David Velasco

  • interviews March 30, 2012

    Dennis Cooper

    Dennis Cooper is an American writer and artist based in Paris. In 1987 he moved from New York to Amsterdam, where he wrote his novel Closer (1989), the first book in his celebrated pentalogy, “The George Miles Cycle” (1989–2000). “Closer—The Dennis Cooper Papers,” an exhibition based on the cycle and incorporating works by Vincent Fecteau and Falke Pisano as well as a new commission by Trisha Donnelly, is on view at the Kunstverein in Amsterdam through June 23, 2012.

    WELL, YOU PROBABLY KNOW that George Miles was very troubled. When we met I was fifteen, and he was twelve. I was taking care of

  • film March 11, 2012

    Queer Eyes

    The little cretin shepardess was now ruined for normal love and she ran amok among the other freaks, inflaming them.

    —Jack Smith, “Normal Love,” 1963

    SOME FEMININE PRODUCTS: Makeup, paint, and brushes. Floggers and Boston creams. Joints. Bananas that bleed when stabbed. Bloody pinkies poked through magazine pages and punctured beer cans held in taut tighty-whiteys. Watermelons split by samurai swords. Adult babies sprung from clay wombs.

    FEMININE PRODUCTS says the sign, hoisted atop a stretched canvas above a slew of art supplies. It is both the literal and the conceptual establishing shot

  • The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

    “BENTONVILLE, ARKANSAS is a city in Northwest Arkansas, and county seat of Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 35,301 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. Bentonville is also home to the Wal-Mart Home Offices, headquarters of Walmart Stores, the largest private employer and retailer in the world.”

    The succinct, just-the-facts style of Wikipedia goes a lot further in fixing the surfaces of Bentonville than any lyric acrobatics might. A location scout would have trouble picking the town out of a lineup;

  • interviews February 01, 2012

    Neal Medlyn

    Wicked Clown Love is the sixth work in Neal Medlyn’s ongoing series of performances based around pop stars. Prior pieces have considered recording artists such as Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, and Britney Spears; his latest component builds on the music and culture of Insane Clown Posse. The show, which features design by Madeline Best (lighting), Kathleen Hanna (set), and Larry Krone (costume), will have its premiere at The Kitchen in New York from February 2 to 4.

    THE ANNUAL GATHERING of the Juggalos takes place in the middle of absolutely nowhere—a corner of the woods on the Ohio River in

  • diary January 03, 2012

    End Days

    ON THE LAST THREE NIGHTS OF 2011, I attended five of the final six performances of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Even a few dance journalists, from whom you might expect a degree of sympathy, suggested it was a bit eccentric to see so many.

    To sign off on my own delusion, I’ll admit that my only nagging thought was, “Why did I not get tickets to all six?” (Several friends had.) I explained to skeptics that, with multidirectional dance going on three different stages simultaneously, there was just so much to see, and that I would have just been at home otherwise, so why not spend the extra

  • “Simon Fujiwara: Since 1982”

    “I am my work,” Simon Fujiwara tells us. But not in a Madame Bovary c’est moi kind of way.

    “I am my work,” Simon Fujiwara tells us. But not in a Madame Bovary c’est moi kind of way. Rather, the Berlin-based, Japanese-born artist gives us fictions in the guise of autobiography or uses biographical material as bait for his convoluted fish stories. If Fujiwara were a pathological liar, this could be art as public catharsis. In any case, truth and fantasy seem quaint conceits in the context of his performance-minded installations, a few of which, such as The Mirror Stage, 2009, and Letters from Mexico, 2010–11, will be on view in the artist’s solo museum debut. It’s

  • “Retrospective by Xavier Le Roy”

    A retrospective is basically a midlife crisis, one that devolves on the stomach-churning question “What have I done?”

    A retrospective is basically a midlife crisis, one that devolves on the stomach-churning question “What have I done?” The situation is especially dour when you’ve spent the past twenty years making works for the stage, not for museal quantification. Xavier Le Roy responds to the problem by making the problem—this idea of the “retrospective”—itself another work. Those familiar with the French dance artist’s witty and self-revising oeuvre won’t be surprised: If his live works illuminate the conditions and limits of dance, etc., how better to respond to the dead

  • David Velasco

    1 Sarah Michelson, Devotion (The Kitchen, New York, January 13–15 and 19–22, 2011) I saw this dance about dance and dance making three times in one week. Each time I held on to it thinking, “This is as good as it gets.” Nothing leaves you dumbstruck by the evanescence of performance like a Michelson dance.

    2 Richard Move and MoveOpolis!, Martha@ . . . The 1963 Interview (Dance Theater Workshop, New York, March 30–April 2 and November 16–19, 2011) Martha Graham’s greatest legacy might just be her prodigious imitator Richard Move.

    3 Michael Clark company, TH (Tate Modern, London, June 8–12, 2011)

  • interviews November 16, 2011

    John Jasperse

    The New York–based dance artist John Jasperse has produced fourteen evening-length works and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Bessie in 2001. His latest piece, Canyon, has its New York premiere at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, November 16–19.

    I’VE HAD SUCH an ambivalent relationship to dance. There’s a deep passion, but also a lot of reservation and suspicion. And that conflict has been embedded in my work for twenty years.

    With Canyon I had this fantasy that there wouldn’t be any language—or even pictures—that would precede your experience in the


    PAZ DE LA HUERTA is as known for her delirious self-mythologizing as she is for her starring role on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, so it’s difficult to say whether the story she tells about her father threatening Larry Gagosian with a knife is true. (Time: 1980s. Place: A loft building in SoHo. Proximate cause: The dealer’s hot tub, which allegedly leaked into the de la Huerta family home below.) But the truth of it is, inevitably, beside the point. De la Huerta’s invocation of the dealer’s name in the service of her own image (downtown girl who’s seen it all) neatly complements another recent

  • interviews October 20, 2011

    Yvonne Rainer

    Few artists have contributed so deeply to so many fields as the choreographer, dancer, writer, and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer. Born in 1934 in San Francisco, Rainer moved to New York City in the 1950s and began to make her own dances in 1960, cofounding the Judson Dance Theater in 1962. The Mind Is a Muscle, arguably her most celebrated work, was first performed in full at the Anderson Theater in 1968, and included in its program her signature dance, “Trio A” (1966). Since 1972, she has completed seven critically acclaimed, feature-length films. Rainer is the recipient of numerous awards, among

  • “Donald Moffett: The Extravagent Vein”

    Oh, to feel the fury of Gran Fury again. Well, now perhaps you can—at least for a museal moment. More crucially, in this survey of nearly seventy works by Donald Moffett, you can see how a founding member of that aids activist agitprop group began to lean toward subtler concerns after the mid-1990s, using canvases as projection sites for elegant landscape videos and constructing Arte Povera–esque “paintings” using rayon and zippers. The fact that some of those videos depict Central Park’s cruising ground the Ramble, and that some of those paintings recall

  • diary June 18, 2011

    Plug ‘n’ Play

    IN THAT “DEAD” WEEK between Venice and Basel, what did you do? Did you follow the 2011 art bus to Berlin or Città della Pieve? Retreat to Geneva, Milan, Helsinki, Bedford? If you were lucky, perhaps you spent the entr’acte in London, saw Michael Clark’s premiere of th in the Tate Turbine Hall and a Mark Leckey performance at the Serpentine, attended a Dennis Cooper–divined group show (“The Weaklings”) at Five Years Gallery in Regent Studios, immersed yourself in Stuart Comer’s screening of Community Action Center, etc. . . .

    “Like one long evening,” as John Tremblay put it.

    Then, on the plane to

  • diary June 03, 2011

    Everything Is ILLUMInated



    “Courageous . . . ”

    “I hate this place.” I heard this more than once, and really, Venice can be such a drag. It’s a town of hyperbole and hubris, the sort of place where you can park your 377-foot megayacht right against the Sestiere Castello and set up a security fence blocking off half the street, detouring the yachtless hoi polloi who have to walk to the Biennale. A place where one might spot guardian snipers in buoys floating in the shallow waters surrounding such yachts. The sort of place from which, just for fun, a prominent collector may fly out several dozen “friends”

  • diary May 27, 2011

    Take a Bow

    “MADONNA HAS SO MUCH INFLUENCE in every sphere. I think she could kill people just by looking at them.”

    We walked by the paparazzi step-and-repeat and down a blue carpet in MoMA’s sculpture garden, passing male models who held umbrellas for guests in case of rain.

    She has a lot of restraint, I suggested.

    “She’s the only person that would make me pass out if I met them.”

    Then: “Madonna, I’d like you to meet Ryan Trecartin! He’s a fabulous artist.”

    Ryan Trecartin did not in fact pass out when Klaus Biesenbach introduced him to Madonna, though neither of us was able to muster any words for the occasion.

  • diary May 16, 2011

    Press Play

    THE SATURDAY BEFORE LAST, Christie’s hosted a tony “Bear Party” in a big plastic tent erected at the Seagram Plaza in Midtown. No bears attended. “A straight person must have thought of that name,” someone murmured outside, their face washed in the glow of Urs Fischer’s twenty-ton teddy bear/streetlight, which sat, slumped and lonely, looking out at Park Avenue. Flashbulbs bounced off the glittering girls vamping in front of a CHRISTIE’S photo-op backdrop and lining up for entrance bracelets. It was like a Millionaire Matchmaker mixer, except here the goal was to partner rich people with merch.

  • diary May 05, 2011

    Long Weekend

    AI WEIWEI WAS NOT at the dinner held in his honor Friday night at Tim Raue, the Michelin-star restaurant around the corner from that old-school symbol of the old-school cold war, Checkpoint Charlie. Nor was he amid the convocation of concerned Germans attending Sunday morning’s panel, “Why We Urgently Need Ai Weiwei,” at Martin-Gropius-Bau. He wasn’t at Wednesday’s buoyant but intimate opening for Anna Ostoya at Silberkuppe or Thursday’s launch for Esther Schipper’s bright new space or Saturday’s world premiere screening of Sarah Morris’s film Chicago at Babylon Berlin Mitte or any of the other

  • “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”

    Considering the eloquent bravura of Alexander McQueen’s creations, it’s no surprise that the designer redefined the runway as a stage for high-concept theatrics.

    Considering the eloquent bravura of Alexander McQueen’s creations—the concoctions of horns and feathers, the slick-sleazy “bumsters,” the sybaritic “VOSS” collection—it’s no surprise that the designer redefined the runway as a stage for high-concept theatrics. From the robotic arms that fired paint at a whirling Shalom Harlow and her white dress (on the spring/summer 1999 catwalk) to “Deliverance,” a 2004 masterpiece of pageantry choreographed by Michael Clark and inspired by Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), McQueen knew how to make a show

  • Terence Koh

    For better or worse, Terence Koh is a serious artist. You have to be serious to spend twenty-six days in a gallery circumnavigating a mountain of salt on your knees, as Koh did for “nothingtoodoo,” his solo debut at Mary Boone Gallery. And you really have to be serious to take a vow of silence, as Koh also did, for the duration of the exhibition. The often hushed, almost reverential tone of the audience reflected and bolstered this seriousness, as did the artist’s overall aesthetic fussiness: his all-white outfit, the removal of any vestiges of decoration from the gallery’s reception space, the

  • diary April 16, 2011

    Twilight Zona

    “THE WORLD’S GOTTEN SMALLER,” a dealer tells us in the car to Polanco from Mexico City International Airport. “Everywhere is important. You can’t overlook anyplace. No matter how provincial.”

    “Excuse me,” a writer pipes up. “Mexico City is not provincial. Los Angeles is provincial.”

    “What’s wrong with provincial?” asks a second dealer from the backseat.

    “It’s what we moved to New York to get away from…”

    If there ever were a center it lost its hold years ago. Many—more than one might expect—made the time to parachute into Mexico City the Tuesday before last from New York, Berlin, Milan, London,