COLUMNS

  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: SIMON STARLING

    Born in Epsom, England, in 1967 and trained at the Glasgow School of Art, Simon Starling mingles the grand tradition of the British boffin, forever tinkering in the basement, with heady neo-Victorian science, re-creating lost histories and divining the invisible global traffic of everyday life. He plunges head-on into those nebulous topographies social scientists like to call the “space of flows,” casting abstracted labor into relief and putting commodity fetishism before the fun-house mirror: Starling has obtained balsa wood from Ecuador to make a model of a French Farman Mosquito airplane,

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  • Books

    Alexander Alberro's Conceptual Art and the Politics of Publicity

    CONCEPTUAL ART HAS COME TO OCCUPY AN increasingly prominent position within the array of movements that sprang to life out of the ashes of formalist modernism. As both a synoptic moment in the development of avant-garde art and a symbol of its (ultimately unfulfilled) critical negativity, it seems to hold open the promise of the ’60s in a qualitatively different way from other, closely related types of art. However, despite this emblematic significance, not only do the political meaning and artistic legacy of Conceptual art remain uncertain, but its very notion is still hotly contested. The

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  • Film

    Spider

    DAVID CRONENBERG’S SPIDER stars Ralph Fiennes as a mentally disturbed man whose web of defenses unravels when he’s transferred from an asylum to a halfway house in the squalid East End London neighborhood where he lived as a child. The film—which premiered at Cannes in May and opens this month in New York and Los Angeles—is adapted from the 1990 novel of the same name by Patrick McGrath, who also wrote the screenplay. An astonishing balancing act, Spider is both faithful to the novel and a distinctly Cronenbergian work. In both form and meaning, it is the most impeccably realized and rarefied

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  • Music

    Le Tigre

    FAMILIAR WITH HERM CHOREOGRAPHY? Well, if you’ve ever attended a Le Tigre concert, choreographed by band member JD Samson, you’ve seen it. Herm (slang for androgynous queer) locates Samson and the boy-band-derivative moves one sees at Le Tigre shows—her tributes to how queer bodies negotiate the world. Equal parts dance style and critical intervention, Samson’s choreography is just one element of a performance practice that reopens questions about community, fandom, feminism, queerness, and their conjunctions and differences, by drawing on staged spectacle, audience exuberance, and punk-derived

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: KUTLUG ATAMAN

    “Talking is the only meaningful activity we’re capable of.” Thus spake Kutlug Ataman when we met in New York recently. Curious words for someone trained in “narrative film” at UCLA’s graduate film program, a Hollywood conduit where cinema is considered the presentation of actions, not words. Not so for this Turkish filmmaker and artist, whose “video vérités,” shown at biennials in Istanbul, Berlin, and Venice, as well as at Documenta 11, are centered on individuals who do little more than speak. This speech, however, is no ordinary ramble. In it, we witness something extraordinary. In works such

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  • Passages

    Charles Henri Ford

    IN THIS SUGAR-FREE ERA, what artist has a life more interesting than his art? The death of Charles Henri Ford (1908–2002) puts the capper on a time when precociousness and chutzpah were art forms in themselves. In 1927, on the eve of his nineteenth birthday, Ford wrote in his diary: “In two years I will be famous. In two years I will be famous. In two years I will be famous. In two years I will be famous. In two years I will be famous. In two years I will be famous. This is my oath.”

    Not missing a beat, the poetry-besotted high school dropout started a little magazine out of his small-town

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  • Film

    Adaptation

    IF THIS WERE A CHARLIE KAUFMAN SCRIPT about me writing a review of Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman’s new film Adaptation, I, Andrew Hultkrans, Artforum critic, would at this very moment be crawling the walls of my barren apartment like Gene Hackman at the end of The Conversation, mentally tracing not merely every single moment of my own life but every single moment of the entire history of the universe that, in evolutionary terms, led up to this all-nighter I’m pulling because I have to write a review of this diabolically unreviewable film called—it’s been careening around my brain for weeks

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  • Film

    Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary

    AS I SLID INTO MY SEAT at Alice Tully Hall for the New York Film Festival screening of Blind Spot: Hitler’s Secretary, I noticed the auditorium was only one-third occupied. A man behind me remarked, “I guess this isn’t a big seller.” I wondered why anyone would expect that a documentary about an unknown Nazi factotum like Traudl Junge would sell out. Who wants to know about the intricacies and intimacies of Adolf Hitler’s daily schedule? Who cares what this heinous criminal ate for dinner, how he related to his girlfriend, or to his dog? More to the point, who could bear to witness this naive,

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  • Books

    Mike Kelley’s writings

    JUDD AND JORN, NEWMAN AND GRAHAM, Asher and Smithson—when the writings of a visual artist are published, the question that immediately arises is how the texts relate to the larger oeuvre. Explanation, expansion, justification—do they constitute an entirely separate project, as with Judd? Or should they be seen as an extension of the work, as was the case with Smithson and, even more so, with younger artists close to Mike Kelley like Frances Stark, Jutta Koether, and John Miller. The first volume of Kelley’s writings, Foul Perfection—essays and criticism (poetic works, texts as

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  • Music

    Electronic Music

    THE TRADITIONAL SCENARIO might be described like this: People onstage make music, and, in response, people in the audience make noise.

    And if the people onstage make noise?

    Sonic Youth’s contribution to the two-CD Anthology of Noise and Electronic Music 1921–2001, the first of eight planned releases on the theme, takes this situation to its logical conclusion: “Audience” is six minutes of applause taped at the end of a 1983 Sonic Youth performance in Berlin, subjected in the studio to the same sorts of manipulations that the band applies to sounds generated by their instruments. The result is

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