2017: Indigenous Futures

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.

The Prehistory of Exhibition History

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.

Introduction: The Politics of Legacy

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.

Art Embedded into Protest: Staging the Ukrainian Maidan

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.

Candida Höfer’s Türken in Deutschland as “Counter-publicity”

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).

Lee Miller, Challenging Convention

By Lauren Richman

Lauren Richman reviews Hilary Roberts, ed., Lee Miller: A Woman’s War, and the exhibition Lee Miller: A Woman’s War, and Walter Moser and Klaus Albrecht Schröder, eds., Lee Miller, and the exhibition Lee Miller, aka Lee Miller—Photographs and The Indestructible Lee Miller

Solitary/Solidary: Mario Merz’s Autonomous Artist

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.

no water, Athens, Greece, 2015: Twenty-four hours with nothing to eat or drink, only smelling the jasmine

By Penelope Vlassopoulou

Penelope Vlassopoulou began her Metamorphosis series in her home city of Athens. The series evolved in multidisciplinary dialogue with diverse urban environments including Berlin, Belgrade, and Chicago. In March 2015, Metamorphosis returned to its point of origin with no water tracing a link between Greece’s historical past and the country’s current predicament.

Space Travel: Trisha Brown’s Locus

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.

The Arctic Plants of New York City: An Annotated Bibliography

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.

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.

Against Infographics

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.

Rewilding: An Emerging History of Common Field

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.

Nueve entradas en 1989

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.

Nine Innings in 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.

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.

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.

Shaping the Glass

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.

Richter’s Willkür

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.

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.

Attention Deficit

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.

Agnes Martin, Under New Auspices

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.

What Are You Working On?

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).

Another Time

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.

Invisible Products

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.

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.

Art, History, and Criticism

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.

City of Angles

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.

In Print

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.

The Binder and the Server

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.

Fête in Venice

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.

Reconstruction

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.

Experimentation and Tradition: The Avant-Garde Play Pierrot Lunaire by Jikken Kōbō and Takechi Tetsuji

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.

Take It to the Air: Radio as Public Art

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.

Art & Soul: An Experimental Friendship between the Street and a Museum

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.

Craft Class

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.

Race to the Finish

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.

Charles and Ray Eames in India

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.