Amy Sillman

  • Laura Owens

    Contradictions should be appreciated for letting change emerge.

    —Carolee Schneemann

    WHAT DO I KNOW ABOUT LA, but my first reaction to the Laura Owens show was, Wow, this is so West Coast. Paintings made in LA always struck me as being these huge, clean things, which I figured was because they were designed to be visible from the highway. In New York City, we walk around, so our painting surfaces aspire to the condition of sidewalks—dirty, scruffy, and layered. In fact, painting history generally reflects a city’s local conditions, its techniques of the body; consequently, some cities

  • “FLORINE STETTHEIMER: PAINTING POETRY”

    I grew up assuming Florine Stettheimer was famous, since a large painting of hers hung at my hometown museum, the Art Institute of Chicago. But it turned out I was lucky to have regular access to a Stettheimer, because even though she hosted a well-known salon and had pals like Duchamp and Stieglitz, she remained obscure to a wider art public until half a century after her death, when, in 1995, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York held a retrospective of her work. Working in private, she was able to forge a distinct pictorial terrain, with

  • slant January 05, 2017

    Unpresidented Times: Amy Sillman

    The following is something I jotted out the day after the election. I happened to be making a zine for a show at the Drawing Center in NYC, and purely by coincidence the printing deadline for the zine was that week. I was shocked by the election results, and had no idea how to process the news or how to make art for a show that would open in January or how to return to a studio at all. But a zine is a fast and furious public/private form of address, so I just knew that I should write something, a kind of letter, about how to approach this new time.

    A FEW YEARS AGO we were knocked out by the first

  • “Rochelle Feinstein: In Anticipation of Women’s History Month: Selected Works”

    The world needs change, and Feinstein is a motherfucking cashier. She seizes abstract painting with her bare hands and injects it with wit and wisdom, redefining its borders to include a riotous intermix of moods and subjects. She gets her hands dirty, shoving the grid around and voraciously appropriating anything that interests her: napkins, Barry White songs, storage systems, kitty cats, and feelings of revenge. In doing so, Feinstein calls the whole world into question, and her work elicits nothing short of new feelings. Curators Stroun and Barshee

  • Nicole Eisenman

    Nicole Eisenman’s early work pictured a triumphant matriarchy doing ecstatic things together. In recent years, her protagonists have swung down from their heroic heights, post-Valhalla, to pursue the homelier stuff of life, and we find them in a bleaker mood at kitchen tables and in beer halls, eating, texting, napping, gazing, snogging, waiting for a drink. To her bag of tricks Eisenman has added a new motif: the close-up. She cuts to the big heads of various perplexed individuals in her Rabelaisian crowds, their faces confronting us with comic moods of befuddlement,

  • AB-EX AND DISCO BALLS: IN DEFENSE OF ABSTRACT EXPRESSIONISM II

    I FEEL KIND OF BAD FOR AB-EX. At sixty-something, the old bird’s gotten the gimlet eye from just about everybody: It’s vulgar, it’s the phallocracy, it’s nothing but an empty trophy, it celebrates bourgeois subjectivity, it’s a cold-war CIA front, and, well, basically, expression’s really embarrassing. A dandy wouldn’t be caught dead doing something as earnest as struggling, or channeling jazz with his arms. An old-style dandy, at least. T. J. Clark’s 1994 text “In Defense of Abstract Expressionism” made AbEx’s connection to the vulgar perfectly clear, rendering it bathetic in all its ridiculous

  • Amy Sillman

    AMY SILLMAN

    1 The books and collages of Aleksei Kruchenykh Aside from inventing (with Velimir Khlebnikov) zaum, the radical sound poetry of Russian Cubo-Futurism, Kruchenykh also cobbled together dozens of artist’s books in tiny editions, using materials purloined from his day job at a railway office. They’re like little cannonballs— powerful kernels of “explodity,” to use one of his words. And they explore not only language but collage: One of Kruchenykh’s books from 1916, Universal War, features cut-paper collages that anticipate Matisse’s paper cutouts but contain more overtly political

  • Elizabeth Murray

    ROBERT STORR

    SOME YEARS BACK, a student who had attended the summer program at Skowhegan in Maine told me about the powerful impression Elizabeth Murray had made on him. One thing he recounted stuck in my mind—that during a studio visit, Murray had said in passing, “For you to be right about what you’re doing, not everybody else has to be wrong.” Or is my memory playing tricks on me? Was it actually a woman who recalled this story for me? The matter of gender is significant when you talk about Murray, who died in August at age sixty-six. She was among a handful of woman painters of her

  • THEIR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS OF THE YEAR

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2006.

    AMY SILLMAN

    “Edvard Munch: The Modern Life of the Soul” (Museum of Modern Art, New York) In a rather cynical mode, I trudged uptown one day last spring to see the Munch show at MoMA for what I thought would be a cliché-ridden overview of Nordic gloom-goth. What I got instead was a hard punch to the gut: powerful color, radical ideas about the depiction of memory as space, paintings with emotional vanishing points rather than rational optical