David A. Ross

  • Douglas Davis, The World’s First Collaborative Sentence, 1994.
    passages June 20, 2014

    Douglas Davis (1933–2014)

    DOUGLAS DAVIS, critical and theoretical writer, teacher, and media artist, died in relative obscurity this past winter. No museum organized a memorial exhibition, and while a few obits appeared, the art world did not make much fuss. Yet Davis deserves to be celebrated for a life devoted to challenging many of the assumptions and attitudes that still hamper our understanding of the times in which we live. Technology was the focus of Davis’s work as an artist and as an art and architecture critic. His fundamental concerns were not, as his friend and collaborator Nam June Paik often said, with the

  • Pete Seeger.
    passages March 28, 2014

    Pete Seeger (1919–2014)

    IF IT SEEMED like Pete Seeger, who died on January 27, 2014, at the age of ninety-four, was present and deeply involved in nearly every key cultural moment of the twentieth and early twenty-first century—a real-life Forest Gump—that is because he actually was. Yet Seeger, a lifelong progressive, and a dedicated small “c” communist, was always motivated more by the power of his beliefs than by a desire to be in step with history. He openly and early embraced radical social and political positions now considered simply liberal, held on to his principles long past their fashionable utility, recognized

  • William Eggleston

    WHAT WE MOST admire about William Eggleston and his exquisite gothic photographs is that these perspicuous glimpses of the American South stem from a life of deeply engaged observation—the kind that blurs the line between the photographer and the photographed. His work manifests a unique form of visual empathy. That the pictures are almost always nearly too perfect, formally speaking, is what elevates his interiors and portraits to the level of high art. Eggleston’s mastery of color and composition refreshes our visual understanding of a tricycle, an old car, the rooms of Graceland, or even a


    “EAVESDROPPING ON ONLINE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT digital and Net art, I always have a panic-attack feeling that the air has been sucked out of the room. Let's face it, a lot of this stuff is deeply sucky.” Strong words from self-styled tech maven Mark Dery, but the provocation mirrors a common enough skepticism when it comes to the marriage of art and digital technologies. As Saul Anton, Artforum's new website editor and the moderator of this roundtable, pointedly observes, such reserve is “inversely proportional to the exuberant embrace of all things digital in our culture at large.”

    Still, the ongoing