David Salle

  • Lisa Liebmann

    LISA LIEBMANN was a passionate explainer. She wrote fine-textured prose that detailed the interplay of the subtle, shifting, often evanescent sensations connected with the act of looking—and that expressed her complex, animated, and mostly approving relationship to art and to the scene. Her writing was imaginative; she could take vast interpretive leaps without bothering to look over her shoulder. She was the embodiment of an engaged critic—a participant, in many ways the ideal audience member. Lisa let the art, whatever it was—painting, opera, ballet, literature—flow through

  • Thomas Houseago

    STYLE REFLECTS CHARACTER. It’s the aggregate of choices one has made, consciously or not, regarding art that came before.

    I remember an episode of The Sopranos that goes something like this: Mobster Johnny’s life sentence just got a lot shorter. We see him in the prison hospital as he learns he has late-stage cancer. Tough break. The hospital orderly, also a lifer (played with touching eagerness by director Sydney Pollack), was an oncologist on the outside. The unlikeliness of the two men occupying the same room is heavy in the air. Patient and orderly start talking. Holding a mop in one hand,

  • Summer Reading

    DAVID SALLE

    I’ve spent countless hours listening to Bob and Ray, first on the original radio broadcasts, later on cassette tape or CD compilations of their greatest routines. I don’t know of any other comedy as mesmerizing or closer to the spirit of art—that ability to make a whole world out of a few ingredients. I love them extravagantly. Bob and Ray, Keener Than Most Persons by David Pollock (Applause Books) is the first behind-the-scenes study of how the duo generated their material and shaped it into such casual sublimity. I’m cheating a little, as this under-the-radar book came out in

  • Dana Schutz

    TALENT AND IMAGINATION are easily misunderstood. What passes for imagination today is often just a recontextualization of cultural signs; and talent is easily confused with knowingness or a desire for attention. Only occasionally does an artist come along who has both, and is able to use these capabilities to cast an original narrative idea into pictorial form. At age thirty-five, Dana Schutz is that rarity. Her paintings depict weird or funny characters and scenes cut from whole cloth. But the imagining is inseparable from the paint itself. The brush feels like an extension of the painter,

  • “Dana Schutz: If the face had wheels”

    Dana Schutz paints with directness and expediency, and her work has an exhilaration that comes from giving form to internal feelings.

    Dana Schutz paints with directness and expediency, and her work has an exhilaration that comes from giving form to internal feelings. She is an American symbolist who is sometimes mistaken for a realist. Her paintings often depict scenes that are absurd, goofy, or grotesque: things seen in the mind’s eye. A woman eating her own arm, a nude man lying prone in the desert, someone caught midsneeze— the pictures revel in the power of pictorial visualization. Schutz has a winning curiosity about strange forms that the self, and self-destruction, can take; you can imagine her

  • Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

    EVEN BEFORE CITIZEN KANE (1941), Orson Welles was already experimenting with using film techniques to heighten audience awareness of the special relationship between the teller and the tale that is fundamental to movies. In a little-known precursor to that film titled Too Much Johnson (1938), Welles made inventive use of a handheld camera to expose the phenomenological conundrum at the heart of moviemaking: How do you make an audience aware of the artificiality of cinematic reality and still keep them emotionally connected to the story? In the great leap that was Citizen Kane, Welles explored

  • The Best Exhibitions of 2005

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2005.

    MARTIN CREED

    “Edward Munch by Himself” (Royal Academy of Arts, London) This show gave me butterflies, screwed me up, and made me cry.

    AA BRONSON

    John Baldessari, “A Different Kind of Order” (Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna) I rarely go to exhibitions these days. Perhaps I’m too jaded. But the Baldessari retrospective was something else. Focusing on his production from 1962–84, it was notable for its curatorial indifference to the marketplace—so

  • David Salle

    I met Jim sometime in the early ’80s—Peter Schjeldahl brought him around to a show of mine. He seemed curious about younger painters. I had grown up knowing his work but really saw it in depth at the Whitney retrospective in 1986, which was dazzling. I was seeing a lot of the things for the first time, and I remember thinking how different the work felt from the way it had been encapsulated in the official version, partly because you saw only certain works, in reproduction. You saw only the classic paintings, never the really nutty ones with constructions and neon, or with the plastic bag full

  • Balthus

    BALTHAZAR KLOSSOWSKI, OR BALTHUS, or the Count de Rola, as he preferred to be known later in life, died February 18 at the age of 92. His passing did not go unmarked: U2 frontman Bono sang a tribute at his funeral, and critics Michael Kimmelman and Jed Perl wrote appropriately admiring eulogies, if colored by a certain defensiveness about Balthus’s historical position. Other commentators, such as Linda Nochlin (interviewed on National Public Radio), could not be moved to praise, even by his demise. Speaking ill of the dead is no more popular in the art world than in the rest of our culture, but

  • BEST OF THE ’90s: FILM



    CINDY SHERMAN, artist:
    Thomas Vinterberg’s brilliant The Celebration (1998) is especially important because it signals the future of the medium, away from Hollywood’s excesses.

    JOHN WATERS, filmmaker: During the 1994 Cannes Film Festival I was sick in bed with the flu on the night Pulp Fiction premiered. Suddenly, from blocks away I heard the most stupendous roar of approval from the opening-night audience. I was so pissed to have missed the night Quentin Tarantino became an instant cinematic icon. But once I saw the movie I knew he deserved it. I guess you could call me a Quentin-hag.

    KIMBERLY

  • Gemini G.E.L.

    What was noticed (what the book made me think about):

    That every artist has a kind of goad in the form of another artist who represents what they don’t like about being an artist. These goads/other artists are not so much inventories of what to avoid as an artist as they are an embodiment of what other people, nonartists that is should not think artists are. This could be either their relationship to and manner of carrying around their celebrity (who is watching); or their overprofessionalism, which puts a rationalized face on a near-random thing—work patterns of relative arbitrariness (habits)