As the latest addition to the Afrotropes series, Krista Thompson reflects on the extensive photographic and cultural legacy of Ivanhoe “Rhygin” Martin and the circulation of images in Jamaica and beyond.
Geeta Kapur puts forth a thirteen-part text, “Proposition Avant-Garde: A View from the South,” with critical responses by Saloni Mathur and Rachel Weiss.
Sara Reisman reflects on the ways in which artists and institutions consider (or disregard) how individuals with disabilities access their work.
Huey Copeland and Krista Thompson sketch the concept of the afrotrope, a term they have developed over the past decade to describe “those recurrent visual forms that have emerged within and become central to the formation of African diasporic culture and identity.”
Andrew Yang shares a “transdisciplinary cluster” of works that engage the concept of the Anthropocene. When it comes to climate change, Yang asks, “Which we is responsible, or most at risk? What sorts of people, organisms, and entities does we invite or exclude?”
By Marie Watt
Marie Watt first encountered Joseph Beuys’s work as a college student studying abroad. While working on an MFA at Yale, she wrote a reflection on the artist’s I Like America and America Likes Me from the perspective of Coyote, for a course taught by the art historian Romy Golan.
By Camila Maroja
Camila Maroja reviews the exhibition and catalogue, Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium.
By Kate Morris and Bill Anthes
On November 15, 2016, a “National Day of Action,” demonstrators in cities from Los Angeles to New York took to the streets in support of the efforts of the Standing Rock Sioux to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline (DAPL). According to tribal leaders, the presence of the pipeline constitutes a dire threat to the tribe’s water supply, and will desecrate scores of sacred, historical, and cultural sites along its intended 1,172-mile route.
By grupa o.k. (Julian Myers and Joanna Szupinska)
Art history has long included studies of exhibitions as episodes or turning points within more expansive narratives. Such moments have opened art histories based in the studio, or among the members of a small, bohemian circle, to a larger social field that includes politics, audience, and market, before returning to the private or small-group interactions that have equally served to drive art’s internal means.
By Rachel Middleman and Anne Monahan
In 1974 news that David Smith’s executors had stripped paint from some of his sculptures catalyzed a long-running public conversation about executors’ responsibilities to artists, artworks, and art history. Forty years later, news that the same estate’s administrators tried to stifle the exhibition and sale of Lauren Clay’s diminutive, painted-paper objects inspired by that earlier incident has yet to prompt a similar critical response.
By Nazar Kozak
Around 9:00am on January 24, 2014, Maxym Vehera, an amateur artist, comes to Hrushevskyi Street in Kyiv, mounts his portable easel some one hundred yards from the riot police line, and spends five hours painting the scene of a street fight in progress. Black smoke from the burning barricade veils the sky, tear gas irritates the frosty air, a stun grenade explosion shuts all senses down. The canvas falls to the ground, into the mixture of snow and ashes. Vehera picks it up, wipes off the dirt, and continues to paint amid chaos.
By Amy A. DaPonte
Millions of Turkish immigrants settled in Germany after World War II to answer the call of politicians who needed to refresh the labor force after the war. Images of Turks at work or leisure in the parks, homes, markets, shops, and bars of 1970s West German cities populate Candida Höfer’s large, multiformat series entitled Türken in Deutschland (Turks in Germany, 1972–79).
By Elizabeth Mangini
In 1968, while demonstrating students occupied university buildings less than a mile away, the Italian artist Mario Merz hung a handful of neon lights bent into the numerals 1, 1, 2, 3, and 5 above the kitchen stove in his home on Via Santa Giulia in Turin. It wasn’t yet an artwork, just something to think about in the place where he and his wife, fellow artist Marisa Merz, gathered to talk with each other and with friends.
By Roger F. Malina
We are witnessing a resurgence of creative and scholarly work that seeks to bridge science and engineering with the arts, design, and the humanities. These practices connect both the arts and sciences, hence the term art-science, and the arts and the engineering sciences and technology, hence the term “art and technology.”
By Amanda Jane Graham
In 1974 the choreographer Trisha Brown moved to 541 Broadway in SoHo, New York City. The cast-iron “nexus” for postmodern dance, commonly referred to as “the dance building,” had what the former Brown company dancer Elizabeth Garren describes as a “communal atmosphere.” Purchased and renovated by the Fluxus founder George Maciunas “with dancers in mind,” 541 was wider than the majority of the standard buildings in the neighborhood, and more important, it contained no interior pillars, making it an ideal choreographic work space.
By Chris Taylor
Chris Taylor reviews Troublemakers: The Story of Land Art (2015), written and directed by James Crump.
By Emma Chubb
Three horizontal screens stretch across two gallery walls, suspended from the ceiling and hung in a slight arc. At first, the two flanking screens remain dark and only the center screen is illuminated. It shows an expanse of blue water, waves rippling with gold and reflecting the setting sun as they gently curl forward onto a barely visible beach.
By James Walsh
I’ve been working since 2008 on a long, complex project centered on plants that grow in both the arctic (I always use the lowercase) and New York City, of which there are a surprising number. Along with identifying and pressing these plants, I’ve been reading eighteenth-century herbals and floras and more recent works on edible plants and botany generally, and have had a particular interest in mental travel and in writers who combine botany and literature.
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.
By Daniel Rosenberg
When design is excellent, graphics reveal data, writes the infographics guru Edward Tufte. Good information graphics allow the reader to see relationships not apparent in data without visual form. In principle, such graphics do not impose interpretations but, by showing relationships, make interpretations possible.
By James McAnally
Common Field was born of a singular moment, a shared time of simmering scarcity matched with an abundance of artist-centric models springing up globally. The emergent network is quickly becoming a central figure within a spectrum of new alternative forms increasingly coming to define a deflated decade.
By Sonal Khullar
Sonal Khullar reviews InFlux: Contemporary Art in Asia edited by Parul Dave-Mukherji, Naman P. Ahuja, and Kavita Singh.
By Christian Nagler
By Swagato Chakravorty
Swagato Chakravorty reviews Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media by Giuliana Bruno.
By Thyrza Nichols Goodeve
For several years, Carolee Schneemann has presented an ever-evolving performative lecture about her work, starting with drawings she made at the ages of four and seven. I first saw it in 2009 at St. Mark’s Church.
By Elizabeth Legge
Elizabeth Legge reviews Sharon Kivland’s Freud on Holiday series.
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.
By Dorota Biczel
Dorota Biczel reviews Making Art Panamerican: Cultural Policy and the Cold War by Claire F. Fox.
By Brian Molanphy
This introductory selection of texts on ceramics includes books that offer general foundations as well as essays that exemplify specific investigations.
by Sampada Aranke
Sampada Aranke reviews Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Site of Blackness in Multicultural America by Huey Copeland.
By Daniel R. Quiles
The subtlest of deceptions lies in wait in a “1000 Words” feature on Roberto Jacoby in the March 2011 issue of Artforum.
By Tamara Díaz Bringas
Playball, habría dicho el umpire para iniciar aquel partido de béisbol con tantos artistas y ningún pelotero. Playball, habrían oído los jugadores, sospechando tal vez que el juego había empezado en verdad mucho antes de aquel 24 de septiembre de 1989.
By Tamara Díaz Bringas
“Play ball!” the umpire would have said to start that baseball game with so many artists and not a single ballplayer. “Play ball!” the players would have heard, perhaps suspecting that the game had really begun long before that 24th of September in 1989.
Charissa N. Terranova reviews Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes.
By Elisabeth Kley
Although mystery has surrounded the life of Forrest Bess since he died in 1977, quite a bit of the cloud is dispelled in Chuck Smith’s new book, Forrest Bess: Key to the Riddle. A follow-up to a film Smith made in 1999, it is an ideal combination of monograph and biography.
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.
By Jillian Hernandez and Susan Richmond
This forum, which originated as a panel at the 2013 Annual Conference of the College Art Association in New York, developed from the following question: how do sculptural practices uphold or, conversely, equivocate the certainties of gendered and sexual embodiment?
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.
By Jennifer Doyle and David Getsy
Well before I met Karin Higa, I knew of her as a curator of Asian American art, a prominent voice in the contemporary art world, and an author whose writings I frequently assigned to students.
By Matthew Goulish
In order to begin I must tell a horror story. I will try to mitigate the horror, through accuracy of telling, through facts, and through a degree of humility before them. Yet I will acknowledge it. I mean I already have. Horror is not fact.
By Amy Lyford
It is exciting to read two books that demonstrate the power, impact, and necessity of art history’s engagement with critical race studies—especially in the context of scholarship on modernist American art.
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.
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.
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?
By Lane Relyea
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.
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.
By Katy Siegel
Life is not an idea, but ideas are part of life. Thinking is the only way out of our enmities and miseries. Vision—seeing better and more freshly, with less habit and personal bias—awakens us to life.
By Christine Mehring
Following on the heels of his signature photorealist blurs, Gerhard Richter’s abstract paintings have long exemplified a “permanent break in style as principle of style,” as Klaus Honnef noted in the artist’s first retrospective catalogue in 1969.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Luke Smythe
Copied from a small and fuzzy photograph clipped from a newspaper in 2003, Gerhard Richter’s Silikat paintings depict a honeycomb array of silicate particles, modeled on the structure of a butterfly wing.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Katy Siegel
Perhaps minor among reasons to celebrate the fact that the world did not end as predicted on 12.12.12 is that Art Journal is a little behind in its publication schedule.
By Chris Balaschak
In 1969 Winogrand published The Animals alongside an exhibition of the same name at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA). Though it has never been seen as such, it was a timely project, and represents a satire of American society during the height of a war “unassimilable” by popular culture.
By Karen L. Schiff
Finally—a book of criticism about Agnes Martin. No other book of writing about this singular, revered artist has been in print for many years. And though Martin (1912–2004) has been an esteemed presence in the art world since at least the early 1960s, there exists no monograph, no biography, no previous collection of criticism.
By Katy Siegel
This issue of Art Journal comes after two issues that tightly revolved around a single concept: the medium of print (Winter 2011) and the Pacific Standard Time initiative (Spring 2012).
By Alex Kitnick
Sometime in the early 1950s, the artist Eduardo Paolozzi began making collages from the covers of Time magazine, cutting them up and putting them back together again in new ways.
Julia Bryan-Wilson’s essay “Invisible Products” explores a most unusual archive of photographs by Ansel Adams—some seven thousand photographs he took in the mid-1960s on commission from the University of California.
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.
By Katy Siegel
It can seem as if recent changes in how we learn do little more than facilitate a quantitative randomness. But the centrality of the Internet to intellectual work has made visible one under-recognized and revolutionary truth: the collective nature of creating knowledge.
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.
By Jennifer Doyle
Los Angeles mythology is hard to cut through: The city has no center, no sense of history, it has no depth. It is the city that plays itself and the city that forgets itself.
By Katy Siegel
At my first meeting as editor-in-chief, the Art Journal Editorial Board learned that due to fallout from the financial crisis of 2008–9, CAA could not afford to publish the journal as a quarterly—there would only be three issues in 2010, with reduced color and page count. It turns out that printing a magazine is, as these things go, a luxury.
By Triple Canopy
At first a convenience, then quickly a conundrum: Of course we would publish on the internet. We came of age with the medium, it was our generation’s default. Plus, financially speaking, it remained—and remains, for now—a wheat-paste endeavor: nine dollars a month to hold down a domain name.
By Seth McCormick
Hiroko Ikegami’s The Great Migrator, which toward the end quotes Homi Bhabha on the subjects of postcolonial mimicry and hybridization, is itself something of a hybrid: part traditional monograph, part Foucauldian genealogy of contemporary art in the age of globalization.
By Katy Siegel
For several days in 2000, William Pope.L sat enthroned on a towering toilet, contemplating and quite literally consuming The Wall Street Journal, dusted with white powder and surrounded by the great American fluids—milk and ketchup. This performance grew from an earlier 1991 version, staged on the street, and the artist has reenacted the performance several times since, most recently at the New Museum in New York in 2010.
By Miwako Tezuka
During the 1950s, after the devastating defeat in World War II, Japan exerted itself to regain political and economic confidence. Arts and culture played a key role in the country’s recovery: the image of a belligerent nation in the recent past needed to be replaced by a new impression of Japan as a peaceful nation of culture; the people were yearning for a return of their cultural life, or simply, entertainments; and, released from the straitjacket that suppressed free expression, artists quickly resumed their creative activities.
First staged in the main railroad station in Hamburg in 2002, the Leipzig version of Radio Ballet was performed the following year. Subtitled “Übung in nichtbestimmungsgemäßem Verweilen,” or “Exercise in Lingering Not According to the Rules,” the piece gathered people in the Leipzig station for a group radio listening experience.
By Robert Slifkin
Roland Barthes’s pithy thesis from his seminal essay “The Reality Effect” (1968) reveals what might be called the vitalist basis of modernist indeterminacy.
By Rebecca Zorach
In the summer of 1968, as the Democratic National Committee prepared to roll into Chicago, the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art was entering into an unusual partnership—an “experimental friendship”—with an organization called CVL, Inc. What’s remarkable about this organization was that it was the new incarnation of a notorious street gang known as the Vice Lords.
By Sheila Pepe
By the time Rozsika Parker published Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine in 1984, the following overtly feminist “stitched” works had already been made: Faith Wilding’s Womb Room, 1972; Harmony Hammond’s Presence V, also made in 1972; Faith Ringgold’s Zora and Fish, 1975; and Judy Chicago’s monumental Dinner Party, 1979—for which she employed extremely traditional fiber and ceramic craft techniques.
By Katy Siegel
This is the first issue of Art Journal published in 2011, CAA’s Centennial year. We will mark the occasion throughout the year, helped by scholars and artists and a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Our website launched in February, in response to the changing nature of art writing and publishing, and to the wish to attend to time-based and new media art.
By Saloni Mathur
A photograph of the living room of the Eames house in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles has proven rather puzzling to historians of design. It depicts the famous Case Study House as full of exotic collectibles. Hopi kachina dolls, seashells, craft objects, silk textiles from Nepal and Thailand, and elaborately patterned rugs from Mexico and India all crowd and assault their modernist frame.
By Michael Corris
The Art Workers’ Coalition (AWC) was formed in New York in 1969 in the wake of an incident in a museum. The Museum of Modern Art, New York (MoMA), mounted an exhibition titled The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age. Within the exhibition was a work by the artist Vassilakis Takis.
By Katy Siegel
The Art Journal Award, CAA’s annual prize for the best article published in the magazine, has been awarded to the current issue’s feature on Land art, a group of essays collected and introduced by Kirsten Swenson.
By David Reed
I was a student at the New York Studio School during the fall of 1966 and spring of 1967. The school was then located in a loft building on the northeast corner of Broadway and Bleecker Street. Draft deferments during the Vietnam War were not granted to students attending an art school, especially an unaccredited one like the Studio School.
By Lauren O’Neill-Butler
“HISTORY DRAGS.” Of the many shrewd observations and witticisms that Lee Lozano (1930–1999) recorded in her notebooks, this one strikes deepest when considering the revival of interest in her work. Of course, we’ll never know her opinion on the widespread, international attention that has been lavished on her art and life over the last decade.