Daniel Birnbaum

  • Louisiana’s Lars Nittve

    IN 1958, THE DANISH ART-LOVER Knud W. Jensen, having sold his dairy company, opened a museum for Modern art in the seaside town of Humlebaek, outside Copenhagen. The Louisiana—named for the three consecutive wives of the site’s original owner, all called Louisa—has been described as the most beautiful art museum in Europe, and many Scandinavians, myself included, would credit the institution with providing some of their most powerful experiences of contemporary art.

    Last summer the Louisiana’s governors named a new director. Their appointment: Lars Nittve, a Swede, and perhaps the most influential

  • Öyvind Fahlström

    This large retrospective of Oyvind Fahlström’s work, curated by Thomas Nordanstad and Deborah Thompson, traces the development of the idea of the artwork as a game from the early abstract canvases, to the multivalent paintings from the ’60s (in which one can discern a shift from the abstract to the figurative), and finally to the Monopoly games and installations from the early ’70s. In addition to the retrospective, the critic John Peter Nilsson organized an exhibition that examined the influence of Fahlström on Swedish art. Works by Maya Eizin, Lars Hillersberg, Joakim Pirinen, Carsten Regild,

  • Kerri Scharlin

    Having grown up chubby and misunderstood in Miami, Kerri Scharlin now takes her revenge. What she wants are portraits of herself, and plenty of them. Her interest in the images other people have of her seems boundless. She has used these often conflicting representations in a number of projects, and mounted a show in which her own contribution is rather passive, presenting what other people have achieved: images of Kerri.

    Scharlin has reduced herself to an object that can be rendered in various media by other people. In clay, in words, or in images—it doesn’t matter as long as the object remains

  • Dinos & Jake Chapman

    The analogy between the nose and the male sexual organ is a recurrent theme in Sigmund Freud’s correspondences with Wilhelm Fliess, the author of a treatise on bisexuality and nasal mucous membranes. According to Fliess, the nose, whose cavities are lined with hair similar to pubic hair, had not received adequate attention from psychoanalysis: “The nose is an unsolved mystery of medical science!”

    As if taking up this challenge, Dinos & Jake Chapman, the British masters of the grotesque, carry the psychoanalytic speculation of Dr. Fliess to its extreme in each of the five Fuck Faces (all 1995).

  • Leonard Forslund

    The art of Leonard Forslund is characterized by its extreme matter-of-factness. Objects are dryly, dispassionately rendered, banal in their everydayness: a soccer ball, a sofa, a rope ladder, a heater, a chair, a shower stall. Taken out of their ordinary contexts, these things appear with a new, obtrusive distinctness though they are not physically present and remain flat images on a canvas.

    The six paintings that comprised his most recent show are characterized by a dry grayness, the color of complete boredom. On closer inspection, however, the surfaces show signs of life—vaguely shimmering