COLUMNS

  • Slant

    Mati Klarwein

    I FIRST ENCOUNTERED MATI KLARWEIN in 1970. Miles Davis had just released his revolutionary Bitches Brew, which featured Mati's painting on the sleeve. It was a perfect visual synthesis of Miles's magical amalgam of funk, rock, jazz, and psychedelia. Mati soon became a famous artist, quite outside the art-world path, for the lavishly detailed, cosmically erotic paintings that fronted albums by Santana, the Chambers Brothers, Earth, Wind & Fire, and others.

    I believe that at the time Mati was going by the name Abdul Mati Klarwein. He once said, “If all Jews would add an Arab name to theirs and all

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  • Books

    Richard Howard on Henri Michaux

    IN THE DECADE BETWEEN 1956 and 1966, Henri Michaux, who had been publishing verse, prose, and drawings since 1927, produced six little books concerning his experiences with mescaline and other, mostly psychedelic, drugs. Several of these volumes, including this first one, are “illustrated” by the author’s astonishing drawings, which frequently afford a more direct account than his discursive writing of the exploratory voyages Michaux inveterately undertook beginning in the late ’20s. These brief texts, often (as in the case of Miserable Miracle) written during the experiments with mescaline and

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  • Passages

    Andrew Solomon on Frank Moore

    THE WHOLE TIME I KNEW FRANK MOORE, he was dying; but this made his actual death, at the age of forty-eight, even more shocking than it would otherwise have been. Frank’s characteristic state of hovering transition seemed permanent: As clearly as I believed that Frank would never be well, I believed that he would never die. He came so close to dying so many times and always managed to pull back: Deathbeds were places he visited the way the rest of us visit sleep. Like Evel Knievel, he stayed alive against the odds, almost ostentatiously, as though he believed death could be defied through pure

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: OLIVER PAYNE AND NICK RELPH

    Short-listed for this year’s Beck’s Futures award, British filmmaking duo Oliver Payne and Nick Relph put their prize money straight to work. The result is Mixtape, 2002, twenty minutes of “wild, trance-inducing loops” designed to infect viewers with humor and headaches alike. Structured around Terry Riley’s mesmerizing Motown cutup “You’re No Good,” the film weaves a set of tangentially related vignettes into footage of a teenage hardcore band’s spasmodic writhing. As the title suggests, it is an idiosyncratic compilation of perfect moments or, as Relph offers with a chuckle, “a really good

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  • Books

    The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné

    AT SOME MOMENT between 1959 and 1961, Andy Warhol underwent an artistic change deep enough to bear comparison to a religious conversion. Before then his work had the effete charm of designer valentines: plump cherubs, posies, pink and blue butterflies, pussy cats in confectionary colors, young men with ornamental cocks, and ladies’ footwear seemingly designed with fantasists in mind. His images after the change were vernacular, familiar, and anonymous, drawn from the back pages of blue-collar newspapers, the cover pages of sensationalist tabloids, pulp comics, fan magazines, junk mail, publicity

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  • Music

    Wilco

    IT’S A GREAT AMERICAN STORY, late-capitalist style. Scruffy heartland band (Wilco) makes its best record (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot) amid internal strife and shakeouts (two members fired); submits master tapes to its record label (Reprise, a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner); receives deafening silence (two weeks without any response), followed by demands for changes (due to “lack of commercial potential”). Then, when bandleader (Jeff Tweedy) refuses to rerecord the songs, label exec (David Kahne, then acting head of Reprise) unceremoniously shows band the back door. Band leaves label with unusual

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  • Film

    Matthew Higgs on 24 Hour Party People

    IF YOU GREW UP in the North West of England in the late ’70s it was hard to avoid Tony Wilson, by day an anchor for the local television news, by night the host of So It Goes, one of the few television programs, anywhere, to both embrace and actively promote the emerging punk scene. Equal parts Dan Rather, Malcolm McLaren, and Oscar Wilde (at least in terms of his immodesty and penchant for foppish attire), Wilson had a vision: to see rain-sodden Manchester reborn in the manner of Renaissance Florence. Early to seize on punk’s potential, Wilson (along with his friend Alan Erasmus, graphic designer

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  • Slant

    Daniel Pinchbeck on Peter Pinchbeck

    WHEN MY FATHER DIED, in September 2000, he left behind hundreds of paintings and sculptures in his rent-controlled loft on Greene Street. The work ranges from severe wooden constructions made in the 1960s to woozy zigzags crafted out of plaster, from icon-size images to rolled-up canvases of vast dimensions. My father’s art went ignored, essentially unseen during his lifetime. There were no career retrospectives, no solo museum shows, no fanfare. His artist friends were his only audience.

    In the aftermath of his life, I find myself compelled to fight his battle for him: I think that my father’s

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  • Interviews

    1000 WORDS: FRANCIS ALŸS

    “IN MY CITY EVERYTHING is temporary,” writes Francis Alÿs. And indeed, the ephemeral is the central aesthetic principle for this artist, who is perhaps best known for his “walks”—like The Collector, 1991–92, which entailed his pulling a magnetic toy on wheels through the streets of Mexico City, picking up bits of metal along the way; or Narcotourism, 1996, for which Alÿs traversed Copenhagen over the course of seven days under the influence of seven different drugs. Such works chart a literal and figurative path through an urban, social, or discursive space. One might say that Alÿs has invented

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  • Top Ten

    Forcefield

    Forcefield, a four-member collective based in Providence, Rhode Island, originated as a band in 1995 and has since expanded into video and installation. Their work was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial, and a CD, Third Annual Roggabogga, will be released by Load Records in June. For Artforum’s Summer Top Ten, Forcefield presents their favorite scenic locations.

    1. Colt State Park, Bristol, RI.

    2. Providence Police Station (viewed from the sky, it is shaped like a 9 mm handgun).

    3. The Planted Forest, Nickerson State Park, Brewster, MA.

    4. Forcefield at Conklin Limestone Quarry, Lincoln, RI.

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