


Tokyo – by Midori Matsui [text]


“Indeed, and perhaps most importantly, the work of these younger artists signals a departure from the strategies often used in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s to grapple with overblown capitalism and commodity fetishism, dense urbanization and suburban sprawl, and the proliferation of media images in public and private space—the contemporary Japanese condition, in short.”


This is really great scholarship—Matsui has really gone to work for my benefit—for me!


First generation (Hiroshi Sugimoto, Tatsuo Miyajima Yasumasa Morimura, et al.)

Second (Takashi Murakami (Superflat) Kenji Yanobe, Mariko Mori, et al.)

Yoshitomo Nara

Tsuyoshi Ozawa

Yutaka Sone


            Zon Ito

Ryoko Aoki

Kaoru Arima

Makiko Kudo

Tomio Koyama

Chihiro Mori

Taro Izumi

Koki Tanaka


Double Exposure – Hal Foster

What Should New Orleans Do? Denise Scott Brown – Vision versus Expediency

Biopolitics: Between Abu Ghraib and Terri Schiavo


The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult – Carol Armstrong

Uncertain States of America – Arthur C. Danto

Melancholy: Genius and Madness in the West – Jeffrey Weiss


Martin Herbert


1 “AN ASIDE” (CAMDEN ARTS CENTRE, LONDON) Making a virtue of the ballooning art world’s deleterious impact on its own epistemology--i.e., no one can get a fix on the whole picture anymore—Tacita Dean’s superb curatorial venture foreswore holistic mastery in favor of a journey through the artist’s own cloud of unknowing. Chance meetings with art and artists (plus several Sebaldian coincidences) guided the collection of this daisy chain of works by, among others, Lothar Baumgarten, Paul Nash, Sharon Lockhart, Joseph Beuys, and Fischil & Weiss. An endeavor few professionals curators would have risked, “An Aside” benefited hugely from Dean’s eye for marvelous obscurities and offbeat affinities while arguing convincingly for faith in serendipity.


Oh my lord. We’re done here.  Okay, I have to read one more.


2 DARREN ALMOND (K21 KUNSTSAMMLUNG, DUSSELDORF) Almond’s constellation of photography, film, and sculpture doesn’t easily communicate its breadth and interdependence in smaller commercial shows. This attentively installed midcareer retrospective, though—drawing into its orbit polar exploration, global warming, trains, clocks, the Holocaust, the history of photography. and Almond’s grandmother nostalgically watching ballroom dancers—repeatedly hit a high elegiac note, making the world (and the artist’s place within it) seem small and inestimably precious. As happens all too rarely, I was floored.


Okay, no. We’re done.


Martin Hebert: small and inestimably precious


Daniel Birnbaum


Daniel Birnbaum remains (to this day) fixated on conceptual art of questionable value and worse, he writes rather boringly. Here is an example of what you are not missing:


8 TOMAS SARACENO Recent interest in obsolescent media has made art using new technology less fashionable, but Saraceno’s work in Paris and elsewhere in Europe provides proof that it is possible to express an original, utopian spirit if one takes advantage of technological breakthroughs. For example, the artist uses the incredibly buoyant Aerogel for his “lighter-than-air technology” that can theoretically take us beyond the clouds. Saraceno dreams of taking people—even buildings—airborne, and who can argue with that? You never know, he mightiest show us how to fly.


I do not include any more of his top 10 list here, because it will be of no use to us hence. [-1]


Jack Bankowsky


1 Richard Prince Healthy contrariness all but dictates that the self-respecting critic pas over Prince this year—save for a higher call to rescue a bumper crop of cross-pollinating projects from a distracting (if overdue) spike in the artist’s market.


Bankowsky’s writing is annoyingly abstruse. His choices (Richard Prince, Jeff Wall, The New Walker?, Seth Price, Bob Dylan, Art Fair Art, Spiritual American, Anthony Burdin, Paul McCarthy, Reena Spaulings) are all safe, or cute. [0]


4 Seth Price (“Greater New York 2005,” P.S. 1 Contemporary arts center, New York”) You’ve got to hand it to those bellwether brave hearts behind “Greater New York” who dragged their butts to every loft in Williamsburg so we didn’t have to. I owe more news to their worn-out soles than I’d care to admit. The news, alas, was not always good, but one belated discovery was: Seth Price. After twenty rooms of trying to find something to love, I turned the corner on a suite of golden bomber jackets that needed no excuses. What can I say? Better late than leather.


Agree. Now how much are those AF back issues? Oh, I need sales?


5 Bob Dylan, Chronicles Volume one (simon & Schuster) Speaking of better. Advance page proofs squeaked this title onto pop professionals’ 2004 best-of-lists, but 2005 was the year the bard’s distinctive diction and inspired malapropism became a staple of art-party chatter and studio-visit confession. The artist as self-mythologizer is hardly new, but at a moment when the elaborated persona can seem the only adequate artistic response to our celebrity culture, the folkways of the authentically inauthentic vagabond are both muse and tonic.


“a moment when the elaborated persona can seem the only adequate artistic response to our celebrity culture.”


Jack, only YOU can put out forest fires.


Mathew Higgs


1 Robert RAUSCHENBERG: Hoarfrosts (GUILD HALL, FAST HAMPTON, NY) The saddest summer show ever? Given that institutions tend to roll out holiday favorites or crowd pleasers for the summer season, the Guild Hall’s decision to exhibit Rauschenberg’s little known, rarely seen, and profoundly melancholic ‘Hoarfrost’ series was a bold gesture. Hanging like “ghosts” in the air-conditioned chill of the museum’s elegant rooms, the 1974-75 “hoarfrosts”—unstretched fabric “paintings” constructed from layers of transparent, translucent, and opaque materials were so aesthetically subdued that they barely registered on the eye, but somehow, miraculously  they left a nagging, indefinable impression that persists to this day.


2 ROBERT BECHTLE (SAN FRANCISCO MUSEUM OF MODERN ART) This retrospective, brilliantly organized by SF MoMA’s Janet Bishop, was, at least to my non- American eyes, a complete revelation. Almost Proustian in Its downbeatness. Bechtle’s work seems to have been devoted to recording his personal discomfort with the world around him. From the emotionally strained paintings of the 1960s and ‘70s (often derived from family snapshots) to the deserted streets depicted in recent paintings of his San Francisco neighborhood, Bechtle’s reclusive art describes a psychogeography profoundly at odds with the socially progressive, utopian narratives typically associated with his northern Californian home.


3 LUCAS SAMARAS PHOTOFLICKS (imovies) AND photofictions (A to Z) (PACE WILDENSTEIN, NEW YORK) Like Bechtle, Lucas Samaras focuses on issues close to home: namely, himself. PhotoFlicks (iMovies) 2004-2005—sixty short, digitally generated “movies,” each “starring” Samaras—was his first engagement with the moving image since his appositely titled 1969 film Self (made with Kim Levin). The installation itself was, like Samaras’s entire project, a radical gesture. The movies, and an additional four thousand digital photographic images—PhotoFictions (A to Z), 2004-2005—were displayed on thirty-five Apple workstations, which allowed the viewer to independently navigate the works on screen ant transformed the vast gallery space into a surrogate “classroom” dedicated to the study of its sole subject: Lucas Samaras.


4 RITA Ackerman, “collage 1993-2005” (ANDREA ROSEN GALLERY, NEW YORK) Overheard on West Twenty-fourth Street outside Rita Ackermann’s exhibition: WOMAN: “What’s in there?” MAN: “Junky collages.” “Junky” aesthetics or not this wonderfully focused exhibition barely scratched the surface, only hinting at the larger ambition of this mercurial artist’s kaleidoscopic output (which embraces art, music, writing, fashion, and curatorial projects). Ackermann remains defiantly against the grain and ahead of the curve. A thorough survey of her work would allow us all an opportunity to catch up.


5 ISA Genzken (DAVID ZWIRNER, NEW YORK) It is hard not to imagine Isa Genzken’s recent works-precariously assembled from just about anything: action figures, furniture, plastic flowers, sections of an aircraft fuselage, umbrellas, adhesive tape, paint-literally falling apart. This built-in sense of imminent collapse lends the work a genuine sense of foreboding, and, with the “one armed bandit” that sat mysteriously on the gallery’s floor, Genzken seems to suggest that art, like life, is ultimately a gamble.


6 PETER Hujar, “Night” (MATTHEW MARKS GALLERY, NEW YORK) American audiences appeared have an insatiable appetite for looking at photographs of other Americans. This past year, New York alone saw substantial shows from noted “people watchers” such as Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, William Eggleston Larry Clark, and Bill Owens. More provocative, though, was an exhibition of mostly never-before-seen nocturnal photographs by Peter Hujar (1934-1987). Invariably positioned somewhere between Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe, Hujar is, for me, the more compelling (and ultimately more complicated) artist. A perfectionist who trained his lens on an imperfect world, Hujar deserves greater acknowledgment for his extraordinary vision. (I’m sure that curator Bob Nickas’s current Hujar survey at New York’s P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center will go some distance in rectifying this situation.)


7 KAY ROSEN (GRAY KAPERNEKAS GALLERY, NEW YORK) Though she has been showing for nearly thirty years Kay Rosen is constantly pegged as one of the art world’s “best kept secrets” (a sobriquet I’m not sure she would necessarily appreciate). Someday I hope to see a space the size of Dia:Beacon filled with her sly, brainy, poetic works, but In the meantime I’ll have to make do with her recent exquisite exhibition at this Small and highly promising new gallery in Chelsea.


8 ROBERT BARDO, “Another Day” (ALEXANDER AND BONIN, NEW YORK) Seemingly effortless, as if conjured from almost nothing—a smear of paint here, a blob of paint there—Robert Bardo’s deceptively ambitious recent paintings, like all great art, encouraged me to thank of other artists: such as Rene Daniels, Thomas Nozkowski, Raoul de Keyser, and Mary Hellmann (whose own solo show at New York’s 303 Gallery was another 2005 gem).


9 “Log Cabin” (ARTISTS SPACE, NEW YORK) “Log Cabin” was a wildly ambitious if occasionally unfocused group show that stood out primarily as a brave attempt, by curator Jeffrey Uslip, to stake out some original (curatorial territory, seeking as it did--according to the press release-to examine the Impact of neo-conservatism on queer representations in America.” The fact that “Log Cabin” wasn’t entirely successful In articulating this condition might be a cause for concern, but I’m convinced that as a provocation, the exhibition--which I’ve already heard colloquially referred to as the “Gay Show” and which featured contributions from more than thirty artists including Cass Bird AA Bronson, K8 Hardy, Jonathan Horowitz, Monica Majoli, Dean Sameshima, Scott Treleaven, and Kelley Walker-might, with the advantage of hindsight, be considered a landmark event in years to come.


10 JONATHAN HOROWITZ, “The NEW COMMUNISM” (GAVIN BROWN’S ENTERPRISE, NEW YORK) Horowitz’s “New Communism” succeeded in its stated aim of spreading “a light dusting of style” on the tired arena of American party politics. A new design for the Stars and Stripes; a memorial sculpture of the World Trade Center created from stacks of recycled newspapers; the artist’s eco-friendly Prius placed on a pedestal (with a SUPPORT THEIR TROOPS Sticker attached); and dealer Gavin Brown’s promise to personally answer all calls to the gallery for the show’s duration combined to create some of the sassiest and most satisfying political art in recent memory.


Very well-written. I will heed Mr. Higgs’ conclusions [+1]


Isabelle Graw


Jan Timme, Damien Hirst, Retort (Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War), Daniel Buren, Gwen Stefani, Joshua Reynolds, George Michael: A Different Story, Rosemarie Trockel, Michael Krebber, Jörg Immendorff


“This reductiveness is itself illuminating, symptomatic as it is of a situation in which art is becoming more and more like a subject, and artists more and more like objects.”


Isabelle, you are myopic.


“You can’t escape capitalism’s spectacular phase—at best, you can only relate to it. Stefani’s music makes this an almost appealing proposition.”


Sigh. [-3, a record]


John Kelsey


Hurricane Katrina (this is a natural disaster)

Riot the Bar, Poor Theatre

The Readymade Artist (this is just a paragraph John Kelsey wrote; it doesn’t refer to any specific event of 2005)

My Life In CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 (this is a novel)

Gallerie Meerrettich (Berlin)


Arist Josef Strau curates this tiny glass “pavilion” (or giant vitrine) near Rosa-Luxemberg-Platz in Berlin. IT is always there and almost always closed (except for openings). I was there one night in June for a live rooftop performance: Paulina Olowska and two friends used their bodies to spell out poems by Strau and others.”


 “Jacqueline Humphries: Black Light Paintings”


                “The most memorable painting show in New York this year…”


Oh, you saw one?


The Accident of Art (the latest in a series of dialogues between…)

War of the Worlds (yes, the Tom Cruise film)

Cocaine Kate (the model)


[-2] for wasting my time.


Robert Storr


I like Robert Storr. He’s got balls.


“Accumulated Vision, Barry Le Va // emotional

“Slideshow” // occasion

Jeff Wall // deceptively consistent photo-fictions // the work of a shrewd but genuinely restless sensibility that encompasses still life, landscape, the grotesque, and faux documentary vignettes of alienation and “otherness.” // inverted traditionalism and

Robert Smithson // ambivalent, quasi-Pop eroticism and religiosity

Istanbul Biennial // Hala Elkoussy’s haunting video of life on the outskirts of Cairo // Halil Altindere’s whimsical disruptions of everyday urban life,

Jörg Immendorff // too scrappy for that

Martin Kippenberger // due for an American retrospective [+1]

Bruce Nauman // sneak peeks and missed chances: During intermittent visits to Nauman’s studio I have been lucky to watch the gestation of several works that I was nevertheless unable to see in their final form. // The fact is that people can’t leave, nor can the artist escape the cluttered work space from which a steady but wholly unpredictable flow of ideas just keeps on coming.


“intermittent visits to Nauman’s studio…” Is conflict of interest an issue in top ten lists? should I be weary? or?


Kalup Linzy // anyone who thinks racial and sexual lampoon is out of season need not attend.

Vasco Araújo


Anne Goldstein


Michael Asher

MoMa in Hamburg

Gaylen Gerber // challenged not only the hierarchy of figure and ground but the stakes of individual identity.

Matt Mullican, “Learning From That Person’s Work” // Watching Mullican (or rather, that person) eat breakfast or slowly examine the entire contents of his studio was at once captivating and profoundly affecting. I’ll pass.

Albert Oehlen // they are boldly and brilliantly unethical

Isa Genzken // one of the most striking and compelling reflections on war, death, obsolescence, and ruin—in essence, on the fragility of contemporary culture.

John Baldessari and Lawrence Weiner in Los Angeles // he returned to the basics, pairing a single, black-and-white photograph of a person’s face with a single word, and their bold simplicity was absolutely stunning.

Jeroen de Rijke and Willem de Rooij, Mandarin Ducks

Martin Kippenberger in New York [0, instead of -1]

Retrospective Exhibitions and Books (a list is provided)


Alison Gingeras


Paul McCarthy Lala Land Parody Paradise” // mind-boggling storyboard drawings [maybe your mind] // anatomically correct mechanical pig // spectacular // dense layering of conceptual conceits [cute, d’ya write that one all by  yourself?] // brilliantly crazy cultural critique


Karen Kilimnik’s Double Feature


“Together, these two solo shows amounted to the year’s most riveting antiblockbuster. Frequently pigeonholed as a popculture groupie and overshadowed in that category by some of her more market-friendly peers (Elizabeth Peyton et al.), Kilimnik, these exhibitions cannily proved, is one of our most subtle yet authoritative commentators on class envy and collective enslavement to celebrity culture. Harnessing the pungent aura of nostalgia that permeated the shows’ antique, jewel-box venues, she filled the galleries and period rooms with delicate paintings, nearly imperceptible sculptures, and deliciously poetic sound installations. In an age of ever-increasing production values and gargantuan scale, Kilimnik’s faux-naïve gestures remind us that critical import and aesthetic magic sometimes come in more modest guises.


I’m hearing what you’re saying, but I wonder was the art really that good? Or did this just resonate with a certain feeling you were having at the time? I wonder.


Artur Zmijewski, Repetition // what does “political art” look like? is exploitation a valid artistic strategy? how do we reconcile standard ethical conventions with our appetites for violence and drama? look to Zmikewski in 2006 for answers to these questions are more.


Wait, I thought we were going to look to Condy Rice for these answers? No, but seriously, Alison, are you for real? Are these really your questions?


Takashi Murakami as curator // no matter how you feel about Murakami’s seductive-yet-virulent oeuvre, he is undeniably one hell of a curator // by demonstrating connections between Japanese society’s preoccupation with cuteness (kawaii) and its deeply unresolved attitude toward the traumas of World War II, Murakami convincingly differentiates his engagement with pop and subcultural iconography from that of his American counterparts. What about our preoccupation with their preoccupation with cuteness? I wonder who is MY counterpart?


Christoph Buchel // his ever-ambitious environmental installations provide apt metaphors for our turbulent times.


Urs Fischer, Jet Set Lady


“In the magnificent hall of the Istituto dei Ciechi (Institute for the Blind), Fischer presented one of the most spectacular single artworks of the year. Simultaneously beautiful and ugly, mammoth and intimate, Jet Set Lady is a three-dimensional map of the artist’s mind: an iron tree, thirty feet tall, its trunk and branches abloom with over two thousand high-res color scans of drawings, prints, and paintings Fischer made over the past five years. A tour de force from one of the most consistently convincing artists of the thirty-something generation.”


Sounds stupid.


Gelitin, Rabbit // it will be in place until 2025 [-1]


“The Perfect Medium: Photography and the Occult”


“This extremely pleasurable, even revelatory show gathers an array of late nineteenth through early twentieth-century prints, cartes de visite, and other image-documents purporting to depict all manner of supernatural phenomena, from mystical apparitions to ectoplasmic auras. Like a good Ouija board sessions at a slumber party, the exhibition coaxes viewers into shelving their skepticism, inviting them to indulge in photography’s capacity to spin marvelously seductive fictions as well as attest to cold hard facts.”


Duh. Anyway, “extremely pleasurable” should set off alarm bells in your head. I know I’m hard on you Alison. But it’s because I don’t care.


“Beyond Painting: Burri, Fontana, Manzoni” // slashing, burning, soaking that’s what she said // Italian neo-avant-garde incursions against painterly convention have never looked so pertinent


Christo and Jean-Claude, The Gates // They’re gone but far from forgotten. Ha ha. I totally had forgotten about that! That’s hilarious.


Simryn Gill – please.


Robert Rosenblum


1 “Matisse: THE FABRIC OF Dreams--His ART AND his textiles” (ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS, LONDON; METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK) Instead of kneeling again at Matisse’s shrine, curator Ann Dumas thoroughly resurrected him. The master’s “working library”—a half century’s ragbag accumulation of fleamarket cotton prints, couture gowns, Romanian blouses, North African hangings, and more—was excavated from family trunks and displayed beside the works that incorporated their patterns and textures into landscapes for a new vision of Paradise. Seeing the alchemy that turned rags into riches was to rediscover Matisse’s genius.


2 “JACQUES-LOUIS David: EMPIRE T0 exiled” (J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM, LOS ANGELES; CLARK ART INSTITUTE, WILLIAMSTOWN, MA) In another show that offered a fresh take on a familiar deity, we were finally treated to a full- scale display of David’s late work, which, like that of Picasso’s final decades, has traditionally been relegated to the “decline and fall” category. Philippe Bordes, curator and author of the magisterial catalogue, followed the artist’s path from chief propagandist for Napoleon’s imperial glory to his last inglorious years as an exiled regicide in Brussels, where he continued to paint portraits and grand themes from antiquity, but with a twist. His deadpan, truthful rendering of the faces and clothing of the bourgeoisie announces a new language of realism that foreshadows a lineage running from Daguerre to Chuck Close.


3 Frank Stella  (JEURGEN KLINSMAN GALLERY, STUTTGART) Kingpin of ’60s painting, Stella apparently lives on his own distant planet today, so often is he overlooked by younger generations who think of him merely as history. But his latest work may shock (just as those long-ago black stripes once did) with its extreme, three-dimensional chaos. Like thunderbolts hurled by Jupiter, these tangles of twisted metal armature hit the walls and floors with a speed and a fury that at first defy comprehension. But, as always, Stella’s iron fist controls this apparent madness.


4 “Andy Warhol: PORTRAITS’’ (TONY SHAFRAZI GALLERY, NEW YORK) This stunningly installed 1970s who’s who was a trip down memory lane, a vast anthology of legendary faces including those of Leo Castelli and Joseph Beuys. But apart from the nostalgic pleasures of thumbing through a vantage yearbook, there was the tonic confirmation of Warhol’s genius not only In his Infinite variations of color versus noncolor, oil paint versus silk screen, but In his plumbing the psychological depths (and skimming the shallows) of his celebrity sitters.


5 “East Village USA” (NEW MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, NEW YORK) Another rewarding voyage to the New York art-world equivalent of an archaeological site, “East Village USA” was an energetic blast from the past, combining ‘80s video, graffiti, photography, and pigment. Curated by Dan Cameron, who himself was part of this brew, the selection rushed us back to the feisty birth pangs of Youthquake galleries (open on Sundays for art-world strollers) that nurtured a fresh generation of then-unknown artists who would later become household names. Jeff Koons, Jenny Holzer, Laurie Simmons-the list kept (and keeps) going.


6 “Surrealism USA’’ (NATIONAL ACADEMY MUSEUM, NEW YORK) For any museum that wants to do more than Intone the catechism of twentieth-century art, curator Isabelle Dervaux’s show should be the model of adventurous research. American Surrealism was often deemed a quaint and embarrassing digression from modern art’s main highways, useful only as an academic segue to the AbEx generation. But here was a full-scale reincarnation of a long-buried, mid-century world where artists would paint dreamscapes In photographic detail that unveiled all sorts of social and sexual anxieties. What a pleasure to see work by unfamiliar artists such as Alexandre Hogue and Kay Sage. We should check our storerooms more often.


7 “Richard PETTIBONE: A retrospective” (INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, PHILADELPHIA) Having started some forty years ago and still going full-speed ahead, Pettibone has finally been given the career-spanning overview he deserves. Elegantly presented by curators Ian Berry and Michael Duncan, he emerged as an Indispensable artist who, along with his contemporary Sturtevant, launched the obsession for replicating works by the hottest art stars: Warhol, Mondrian, even Ingres. Pettibone’s riffs on these classics are uniquely his,   reduced as they are to a Lilliputian scale with such exquisite craftsmanship and carpentry that they might all be packed up In a Duchampian valise to be opened later by younger copycats such as Sherrie Levine and Mike Bidlo.


8 MARC QUINN, Alison LAPPER PREGNANT (TrafalGAR SQUARE, LONDON) Asked to place a temporary sculpture on Trafalgar Square’s empty Fourth Plinth, Quinn chose to counter Britain’s military heroes with a nearly-twelve-foot-tall naked woman carved from white marble—a portrait of Alison Lapper, herself an artist. She Is not only eight months pregnant, but deformed due to a chromosomal defect that robbed her of arms and stunted her legs. A startling transgression for public sculpture, she presides here, seated, with grave dignity as a new kind of earth mother forcing us to rethink our Ingrained prejudices about human beings who don’t measure up to the macho standards of Lord Nelson, who, standing, stall reigns aloft on a megacolumn. (Incidentally, he, too, was missing an arm.)


9 The L-Word This ultrahip Showtime soap—now in its third season—immerses us in a Sapphic community of LA professionals whose problems with adultery, sperm bands, divorce, and commitment are compounded by their obsessions with torrid sex, gorgeous bodies, trendy hairdos, and stylish clothes. Catherine Ople’s Garden Of Eden this is not, but these melodramas are becoming so seductive and glamorous that a mainstream audience might finally prefer them to the heterosexual ardors of Desperate Housewives.


10 ZANDRA RHODES Originating with the San Diego Opera, Rhodes’s sets and costumes for Les Pecheurs de Perles (Pearl Fishers, 1863) recently landed on the New York City Opera stage, where they reinvigorated Georges Bizet’s classic with a wacky and dazzling interpretation of outdated Orientalism. Rhodes brought the opera’s mythical vision of Ceylon to life with a fresh mixture Of old and new. The saffron, turquoise, and scarlet Indian-style costumes played well against flat, cartoonlike bobbing waves, palm trees, and a shorthand design for Hindu architecture that might have been attributed to Keith Haring. A total delight.   


No, Mr. Rosenblum. YOU are the delight.


What Should New Orleans Do?


Interesting questions raised. Seems like an appropriate level of scholarship by Denise Scott Brown. Not reprinted because you can pretty much imagine what it says. [+1]


Double Exposure – Hal Foster: Two Points, One Page


Point One: Hal pontificates briefly on the architecture of the new MOMA.

Point Two: Hal notices two artists (William Kentridge, Tacita Dean) at Venice Biennial who embody his perception of the festival as a “bricolage of advanced and archaic images.”


“What do these two little epiphanies add up to? Only this: The different ends of this or that aspect of modernism or modernity that many of us proclaimed, rightly or wrongly, over the last three decades might have blinded us, at least in part, to one narrative, perhaps the grandest of all, that continues unabated, even unabashed: the narrative of modernization. What might count as a dialectical engagements, critical yet non-nostalgic, resistant yet utopian, with its most important manifestations today? Neither a new “new vision,” I imagine, nor old-school practices that pretend nothing has changed. In the new year I hope some artists will point a way forward.” [Okay this doesn’t make sense anymore having not just read the piece moments earlier, so here’s the piece.] [Still, NR]




Notes from artforum March 2003


This is a great Artforum. Truly a masterstroke full of cogent capsules and insightful interviews.  I don’t know how or why this issue happened, but if you’ve ever read an Artforum, or bought an Artforum, or thought you might buy an Artforum if it just had a little more art/articulation and two or three (hundred) fewer ads, then this is the issue for you.  The cogometer is off the charts in this issue.


Outside The Box (James Meyer Unpacks Craig Owens’s Slide Library) (Writing the ‘80s) (this piece is great)


The Architect (Writing the ‘80s) (piece not rated)


Aldo Rossi, Charles Moore, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves



The Painter (Writing the ‘80s) (piece not rated)


But let me give you a taste. Sentence one: “Through the selective lens of art history, we tend to see the critical melee of the early ‘80s as a focused duel between the photo-based art of “Pictures” and brushy neo-expressionism.”


The Poets (Writing the ‘80s) (piece not read)


            Why am I reading about poetry in Artforum?


Scott Rothkopf – art historian  (cogent)


Cindy Sherman talks to David Frankel (looks nice, didn’t read; I’m against Cindy Sherman because she is a successful woman artist)


I tried to read this about four times, but for whatever reason, I kept putting it back down.  Huh.


Richard Prince talks to Steve Ladreniere


SL: You weren’t in Douglas Crimps’ “Pictures”  exhibition, but a lot of people seem to think you were…Did you feel a kinship to the artists in the “Pictures” show?

RP: “I’ve never said this before, but Doug Crimp actually asked me to be in that show. I read his essay and told him it was for shit, that it sounded like Roland Barthes. We haven’t spoken since. I didn’t know anybody in the show at the time. I later became friends with Troy Brauntuch. I still like his work.”


Then there is mention of Cindy Sherman, (his own) beginnings as a photographer, issues of artists, dealers, critics, and collectors—fuck it, let me just quote:


SL: “What films back then had an impact on you?”

RP: “The Road Warrior, First Blood, Alien, Drugstore Cowboy, The Terminator. Did Blade Runner come out in the 80’s?  If it did, I liked that one—the original, not the director’s cut.”


SL: “Do you have any connection to younger artists?”

RP: “Most of my connections are with artists who are dead.”


SL: “What did you make of digital theorists like Gene Youngblood, who found the cautions of people like Rosalind Krauss and Wiki-Baudrillard alarmist?

RP: “I’m not sure what “digital theory” is. I don’t know who Gene Youngblood is. I read Truman Capote.


SL: “What was your first thought when you heard that Andy Warhol had died?”

RP: “Sad. We had the same dentist”


            Continue on p. 264.


Gregory Crewdson says, “Throughout the ‘80s contemporary photography was polarized between two factions. Documentary photographers searched to find beauty, transcendence, and truth in photographic form, while the first generation of postmodernists completely debunked that tradition, showing all photography to be constructions and fictions. It really seemed like and ideological split at the time you had to be in one camp or the other. My response was kind of schizophrenic: I made a personal attempt to reconcile the two positions, merging the aesthetics of photographic truth and photographic life. Today, the contested question of photography’s truthfulness has lost its urgency. Photographers use connections from both traditions to construct their own subjective approaches to the medium.”


David Salle talks to Robert Rosenblum


David Salle mentions Vito Acconci, Julian Schnabel, Fuller and Eisenstein, Rene “Renéné” Magritte, Kasper Konig and then, of course, continued on p. 264 (maybe; good luck).


John Armleder talks to Bob Nickas




Peter Halley talks to Dan Cameron




Jeff Wall talks to Bob Nickas [full text]


            But this quote must be looked at:


“I make a distinction between “contemporary art” and “serious contemporary art,” a distinction that I think has become much more pronounced and visible since the beginning of the '80s. In other words, I think a new kind of art has emerged since the '70s, a kind that is easier to appreciate, more like entertainment, more attached to media attitudes. The new contemporary art has by now become the dominant form. It's much closer to entertainment and depends on production value and on spectacle in a way that serious art never did before….I think that was something that artists both had and hadn't wanted for a long time previously. They, we, had a phobia about it, a fear that we would be reduced to celebrity status rather than being taken seriously. At the same time, there was a secret longing for celebrity. This intense ambivalence seems like a permanent aspect of the "artistic personality." Until Warhol, artists managed that ambivalence by adhering to traditional avant-garde personae. They still had a connection to the idea that serious art, whether it was music or literature or visual art, didn't need to be celebrated in the same way as entertainment and popular art were, and there should be a divide between them, the distinction Greenberg talked about between avant-garde and kitsch. But there was a generation who were younger than I who didn't feel that way. Warhol was their mentor, their guru. He gave the green light for not being worried about those things anymore and, in fact, for being against being worried about them.”


Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz by Geoffrey O’Brien (one page, cogent).


            Cogent discussion of Rainer Werner.


Talking Heads’ Remain in Light (one page, cogent enough)


Nostalgic, yet cogent-enough historical contextualization of an art band I should care more about.


Blade Runner – Jonathan Crary (one page, cogent)


Nice capsule review of a tremendously important film.


Richard Prince – World of Video (one page, interesting enough)


            “Rental porn essentially killed adult theatres.” internet porn essentially filled up my hard drive


Arthur C. Danto (1.4 page blurb perhaps about Douglas Crimp, cogent-enough)


“One cannot but detect here the influence of the two figures that loomed large in Crimp’s universe—Duchamp, with his contempt for the artists’ hand and eye and Walter Benjamin, with his ruminations on art and mechanical reproduction. For Crimp was promoting a “phenomenon from which painting has been in retreat since the mid-nineteenth century”—namely, photography. And he somehow felt photography carried wide political implications that meant among other things the end of the museum, an institution to which he objected on grounds of its elitism.”


Thank God nowadays nobody can object to things anymore— not in New York.    


Jeff Koons talks to Katy Siegel


            First of all, how does Jeff Koons not look like Patrick Swayze? Seriously.


            KS: “What was the reaction to your first solo show there, in 1985?”

JK: “ think people liked the vacuum cleaner pieces I had shown earlier, but they wanted to see more, to see that I had a little wider reach. And I think “Equilibrium” did that. It was quite a narrative show.

KS: “What was the narrative?”

JK: “Well, it dealt with states of being that really don’t exist, like the fish tank with a bal hovering in equilibrium, half in and half out of the water. This ultimate or desired state is not sustainable: Eventually the ball will sink to the bottom of the tank. Then where were the Nike posters, which acted as sirens that could take you under. I looked at the athletes in those posters as representing the artists of the moment, and the idea that we were using art for social mobility the way other ethnic groups have used sports. We were middle-class white kids using art to move up into another social class.

KS: “Going from ’85 to ’86, with the “Luxury and Degradation” exhibition at International With Monument: Were those stainless steel sculptures also about social place in some sense?”

JK: “Yes, the sculptures represented a range of economic levels. Within these levels there were different temptations—luxury in different strengths. Eventually degradation would set in and your economic power could be taken away from you. So it was a warning: Don’t be a fool, keep your eyes open.


And then later…


JK: “…The main reason for making a piece like the stainless steel rabbit was that it felt like there was going to be a new audience for the work. And then after that I did the “Banality” show.”


John Currin, “The bombast of Schnabel, Salle, and the neo-expressionists paved the way for somebody like Jeff Koons, who presented himself as a genius, a maker of masterpieces—rather than as the dreary professional type, which describes a lot of ‘70s artists. Koon’s “Banality” show in 1988 was as great as people remember it. It was such an ‘80s high point that, in a weird way, you want to say it happen d in the ‘90s.”


Ripening on the Rhine (The Cologne Art World of the ‘80s) [full text]


            Fascinating piece by Daniel Birnbaum. A+ (not for the gay-ass title)


            Kasper Konig


Exhibit One:

Westkunst: Zeitgenossiche Kunst seit 1939”

Western Art: Contemporary Art Since 1939

                        Exhibit Two:

Von Hier Aus

                                    “From Here Out”




“The Mülheimer Freiheit wasn't an artists' group in the modernist sense; it had no manifesto, for example. "We have no concept or program," Dahn wrote in 1981. "Our collaborations are based only on friendship and on our desire to do things that aren't normally seen as acceptable in art." The troika of Büttner, Kippenberger, and Oehlen, all originally from Hamburg but regularly in Cologne through their affiliation with the Hetzler gallery, was not an artists' group in the strict sense either, but, like the Mülheimer Freiheit, its artists would often exhibit together and seem to have shared a sense of belonging. Oehlen says, "This exciting relationship, in which each person in the circle would try to surprise the others, was the most beautiful thing in my artistic life. Just to get a smile from Martin and Werner was much more valuable than doing something with other people." In the case of Oehlen and Kippenberger, their mutual admiration even led to a series of collaborative paintings, exhibited in 1981.”


Ist your daughter 18?


“The question of what attracts creative people to a particular place at a certain moment has been the subject of lengthy urbanist treatises, notably Cities in Civilization (1998), in which Peter Hall says a lot about "innovative milieux" in general but mentions Cologne only en passant, as one more city financially revived by the "cultural industry." What are the geographic, economic, and sociological conditions that make artistic, intellectual, and technological innovation possible?”


I don’t know.


            More on Cologne and the scene:


                        Wilfried Dickhoff!

Jutta Koether of Spex


“Since we were to a large extent financed by music advertising, we at least had to look like a music journal on the surface,” says Diederichsen, who came on staff in the mid-‘80s.


That is just so funny to me.


The Other de Chirico by Robert Rosenblum


I know nothing about de Chirico, but I appreciate the simple, informative (but not boring) style of this short little piece by Robert Rosenblum


“Who could ever have expected that all this scorned and buried twentieth-century art could ignite fresh imaginations? In the early ‘80s, walls were crashing, vistas were opening, and sinner artists like de Chirico were not only absolved but embraced.1 A different past and a different future would be possible. What a liberation it was to have the old catechism turn into history!”


1 Isn’t the former just a prelude to the latter? But how to acknowledge this truth without while still maintaining the style of the piece? There is always the Manny Farber trick of “slash joining” terms (absolved/embraced), but then it reads “…and sinner artists like de Chirico were absolved/embraced.” This style runs a small risk of rubbing the reader the wrong way, kind of a fuck-you you figure it out serve, which is why not as many people read Farber as probably would/should. Perhaps a compromise would be to say something like “…and sinner artists like de Chirico were absolved (and then embraced).” But that’s not much of a compromise. Never mind. Robert’s alright. Better than Anthony Lane, that’s for sure.


Anselm Kiefer’s Innenraum by Peter Schjeldahl [full text]


I didn’t remember Peter being this good to read, but I enjoyed this little piece greatly. And I LOVE the picture of Kiefer’s Innenraum (Interior Space), 1981)


Keith Haring’s Wild Style by Dan Cameron


Starts off like this: “One afternoon in late spring of 1981, I was taking a lunch break from my new job as exhibition coordinator for the now defunct Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies.”


You see, I’m not even going to read any more. That beginning was awful. Just awful. It couldn’t have been (much) worse.  Okay, wait, I did read the second sentence. And by God. It’s even worse!


“The IAUS, a think tank propelled into existence in 1967 by Peter Eisenman, was located on Fortieth Street just west of Fifth Avenue.”


I’m sorry but there are times to just stop, just stop right there. Life is too short.


Scritti Politti’s “Jacques Derrida” by Diedrich Diederichsen


Now where I have seen that name before? Anyway, this is a little kick-in-the-knee, which echoes Richard Linklater’s tidbit wherein the teenager is chastised by his girlfriend for regurgitating random graspable kernels of philosophy instead of having the relationship with his girlfriend that she (I suppose) wants. Anyway, the attack itself (Diedrich’s) is nothing new, but it is honest and only one page. I approve.




Power House Memphis (William Eggleston, Mitch Epstein, Marc Quinn, Paul Graham)

Yossi Milo Gallery (NY)

Agnes Denes (Projects for Public Spaces)

Torsten Andersson

Ed Ruscha (photographs)



Notes from artforum April 2003


Interview with Julian Schnabel


This guy (Julian Schnabel) is great. I need to transcribe this entire interview. Everything he says sounds good to me. Vive Schnabel.


Friends with Sigmar Polke, Wiki Sigmar Polke


Robert Rauschenberg


Thomas Crow on the Art-Historical 80’s [full text]


Interesting topic, the 80s, but my god, this article is written so horribly that it’s almost as if Mr. Crow is actively trying to keep the reader away from his meaning. This really is quintessential art-historical gobbledygook at its most quintessential. Again, I would never do that.


A dis-alienated avant-garde, then, purveying a Hogarthian catalogue of grotesques in some warped garden of unearthly delights.1 At the close of the '80s, the more earnest exponents of a social art history could only turn away from this spectacle in dismay: (8) Like all academic pursuits, it had its own decorum to defend. Having assumed an elevated point of view that could survey the historical imbrication2 of avant-garde art within a society of consumption, a good portion of its authority depended on the assumed blindness of its subjects to that condition. No one counted on those surveyed becoming the ones to do the surveying themselves, nor did anyone consider how art's own elevation would suffer in the process.”


1 That’s not even a sentence.


2 imbrication: covering with a design in which one element covers a part of another (as with tiles or shingles)


Takashi Murakami – cute


David Lynch’s Blue Velvet (Great Capsule Review by David Frankel)

David Frankel does several things which I appreciate.


·                    He does not start by summarizing the plot, but instead begins with a theoretical point of reference, and uses misdirection at that.

·                    He deals with the “problem of spoiling” by carefully/courteously beginning the requisite plot summary with “You remember the plot:”

·                    He says, “Blue Velvet is the first movie I remember that seemed tailor-made for both postmodernist theorists and a popular audience. It played it both ways: No matter how depthless its surfaces, and despite its coy comedy of banality, the film was riveting, unsafe. Hopper’s Frank is a terrifying villain—violent, obsessed, the prisoner of his fetishes. And Rossellini’s nude scenes defied the Hollywood norm: Her body was bulgy and pale. No doubt she could have put in some gym and beach time before the shoot (as MacLachlan presumably did; Lynch plays knowingly with his hyperconventional good looks and toned physique), but she and Lynch preferred ordinary vulnerability to movie-star sleekness. Blue Velvet enacted a return of the repressed: Dancing in a world of simulacra, it simultaneously communicated deep and frightening becomes a hall of mirrors. A great movie of the ‘80s, Blue Velvet both reflected the changes we sensed at the time and allowed us a way to feel real.”


Jeff Koons’s Rabbit (review by Kirk Varnedoe)






“Among its other appeals, Rabbit is a terrific instance of how good art trumps rhetoric, even in the arch-rhetorical 1980s. The catchphrase of the day, for example—“commodity critique”—seems a leaden downer that does no justice to Rabbit’s energies, frozen but quicksilver as well. And all talk about Koons as a Duchampian appropriation artist might work fine for the Bob Hope statue and similar, more forgettable parts of his series, but Rabbit—like others among his best things—is mightily transformed from its source, extremely stylized, and derives much of its impact from its abstraction. As in Roy Lichtenstein’s comic canvases, the cheap, generic original is seemingly mimicked yet actually refined and made more abstract, with knowing nods to the styles of modern art. In the case of Rabbit—for the part of Koons’s audience that enjoys such games—the nods explicitly evoke Constantin Brancusi and Claes Oldenburg. The gleaming machine-age idealism of the former and the garrulous metamorphic bumptiousness of the latter are quoted and aggressed against in the same cruelly parodic breath.1 Yet the satire has its own rogue vitality, not only parasitic but autonomous, in the way Devo’s robotic 1978 remake of the Rolling Stone’s “Satisfaction” also seemed independently likable and pitch-perfect for its time.”


1 Wow, that’s quite a sentence. What bumptiousness!


Andreas Gursky (photography)

Thomas Struth (photography)

Gerhard Richter (pimp)

Bernard Tschumi (architecture)

Daniel Libeskind (architecture)



Notes from artforum May 2003


A wonderful episode of Artforum.  Jammed with all sorts of great gobbledygook on many great artists of the day.


James Rosenquist

            I wish I hadn’t missed this show


Amy Taubin writes a simple, attractive review of American Splendor. I still wish we didn’t have to recount the plot of films, but Amy does it with such unobtrusivity and injects insight as well.


Jim Hodges à Kelly McLane


Gordon Matta-Clark (Architect)


Kazuyo Sejima and Toyo Ido (not in Artforum, just some French guy recommended to me, didn’t know where else to put it) [wait, Toyo Ido? Toyo? Edo? Was he pulling my legs?]


David Anfam on Philip Gaston


Aesthetic conservatism

Piero (renaissance)

American romantic and magic realist trends of the WWII years

Second generation gesturalism

Brutish expressionist syntax

            Conceptualism’s cool dematerialization of the art object altogether

            Alexandrine critical artspeak and Duchampian gambits

            Linear narratives of modernism

            Pollock (cosmic webs)

Rothko, Still, Newman (residual personages or biomorphs)


“Like the complex mazes of noir dramatology1 and the battleground of actions and personae in Barbary Shore, the pictorial armatures of Guston’s late-40’s canvases are a constructive fabric whose goal has knowingly been suppressed to leave a junkyard jumble. They are the detritus of plots, an elegiac farewell to the big didactic programs that his murals of the ’30s had enunciated. This explains why the ubiquitous note is melancholia (see, for example, the forlorn toys of Holiday, 1944).”




1 According to Microsoft Word…





Inexorable revenants

Rilke (“talking cure”)

Guston’s eventual and pervasive flypapering of art and language.


De Kooning

Ibram Lassaw

Hedonistic intermezzo                                       Mascagni/Raging Bull


“No other member of his generation before him had taken raw emotions and projected them onto an IMAX screen of this expressive magnitude.”


“I become a transparent eyeball” (Emerson)



            Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz

            “colored dirt”

            Timothy Hyman

            “epic-scaled carnivalesque”


            Frank Kermode The Genesis of Secrecy

“Modern fictive plots as we now understand them have a precursor in parables and midrash, the Talmudic practice of weaving new commentaries around existing narratives.”


You don’t have to show me twice. I can see right immediately that Guston’s painting kicks ass. [bad habits][head][two fat feet][if this be not i]


Stephen Shore (photography)


Roberta Smith on Matthew Barney


“You wait to be enchanted, but the oscillation among the obscure, the beautiful, and the unresolved starts to wear you down.”


Tim Griffin (wishes he were) on Matthew Barney


Could Tim Griffin possibly want to suck Matthew Barney’s dick more? Give me a break. What drool. And this is from a senior Artforum editoire. Again, I would never suck my own dick.


Howard Singerman on Laura Owens


One page review basically demonstrating/summarizing the anxiety of today’s art critic in determining whether Owens is overrated or not.  His first sentence says it all.  “There are some very good paintings in MOCA’s Laura Owens survey—”  And yet? And yet? Then he uses the word impasto. Then says “Despite Owens’s studied idiosyncrasy, her paintings are relatively detached and emotionally cool; that’s part of their openness…Most of the criticism Owens has received, good or bad, has invoked a consistent list of attributes: lightness, openness, tenderness, innocence, vulnerability…These word describe by turns not only the paintings but Owens’s attitude toward painting…When it’s no longer clear how to link one painting practice to another or how to summon a history of painting, the attitude a painter takes toward his or her practice and the attitude a painting takes toward its being seen have particular importance.”


I agree Owens’s paintings are very open and invite participation.  But I’m not sure I agree it’s because they are “detached” or “emotionally cool.”  Not that they are not  detached, but I prefer to look at it in terms of first versus third person narrative.  Owens presents the subject, politely (detachedly), but doesn’t directly engage the viewer in a one on one (“in your face,” sort of) conflict, as many  current painters (and just about all conceptual artists) seem to want to do. Okay, fine. Detached. But NOT  “emotionally cool.”  Not necessarily at least.


Lane Relyea on Donald Judd


“The very next things Judd created were the Specific Objects, with their aggressive materials, blocky and inert shapes, and bland repetitions combining to obscure any sense of a definable frontal aspect or face by which they present themselves to an audience. Even the wall reliefs, which seem to have frontality imposed on them, still turn their attention sideways, perpendicular to the line of sight, repeating their component parts either up and down or across the wall. Judd’s breakthrough constituted a decided triumph over the frame. And this, as legend has it, led to the discovery of ever larger apparatuses modeling our vision and belief, the institutional frames of the museum, gallery, art magazine, and so on.  Ironically, though, today it’s the notion of breakthrough itself that may be kaput—that is, now that there are no more frames to break, now that the galleries, museums, and art magazines have all become indistinguishable from entertainment, and now that art objects, no matter how specific and literal, have been dematerialized into digitized images stored in data archives without end. Perhaps Judd foresaw all this, which may explain why, when he later decided to take the matter of “framing” his work into his own hands, he chose such an indomitable fortress as Marfa.”


Okay, first of all, give me a break. Art is indistinguishable from entertainment? No. I disagree.  Without art, you would not need art magazines.  And if art were the same as entertainment, we wouldn’t need art magazines to explain the difference.  “…now that art objects, no matter how specific and literal, have been dematerialized into digitized images…”  No.  Quite irrelevant.  The effect of digitalization on art is not fundamentally different than it is on any medium (literature, cinema, sex).  We still have books. We still go to movies. And we still have an HIV scare in the porn industry. It’s all real. And it’s going to stay that way. Stay I tell you!


Katy Siegel (Hunter College, CUNY) on Sigmar Polke


Wow this is cogent! Fantastic review. I understood it!


Notes from artforum September 2003


Jorg Immendorff

Yoshitomo Nara

Bruno Gironcoli

Jeff Wall


John Currin – Review by David Rimanelli (+1) [text]


            I found Rimanelli’s review balanced, thoughtful, and (most of all), short.


Dieter Roth – Review by Daniel Birnbaum (NR, but not bad so far) [text]


Who said there was anything quotidian about making cheese? I take umbrage.

            I need to read Hegel, Beckett

            Need to look into this Joseph Beuys character


Max Beckmann – Review by Harry Cooper (Beckmann good, Cooper bad, very)


Olafur Eliasson – Mini-review par Johanna Burton (review not officially rated, but)


Exhibit sounds good.


Notes from artforum November 2004


Benjamin Edwards

Luc Tuymans – cool

Olafur Eliasson


House Style – On La Maison Rouge


Interesting total-gobbledygook from Normal L. Kleebatt


“The public display of private collections is a complex, eccentric enterprise that continues to engender debate.”


That wasn’t even  the gobbledygook.


“For me the office of contemporary collector “Monsieur C,” was among the most engaging, imaginative, and tautly constructed spaces. We are told in the catalogue that his wide, also a collector, dislikes contemporary art and does not permit it to enter their shared domain.”


That wasn’t it either.


“The juxtaposition sets up a dizzying conceptual mise en abyme where the material becomes ethereal as physical reflection meets psychological narcissism.”


There we go.


Cove lighting!


“The tour ended in the basement of La Maison Rouge with “396 regards,” projected details of historical masterpieces from the slide collection of the late art historian Daniel Arasse.*  The immateriality of this “collection” is immanent.  Only through intimate details taken from reproductions can Arasse return these publicly held pictures to the domain of personal memory. He subverts material desire into ghostly enchantment. The art historian’s slide project has been posthumously transformed into a conceptual installation reversing the role that artist Robert Morris played in his 21.3, 1964. Arasse is turned into an artist with this installation just as Morris impersonated an art historian (Erwin Panofsky) in his piece. These poetic and transient means offer the exhibition, so based in materiality, an intangible, philosophical climax that is nevertheless thematically in sync with our voyeuristic entrée into the highly personalized visions on view.”


Um, hello.



* Split Decision – On the Demise of the Slide Projector (wait, who wrote this?)


            analog à digital


                        moving too fast

                        we cannot keep up

                        our brains weren’t meant to

                        losing too much

Notes from artforum December 2004 (The Best of the Best of 2004)


I don’t know why I subscribe to artforum.  I’m not an artist.  I don’t collect art (can’t afford it—at least—not the art I would want). Am not obsessed with New York. Like to read things that are clear and concisely written. I don’t like ads—usually.  And yet, here I am, another year, another subscription to artforum. And now with the December 2004 issue, we get a lovely faceful of top 10 lists for best art (I suppose you could call them) occurrences, in 2004. There is occasional overlap, but for the most part, everyone has totally different lists. I guess that means there was a lot of great art this year. Of course, I didn’t see any of it. But I’m very happy to know it happened, even without me. Very happy.  And now you begin to understand why I have to subscribe to artforum, now and forever.


So without any more ado, here’s my Best of the Best of 2004 Issue


Alison M. Gingeras – nice name, judging from you picture, you look a little young for me to be taking you too seriously. Kippenberger? Okay, I’ve heard of that one.  Photography. Van Gogh. Good.  Oh, let’s see what you say about Bruce Nauman.  “The anti-Weather project.” What’s a regular Weather Project? Maybe you’ll explain in next year’s Best Of?


David Rimanelli – I’m glad you made it to Boston to see the Boris Mikhailov exhibit. This surely raises the value of the book I bought of the exhibit?  But you can’t help mentioning Nicole Kidman—twice. Wrong. Didn’t see Cold Mountain, of course, but did see Dogville. It’s not that great. You’re not that great, I would have to infer. Or did I just dream it?


Mathew Higgs – I don’t care how gay you are. I’m not impressed by your silly, posed picture.  I hope it’s not uncool of me to mention something so irrelevant. Like when someone bothers to point out that the person who just walked in the room is fat. Um, yes, they are. But you made me do it. YOU—with your choice—left me with none.  Andy Warhol, Bruce Nauman. Okay. Got it. Roger Ballen. Lee Lozano. Okay. I’m reading your blurbs and I’m falling for you, rather easily. I was such a bitch to you. Why? And now I am sorry.


Lynne Cooke – Rem Koolyeaah. Right on. I love that Seattle Library. Yes. Yes! And where did all the museum projects go?  Don’t worry. They’re somewhere. I’m sure. Because Rem told me one time, when we were hanging out. Bruce Nauman. God damn. Mark Wallinger. Okay, you just said Mies van der Rohe and “untrammeled” in the same paragraph. I love you. I would have loved you just the way you were, but now it’s even better.


Daniel Birnbaum – Too many German things. Did I just say that? Okay, okay. But I think you are a little fixated, no? No mention of Nauman, though. I give you that.


Jack Bankowsky – Haven’t heard of any of your items. Except Ed Ruscha. And your picture gives me nothing. Skipping you now. [NR]


Bruce Hainley – Your picture says, “I’m a dweeb.” And you are.


Thelma Golden – I’m not familiar with any of your choices, but you do do one thing that distresses me greatly. You write “My favorite scene in The Shawshank Redemption sees Tim Robbins escaping from prison by swimming through a sewer pipe, emerging from the sludge into freedom.”  Fortunately, I have no intention of ever seeing a silly Hollywood turd like The Shawshank Redemption, because otherwise your insightful comment would have just ruined it for me. Note to Thelma, spoilers—they go in the middle of essays—not the beginning.


Paul Schimmel – El Greco. Koons. Say no more. Squire. 


Tom Vanderbilt – Interesting choices. Looks a nice guy. No complaints here.


Pamela Lee – Second mention of Bontecou. Bruce Nauman…The Daily Show! Ant Farm!! Just kidding (about Ant Farm). The Battle of Algiers! But I already had a crush on Ms. Lee, even before this. Cuz I read her piece in another issue (see other issue) and duly noted that she was actually intelligible. And her name makes her sound hot so I assume she is. 


Hamza Walker – Eh, I’m getting bored with this (project). And Hamza looks like he could beat the crap of me (you know, cuz he’s black). So maybe I should just not say any more.


Robert Rosenblum – Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol. One and Two in a row! This guy’s got some balls. Miro! De Kooning. What “fuck you” spirit?! This guy’s great. Bacon. Dali! And he does mention a couple of new artists too. But no matter. This guy’s the winner. For having the most balls, AND he just looks ten years wiser than the rest. And he’s a white! I really like Robert Rosenblum. I wonder if he knows Peter Plagens? I wonder if Peter Plagens is white.


At least no one said Juergen Teller!!! Jesus.


Notes from artforum February 2005


Emily JacirI have my reasons


Jonathan Nossiter’s Mondovino: A Film About Terroir in wine-growing (and commentary on class struggle in France)*

* Wait, there’s a class struggle in France? Nobody told me about this?


Darren Waterston


Ernie Gehr / Peter Hutton


The New Moma – Mark Wigley’s Take [full text w/ my footnotes]


The New Moma – Yves Alain-Bois’s Take [NR]


Yves is not happy—with the new MOMA. He makes many very specific complaints. When I have time, I will go back and examine his detailed complaints in more detail. From what I recall (from reading this a while back), he doesn’t like the new gallery arrangements (for various aesthetic reasons) and feels as though the museum is too spineless when dealing with its affluent patrons (e.g. letting them have too much influence on the museums physical stylings). I’m okay with bitter if it’s accurate, so I’ll get back to this later.


“The shame about the new MOMA is not so much its embarrassment of riches but rather its loss of nerve.” Again, I would nerve loose my nerve. I can bloody well assure you of that.


The New Moma – Benjamin H.D. Buchloh’s Take (although he don’t call it that) {NR}


Well-written, plenty of waxing philosophical. The man (BHDB) is clearly an educator. Full text not available online and I think I’ve scanned enough for today. So, sorry.


Liam Gillick and Philippe Parreno Parreno talk about “Briannnnnn and Ferryyyyyy


Things I circled: Alien Gothic.  I wonder what that font looks like. I don’t have it.


Affirmative Action – Tom Vanderbilt on The Yes Men


·                    “Most successful hoaxes work by the fidelity with which they cleave to the original source.”

·                    “But a hoax, no matter how artfully presented, would fail without an audience that wanted to believe.”


Peter Plagens (I have to meet this guy) – cogent [Tadao Ando]

Sarah Anne Johnson


Loren Goodman’s Top 10

  • Ken Brown (beautiful postcard)
  • Joan Nelson (alt-Owens)
  • actually, all of his top 10 seem good. life is short, but here they are anyway: eric fensler, lon changely, lisa zerkowitz, charlie bidwell, takashi hiraide, virgil marti, joe brainard


Notes from artforum April 2005


Jean-Paul Riopelle

Fondazione Mimmo Rotella     


That’s it.

Notes from artforum May 2005


David Hockney à would later see in Boston in 2006, “portrait exhibit”. It was okay. I wasn’t though.

Guillermo Kuitca

Anna Shteynshleyger

Olafur Eliasson, Daniel Buren: pretty damn cool

Michael Borremans

Rodney Graham

Annette Lawrence

Ralph Eugene

Dirk Skreber


Philip Johnson

from Cleveland

Glass house (1949)

Pennzoil Place (1976)

                        Four Seasons Restaurant Interior (1958)

Pre-Columbian Galleries at Dumberton Oaks, Washington, DC (1963)

pre-Columbia, District of Columbia? Te he.

                        Mies van der Rohe

                        John Soane


“Everything was driven by an impatient desire to cut through to the key issues or sensations.”


“Yet he was strangely reluctant to copy himself, allowing some lines to develop in his work for a short time but avoiding Warhol’s hypnotic seriality in order polemically represent nothing in particular other than tasteful choice and change itself.”


Notes from artforum August 2005





Dear Giulio,


     You bought a table with a motor on it. Why?



                                               Sincerely Yours,  

                                                     Cold Bacon




Kate Spade

Ed Ruscha – Yancey Richardson Gallery


Kertesz (International Center for Photography)

Sept. 16 – Nov. 27


Greg Crewdson


            Sure we had a thing, but now I can’t seem to get away from him.


Notes from artforum October 2005


Sally Mann

Scott McFarland

Roy McMakin

Gilberto Zorio

Julia Oschatz


Remastered Narrative (the de Young museum in GGPSF) by Aaron Betsky


LACMA passes on Rem Koolhaas in favor of Renzo Piano. Koolhaas picked up by the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.


It stands out as a monumental presence, but one that has been abstracted to such a degree that it can also be seen as a simple warehouse. It pulls this trick off by pulling apart and then reassembling the bits and pieces that make up the traditional art museum rather than opting for a wholesale reinvention of the type.  – Aaron Betsky (Master Gobbedygooktician)


As the copper ages (it is already doing so), the building will partially blend into its sylvan surroundings. – Bla bla bla, sigh.


Meanwhile, one-third of the de Young’s bulk is hidden underground, where visitors can enter from the parking garage directly into the 12,000 square-foot space designated for rotating exhibitions.  The efficient presentation of traveling and temporary shows is thus not acknowledged—as is usually the case—on the exterior as a constituent part of the new museum. – awesome


The monumental front one would expect in such a temple of art has become a massive overhang on the building’s west side, which shelters the museum café. – loud hooray (which may strike the listener as perhaps a little sarcastic upon reflection)


Here it becomes clear that the museum’s dominant form is that of the stretched and bowed rhomboid, leaving one with a sense of slippery and deformed mass instead of a clear frame. – In other words, a Java transporter.


Enoc Perez


Maurizio Cattelan (assemblage with taxidermied animals)


I tried very hard not to like this work, because it’s selling for $1M at Christie’s, and it’s not mine. But I can’t. I cannot not like it. That little bird on the top, is just hilarious. Every time I look at it I bust out laughing. I can’t stop.  I don’t know about a million dollars, but damn it’s funny. Maybe $800,002.


Jan De Cock

Third time I’ve seen and liked de Cock.


Janis Avotins

            Interesting.  And from Cologne? Kai is from Cologne. Kai…


Saint Clair Cemin

            To Jack Bankowsky, choose your words, bud. And choose fewer.[-1]


The films of Hou Hsiao-Hsien

Need to read this, I guess.


Noisettes from artforum November 2005


Friends. In response to two-thousand seven hundred requests from various readers out there (mostly Artforum contributors and occasionally Luc Tuymans), I am going to not only just make mention of ads and ends  which catch my interest, but I am also, whenever possible, going to try to say something about why I reacted the way I did.  I hope this change in methods does not cause any alarm or make anyone drown (or immolate) themselves. Although I realize it might.


Chris Ofili – interesting blue/night/lightning in photo (oh, look, he even calls it The Blue Rider; cute) Africa, good? Range Rovers…what does it all mean?


Mike KelleyDay is Done (love the photo) [diederichson]


Their So-Called Life – Norman Bryson on W.J.T. Mitchell


What Do Pictures Want? The Lives and Loves of Images by W.J.T. Mitchell


Great topic. How could this piece go wrong? It didn’t. Nice little review. I feel like I’ve read the book. Always a favorite topic.  Why can’t Artforum just call it a book review though? Artforumà Too many titles. W.J.T. Mitchellà too many names. Blade Runner si.


Michael Bevilacqua (Galleri Faurschou) – love these colors. Dries is mad for plaid too.


I really hate to take sides (like this), but Damien Hirst is overrated.


Jeff Koons just keeps getting better and better to me.


Boris Mikhailov – Yes. Always.


Lucie Rouart is hot as shit. I wonder if she would care that I speak French. Hey Lucie, I speak French, if you care.


I would have liked to have read more about “Elizabeth” Murray’s painting, but Carroll Dunham’s piece was so gobble-d-licious that I just could not continue beyond the first paragraph. Look, what would you do?


PAINTING IN NEW YORK during the second half of the 1970s was a mess. The self-analytical, radically empty work of artists like Jo Baer, Robert Ryman, Brice Marden, and Robert Mangold, which had been the main chance in the not-yet-fully-played-out arc of modernist painting, was proving generative primarily for those artists and a tight phalanx of sympathetic curators and critics, while its implications of closure made its absorption by a generation of enraptured younger artists quite problematic. The art schools and galleries were loaded with mannered attempts to thread some needle of original nuance among the dead ends implied by the older artists' positions, while the broader painterly discourse became increasingly cacophonous. Photorealism and the remnants of lyrical abstraction waned as Pattern and Decoration, New Image, and bad painting waxed in a Darwinian struggle for philosophical market share. Less categorizable investigations into the implications of painting at the nexus of Conceptual art and traditional materiality were being pursued along both abstract and representational lines, and an approach to abstraction was beginning to crystallize, typified by artists like Bill Jensen, Gary Stephan, and Stephen Mueller, that seemed to be asking what nonobjective painting might be if Clement Greenberg’s rigorous proscriptions had never hijacked the conversation in American aesthetics. The juggernaut of modernism had already broken down and was being stripped for parts, although it would be a few years until the big bang of the early '80s, when these disparate pathways would assume coherence as precursors to the sensibility of a new wave of younger artists.


Avalanche and the SOHO art scene 1970-1976 by Gwen Allen


Wow, this is an interesting story. Well written. I’m going to say more about this shortly, but for now, good.


Stuart Davis (great looking painting)


Preserve and Protect (Malcom Turvey on Two Anthologies of Avant-Garde Film)

  1. Avant-Garde: Experimental Cinema of the 1920s and ‘30s
  2. Unseen Cinema: Early American Avant-Garde Film,1894-1941


Sounds interesting. I remain both tempted and reluctant to dip into the world of art film. And it isn’t because of Pauline Kael. I have my own concerns.


Devil In The Details (Greil Marcus on Harvey Kurtzman) [full text]


Piece about Harvey Kurtzman, who had a falling out with Bill Gaines at MAD and went on to act out his own idiosyncratic comic career.  Anyway, I am deeply sympathetic with both the subject (comics, non-sequiturs, subversion) and the lengthy Mark Twain passage (taking up one out of the two pages), and yet, I find Marcus’ attempt to emulate Kurtzman’s pulsing non-sequitur style in his own piece a bit grating. First, this isn’t the time or the place. I’m here to learn about Greil Marcus—I mean—Harvey Kurtzman, not Greil Marcus. I’m here to learn about Harvey Kurtzman. Two, it juxtaposes itself to the accompanying screenshots of Kurtzman’s actual comics, and thus, invites a comparison (if even subconscious). This bodes ill for Marcus. Three, whatever. Four, Andy Gibb.


Circuit City [full-text]

Tom Vanderbilt on Pixelated Architecture


Vanderbilt’s piece is centered around the notion of the digital screen itself as an architectural component.  He mentions the work of MIT-based architectural essayist William J. Mitchell.  He quotes Lev Manovich: “In the longer term every object may become a screen connected to the Net, with the whole of built  space becoming a set of display surfaces.” And he describes Seoul as a place where people are more into their cell phones than we are and use them to take their online role-playing with them everywhere they go. 


Very interesting topic, and what seems like an informed description of modern Urban Korea, and the LEDs therein.  But Vanderbilt is either unable or unwilling to acknowledge that a) the internet is overrated b) everything will not be a screen in any of our lifetime’s, so who cares c) Koreans are totally crazy (and please don’t take that the wrong way; when I say crazy, I mean really fuckin’ crazy).


Notes from Artforum January 2006


Charlie White – Everything Is America


I’m not really sure how to evaluate Charlie White in formal terms, but clearly this is an artist who is “going for it” so to speak.


Michael WeselyRecent Works


            I really like this photograph. I don’t know.


Jan Groover – Kitchen Still Lifes


            I just like forks and spoons. You got a problem with that?


The Kreutzer Sonata: Historical Work by Richard Tuttle


I don’t like that title because I don’t think Beethoven’s sonata should be so closely linked to one artist’s vision. Yes. I say this probably because the detail shown from the exhibit doesn’t conform to my perception of Beethoven’s work. Okay, I’m staring at that detail a little more. I don’t know. Kreutzer? Okay. Fine. It is a curious little drawing isn’t it? Damn. I always lose eventually.


Robert Adams Turning Back


Picture of a stump. I don’t know. I like it. Maybe it reminds me of Alvarez-Bravo. Whatever. I like it.


Esther Da Costa Meyer on Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial


“As with many contemporary thinkers, Eisenman rejects the redemptive notion of collective memory and its unexamined links to the sacred, which unite its celebrants in a reassuring cult of remembrance.”


Couldn’t have said it better myself. And wouldn’t have, Since I don’t know the first thing about the subject. (Not a Jew? Can’t touch this!) But I really enjoyed this piece, and I can’t imagine how this isn’t one of the better written pieces on architecture that has appeared in Artforum. [+1; more if I go to Berlin and agree]



There’s a Hirschhorn exhibit showing right now at the ICA, which I am not going to see.


Thomas Lawson on The Tropical House (Jean Prouvé, 1951)


Lawson is good. I think he uses the personal-essay, questioning style to good effect here, but without being excessively annoying. This piece is worth reading all the way to its one-page end, wherein he puts Prouvé in context with Le Corbusier, politics and the Congo. Good. [+1] Yes, it’s almost one year later now…as I read this, and look back, lovingly. And yes, I still like Prouvé. I like him very much.


Sven Lütticken on “Populism”


Good piece. Makes sense of some very tricky subject matter. Check it out. [+1]


Sven Lütticken on Nicolaus Schafhausen


When it Sven’s it Sven’s, I guess. Good piece on the curatorial issues surrounding Witte de With in Rotterdam (and more…) [+1]


Erik Parker (Last Word, 2005) – Galleri Faurschou


Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s not so new. Maybe it’s not Basquiat. But I like it. I like the fun of it.


Hiroyuki Hamada (Untitled #44, 2002-05) – Plane Space


Same as  above minus the Basquiat comment.


Christopher S. Wood on Hans Holbein the Younger


Very nicely written. Very nicely written. [+1] [text]


Tim Griffin walks with the Curators of 2006 Whitney Biennial


Tim totally calls them on their stupid attempt to place themselves in the show (by erecting a fictional curator á la Reena Spaulings, who is in the show) and they squirm to defend themselves. Yes, well, the last thing I want is to sound pretentious, or ungrateful, but these curators (names withheld) sound like some pretty serious  dorks. Oh, I could be wrong…


Vergne (curator): “Perhaps confuse isn’t the right word, but rather complexify.”


Complexify \'complexify\ adj smug.ger; smug.gest [prob. modif. of LG smuck, neat, fr. MLG, fr. smucken to dress, akin to OE smoc smock] (1551) 1 : trim or smart in dress : SPRUCE 2 : scrupulously clean, neat, or correct : TIDY 3 : highly self-satisfied — advsmug.ness n


First Takes


 Cao Fei [text] – films (sounds interesting) by Hans-Ulrich Obrist [+1]


Jessica Morgan on Geoffrey Farmer – 1st paragraph didn’t excite. [0]

Mark Godfrey on Janice Kerbel – didn’t mark anything on this? [has to be 0 then]


Ryan Trecartin [text] – films (sounds insane, and by insane, I mean, as in, “I see ahead into your future; I see, newer generation antipsychotics” insane—and interesting) by Dennis Cooper [+1]


Tami Ben-Tor [text] – films/performance (sounds very interesting) by Debra Singer [+1]


Peyman Rahimi [text] – painting (look great?) by Daniel Birnbaum [+1]


Painters: as we learned with _____ and ______, you really gotta see ‘em in person. Well-written review. Some quite salient points, esp. that last one.


Olivia Booth –  ______ by Rachel Kushner on.


Interesting. Very technical and certainly over my head. But I appreciate the detail. [+1]


Not First Takes


Rosemarie Trockel by Caroline A. Jones


Incredibly well-written. I am definitely convinced. Rosemarie Trockel is my kind of artist. [+1] [text]


David Rimanelli on Hanna Liden


Mr. Rimanelli has outdone himself. A very nice discussion of Hanna Liden’s photography. In spite of his own complicated prose and a great number of words I don’t know (equipoise, chthonic, lugubriousness—I probably should know that one), Rimanelli nonetheless has made me feel as though I have a pretty good sense of Liden’s work. The accompanying samples of that work probably didn’t hurt either. You know, it’s funny. Rimanelli really cannot write a single sentence without at least one “myriad parodic spinoff” or “photographic verisimilitude.” But that’s okay. He’s growing on me. Surely, but slowly. [+1]


Names mentioned in a/w Liden: Cameron Jamie, Banks Violette, Aïda Ruilova, among others, Caspar David Friedrich, Christen Købke, Vilhelm Hammerschøe, Eugène Fredrik Jansson, Edvard Munch, Ingmar Bergman, Arnold Böcklin, John Waters, George Franju


Jessica Stockholder talks about her current installation at the Kunsthallen Brandts, Odense, Denmark


The last thing I want to read is a statement from an artist (I’ve never heard of). [NR]


Cinematic Affects: The Art of Runa Islam


I’ll save this and read it later if I ever have the opportunity to see a Runa Islam film. There’s nothing worse than reading about a filmmaker whose films you have not and may never see. [NR]


Medium Shots: The Films of Morgan Fisher


Same as above, only more so. Whenever I see the word avant-garde in the same sentence with filmmaker, I start thinking of escape. Robert Beavers, Owen Land, Hollis Frampton, Bruce Conner all also mentioned. And of course, I knew if I scanned long enough, I would find, the name, Chris Marker, bottom page 203. I’m sure someday, I may or may not read this article and discover the films of Morgan Fisher. [NR, both meanings]




William Forsythe (contemporary, performance, conceptual, mixed media)

Edvard Munch (painting)

David Smith (sculpture)

Snap Judgments: New Positions In Contemporary African Photography (photography)

Paul Klee (painting)

David Hockney (painting)

Frank Stella 1958 (painting)

Gone Formalism (?)

Artists From Cologne (mixed, but painting, really)

Artur Barrio (photography, humor)

Cezanne in Provence (painting)

Vik Muniz (photography, conceptual art)

Malcolm Morley (painting)

Eva Hesse (drawing)

The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America (modern art)


Courbet and the Modern Landscapes (paintings…of landscapes)

Martin Kippenberger (painting plus)

Gothic Nightmares: Fuseli, Blake and the Romantic Imagination (160

works…complete with grisly slide shows and creepy sounds)

Modernism: Designing a New World, 1914-1939 (graphic design, furniture, photography,

painting, film, and costume)

Making History: Art and Documentary in Britain from 1929 to Now (films, television programs, photographs, paintings, literature, other media—okay, everything)

Roy Arden (photography)

Howard Hodgkin (painting)

Pierre Huyghe (projects…)

Jean-Luc Godard (9 installations)

Juergen Teller (photography)

Markus Raetz (sculpture and “delicate works on paper”)

Inner Worlds Outside (works organized thematically!)

Tom Sachs (mixed media) Note: Tom Sachs, is himself, that nitro car.

Infinite Painting: Contemporary Painting and Global Realism (painting…and

sculpture!...and video!...and photography!)

Steven Parrino (painting, drawing, photography)

Marc Camille Chaimowicz (installations, print and painting suites, and sculptures)




I wanted to read the review of Jörg Immendorff (translated from German) but it was way too long. The image inserts looked promising, though. As for the rest of the reviews, there were just too many, and February 2006 had already arrived. My God, I just can’t read it all. So I think, now, I’m officially done with January 2006.  At least once I look at this Kai Althoff review.


Bruce Hainley Goes to Town On Kai Althoff


As the title cleverly suggests, Mr. Hainley was hardly pleased with Althoff’s first and latest solo show in L.A. this fall. “I was going to start this review with a list of some of the recherché items found in Kai Althoff’s…but I just got bored.” He then compares Althoff unfavorably to Jack Smith, Bruce Conner and Stevie Nicks. I’ve heard of Stevie Nicks. He then proceeds to list quite a few recherché and concludes, “Was this doodle a key to the goings-on? I’m not Rain Man enough to care.”  Okay, first of all, that’s offensive to autistic people. Second of all, it goes against Hainley’s earlier praise of Jack Smith, who (from his description) is as much Rain Man as Dustin Hoffman. He concludes his review, “Althoff’s decorator aesthetic (“gay” in its signs, although risking no definitive signification) is Norman Bates without the murder, taxidermied repression, or dead mother—everything that made that faggot fun.” I’m just not even gonna touch that. [-1, just for annoying me, not because I own]


Notes from Artforum February 2006


Salons de Refuse – Hannah Feldman on Raymond Hains and Arman


Claude Pascal

Triangle Group in 1949

Cachets,” 1955-57

Allure d’Objets,” 1958-60

Object appropriation

Nouveau Réalisme

40o Above Dada

the union that brought him, Klein, Hains, Restany, François Dufrêne, Jacques de la Villeglé, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri and Jean Tinguely


“As Jean-Max Colard astutely observed in these pages in December 2001, Hains’s work is nothing if not “nonlinear, made up of digressions, missed appointments, lateral moves, and temporary disappearances.” His shying away from the limelight, however, did not extend to an unwillingness to critique it.”


“Perhaps preserving remnants of the past and drawing them into new temporal associations is all that is necessary for instructive dialogue; perhaps not.”


[Every time I put this article down, I forget immediately what I’m supposed to think about Hains and Arman; were they ahead of their time on purpose? or was it just by accident? + ½ because I had to supply this question myself]


Russian RevolutionYves-Alain Bois On the Politics of Constructivism


1962, The Great Russian Experiment in Art: Russian Art, 1863-1922 (Camilla Gray)

1983, Russian Constructivism (Christian Lodder)


“The result was a transformation of the Constructivists into some sort of “pioneers of modern design,” and their furniture prototypes or textile patterns were compared to those of the German (and capitalist) Bauhaus.”


Aleksandr Rodchenko

Liubov Popova

Varvara Stepanova

Vladimir Tatlin

Iwil Turnyuova

Cosima Tatlin 2 – just kidding


Karl Ioganson 1923-26

Walter Benjamin

“…the same desire to set “objective” guidelines for art in its abstract age: how not to fall back on bourgeois subjectivity and the pure arbitrariness of personal taste (á la Kandinsky)”


Started off good but then it sped up and I couldn’t.  But seems like a very interesting subject. I just need to read more about what’s been written about it [Yves not-rated]


Caroline A. Jones On Globalism and the Venice Biennale – Troubled Waters


Solid piece of art-journalism (paints a vivid picture of some of the problems with the Venice Biennale and the anxieties and efforts on the part of itself to save itself from obsolescence) wherein author’s personal stake is felt but not seen. +1


I just thought these were cool:


Fabrice HyberPetrole

Magasin 3 – Walking & Falling

MP & MP Rosado

Angelo Filomeno

Georg Baselitz – German Art

Bonhams – Contemporary Asian Art

Yoshitoma Nara

Emilio Ambasz – Casa De Retiro Espiritual


The Art of Michel Majerus by Daniel Birnbaum [+1]


Jean-Antoine Watteau, Philipp Otto Runge, Willem de Kooning, Disney, Frank Stella, Jörg Immendorff, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist


“producing a strange sense of emptiness and visual dissonance”

“This radical discontinuity”

            “with a certain amount of brute force”


“Majerus would go on to create more and more ambitious environments that altered the perception of the space itself rather than just the images on the walls. Specifically designed wall structures or elegant-looking forms of scaffolding became integrated parts of his shows, and the “paintings” seemed to develop directly out of these architectural arrangements.”


“In the 90s Majerus appeared to me to be the most contemporary of contemporaries. No one else seemed to make art that was so obviously of our times.”


And these I haven’t read:


    Keith Sanborn and Greil Marcus
    Jeffrey Kastner
    Jan Tumlir
    Rachel Kushner


Notes from Artforum March 2006


Words into Type – David Antin on Vito Acconci [text]


This is a good review, a valuable review, and there’s nothing awkward about the title. David Anton is good. Doesn’t make me want to read the Acconci book, but couldn’t that be a good purpose for such a review.  Anton’s review also raises many interesting points and gets me to thinking. [+1]


World Mergers – Michael Fried on Luc Delahaye [text]


What a glorious review. Michael Fried has simply written an excellent review. Excellent on so many levels. He injects himself into the review, but does not merely to call attention to his own presence (most reviewers), or because he can’t help it (the rest). He does so as a calculated means of drawing the reader in, allowing the reader to identify with his own character (in the review), and thus experience his (Fried’s) experience of Delahaye’s work vicariously. This is all very good.  “I spent several days in Paris this past November in order to catch his exhibition…” Coming from Bankowsky, this would seem like an unnecessary indulgence. But clearly, Fried’s purpose is of the highest order, to convey to the reader what he has determined to be the greatness in Luc Delahaye’s work. And there is much interpretation. Indeed, too much. Gobs. The whole first page is a specific interpretation of one of Delahaye’s photographs. Ah, but there’s a reason, and you’ll see when you read the piece. This is a great review. The best kind of review. [+2]


Capture the Flag – Amy Taubin on Peter Watkins’s Punishment Park


Much as I adore Ms. Taubin, there’s no such thing as a great undiscovered filmmaker. So I’m skipping this piece. [NR]


Conspicuous Consumption – J. Hoberman on Edvard Munch


See, now I read this because I’m stupid, and didn’t realize it was by what’s-his-face. Anyway, still not seeing it, or reading the Taubin piece. But I will say this. Munch’s story sounds compelling. Awfully compelling. [+1]


Depth Perception – Matthew Stadler on RED76 [text]


Stadler writes well, but he fails to persuade me that RED76 is anything more than an average (or even below average) conceptual art project. Who’s fault is this? [draw]


Just Say Yes – Bruce Hainley on Liza Minnelli


Just Say No – I ain’t reading a piece on Liza Minnelli. [-1]


Brendan Fowler’s Top 10 List


1.Lucky Dragons – Under the name Lucky Dragons, Luke Fischbeck creates ecstatic music that completely transcends genres. My attempts to describe what his music actually sounds like always fall short of the magic he is making. I guess you could say it sounds like—ecstatic magic. Challenging stereotypes that electronic music is cold and sterile, Fischbeck’s live show, though conducted via computers, is a truly great celebration of the human spirit, giving real hope for the techno-future our society is racing toward.


“Fischbeck’s live show, though conducted via computers”




2. KRISTIN BAKER, "FALL OUT," ACME, LOS ANGELES Long before I began working in text and performance, I considered painting psychologically challenging pictures of deconstructed cars. Baker makes paintings similar to what I had envisioned but, with a brilliant palette and sensibility for texture and composition, hers are much more exciting than I could have ever hoped for my own.




Peripheral Vision – Isabelle Graw on the art of Jutta Joether


Didn’t read. [NR]


Barry Schwabsky on Daria Martin


Giacometti's 1932 sculpture The Palace at 4 A.M.

De La Warr Pavilion by Eric Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff

Persephone, Hades, Rilke

“the sex appeal of the inorganic” (Perniola)


Solid description of Daria Martin’s films. [+1]


Peace Tower – Irving Petlin, Mark Di Suvero, and Rirkrit Tiravanija revisit the artists’ Tower of Protest, 1966


This is the artist talking here? Is that what’s happening? Whoa. Last thing I want to read. [NR]


Philip Guston – always

Joan Mitchell – sure

Trenton Doyle Hancock – Dali?

Jon Pylypchuk – looks really interesting

Michael Raedecker – promising?

William Wegman? or Brian Alfred?

Uwe Lausen? or Daniel Richter?

Pierre Huyghe – interesting? or interesting?

Yvonne Jacquette – painting (I don’t know, I like it?)

Gwon, Osang – sculpture (I like it)

Anthony James – not sure, looks interesting though

Cai Guo-Qiang – ink monochrome! Yeah! Whoa. Come to me, baby. Could this be the return of the untrammeled?


Richard Artschwager, Walking Man, 2004 – I like it. Reminds me of Castle Wolfenstein





Ugo Rondinone – Review by Martin Herbert [text]


This is an excellent review. Very well-written, thought-provoking. [+1]


Candida Höfer – Review by Graham Bader [text]



quietly waiting for someone—

            inherent strangeness of the most deadpan realism


“If we are of this world—for we all use train stations and go to museums, after all, perhaps the very same ones we see in these images—Höfer makes us feel that we are nevertheless alien to it, that we’re trespassing on a secret life of spaces and things.”


“There is a craziness to Höfer’s interior images—that of an apparent logic that we feel almost able to grasp—that the curator’s ordering gaze necessarily attempts to restrict.”


            László Moholy-Nagy, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Andreas Gursky


Good review. [+1]


Charlie White – Review by Jeffrey Kastner


I used to think of Charlie White as a desperate Gregory Crewdson (younger, lives in LA…). I’m over that now. I would like to give Charlie White a chance. His stuff is intense, whatever else. Anyway, better him than Juergen Teller. [+1]


Nicola Tyson by Suzanne Hudson (and bonus translation) [text]


The article says:


Nicola Tyson’s most recent show came with an epigraph, declaimed by the press release: imagination I hold to be the living Power and prime Agent of all human Perception. . . . A repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM.” Thus Tyson’s twelve new paintings, which purport to plumb the depths of “the imagination and the unconscious,” were brought under the Romantic sign of the lines’ author, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This reference deftly marks out Tyson’s ambitions here, but it’s only the beginning of the hunt for her sources and stylistic influences. Ubiquitous in discussions of Tyson’s “psycho-figuration” are litanies of her sundry appropriations. Here one might note an indebtedness to Francis Bacon’s flayed subjects; there a self-conscious nod to Hans Bellmer’s fetishistic dolls, or Hannah Hoch’s riotous collages, or Egon Schiele’s raw draftsmanship, or Cindy Sherman’s constructions of malleable identities.


Translation: Tyson appropriates a lot, and it can be pretty obvious.


The article says:


Tyson’s paintings, which often resemble the results of a one-player game of cadavre exquis, admit to such pillagings without being delimited by them. The artist’s Pop-surreal forms present bodies as libidinous portents that only tenuously come together, like textbook illustrations of the mirror stage of infant development. As amalgams of allusion and technique they would strain under their own ponderousness were it not for Tyson’s cheekily punchy colors (often forming near-monochromatic single- or double-hued grounds of unspecific place and allusion) and perverse genetic mutations.


Translation: Tyson’s paintings would just be copying—except they’re better than that.


The article says:


In such works as Full Length (all works 2005), a woman’s anatomy is a campy, hyperbolically rotund form, mutating the convention of the full-length portrait into a topsy-turvy caricature.


Translation: Full length is a good painting.


Others, such as Nude, torque physiognomy so fully as to render it abstract: a breastlike protrusion might also be a chin, and the whole form a spindly, wafer-thin phallus.


Translation: Nude looks like a breast is sticking out of it. Ha. Ha.


Then there is Twist, a pliable wishbone, legs swiveled and impossibly contorted and crowned by a hair-covered skull, a tangled mask obfuscating the figure’s identity.


Translation: ???


The article says:


Tyson’s are bodies not so much becoming animal—although there are signs of emergent wings (or are they breasts too?) in Pointers—but something alien or mineral (witness Landscape Contemplating Itself’s craggy, headlike formations). They are often androgynous, as in Bearded Artist, which shows the “artist” in aggregate profile. A passage of deep blue paint covers the cheek while the merest suggestion of an eye gives way to dense brown fur, leaving the nose and forehead to decompose into permutations of acrid pink. The image suggests a kind of violence done to the form. Even so, it is unclear whether such veils might not be defensive in their covering, armoring as much as defacing that which they overlie. As ciphers for projection and disavowal, Tyson’s paintings raise specters of scopic-desire together with autoeroticism, displacing and confounding the very term—much less the site—of otherness in the process.


Translation: Tyson has been off her lithium for 8 months now.


The article says:


Writing of his own dolls, Bellmer averred: “The anagram is the key to all my work.” It followed that “the body is like a sentence that invites us to rearrange it.” In Compulsive Beauty, Hal Foster suggests that Bellmer’s shifting of desire thus “doubles back, turns in, as if to capture the object, to make, unmake, and remake its image again and again.” At the risk of adding yet another source to Tyson’s ever- spiraling constellation, this sure seems apt.


Translation: This is my first article in Artforum. [-1]


Anselm Kiefer at the MAMFW (curated by Michael Auping) [text]


Translation: Michael Auping rocks (no kidding). Note: I have now bought this book. It is so good.


Rauschenberg by Bois and Dunham. [text] [text]


Both of these articles are good. [+1][+1]


Notes from Artforum September 2006


Personal Aside: The way it works is I flip through the issue and tear out things I want to read, keep, make comment on. Then I throw away the remaining carcass. Anyway, so the funny part is that I have to keep a small glass of wine on the table next to the pile of things I’m going to keep. So  whenever I decide to keep something, I get to grab a small sip of wine as a reward. Otherwise, I would just through the whole thing away, and we’d  have nothing. Cute.


Catherine Opie – American Cities – I never vote against American cities.

Chie Fueki – intriguing style

Walter Dahn – If I Can Dream – ?

Photographs from the collection of Richard Avedon – Avedon!

Robert Mapplethorpe – Still Moving & Lady – Wow, I totally forgot about

him. What a stir. I remember that now.

Rivane Neuenschwander – Why not? [Ball Bugs Devoe]

B. Wurtz – sculpture – funny.

Gallery in Ink – Books, Posters, Announcements & Ephemera since 1979 – Ephemera!

Victor Burgin – Voyage to Italy – And you are…?

Jonathan Meese – is this Chagoya? Is this me?

Isca Greenfield-Sanders – I don’t know. Maybe?

Elaine de Kooning – Long Island Abstraction – Indeed

via lewandowsky – cornered – Berlin – here is a sculpture of two houses (shacks really) which are superimposed with one of them tilted at a 30 degree

angle (on two axes). So it’s like one house is trying to have sex/consume the other. Anyway, this is clearly one of those times where you (the artist) think of it, but then probably shouldn’t actually go through with it.

Herbet Hamak – sculpture – pretty fuckin’ beautiful, actually.

Bonnierskonsthall – cool building, throwback curve-style.

Pia Fries – Plumbago – I have always liked. I don’t care what anyone says.


Steven Henry Madoff on Marcel Van Eeden and Aneta Grzeskykowska [text]

Fabulous essay. Probably makes the art itself seem 5x better than it really was. No matter. This is an enhancing, enabling style of capsule review. I’m mad for Madoff. (+1)


Public Image Ltd. – David Joselit on Jenny Holzer

Read as much as I could. Couldn’t keep reading. Sooooo not interested in old political art. [a very generous NR]


Life in Counterpoint – Paul Griffiths on György Ligeti

Couldn’t read the whole thing, but it seemed well-written. [NR]


Reverb Time – Christoph Cox on “Sonambiente”

Easy-to-follow piece about the sound art exhibit happening in Berlin at same time as World Cup. Somehow I think you had to be there. Oh oh, a chance to insert myself. This is like the time I was completely by accident in the same town as my five year college reunion and didn’t even know it. And then when I learned it. I was too cool to go  of course. Cause you know, I’m just so cool. (+1)


Liam Gillick on Chris Gilbert – Terms of Engagement [text]

Excellent piece of expository two-page writing about museum curators who resign from the Baltimore Museum of Art. Really. Good piece. Well-written. (+1)


Top 10 – Matias Faldbakken [text]

Wonderful. I like this Faldbakken. No, I mean I really like this Faldbakken. This is probably the best Top 10 I’ve seen in all my years of AF’ing. (A+)




Absorbed in the Action – Michael Fried [no-text]

More like, absorbed in yourself, Mr. Fried? Great subject, good analysis, but it’s a bit annoying when you can’t stop yourself from writing in the middle of your essay, “…as I have argued in other essays…” Give me a break. (-1)


The Job Changes You – Tim Griffin [text]

Way better. I knew it would be. Anyway, this is the one you want to read. (+1)


Zaha Hadid – Hal Foster [text]

Oh fuck these italics. A bit tedious, which is a compliment for an Artforum article, but now I know a little bit more about Hadid. That was good. Is she just an Iraqi version of Frank Gehry for a slightly newer age? Or is she something else? And does Hal Foster have the answer? [neutral rating]


Double Exposure – I don’t really need anyone to interpret Godard for me, past or present. However, John Kelsey seems to have a promising writing style. I will watch for him. [no text] [NR]



(Awesome) (Best in Copy) (A Must Scan!!!)

Tim Griffin’s intro [+1]

Mel Bochner’s recollections – wonderful



Couldn’t read all of it, but I have definitely added Pedro Costa to my list. And (+1) for Mr. Quandt.


Thomas Lawson on “Los Angeles 1955–1985”

Informative, I guess. A lot of name dropping, gets tedious. But it ends well. This would be a great review if you gave two shits about L.A. Ha ha. I’m just kidding. I love L.A. [NR]


Mark Godfrey on Thomas Demand (Godfrey, on demand!)

This article doesn’t make me any more interested in Demand than I was before. I think I’d have gotten much more out of it if I’d seen the exhibit, or any of Demand’s work in real. [-1; if for no other reason than]


Barry Schwabsky on “Modernism” and “Albers and Moholy-Nagy”

Tough at first, but then it grows on you. I think if you’re somewhat familiar with the topic (or have the vocabulary of God), then this is a thoughtful analysis of the subject. [+1]


Steven Henry Madoff on Carl McKay Wiegand [text]

Great. [+1]


1,000 WORDS: SERGIO VEGA – Tropicalounge
Good. Vega sounds pretty down to earth (the other one, that is!). [text]


Helen Molesworth on Lee Lozano [text]

Fine. {+1}


David Joselit on Matthew Barney

Okay. I have to admit. I still have no idea what the hell Matthew Barney is about. I think I will just have to suck it up and actually watch one of his films at some point. Yes, I fear that is the only way. [NR]


And a Ton of Previewsmy god there’s a lot of them. Who cares. [no text 2x]


Okay, I looked at a few of them.


Andreas Slominski – sounds very conceptual, ironic; could be okay.

Erwin Wurm – sounds very conceptual, ironic; could be okay.

Neo Rauch – “…an entirely new branch of painting.” Is this true?

Cold Bacon – “Cold Bacon’s work anticipates its own reception with a precision perhaps greater than that of any art before or since. Though memory was his great subject, works such as his free, unlimited-edition postcards and ridiculous t-shirt giveaways encourage viewers to participate in his ongoing creation.”

Asia-Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art 5 – okay, I saw that girl holding the vegetable gun, like a year or so ago and thought it was pretty cool. Here she is again. Same gun, assume it’s the same girl. Anyway. What would be really funny—would be if she used the same vegetables, now like, a year later, all wilted-and decayed and such to make the same gun gesture. That would be funny.


[Begin Zoloft]



 Real Art (Just Kidding)