Branden W. Joseph

  • September 22, 2020

    “Audiosphere: Social Experimental Audio, Pre- and Post-Internet”; “Disonata: Art in Sound up to 1980”; “Invisible Auto Sacramental: A Sonic Representation from Val del Omar”

    Sound art will be the focus of three significant fall exhibitions at the Reina Sofía. In “Disonata,” Paris-based art historian Maike Aden foregrounds works that challenge traditional conceptions of art and music, from Futurist instrumentation to midcentury technologies such as magnetic tape to materials from the late-1970s eruption of punk. In “Audiosphere,” musician and sound artist Francisco López brings together more than one thousand pieces around themes including “genealogies, networks, mega accessibility, cyborgization, aesthetogenesis, recombination, and rights,” polemically eliminating

  • “MUD MUSES: A RANT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY”

    Curated by Lars Bang Larsen

    Although Mud Muse, 1968–71, is the largest of Robert Rauschenberg’s works in the Moderna Museet collection, it has long played second fiddle to Monogram, 1955–59, the much-beloved taxidermied goat caught inside a tire. In “Mud Muses: A Rant About Technology,” curator Lars Bang Larsen will place the iconic bubbling vat of brown drilling mud at the center of an exhibition of approximately one hundred pieces by artists and collectives including Ian Cheng, Lucy Siyao Liu, the Otolith Group, and Jenna Sutela. As a product of “pure waste” and “sensualism” (Rauschenberg’s

  • CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN

    I FEEL THAT EVEN a dedicated special issue of Artforum would be insufficient to grapple with the loss of an artist of Carolee’s stature. Despite Kristine Stiles’s proclamation, more than a decade ago, that Carolee represented one of the “great women artists” for whom Linda Nochlin had longed, art history has generally failed to recognize the true breadth of her achievement. As was most clearly revealed to me while working with Sabine Breitwieser on the traveling retrospective “Carolee Schneemann: Kinetic Painting” (2015–18), Carolee’s body of work was as intricately interconnected—recursively

  • Branden W. Joseph

    ENTERING MARTIN BECK’S EXHIBITION “rumors and murmurs,” curated by Matthias Michalka at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, you were implicitly presented with two routes. Taking a swift right before the almost imperceptibly subtle fabric wall rumors and murmurs (Polygon), 2012/2017, and continuing into the smaller galleries behind the stairwell, one came upon what almost appeared to be a conventional midcareer retrospective. From there, one proceeded past An Organized System of Instructions, 2016, a videotaped lecture from Beck’s project at Harvard University’s Carpenter

  • LEE LOZANO

    Forty-five years after Lee Lozano notoriously separated herself from the mainstream art world (with Dropout Piece, ca. 1970), her stature within it only continues to rise. Once viewed almost solely as an adjunct to Conceptualism—despite the fact that Lucy Lippard would retrospectively dub her “the major female figure” of the movement—Lozano is now also widely recognized as a formidable painter whose work intersected with both the Pop and Minimalist tendencies of the 1960s and early ’70s. Approaching her often highly sexualized early

  • Tony Conrad

    I REMEMBER VISITING Tony Conrad one morning in his hotel room in Rotterdam, where I’d traveled to see his performance of 7360 Sukiyaki, 1973, alongside a screening of his more canonical structural films and a concert of amplified drone violin. Anyone who knew Conrad can recall how he occupied his spaces, with a proliferation of instruments and/or equipment of various vintages, in variable conditions of repair, each one related to an ongoing project in some state of completion or incompletion. Although he could not have been in his hotel room for more than twenty-four hours by that point, his

  • “Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933–1957”

    Having taken on artistic labor and the legacy of the part-object in contemporary sculpture, Helen Molesworth turns her curatorial acumen to the formidable artistic legacy of Black Mountain College, an experimental hothouse of multidisciplinary artistic innovation that existed for just over two decades. Not only is the exhibition to feature more than 260 contributions by almost a hundred artists—including John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Elaine and Willem de Kooning, Gwendolyn and Jacob Lawrence, and a host of equally celebrated and

  • “Ulrike Müller: The Old Expressions Are With Us Always and There Are Always Others”

    The title of Ulrike Müller’s exhibition derives from the early-twentieth-century little magazine Others, which promoted modern free-verse poetry and was associated with Grantwood, a thriving artistic community of individuals united, as Suzanne Churchill put it, “solely by their difference from any norm.” All facets of this reference (including the title phrase’s placement on the magazine’s cover by the feminist artist Marguerite Zorach) prove apposite for Müller, whose prints, drawings, and expanded painting practice—encompassing paint on canvas, vitreous enamel

  • “Warhol by the Book”

    Given the attention afforded every aspect of Andy Warhol’s diverse production and legacy, it is surprising that his engagement with books has taken so long to come to the fore. Like last year’s anthology Reading Andy Warhol: Author Illustrator Publisher, “Warhol by the Book” seeks to rectify this situation, bringing together some four hundred objects associated with more than eighty different books, from faux-naive self-published pre-Pop titles to the fascinatingly dark Andy Warhol’s Index (Book) of 1967, which encapsulates the look and ethos of the Silver Factory at its

  • Branden W. Joseph

    I have always loved William S. Burroughs’s writing out of all proportion to other literature. Part of the reason is undoubtedly that, even before he adopted the cut-up method of the painter Brion Gysin, Burroughs treated language as if it were the type of physical matter manipulated by a visual artist. Oliver Harris, who between 2003 and 2010 oversaw the reissue of Burroughs’s early trilogy Junky, Queer, and The Yage Letters, was perhaps the first editor to realize this fully, formulating an idea of “social text-editing” in which the material history of each of Burroughs’s manuscripts was not

  • MINOR THREAT: THE ART OF CAMERON JAMIE

    EVEN WITHIN an already markedly diverse oeuvre, Cameron Jamie’s recent work is initially difficult to place. Despite certain iconographic continuities—found most notably in Jamie’s primary leitmotif, the mask—his newly atmospheric pen-and-wash drawings, brightly colored ceramics, and intimate Xerox artists’ books appear to depart starkly from the documentary impulse behind his much-celebrated films. Highlights of his singular filmography include BB, 1998–2000, which captures the dangerous antics and assumed personae of suburban backyard wrestlers; Kranky Klaus, 2002–2003, which follows

  • Tony Conrad

    Tony Conrad’s work has always engaged with regimes of power and the subject’s place within them, whether in the phenomenologically demanding acoustic environments created by the Theatre of Eternal Music or the cognitively scrambling optical impacts of his 1965 stroboscopic film The Flicker. In the early 1980s, Conrad began to make such thematizations of power explicit in pieces like Beholden to Victory, an “army film” that implicates its audiences in the dynamics of surly officers and shiftless, insubordinate privates. Conrad’s sequel, a women-in-prison epic known as the