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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Outtakes: California Company Town

By Lee Anne Schmitt

I finished the film California Company Town in 2008. The film was a way of looking at the fallibility of history, to be able to depict a process of political thought against the markings it makes on landscape. Most of my work combines official and anecdotal histories.