Alison M. Gingeras

  • “Roberto Cuoghi: Perla Pollina, 1996–2016”

    If Woody Allen were to rewrite Zelig and set the story in the art world, his inevitable first pick for the starring role would be the enigmatic Italian artist Roberto Cuoghi. Like Allen’s “human chameleon” character, Cuoghi demonstrates total fluency in any situation, deploying a range of techniques to weave a sprawling, nonhierarchical and atemporal web of drawing, painting, photography, performance, digital animation, comic-book illustration, archaeological research, and musical composition. Yet his total immersion in his subject matter is what really distinguishes

  • CLOSE-UP: FOR REAL

    EVERYDAY LIFE IS FULL OF VOIDS: the suspended nowhere of idling in traffic, the serpentine line at the post office, the dreary waiting room at the dentist’s, 3:00 am insomnia. The creators of Instagram seem to have found a lucrative niche in these “empty” spaces throughout our circadian slog. More than just a means to fend off boredom or banality, the mobile photo feed proffers a temporary visual lifeline out of the abyss of anxiety and existential dread that can quickly overtake these vacant periods—images of voids to fill the void. “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”: Today’s popular

  • Jeff Koons

    IF JEFF KOONS IS SEARCHING for a position in art that “lies beyond both critique and affirmation,” as Dorothea von Hantelmann has recently argued, his lifelong pursuit has just come to an end. In a classic tabloid profile of the artist, published this May to coincide with Koons’s two sprawling Manhattan shows at David Zwirner gallery and Gagosian Gallery, New York magazine attempted to polemicize the artist’s status and recall Life magazine’s famous 1949 Jackson Pollock spread with the headline “Jeff Koons Is the Most Successful American Artist Since Warhol: So What’s the Art World Got Against

  • “Galleria Vezzoli”

    Chi è Francesco Vezzoli? No mere survey exhibition, “Galleria Vezzoli” intends to answer this riddle via an investigation of the artist’s identity. Staging a chronological display of some ninety works drawn from his eighteen-year, star-studded, jet-setting career, the show will place special emphasis on the self-portrait—which may prove useful for decrypting (in advance of this fall’s “Church of Vezzoli” at MoMA PS1 in New York and “Cinema Vezzoli” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles) whether Vezzoli is an enthusiastic adept of the celebrity-industrial

  • Franz West

    PETER PAKESCH

    AS SOMEONE WHO HAS WORKED in the field of art for a long time, and who sees art as an essential part of human identity, I have always found it a great privilege to be able to watch firsthand the gradual development of an artist. I feel especially privileged to have done so in the case of an artist as outstanding as Franz West. I knew Franz for many years, and for more than two decades I worked closely with him in a variety of roles: as a gallerist, friend, and museum curator. I was always amazed by the way he continually altered our notions of how art functions and what it means.

  • Christoph Büchel

    For his first solo show in France, Christoph Büchel will create a larger, more intricate version of Hole, his 2005 installation at the Kunsthalle Basel, transforming the Palais into a labyrinth of claustrophobic rooms that lead to a presumed crime scene: the burned-out carcass of an exploded bus.

    Since his recent appointment as director of the Palais de Tokyo, Marc-Olivier Wahler has orchestrated a quiet revolution by inviting young, ambitious artists whose work can convincingly engage the building’s cavernous exhibition spaces. With an impressive track record of monumental works, Swiss artist Christoph Büchel is perfectly placed to rise to the Palais challenge. For his first solo show in France, he will create a larger, more intricate version of Hole, his 2005 installation at the Kunsthalle Basel, transforming the Palais into a labyrinth of claustrophobic

  • Richard Prince

    Forget Spiritual America, 1983; Second House, 2001–2004; the fictional artist John Dogg; and the photos of girlfriends, cowboys, and celebrities—this monographic show promises to trace Richard Prince’s development as a “serious” painter.

    Forget Spiritual America, 1983; Second House, 2001–2004; the fictional artist John Dogg; and the photos of girlfriends, cowboys, and celebrities—this monographic show promises to trace Richard Prince’s development as a “serious” painter. Curators Gunnar B. Kvaran and Hanne Beate Ueland have selected some forty canvases, ranging from his first abstract landscapes and joke paintings of the 1980s to more recent works featuring bank checks and naughty nurses. While this curatorial angle certainly reflects speculators’ current love affair with Mr.

  • Alison M. Gingeras

    1 Charles Ray’s “A four dimensional being writes poetry on a field with sculptures” (Matthew Marks Gallery, New York) An elegant exercise in distillation, this show was proof once again that artists are often superior curators. Ray condensed his analytic vision of sculpture—attuned specifically to how the medium defines and occupies “social space”—into four formally and conceptually disparate yet equally compelling works by four different artists. Alberto Giacometti’s austere portrayal of the female form (Standing Woman, 1948), Mark di Suvero’s monumental, precariously balanced assemblage

  • Alison M. Gingeras

    1 PAUL MCCARTHY, “LALA LAND PARODY PARADISE” (HAUS DER KUNST, MUNICH) After years of intensive toil in his Pasadena studio, McCarthy delivered an epoch-making exhibition based on his two pet obsessions: pirates and cowboys. All the signature McCarthy elements were present, and then some: monumental installations-cum–film sets (the pirate ship, the houseboat), the conflation of historical trauma and kitsch Americana (US cavalry troops channeling the SS), live bacchanalian performance (a parade featuring horse-drawn covered wagons and a lederhosen-clad Bavarian oompah band), and mindboggling

  • Stealing the Show

    THE VENICE BIENNALE BOILS DOWN TO A COMPETITION for visibility. While not exactly a shocking revelation, this rather sweeping conclusion came forcefully to mind as I lay trapped inside a Disney-like metallic pod in the Arsenale, watching a light-and-music show—purportedly generated by my own sensor-affixed cranium. As Mariko Mori’s overproduced, obviously expensive, and calculatedly entertaining Wave UFO, 1999–2002, implies, the competition this year in Venice is pretty steep. Artists don’t just “compete” with each other, or for one of the juried prizes; they have to contend with the complex

  • diary June 28, 2005

    Mad Cowboy

    Munich

    A quick flashback: Munich 1931. Adolf Hitler orders the construction of the Haus der Deutschen Kunst—a museum-slash-propaganda tool where Der Führer made public speeches, promoted his reactionary artistic agenda, and demonized Entartete Kunst (the Nazi term for avant-garde art practices). Fast-forward to 2005: In an uncanny reversal of history, today’s preeminent degenerate artist—Paul McCarthy—has been welcomed into the same fascist edifice.

    Entitled “LaLa Land Parody Paradise,” the show was unanimously heralded around the booths of Art Basel as McCarthy’s most exhilaratingly

  • diary June 21, 2005

    Buzz Words

    Basel

    Art Basel is all about word of mouth—collectors and curators alike seem driven by it, as they spend four frenetic days running from booth to booth and show to show, to see/discover/consume the hottest thing. Cell phones fuel the buzz: my first SMS communiqué, received upon touching down in Basel Monday evening, read: “It’s so much better than the Arsenale!” The surging hoards had arrived from Venice, famished for some aesthetic stimulation and further art schmoozing. As I tried to make my way through the crowd at the Art Unlimited opening to see if my text-message tip was true, I realized

  • OPENINGS: ROBERTO CUOGHI

    “BUT YOU LOOK SO YOUNG!” might seem an incredibly rude thing to say—if said to a thirty-one-year-old. Yet upon meeting Roberto Cuoghi for the first time last February, this apparent faux pas was forgivable. After all, I was expecting to meet the artist who, as a student at Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in 1998, decided that he would “become” his father. During the next seven years, Cuoghi embarked on a radical quest to accelerate his age, assuming the elderly man’s physical appearance, mannerisms, and dress. His weight swelled to 308 pounds, he grew a beard, dyed his hair grey, and

  • Andreas Slominski

    Why make things in a straightforward, easy manner when the job can be complex, difficult, and labor-intensive? Andreas Slominski is using his solo debut in a public British gallery as a platform to answer this question. The gallery’s interior features numerous “finished” objects (including a full arsenal of Slominski’s signature contraptions and animal snares), as well as a series of new, ephemeral actions. He has even arranged an outdoor intervention to take place before the opening involving a ski ramp, a professional skier, and an abundance of real snow provided by

  • “New German Painting”

    Until recently, the French art establishment was generally known for its antipathy toward la peinture contemporaine, as well for its institutional sneering at trends generated abroad. Yet with Saatchi’s blockbuster show “The Triumph of Painting” generating critical buzz across the Channel, Nîmes’s Carré d’Art has decided to break with past precedents and embrace the vitality of the “new” German painting scene. Leaving Franco-Germanic rivalries aside, this tightly focused survey features nearly one hundred works by eighteen artists—from ’80s father figures Martin

  • diary January 25, 2005

    Conference Crawl

    Mexico City

    Art junkets always sound good on paper: the allure of expense-paid travel to some distant metropolis; a conference or fair or biennial to dive into; a crash course in the local art scene; a highly condensed bit of gratuitous tourism. Yet inside this pretty Trojan horse lurk a host of challenges that arise when you spend concentrated blocks of time crowded into minivans alongside other art professionals with whom you might not see eye to eye, to put it mildly. Luckily, last weekend’s SITAC conference defied such uneasy expectations. While the “serious” side of the conference was a real mixed bag,

  • Richard Hughes

    Clichés make good art. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure“ is a perfect case in point. As any MFA student knows, sifting through the forgotten byproducts of urban life can provide a gold mine of unusual materials—but Dumpster diving alone does not an art practice make. From early Dada assemblage to David Hammons's masterfully simple recuperation of things found on the street, very few artists have successfully (and selectively) incorporated “garbage” into their work.

    Richard Hughes is one such artist. Born in Birmingham, England, in 1974 and recently graduated from Goldsmiths College

  • Alison M. Gingeras

    ALISON M. GINGERAS

    1 Jonathan Horowitz’s Art Engagé The world has changed since Sartre coined the notion of l’art engagé, but a constellation of Horowitz works from the past few years offers the most convincing and poignant incarnation of “engaged” art today. A few examples: a glittery Rainbow American Flag for Jasper in the Style of the Artist’s Boyfriend; Official Portrait of George W. Bush Available for Free from the White House Hung Upside Down; talking without thinking (in the state of George W. Bush c. 1980, i.e., drunk and coked-up); Portrait of Chrissie Hynde (I Hope the Muslims Win).

  • diary December 01, 2004

    Open Casa

    Miami

    A tedious fifty-minute taxi ride from Miami Beach got us to the de la Cruz’s block just after midnight. Block, not house, because as we turned onto Bay Drive, we were greeted by a gridlock of limos, yellow taxis, Mercedes sedans (with drivers), and chartered buses that provoked even the relatively patient to hoof the home stretch. The size of the houses and the frenetic movement of valets and anxious guests recalled a late-night traffic jam in East Hampton. Artforum.com correspondent David Rimanelli was among several familiar faces exiting as we strolled up the gravel driveway—he was in a

  • diary November 24, 2004

    Vendor Bender

    A few hours into a two-day visit to Warsaw, I took a short taxi ride to a primarily residential neighborhood just across the Wisla River from the city’s historic center but seemingly light-years from its “olde-world” charm. Thanks to an early snowstorm, an otherwise prosaic cityscape had taken on an almost festive winter ambiance. Perhaps because of this pristine dusting of white, Thomas Hirschhorn’s cardboard-and-Plexiglas sculpture was almost impossible to find. Installed on an empty patch of concrete not far from an outdoor fruit-and-vegetable stall, a newspaper stand, and a makeshift cubicle