COLUMNS

  • Film

    What It Takes

    Christopher Glazek on All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

    IT JUST TAKES ONE: a single dose that forever halts your breath; a killer product that hatches a monstrous fortune; a dead-set activist who barricades herself across history’s turnpike, lying flat, blocking traffic, screaming, “STOP.”

    In our timeline, there is only one Nan Goldin. A singular woman, she is largely responsible for the moral earthquake that in recent years has shaken the foundations of art and philanthropy. For decades, the art world operated as a high-end laundry service: In exchange for cash, museums and galleries would gently scrub the reputations of wealthy families such as the

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  • Film

    Hit the Road, Jack

    Jerzy Skolimowski discusses his donkey odyssey

    THE WORLD HAS SELDOM if ever seemed at once as ravishingly beautiful and beset with menace and cruelty as in EO, where it is imagined by Jerzy Skolimowski through the eyes—no, the entire perceptual system—of a donkey. EO (named for the hee-haw sound these animals make) performs in a circus with Kasandra, a young woman who dotes on him like Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s a love that is nurturing and tinged with eroticism. When Kasandra abandons him, riding off on the back of a motorcycle with the man who abused him, EO trots after her, but in dodging an oncoming car, he loses her

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  • Interviews

    Henrike Naumann

    The conspiracy in your living room

    Growing up in a newly reunified Germany, Henrike Naumann witnessed widespread transformations in visual culture, from popular television programming to the seating from which that programming was consumed. Working with furniture and video, the Zwickau-born, Berlin-based artist considers how seemingly innocuous aesthetic sensibilities align with and promulgate a host of political ideologies. Her first US solo exhibition, “Re-Education,” on view from September 22 to February 27 at SculptureCenter in New York, parses parallels between reactionary movements in the United States and Germany as it

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  • Film

    Hungry Heart

    Luca Guadagnino’s tender cannibal romance

    IF ’80S CINEMA experienced a “cannibal boom” by way of Italian exploitation flicks, the ’00s/’10s zeitgeist’s deviant gourmand was the libidinous vampire. At a time when many complained sex was disappearing from film, a glut of horny American mainstream cultural phenomena (most notably True Blood, Twilight, The Vampire Diaries, and The Originals) took cues from Anne Rice and transferred desire onto the undead. The vile parasites, once mythical scapegoats for pestilence in pockets of Eastern Europe, were rebranded as soulful fuck machines and brooding suburban classmates, dousing normie sexuality

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  • Passages

    Billy Al Bengston (1934–2022)

    Ed Ruscha on Billy Al Bengston

    BILLY AL AND I MET in the early 1960s when he was racing motorcycles at Ascot Park in Gardena. I visited him at the hospital after he broke his back in one of those contests and it pretty much ended his racing career, but not his passion for motorcycling. He got me interested in the sport and we toured several times going from the northern border of Baja to the southern tip of Cabo San Lucas, a distance of some one thousand miles. We would travel only on dirt roads to avoid the dangers of paved highways. We would get lost or “diverted” from time to time, but always with hilarious circumstances.

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  • Performance

    Being and Nothingness

    How choreographer Mina Nishimura inhabits sacred space

    WITH THE WINDING TITLE of her latest dance, Mapping a Forest While Searching for an Opposite Term of Exorcist, the choreographer Mina Nishimura suggests she’s looking for a role, a word, which she has so far grasped only by way of its inverse. As the audience filed into Danspace Project at St. Mark’s Church before the show, the work’s title was projected across one wall. If an exorcist expels spirits from a body, or a space, would Nishimura and her collaborators be inviting spirits in, summoning the supernatural into their bodies and the space of the church?

    It sometimes seemed that way, if

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  • Interviews

    Christian Marclay

    A follow-up to The Clock, twelve years later

    Christian Marclay likes to play with doors. His early sculpture Armoire, 1988; the door slamming in Video Quartet, 2002; and his series of screen prints Door (The Electric Chair), 2006, are just a few examples. Here, he speaks about his latest work, Doors, 2022, a video made of snippets from various movies, and his difficulties editing it. Door after door, room after room, the 54-minute loop runs on like a rhyming game. Placed near the exit of his survey at the Centre Pompidou in Paris (curated by Jean-Pierre Criqui, through February 27), it sends us on our way while holding us back. At every

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  • Interviews

    Vince Aletti

    A photography critic’s life in images

    One of what seems like only a handful of working photography critics today, Vince Aletti is also a prolific collector of print ephemera, much of it archived within a single massive filing cabinet in his longtime East Village apartment. Below, Aletti talks about his new photobook, The Drawer, which shuffles this matter into alluring, Warburgian juxtapositions of high and low, iconic and unknown. Mapped out over the course of a single afternoon, the book is a meditation on how images shape desire, a remedy to the cold calculations of the algorithm, and the wordless memoir of a great and grateful

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  • Film

    High and Dry

    An absurdist homage to Battleship Potemkin

    A ROMANIAN FILMMAKER who regularly deflates Romanian myths of national greatness, Radu Jude recently graced the New York Film Festival with a compact, farcical essay on the material basis of historical memory, or, to use Trotsky’s term, “the dustbin of history.”

    The Potemkinists takes the form of a conversation between a would-be public artist and a prospective state patron. Those familiar with Jude’s tricksy, appalling account of a staged historical pageant, I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians (2018), will recall considerable screen time devoted to a similar debate. Indeed,

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  • Interviews

    Fred Eversley

    A West Coast pioneer’s overview effect

    Fred Eversley has dedicated his five-decade career to abstract sculptural meditations on energy. Working in Venice Beach since the early 1970s, Eversley drew upon his experience as an engineer and elements of the Light and Space movement prevalent in Southern California at the time to develop the lens-like parabolic objects for which he is best known. The survey exhibition “Fred Eversley: Reflecting Back (the World),” on view through January 15, 2023, at the Orange County Museum of Art, provides an occasion to reflect on the work of the octogenarian artist, who recently relocated to New York

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  • Passages

    Peter Schjeldahl (1942–2022)

    Jarrett Earnest on Peter Schjeldahl

    ONE PROBLEM with seeing an exhibition with someone else is that rhythms of looking are so often at odds—either they move too slowly or not slow enough, or pay too much attention to stuff that you do not. Soon after we met in 2014, Peter Schjeldahl and I figured out that we were weirdly in-sync gallerygoers. Walking through a show together, we’d incessantly narrate bits of what we were seeing to each other, trying out descriptions and bits of language in the presence of the art itself—Peter scribbling on a checklist or small notepad like a proper reporter. These were my most vivid encounters with

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  • Interviews

    David Hartt

    Digging up modernist myths at the Glass House

    Last spring, David Hartt unveiled “A Colored Garden,” a dense circle of blooms in the lower meadow of Philip Johnson’s Glass House planted with flowers found in still lifes by a Black nineteenth-century artist named Charles Ethan Porter. This year, the blooms are back, accompanied by a neo-mythological film in Johnson’s self-glorifying gatehouse-cum-visitor’s-center and, down the hill, an installation of Porters in Johnson’s personal trefoil painting gallery. It’s still the house modernism built—the architect’s taste for Arcadia sits next to his Nazi sympathies—but, says Hartt, Johnson’s aren’t

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