Christian Leigh

  • David Bowes

    Of all recent art-making strategies, deception, whether manifested in the physical, the cerebral, or the emotional, has played perhaps the most prominent role in the shaping of an ’80s sensibility. It can be seen in just about every “hot” art style of the decade: from Julian Schnabel’s mock-heroic posturing to George Condo’s supposed love affair with his palette and Philip Taaffe’s visual distortions of Bridget Riley and Barnett Newman. Recently, deception has played a part in the art world’s romance with age—the tattered, torn, and worn look, as exemplified by the Starn Twins’ taped photocollages

  • James Coleman

    James Coleman, an artist who lives and works in Dublin, Ireland, is often associated with a group of conceptual artists with whom his work has only a simple connection. This group includes Michael Asher (who shared this exhibition space with Coleman), Robert Barry, Dan Graham, Daniel Buren, Dara Birnbaum, and Judith Barry, artists whose work typifies a certain strain in conceptualism wherein the viewer’s expectations are directly challenged by the complex installation of the work. On those grounds, Coleman does fit in, but his work is less attracted to issues of closure and repression than that

  • Eric Bainbridge

    In the children’s game “Telephone,” one child whispers a story into the ear of the child sitting next to him, who then whispers the story into the ear of the child next to him, and so on. The game’s payoff comes when the last child gets up and tells his version of the story aloud, much to the amusement and delight of the other kids, whose short attention-spans and infinite imaginations make for a dazzling display of kiddie revisionism. The game is also an exercise in the creation of a hyperfiction: a larger-than-life, mannered rendering of the banal.

    Eric Bainbridge’s art is like a physical

  • Haim Steinbach

    Haim Steinbach’s method of production keeps people talking a blue streak: how he buys things and displays them on shelves in the gallery space, and how if you buy one of them, the price of “the goods” is added to the price of “the work.” This often leads to an entertaining discussion as to what “the work” is: object or idea. Then there are the rumors about how Steinbach doesn’t even like to touch the pieces, relegating installation of them to just about anybody other than himself. And once issues of display, purchase, payment, and installation are out of the way, the discussion usually shifts

  • Michael Byron

    “Charming” is not a word I usually associate with art that I like or respect. But “charming” is the best word I can think of to describe Michael Byron’s recent exhibition, entitled “The Faust Cycle.” The five works in this show, paintings incorporating sculptural elements, comprise tableaux based on the legend of Faust. Byron claims to have been inspired by Goethe’s properly serious Faust, but he seems to have been influenced to a greater extent by the cheesy 1967 film version of the story starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. He renders the Faust legend as a cross between a sitcom and

  • Annette Lemieux

    In Part II of “The Rodin Book,” written in 1907, Rainer Maria Rilke wrote of the sublime in relation to silence and suggestion: “I am as one who would remind you of your childhood. No, not only of your childhood, but of everything that ever was childhood. For my purpose is to awaken memories in you which are not yours, which are older than you; to restore connections and renew relationships which lie in the distant past.” Annette Lemieux works within this realm of collective memory. Her work depicts a broad history of Everyman through an insinuating poetry that refers to that memory and the

  • IT'S THE END OF THE WORLD AND I FEEL FINE

    I just wanna get radical!

    —Matt Archbold, professional surfer, 1987

    I want my future work to operate in the interchange between Robert Smithson’s unfinished project and Michael Jackson’s face.

    —Ashley Bickerton, 1988

    IN FRANCE THEY CALL them enfants terribles. In Italy you might hear duri. Here in America, we call them bad boys. We find them in our movies, we find them in our literature. Rock music, since its inspired invention back in the ’50s, has perhaps been the most comfortable home for our bad boys. Its thesis is one of giving it all—chills, thrills, passion, and pathos—and bad boys and bad

  • Arman

    Arman is known for his assemblages—grand, collagelike works that look like orderly junk piles of the world’s remnants: spools of thread, typewriters, camera parts, all the pieces of a single smashed chair, and so forth. As a primary member of the Nouveau Réaliste movement of the late ’50s and early ’60s, Arman made works that were occasionally interesting and sometimes even enchanting, but in the short-lived period of French Pop art that followed, the works that he produced were simply anomalies. Here, in a return to the medium of paint for the first time in twenty years, Arman presented a

  • Rosemarie Trockel

    Drawing exhibitions provide an artist with a singular opportunity: to present the inner workings of an inspiration, the seed of an idea or concept. Drawings and the act of drawing have served artists in different ways at different times. Nowadays, we have come to view drawings as maquettes for larger works, a game in which size and scale are given greater consideration than either eloquence or clarity. In the past, artists such as Eva Hesse and Joseph Beuys have been successful in extending the reach of their respective projects to include drawing; and more recently it could be said that Enzo

  • Milan Kunc

    That was not the right thing to say. A man with artificially waved hair pointed a long index finger at her. “That’s no way to talk. You’re all responsible for what happened. You, too. How did you oppose the Communist regime? All you did was paint pictures.”

    ––Milan Kundera,

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being

    Like Thomas, the protagonist in Kundera’s novel, Milan Kunc has experienced the effects of politics on one’s life and project. In his work, Kunc, a Czech defector to West Germany, has always revealed an acute political sensibility, mixed with a certain whimsicality that takes his art past the

  • Walter Martin

    Walter Martin’s project as an artist involves the sculptural remaking of mundane objects associated with a nostalgic view of the commonplace. Martin’s interest in time and its random manifestations brings an imperative resonance to his ambitious new works. Here, Martin offered a bizarre lopsided grand piano and a multipartite work aptly titled Mechanical Operation of the Spirit, 1987–88, which consists of six extraordinary grandfather clocks. Although the piano was the first work a viewer would have seen when entering the gallery space, the grandfather clocks were clearly the central focus of

  • Woody Allen, September

    Woody Allen is perhaps the most important filmmaker currently working in the English language, a true auteur. Unlike so many of his American colleagues, he is not interested in big budgets, all-star casts, or high-tech special effects. His films are ultimately highly personal statements about life, death, love, and relationships. Like Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini, his spiritual mentors, Allen has devoted much of the past 20 years to creating a rich visual landscape with a team of technicians and actors and a strong repertory of characters, concerns, plots, and themes.

    Allen’s films generally

  • “LA Hot and Cool—The Eighties”

    In the introduction to the catalogue for this exhibition of recent work by 23 Los Angeles-based artists, curator Dana Friis-Hansen started off by asking the question “Has Los Angeles art hit the Big Time?” Pushing the naive notion of a regional art movement to an extreme, he went on to present his thesis that cool conceptual work and warmer representational work exist side by side there, embodying the city’s “two distinct temperaments.” Big surprise. With this ersatz intellectual baggage in tow, “LA Hot and Cool—The Eighties” became a grandiose travelogue for “the new art capital.”

    To be sure,

  • ACT-UP

    At a time in the post-Modern discourse when the political and the esthetic are all but separate, the window installation Let the Record Show . . . by ACT-UP (the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) has been especially welcome. Throughout history, political groups have continually made use of art as a means of disseminating their ideology, for art has never been beyond the reach of a cause, sympathetic or otherwise.

    ACT-UP is a radical, grass-roots, positive-action organization dedicated to developing political and medical justice during the AIDS crisis. This nonpartisan New York group meets weekly