COLUMNS

  • Film

    American Psycho

    IN AN INTERVIEW GIVEN AROUND THE TIME THAT “Walk on the Wild Side” became a fluke hit single, Lou Reed was asked how it felt to achieve mainstream fame after years of cult notoriety. He jokingly replied that at least he’d no longer be known as the guy who was in the weird band that did the song “Heroin.” Reed couldn’t have foreseen that, more than twenty years and innumerable songs later, most contemporary pop music fans know him as the guy from that weird band who also sang “Walk on the Wild Side.” Americans’ memories are famously short, except when it comes to the infamous. But while controversial

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  • Film

    Sundance 2000

    In recent years, with the media outnumbering filmmakers by about three to one, the Sundance Film Festival’s purported emphasis—challenging, independent film by promising new talent—drastically shifted. Mirroring Hollywood priorities to a disconcerting degree, Sundance succumbed to stars, glamour, parties, and fashion—not to mention profit. Rather than critically appraise even a significant fraction of the films on view (this year, 120 features were screened during the fest’s eleven-day run, January 20–30), Sundance coverage typically reports on buzz, promiscuously propagating gossip about who

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  • Books

    Julian Stallabrass's High Art Life

    IN HIGH ART LITE, Julian Stallabrass, a teacher at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London and the Ruskin School of Fine Art and Drawing, Oxford University, proffers a critical analysis of the emergence of the New British Art during the ’90s. That he is on the faculty of a school named for the author of Modern Painters, Unto This Last, and Praeterita seems fitting. For though his book comes under the imprimatur of a left-leaning press with some stain of contemporary critical cachet, Stallabrass is utterly without sympathy for the messy, rowdy, juvenile phenomenon he attempts to put in what he

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: THOMAS HIRSCHHORN

    How much information can one receive from an artist in less than thirty minutes? Plenty, if the artist happens to be Thomas Hirschhorn. The thousand words gathered on this page are but a small fraction of the verbal barrage that was set loose with a click of my tape recorder and a few questions about Critical Laboratory, 1999, which the artist installed at the BildMuseet in the Swedish city of Umeh in late November. One of the more ambitious contributions to “Mirror’s Edge,” an international show organized by Okwui Enwezor in that small town on the northern outskirts of Europe, Hirschhorn’s

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  • Top Ten

    David Robbins

    David Robbins is an artist and writer living in Evanston, Illinois. His fourth book, a fiction entitled The Ice Cream Social (Purple Books/Feature Inc.), was published in 1998. He teaches comedy, writing, and other interests at the Art Institute of Chicago. He is represented by Feature Inc. in New York.

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  • Slant

    Konrad Fischer/Lueg

    ASK ANYBODY ABOUT THE LEGACY of Konrad Fischer’s Düsseldorf gallery and you’ll get a laudatory earful. “He was a genius,” Carl Andre tells me over the phone. “Like one of those great Hollywood producers, Konrad knew how to gather the right people and get them what they needed to do their work. He was a tremendous facilitator.” “If Leo Castelli was running the most important art gallery in New York at the time, Konrad Fischer clearly started up the most important gallery in Europe,” says Marian Goodman. Fischer’s legendary status as a dealer is beyond question. But what of his work as an artist?

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  • Passages

    Richard Martin

    BEFORE RICHARD MARTIN, exhibitions devoted to fashion tended to be characterized by dull antiquarianism or superficial glitz. By treating the way we dress as a living art, Richard changed everything. In scores of exhibitions and books and more than 100 scholarly articles, he examined fashion through the lens of contemporary art. It was not merely that he traced connections between clothing styles and art movements, still less that he idolized designers as creative “geniuses”; rather, he asked the kinds of serious questions of fashion that had seldom been applied to the supposedly frivolous

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  • Passages

    the editor's note

    I didn’t know Richard Martin well, but then I suspect not well is exactly the way he preferred being known. My first inkling of this came in 1984, when (on John Yau’s recommendation) Richard gave me the go-ahead to write my first piece of criticism for Arts Magazine, where he had been editor since 1974. Having turned in my copy, I anxiously awaited his judgment. I kept expecting to hear what needed more work, what should be cut, and so on. Nothing. After a while I started to get worried, so I called the Arts office. Richard wasn’t in. Next day, the same thing. The third day, the voice on the

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  • Film

    Frederick Wiseman

    WE CAN ARGUE OVER WHETHER OR NOT Frederick Wiseman is the most gifted documentary filmmaker America has ever produced, but he is surely the most obsessive. He began his career in 1967, abandoning his law practice to chronicle the treatment of inmates at Bridgewater, Massachusetts’s State Prison for the Criminally Insane. The outcome of that effort was Titicut Follies, a legendary muckraker of a picture (though we can only speculate about the reforms it might have inspired, since its release was held up by legal hassles for two and a half decades). In the thirty-three years he has now been making

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  • Film

    Ismail Merchant’s Cotton Mary

    Ismail Merchant, James Ivory, and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala forged a producer-director-writer team that began exploring the clash of cultures about two decades before it became fashionable. With India as the arena and the Raj as context, the piquancy of their unique Indian-American-European perspective on this oh-so-very-British—and, to a lesser extent, Indian—subject, starting with the delectable Shakespeare Wallah (1965), was often lost on all three continents.

    Cotton Mary, Merchant’s fourth directorial venture (which opens in New York on February 11), a film about the gradual destruction of an

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: SHARON LOCKHART

    The concept behind Sharon Lockhart’s latest work is straightforward enough: Shoot a thirty-minute roll of film, from a single angle, of an audience listening to a piece of music created as a score for the film in question (by composer Becky Allen) and performed live by a chorus offstage in the orchestra pit. The film blankly registers the reaction of its less-than-rapt subjects: At the outset most follow the music more or less attentively, but eventually, with nothing to look at onstage save the camera, some begin to converse, joke around, even flirt and banter with one another.

    As simple as it

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  • Top Ten

    Rob Pruitt

    Rob Pruitt’s “Psychic Predictions for the New Millennium and Things to Do with Lemons” is currently on view at the Cabinet Gallery in London. His most recent show in New York, “101 Art Ideas You Can Do Yourself,” was up last year at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.

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