Christian Kravagna

  • Kerry James Marshall

    THE MONOCHROMEis by definition dedicated to one hue. And so it is the modernist format most allied with purity, negation, substance—everything that is not external to the picture, everything that is not decoration or history or politics. But with this exhibition at the Secession, Kerry James Marshall used the monochrome to examine the question of color in all senses of the word, from its role in the history of modernist painting to its historical and even iconographic relation to past and present African American visual culture.

    Marshall structured his presentation, which included sixteen

  • Dak’Art 2002

    The exhibitions and publications of African curators and critics like Olu Oguibe, Okwui Enwezor, or Salah Hassan, to name just a few, have shown the cliché image of “authentic African art” to be an illusion and have countered it with more differentiated viewpoints. But the higher profile of African artists and increasing authority of African curators in the Western art world are changes that have taken place outside the continent. In the ten years of its existence, Dak’Art, the Biennale de l’Art Africain Contemporain, in Dakar, has established itself as one place where a certain continuity in

  • Florian Pumhösl

    Florian Pumhösl’s relationship to modernity has nothing to do with the widespread artistic historicism that playfully borrows modernist forms and ideas and uses them, “purified” of utopian and universalistic pretensions, for ironic or just entertaining purposes. Pumhösl’s work (much like that of Stan Douglas or Christopher Williams) is characterized by a historical perspective on modernity that is interested in its breaks, contradictions, and transformations. Part of this historically conscious praxis includes reconstructing exemplary modernist designs, and Pumhösl may be the artist who executes

  • Dorit Margreiter

    To write for a primarily American readership about an exhibition by a European artist concerned with the commonplaces of American television presents a certain difficulty. Despite their worldwide dissemination through the media, the depicted cultures of high school, cheerleaders, or the Super Bowl, for example, are nonetheless very particular and cannot be quoted with the same self-assurance as they can within their own culture. On the other hand, our European understanding of American life is shaped in great part precisely by its clichéd reflection in the media.

    In Dorit Margreiter’s video Short

  • Norbert Brunner/Michael Schuster

    Conceptual photographer Michael Schuster and poet Norbert Brunner executed the project Dokumentarische Dialektstudie (Documentary dialect study) in 1979. In 1999, adhering to exactly the same specifications, the project was played through one more time. Before examining the character of such a repeat performance, let’s consider the original concept. As the complete title of the first version indicates, the “Documentary Dialect Study from the Fersental to Garmisch-Partenkirchen” follows the transmutation of the Tirolean dialect from the German-speaking southern Tirol in Italy across the Austrian

  • Martha Rosler

    “Positions in the Life World,” a traveling survey of Martha Rosler’s work of the past thirty-four years, organized with the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham, brings out one of the artist’s greatest strengths: her ability to articulate a broad spectrum of themes—and to rework them over the years with undiminished returns—in media appropriate to her subject and reflective of the changing contemporary art world.

    The fact that Rosler’s exhibition opened during the war in Kosovo gave an unwanted if affecting concreteness to one of her ongoing thematic concerns: namely, war and the way it is represented in

  • Rénee Green

    Renée Green’s exhibition “Between and Including” was a convincing model of a retrospective, even though in some ways it was fragmentary and included only work from the past four years. What made this version of a “retrospective” so compelling was its overlapping of a whole series of backward glances. To begin with there were the works, a selection of videos and installations placed in one large room that the artist had reconfigured as a labyrinth. Then there was an examination of Green’s personal history, the question of her origin and formation as subject and artist. On top of all this was a

  • Steirlscher Herbst 99

    This year, Graz’s autumn festival, Steirischer Herbst, includes a retrospective of William Kentridge’s work in the Neue Galerie and an exhibition in the Graz Künstlerhaus called “Telling Tales,” a show of Australian art. The Kunsthalle Feldbach is presenting a collaboration between Soo-Ja Kim and Jeanette Christensen, while Peter Weibel’s Net-art exhibition, “Net_Condition,” appears simultaneously in Graz, Karlsruhe (at the Zentrum für Kunst und Mediatechnologie, which Weibel directs), Tokyo, and Barcelona. “Re-Make/Re-Model,” an interdisciplinary project (undertaken by “work groups” in London,

  • Carola Dertnig

    The last beats of the techno wave are finally fading out, and after watching countless videos of dancing artists in recent years, I wasn’t altogether eager to see Carola Dertnig’s recent exhibition, which was titled “Dancing with Remotes.” But it is only at first glance that the videos of this Austrian artist who lives in New York bear any relation to techno’s oft-celebrated theme: the withdrawal from the social into the private sensation of one’s own body merging with musical rhythms. What distinguishes Dertnig’s work from such privatisms are her subtly deployed references to social conditioning—an

  • Cora Pongracz

    This exhibition, organized in collaboration with the Galerie Fotohof in Salzburg, offered the chance to rediscover Cora Pongracz, an artist who, despite her important role in Viennese art circles in the ’70s, had largely vanished from public view in the last few years. Among Pongracz’s most well-known works is a series of photographs in which she portrays the ’70s “art scene”—perhaps the reason her reputation as an artist has been reduced to that of a chronicler. Series like the “Photogeschichte Martha Jungwirth—Franz Ringel” (Photographic history Martha Jungwirth—Franz Ringel), 1972. (which

  • Octavian Trauttmansdorff

    In this gallery, like many others, there are discrete spaces for exhibitions and offices. In his recent show, Octavian Trauttmansdorff inverted the function of the two areas: The gallerists worked in the exhibition space, directly in front of a picture window, while the artist installed photographs and a video in the traditional working space. This process of making the gallery’s working conditions and business visible is, of course, reminiscent of Michael Asher’s T975 gesture concerning the material “support system” of the apparently neutral aesthetic experience.

    The walls around the new desk

  • Maria Eichhorn

    Maria Eichhorn’s installation “The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement” von Seth Siegelaub and Bob Projansky, 1997, addressed the famous “artist’s contract” of the early ’70s through which Seth Siegelaub (with the aid of lawyer Bob Projansky) tried to regulate artists’ rights. Siegelaub’s 1971 contract—although it has its roots in the Conceptual art movement—is based on a traditional conception of the artwork, and on a system comprising producers, dealers, and collectors. Siegelaub wanted to assure the artist of 15 percent of profits from the resale of artworks to a

  • Lois Weinberger

    When Lois Weinberger planted weeds around a railroad track near the Kulturbahnhof at Documenta X, it was widely noticed. In fact, the piece attracted more attention than many of the other works in the show. But why did common grasses, ferns, and thistles seem so intriguing when presented in a cultural context? Was it because large exhibitions can be tiring, even boring, for professionals as well as for laymen (perhaps for different reasons), and that a little nature is felt to be liberating? Especially in a clean, solid town like Kassel—where the train station is surrounded by a revitalized

  • Zoe Leonard

    A tree barren of leaves, ten fairly small photographs, generic motifs, a lot of empty space, and a door opening onto the outside through which the sound of birds and traffic could be heard. What Zoe Leonard disseminated in her recent show consisted largely of “atmosphere.”

    Many here, some in the local media, expressed disappointment with Leonard’s exhibition, because it did not fulfill what some expect from “political” artists. Why, then, did the show strike me as important? For exactly the same reason: it did not fulfill expectations, and thus offered an opportunity for reflection. There is a

  • Valie Export

    A record spins on a turntable, with the sound switched off; the artist, meanwhile, appears on a video monitor, listening on headphones and singing along. It is impossible to capture the rich and multifaceted aspects of a thirty-year career in a few words, but Valie Export’s title for this work, “Reproduction of the Reproduction qua Immediacy,” goes a long way toward stating her central concerns. Completed in 1973 but conceived in 1967, this installation could have inspired the title of a recent retrospective of her work: “Split: Reality.”

    Whereas “immediacy” generally designates the opposite of

  • Eija-Liisa Ahtila

    Eija-Liisa Ahtila’s three-part video projection If 6 was 9, 1995, deals with young girls’ conversations about sex. The combination of video, youth, and sexual content in work that reflects on the quotidian is hardly unusual, and those who remain skeptical about the art world’s current tendency to privilege the personal won’t necessarily be swept away. Ahtila’s films, however, distinguish themselves by dealing with issues of identity and self-discovery without making any claim to “authenticity.”

    If 6 was 9 involves a fracturing of representation that derives from a disjunction between sound and

  • Elke Krystufek

    The day after the opening of Elke Krystufek’s recent show, there were more people than I had even seen in this space. Why was there so much fuss about an artist who is only twenty-seven? Krystufek is certainly the most successful Austrian artist of the decade, but better-known artists have shown their work at the Secession without inspiring so much interest. There must have been other reasons for the furor—perhaps the advance reports on an Austrian radio station, for example, that continually repeated the catchphrase, “masturbation performance.” In fact, Krystufek became known to a wider audience

  • Gottfried Bechtold

    During the ’60s and ’70s, Gottfried Bechtold’s career was difficult for two reasons: he lived in the provinces, near the German and Swiss border; and he pursued an aesthetic largely unrecognized in his own country. Along with Peter Weibel, Valie Export, and Richard Kriesche, Bechtold belonged to a small group of artists who rejected Austrian Expressionism in all its manifestations, from painting to Actionism, adopting instead a conceptual stance with a more international orientation. Although his work appeared in the 1972 Documenta, he had no solo shows outside Austria since 1966, an injustice

  • Maria Hahnenkamp

    Given the image on the invitation for Maria Hahnenkamp’s recent show, one could easily have been disappointed by the work in the gallery. The card depicted a young blonde woman, heavily made-up, her lips slightly parted and her gaze focused on something mysterious and inviting outside the picture frame. In short, this was a provocative image of an “attractive” and “erotic” woman, reminiscent of media and advertising images. Inside the gallery one’s first impression was radically different: white walls, white frames, white pictures, almost suggesting that one was about to enter into a formal

  • Franz West

    Some have doubted the appropriateness of granting Franz West a museum retrospective at this point in his career, as he only began to achieve wide recognition during the mid ’80s. Skepticism might also stem from the fact that the fascination of his earlier shows lay in their focus on particular situations, something hardly possible in a large-scale exhibition. By showing the long prehistory of West’s work, however, this exhibition made it clear that he adopted his characteristic stance very early on—by about the mid ’70s—while it also demonstrated that his origins can be traced to the particular