Leaving Düsseldorf

By Godfre Leung

Godfre Leung reviews Sabine Breitwieser, Laura J. Hoptman, Michael Darling, and Jeffrey D. Grove, Isa Genzken: Retrospective, and the exhibition Isa Genzken: Retrospective; Kathy Halbreich, ed., Alibis: Sigmar Polke, 1963–2010, and the exhibition Alibis: Sigmar Polke, 1963–2010; and Elodie Evers, Magdalena Holzhey, and Gregor Jansen, eds., Leben mit Pop and the exhibition Leben mit Pop.

Knight’s Heritage: Karl Haendel and the Legacy of Appropriation, Episode One, 2000

By Natilee Harren

In Natilee Harren’s three-part essay series on issues of appropriation and artistic heritage, she examines episodes in the work of the Los Angeles–based artist Karl Haendel. In “Episode One,” Harren looks closely at Haendel’s Knight’s Heritage, 1963 (2001), which he made as a graduate student, and how it relates to the career and work of the sculptor Anne Truitt (1921–2004). Haendel made his work, a reconstruction of a 1963 work by Truitt, based on photographs, without ever having seen the Truitt sculpture itself.

Oral Sadism & The Vegetarian Personality (Approximately)

By Karl Haendel

Artist Karl Haendel has been creating an archive of 35mm slides since 2000, composed of found images and photographs. The approximately 10,000 slides are organized into more than 250 categories and subcategories (from the W section: Wedding Geometry, Weapons, White House, World War I), and some of these slides become the basis for his drawings. Though this archive exists in analogue form, Haendel recognized that the popular GIF format functions in a similar manner to that of the slide projector, and thus created a digital slideshow experience of these source images for Art Journal Open. To view Oral Sadism & The Vegetarian Personality (Approximately), click on the image inside this post to launch the project.

Two for One: robbinschilds in conversation with Dina Deitsch

By Dina Deitsch

In the final installment of her three-part interview series, curator Dina Deitsch speaks with robbinschilds about site, collaboration, and the process of creating Constructions I–IV, which was commissioned for the 2011 exhibition Temporary Structures: Performing Architecture in Contemporary Art at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

In, Around, and Afterthoughts (On Participation): Photography and Agency in Martha Rosler’s Collaboration with Homeward Bound

By Adair Rounthwaite

It seems obvious to state that photographs play a central role in our ability to study participatory art. Art historians, however, have largely bracketed this as an issue that might be important for how we conceive the politics and aesthetics of participation.

The New Geography: Earth Music and Land Art, Version 2.0; Comparison #3

by Mike Maizels

As the first pair of artists in this series examined the semantics of local places, and the second explored the possibility of picturing the world in totality, both artists in the final pairing investigate the question of geographic epistemology—how do the materials facts of the external world become the objects of systematic human understanding?

Imprinting Agnes Martin

By Karen L. Schiff

In the early 1990s I saw a conference presentation about Agnes Martin’s grid paintings, and their rigor and sensitivity was imprinted on me: I felt motivated to return to making art. When Martin (1912–2004) passed away, I started making artworks to reflect on her work and life, often through printed texts.

The New Geography: Earth Music and Land Art, Version 2.0

By Mike Maizels
The apologists for “Big Data” seem to be everywhere these days. In forums ranging from TED talks to marketing campaigns, we are now being bombarded by the just-on-the-horizon possibilities of Total Information. It is no surprise that a particular articulation of these ideas has also surfaced in the world of contemporary art practice.

Dada Dance: Sophie Taeuber’s Visceral Abstraction

By Nell Andrew

In a recent landmark exhibition on the intersection of art and dance, Danser sa vie, the Centre Georges Pompidou displayed an enigmatic photograph identified as the artist Sophie Taeuber dancing at the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916. It is not uncommon for a photograph to stand in as an icon of a live event and offer what we hope is access to some present now passed, but for decades scholars have disagreed on the date and location of the Taeuber photograph.

Through the Looking-Glass, Darkly

By Tina Rivers

When H. H. Arnason published the first edition of his 1968 book The History of Modern Art, it ended with a one-page entry on “Psychedelic Art.” Positioning the inchoate movement as a bridge between the modern and contemporary periods, the entry was a blueprint for a future that would never come to pass, and was expunged from all further editions, helping to relegate psychedelia to the proverbial dustbin of history.

Introduction

By Tirza True Latimer

More than a repository of objects or texts, the archive is the very process of selecting, ordering, and preserving the past—in short, of making history. Artists, scholars, and activists have been rethinking the politics of what archives preserve, demonstrating that the piecing together of cultural memory is not a neutral pursuit.

Sharing an Archive of Feelings: A Conversation

By Tammy Rae Carland and Ann Cvetkovich

As I remember, we met in 1995 in Portland, Oregon, through our musician girlfriends. I had just finished graduate school and had gone to New York, to the Whitney Independent Study Program, and I was about to be deployed, which is the way I think about it, to my first teaching job in the middle of Indiana.

Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

By Sarah Betzer

Spurred by global economic contractions, by the attention of politicians, legislators, and pundits, and certainly also by the historical curiosity and critical orientation of its ranks, the academy at present is in the thrall of self-scrutiny. What is the past, present, and future of the research university, an invention of stunningly recent vintage and yet of remarkable structural resilience?

If It Need Be Termed Surrender: Trisha Donnelly’s Subjunctive Case

By Michael Jay McClure

Allow for a problem within contemporary art, a problem concerning emptiness. After experiencing and writing on installations that, say, immersed me in cave systems, faux-hospitals, or forests, after navigating landscapes of fur or video labyrinths, I found myself, often, elsewhere. A group of contemporary installations seemed overwhelmingly spare, a few small objects, and I began to wonder what such a shift of spatial tenancy meant.

Precarious Symbolism: When the Political Sphere Overshadows Art History

By Maymanah Farha

As the methodical beat of a handheld drum begins to pound, a bearded, turbaned figure is shown lying on a bare floor. Overcome by emotional agony, he moves as though waking from a trance. A mane of dark hair frames his painted face as the camera zooms in and his melodic eulogy to lost love commences.

Zero at the Bone: Louise Fishman Speaks with Carrie Moyer

By Louise Fishman and Carrie Moyer

This all came to me in the last couple of weeks. In the late 1980s, early 1990s, my partner and I had gone to Madrid to see the big Velázquez retrospective. I’d never been to the Prado. I spent a lot of time looking at the Velázquez and wandering around the museum. Eventually I found Goya’s Black Paintings.

The Terms of Craft and Other Means of Making: Lee Bontecou’s Hybrid Trajectory

By Elyse Speaks

In 1958 Lee Bontecou began experimenting with a technique for making sculpture based on binding fabric to thin steel frames or armatures. Executed first on a small scale that oscillated between the form of the model and the form of tabletop sculpture, the works were emphatic in their distance from the shape and tenor of the dominant field of welded metal sculpture.

Shame: The One That Got Away

By Josephine Halvorson
The nineteenth-century painter Samuel Palmer lived within two hundred yards of the cemetery, making drawings, notes, and paintings in what he called the Valley of Visions in an effort to “bring up a mystic glimmer.” Sinclair, London Orbital Acid rain has eroded the words. Lichens, like Van Gogh blooms in orange and yellow, cling to the mauve stone.

Ground Control: Painting in the Work of Cosima von Bonin

By Gregory H. Williams

During the past decade a steady flow of critical writing on contemporary painting has appeared, much of it seeking to define changes to the practice that have taken place since 1990. In several often-cited essays, a shared theme has emerged in which late-twentieth-century painting is described as undergoing a crisis of containment.

We Are Pop People

By Joshua Shannon

Anyone seeking a crisp argument for the importance of contemporary art history should welcome the introduction of Hal Foster’s latest book, The First Pop Age. Foster justifies his careful look back at five key Pop artists by persuasively arguing that their work reveals and investigates a new stage, ascendant in the early 1960s, in the history of capitalist culture.

This Land Is Their Land

By Suzaan Boettger

Ends of the Earth: Land Art to 1974, the bold title of the exhibition and catalogue organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and on view there in 2012 and later at Munich’s Haus der Kunst, evokes the grand ambitions of artists’ environmental imaginations in the early 1970s.

Lights, Camera, Action!

By Mechtild Widrich

Should we judge a book by its cover? The image on the front of the massive new publication on a taboo-breaking group of Austrian postwar artists shows a crowd of people gazing, some with obvious disapproval, into the camera. Among them we see policemen —something has happened or is about to, a crime perhaps—but we cannot see what has given rise to the incident.

Reign of Error

By Barry Schwabsky

John Roberts is one of the more original and independent thinkers among contemporary art historians, and his wide-ranging reflections often take him well outside the boundaries of the discipline. In fact, he sometimes seems at pains to obscure what might be called the art-historical use-value of his work in order to underline its broader implications; he prefers to be seen, it appears, as a sort of unlicensed philosopher.

Administered Occupation: Art and Politics at the 7th Berlin Biennale

By Olga Kopenkina

In one of his best-known videos, the artist Artur Zmijewski is seen trying to persuade a former Nazi concentration camp prisoner to “renew” the number tattooed on the man’s forearm. In another film, Berek, naked adults play a game of tag in the gas chamber. But it is not the controversy about Zmijewski’s works that prompted his appointment as curator of the 7th Berlin Biennale, which took place at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art (Kunst Werke) and various locations in Berlin April 27–July 1, 2012.

New Realisms in the 1960s

By Jaimey Hamilton

The term nouveau réalisme, or new realism, has long been tied to the specific claims made by the critic Pierre Restany about the Paris-based art group he promoted. Restany convinced Arman, Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Daniel Spoerri, Martial Raysse, Jacques de la Villeglé, Raymond Hains, and François Dufrêne to sign on initially, and then added César, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Gérard Deschamps, Mimmo Rotella, and Christo.

City after Fifty Years’ Living: L.A.’s Differences in Relation

By Malik Gaines

A marketing triumph, Pacific Standard Time has been responsible for a series of promotional videos, slickly produced, that pair an honored artist with a Southern California celebrity. The shining success among these original works is the pairing of the late design team Ray and Charles Eames with the rapper and actor Ice Cube.