Dan Cameron

  • passages November 17, 2016

    Tony Feher (1956–2016)

    MY FIRST COLLABORATION WITH TONY FEHER took place in the summer of 1995, in a group exhibition titled “Thresholds/Limiares” at Fundação de Serralves in Porto, Portugal. The curatorial premise was for each artist—including Tony, Lewis deSoto, R. M. Fischer, Kristin Oppenheim, Paul Ramirez-Jonas, Diana Thater, Meyer Vaisman, and Millie Wilson—to present two works: one within the stately family house and the other in the surrounding gardens. When Tony explained to me that everything he needed for his indoor work would be in his checked luggage, that his total materials and production budget on-site

  • diary November 09, 2007

    Second Act

    New Orleans

    Two images, bookends really, stand out from Creative Time’s presentation of the Classical Theatre of Harlem’s (CTH) production of Waiting for Godot in New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward last Saturday night. The first image was celebratory—at precisely 7:30 PM, Rebirth Brass Band kicked off a typically raucous secondline, and the steady flow of five hundred attendees through the front gates and into the bleachers marked the first occasion since Katrina that the crippled neighborhood has been a cultural focus for the rest of the city. The second image was considerably more somber. After taking their




    As a participant in the women’s art movement of the late ’60s and early ’70s, I have decidedly mixed feelings about the historicization of feminism. It is difficult to see lived experience transformed into historical text. Things that seemed open and dynamic are now pinned down and displayed like butterflies in a case. Of course, there is also the tendency to idealize the past, to see the women’s art movement as totally united. This was not the case: Although all of us were for justice, equity, and a fair shake for women artists, critics, and academics, our views were extremely

  • Group Material

    DAN CAMERON: In the late ’70s, wasn’t there a sense that object making as a form of art production had sort of run its course? Was there a new way of being involved in culture that was somehow summed up for you by the music scene?

    JULIE AULT: Well, I wouldn’t say object making had run its course. But the definitions of art and being an artist were in question in a very productive and stimulating way. I arrived in New York in 1976 from Maine, and as a teenager got to experience punk, and a bit later rap. The music scene downtown really transformed art culture, and the DIY atmosphere across a number

  • Peter Halley

    DAN CAMERON: Before we talk about the ’80s, we should talk about talking about the ’80s.

    PETER HALLEY: It’s interesting, because the ’80s were really three different periods: 1980 to 1983 was dominated by the recession and by the emergence of new European painting and neo-expressionism. Then you had the mid-’80s, in which the robust economic recovery spurred the emergence of neo-Conceptualism—which included artists who were showing for the first time, Koons, myself, et cetera, but also marked the first widespread acceptance of artists like Richard Prince and Sherrie Levine, who were first shown

  • Ross Bleckner

    ROSS BLECKNER: You’ve got your work cut out for you. I’m sure it’s going to be very difficult to extract the kind of memory trace you’re after from all of these artists because everybody will have the same thing to say. They’ll all rail on about decade-ism. They’ll naturally protest the idea that any artist—least of all an artist as interesting as themselves!—could be categorized in such a fake historical way, considering of course that all of these artists are still actually alive and hopefully still productive.

    DC: And doing the best work of their careers!

    RB: Naturally. [Laughter.]

    DC: When I

  • 1981: Keith Haring’s Wild Style

    ONE AFTERNOON in late spring of 1981, I was taking a lunch break from my new job as exhibition coordinator for the now defunct Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. The IAUS, a think tank propelled into existence in 1967 by Peter Eisenman, was located on Fortieth Street just west of Fifth Avenue. Part of the IAUS mission—along with publishing October, Skyline, and Oppositions and hosting frequent panel discussions—was to mount exhibitions of architects and projects deemed sympathetic to the founder’s ideals and methodologies. I was recruited to oversee the logistics of these shows, whose

  • Manifesta 3

    Although Manifesta has been loosely dedicated since its inception four years ago to defining a “new Europe,” the 2000 installment provided the first opportunity for the show to inhabit a city that might actually exemplify such a definition. The only nomadic species in the proliferating genus of biennial exhibitions, Manifesta’s previous editions in Rotterdam and Luxembourg were, respectively, safe and sloppy, and both were of a piece with the stylistic drift in European art toward narrative, self-involved work (e.g., Pipilotti Rist) that largely circumvents issues of politics and identity. In

  • Öyvind Fahlström

    One of the most memorable pieces in the 1997 Documenta X was Öyvind Fahlström's The Little General (Pinball Machine), 1967. Resembling a raised indoor swimming pool with some two dozen movable parts spread out across its shimmering Plexiglas surface, the thirty-year-old “variable” sculpture radiated a visual audacity that made much of the current work around it pale by comparison. Ersatz scoring cues brushed up against cutouts of historical and pop-culture figures, who in turn seemed to jostle dismembered cartoon limbs and partial anatomies. The cumulative effect was dizzying, as if news,

  • Dan Cameron

    1. “Places with a Past” (Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, SC, 1991) The premise behind curator Mary Jane Jacob’s project—without question the most well-executed site-specific exhibition ever organized on American soil—was that the ghosts of southern history would emerge through the eighteen contributions by twenty-three artists. Much of the work included, such as David Hammons’s House of the Future and Kate Ericson and Mel Ziegler’s Camouflaged History, took on the authority of public commissions. Other memorable projects included Ann Hamilton’s investigation of the power of indigo, Christian

  • “Looking for a Place”

    Visitors to Santa Fe who like to take their high culture with a heaping spoonful of counterculture probably came away from the Third International SITE Santa Fe Biennial with a lot to ponder. Organized by Rosa Martínez under the dreamy rubric “Looking for a Place,” the exhibition projected a consistent, provocatively idealistic tone that proved infectious to the participating artists and most local viewers. Still, it was not as immediately user-friendly as the previous editions, and the confrontations it provoked were not meant to be brushed off lightly. In this sense, the biennial was closer

  • Collins & Milazzo

    Before Collins & Milazzo, “independent curator” was a sleepy designation for moonlighting art critics and academics. After the pair’s roaring descent on the scene circa 1984, it became a full-blown job description. A visit to a show organized by the twosome was an instant entrée to a world in which cool Conceptualism, an overheated market, and French theory in overdrive shared the same bed; for artists, being tapped by the curatorial duo meant that suddenly one’s work was part of the discourse. It was a heady time, made even more so by the deliberate ambiguity fostered by the curators themselves

  • International With Monument

    By the fall of 1986, a good litmus test of where you fell on the art-political spectrum was how you felt about International With Monument. Feared by some, hailed as the neighborhood’s salvation by others, the ponderously monikered gallery on East Seventh Street between 1st and A was known foremost as the outpost for Neo-Geo, the notorious non-movement whose lack of prior historical status did not exempt it from accusations of killing off the bohemian camaraderie that typified the first wave of East Village galleries. Begun in 1984 by three artist friends (Kent Klamen, Meyer Vaisman, and Elizabeth

  • Carroll Dunham

    For followers of Carroll Dunham’s work, the notion that his art requires a long-term commitment from the viewer is part of the shared faith that comes with the territory. Since he first began to appear in group shows twenty years ago, Dunham’s singular use of process in the deployment of color and drawing has made him the odd man out in discussions of recent American painting. Too analytical, introspective, even principled to be lumped in with any school, he is nevertheless claimed by a range of artists who see him as a rare standard-bearer in a morass of contemporary styles that seem increasingly

  • the Endless Biennial

    HERE’S A SPOT QUIZ. What do the cities São Paulo, Havana, Kassel, Münster, Venice, Santa Fe, Lyons, Kwangju, Istanbul, and Johannesburg mean to you? Either the preceding list reads as a disconnected set of far-flung travel destinations, or else you’re double-checking to make sure you packed the melatonin. If it’s the latter, you’re probably among those who recognize the extent to which those in the art world racked up Frequent Flyer miles over the last twelve months.

    If anything, 1997 seemed to be the year of the never-ending Biennial, with older, more established international shows joining

  • the 47th Venice Biennale

    As historians like to remind us, Venice is sinking. And if the Biennale is any indication, it’s disappearing faster than anyone suspected. Sure, the city and its treasures probably have a few good centuries left in them, but its greatest accomplishment in this one is increasingly held hostage to local politics and curatorial grandstanding. If in past years crowds have been shrinking, state money has been drying up, and the press has been screaming for blood, this June even art-world revelers fled, lured by the promise of greener pastures in Kassel.

    The night before my first peek at the 47th Venice

  • Jennifer Bolande

    Jennifer Bolande has built a career from slippery, almost ephemeral visual statements. Though she has always enjoyed spinning out image-puns alongside the vast majority of her more attention-grabbing contemporaries, it’s never been in the service of an easily paraphrasable message about identity or politics, or both. In fact, it isn’t until you “get” her pieces that the peculiarities of her investigation begin to sink in. Bolande probes the sorts of slippages that take place in everyday life: the moment when one thing momentarily overlaps with another and the distinctions between objects, between

  • Dan Cameron


    Deciding that inclusiveness was the best way to handle the often-elusive subject matter of “IN A DIFFERENT LIGHT,” cocurators Nayland Blake and Lawrence Rinder turned a skewered look at the gay and lesbian impact on visual culture into a semiotic free-for-all, filling the University Art Museum in Berkeley, California, with more than 200 objects. Nothing was sacred, which meant that little was excluded: paintings, sculpture, and photography hung cheek by jowl with record covers, small-press publications, and gay propaganda, as well as bits of paraphernalia whose relationship to the

  • Alan Belcher

    Although Alan Belcher’s work has been visible for more than a decade, it has never attracted a broad audience. Part of this has to do with the critical discourse that surrounded photography during the ’80s, with its limiting, even formalist emphasis on the rather banal notion that the photograph was a mediated image not a window on reality. But some of the blame must also be laid at Belcher’s feet: he has tended to overstate the degree to which a single piece or series can effectively engage both sculptural and photographic issues. Not only have his efforts in this direction often resulted in

  • Ann Messner

    Though Ann Messner’s previous work—everyday, no-longer-functional objects and appliances, embedded in wax or wrapped in lead—may have communicated the pathos of the commodity become relic, it seemed cut off from the complexities of subjective expression. The artist’s recent exhibition at this small SoHo venue, marked an abrupt shift in her approach both to materials and to the mechanics of display. No longer playfully extending the tradition of the readymade, Messner, in her most recent show, employed a wide range of media to create a mysterious, moving tableau.

    The central and most arresting