Dan Cameron

  • ABSENCE MAKES THE ART: DORIS SALCEDO

    DORIS SALCEDO IS ONE OF the several younger artists today who are redirecting sculpture, moving away from more formally oriented approaches toward social and emotional gestures and meanings. Salcedo points up the conceptual and perceptual differences in our notions of public and private space—for example, the way private, domestic space can become infused with feelings of loss, while public space, including the spaces of art viewing, are considered more “objective.” Like Christian Boltanski and Robert Gober, pioneers in the evocation of loss, Salcedo’s work paradoxically makes absence the register

  • Hannah Collins

    After she left her native London to live in Barcelona several years ago, an important change came over Hannah Collins’ work. Whereas the primary thrust of her mid-to-late-’80s photo-constructions was a sense of existential urgency, Catalonia appears to have inspired her to focus more closely on the physical aspects of her environment. Complex placements of human figures in neutral or semitheatrical spaces may have been necessary in the past, but her more recent work has suggested that a comparable degree of profundity can be located in a pile of trash gathering at the dead end of a medieval

  • LETTER FROM MADRID

    I STARTED TO BE convinced things were changing in Madrid when I visited the city at the end of last year. For months conversations had been littered with references to “the crisis.” When I asked some young architects how this famous crisis was faring, one of them perked up visibly and half-saluted, “Muy bien!” His message was patently clear: these madrileños might have been scrambling for every scrap of work they could get, but they weren’t to be bogged down by Spain’s problems.

    Thanks to the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage, lavishly and expensively celebrated here, the European recession

  • Fiona Rae

    The much-anticipated solo debut of this abstract painter from London underscored the fundamental difference between an artist whose work stands out in the context of a group show and one who maintains our interest throughout an exhibition. Though the premise of Fiona Rae’s work has become almost a cliche of post-Modernism—the polyglot “stacking” of styles and techniques within a single visual field—when the standoff between quotation and invention reaches a certain level of intensity, the collage effect is completely convincing. Precise, witty, yet almost freewheeling in its energy, a canvas

  • David Salle

    For much of the mid ’80s the art establishment was held in thrall to David Salle’s addictive brand of bad-boy defiance, which courted misogyny and cynicism in the name of esthetic liberty. No one could top Salle as the artist responsible for the largest number of art-world dinner parties reduced to out-and-out shouting matches. In keeping with the moment, a streak of opportunism a mile wide ran through his project, one that was less a Warholian gesture than a sparring match with Julian Schnabel, Salle’s erstwhile competitor for most all-consuming art-world ego. I'll admit it now, I’ve always

  • Teen Idol

    I OWE MY LOVE OF Modern art to Miró above any other artist. Thinking about him today, I’m whisked back to the moment in my adolescence when it seemed to me that his work basically existed to lead me away from teenage angst and toward a belief in the human spirit. It still astonishes me that to a frustrated small-town kid for whom the hills of Catalonia might as well have been as distant as the moon, Miró equaled Art.

    Today, Miró’s centenary exhibition at MoMA marks the first time I’ve encountered so many Modern masterpieces as old friends. But I’m also startled at the extraordinary amount of

  • Sonsbeek 93

    Swamped by rain, and not to mention hordes of day-trippers passing through en route to major openings in Antwerp and Venice, the June preview of Sonsbeek 93, in Arnhem, Holland, got the tenth installment of this international sculpture show off to an inauspicious start. The atmosphere was perhaps best captured by the performance by French artist Jean-Baptiste Bruant in a swampy polder zone on the outskirts of town. Spectators calf-deep in mud watched as Bruant dug a hole in the wet earth, let loose a horrific shout into the resulting cavity, and then filled it back up. For those unlucky enough

  • Dan Cameron

    UNTIL THE 1993 WHITNEY Biennial, I used to hope—and maybe, I’ll admit, even take it for granted once in a while—that my work was contributing to a process of progressive cultural transformation, and therefore to the public good. Now the verdict has come down that, as a white male dealing in artistic matters not always emphatically political, I’m actually part of the problem. Unfortunately, once I manage to assimilate this information and am on my way to becoming a better person, I’ll probably still be convinced that the ’93 Biennial was a pretty awful show.

    This is the quandary: can an exhibition

  • OPENINGS: MONA HATOUM

    It is worth puzzling over the fact that American artists strategically reworking such Modern movements as Minimalism, from a vantage point grounded in a feminist or cross-cultural consciousness, have so far resorted mostly to parody. Like Rachel Lachowicz, painstakingly duplicating, in lipstick, a Richard Serra sculpture, and Polly Apfelbaum, whose loose floor arrangements of tie-dyed fabric goof on Carl Andre, most artists working this fertile terrain are reluctant to try to summon the considerable phenomenological power of the works they critique. At this point in the culture wars of the ’90s,

  • EUGENIO DITTBORN: RETURN TO SENDER

    CONTEMPORARY AIR TRAVEL HAS replaced the individual’s instinctive sense of danger with the fiction that nothing could be more natural than being propelled thousands of feet above the earth at several hundred miles an hour. At takeoff, one respectfully lowers one’s reading material, muses for an instant, perhaps, on the miracle of aerodynamics, then slips gratefully back into a state of prolonged denial. Sometimes, if the landing is particularly smooth (or bumpy), a flurry of applause breaks out, effectively transforming passengers into audience, and pilots into seasoned old show-biz pros. Once

  • Sweet Thing

    IN CONTRAST TO L.A. PEERS Mike Kelley and Jim Shaw, who make postadolescent sexual aggression the medium for their rough-and-tumble transgressions of taste, Lari Pittman chooses the sissy route—he prettifies everything he touches. Indeed, while the silhouettes, candle drippings, and prunelike wrinkles that overpopulate his canvases may teeter on the edge of mystic obscurantism, the loving attention he takes with their execution recalls the behavior of the perfectly contented child who creates painstakingly realized inventions out of the serene confidence that his efforts will be greeted with

  • SEASON'S READINGS

    Sex, Art, and American Culture: Essays, by Camille Paglia. New York: Vintage Books, 1992.

    So far we have seen two acts of the razzle-dazzle Camille Paglia show. The first act—the exposition, as it were—was Sexual Personae: Art and Decadence from Nefertiti to Emily Dickinson, a tumescent tome that ranges swaggeringly over the whole of the Western cultural patrimony, resembling in its ambitions such old-fashioned surveys as Erich Auerbach’s Mimesis and E. R. Curtius’ European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, but hyped-up and amphetamized for the MTV generation. Dirty, too—Paglia’s willful