David Velasco

  • CLOSE-UP: BORROWED TIME

    IT SEEMS WE GO TO THE MOVIES TO FORGET TIME, or at least to think it differently. There’s good reason Graham Greene considered his four and a half years reviewing films for The Spectator an “escape.” Christian Marclay’s The Clock, 2010—a twenty-four-hour found-footage montage that pretty much is what it says it is—caulks the escape hatch and terrorizes the spaceship. Until forgetfulness fogs the encounter with the work, no timepiece in a movie will look innocent again.

    With The Clock, the movies move from passing time to telling it. The “digits” of Marclay’s clock are made up of scenes

  • diary January 24, 2011

    Fair Trade

    EVERYONE WAS AT THE VERNISSAGE for the VIP Art Fair last Saturday morning. Or so you would think, given the not-so-VIP wait times. Even those with a special VIP pass found it awfully hard to load the online-only fair’s login page for the first few hours. “there is a ‘we are so loved that its slow’ note at VIP site. not great,” VIP dealer Magda Sawon Twittered that afternoon.

    But once you were in, everyone was there. Or so I imagine. Anyway, there were certainly a lot of galleries represented, and really prize ones, too: Zwirner, Gladstone, Presenhuber, Miro, and a bunch of others that I would

  • The Other Tradition

    Art history is built from the lagan of competing traditions.

    Art history is built from the lagan of competing traditions. Filipovic’s polemical group show, which borrows its title, “The Other Tradition,” from Gene Swenson’s 1966 curatorial gambit at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, congeals an artmaking attitude that privileges live events and “constructed situations” over objects. Here’s the crux: Does the badass definite article in the title do the work of felling a singular, principal straw man, “Tradition”? And by now, after his relative commercial success and Guggenheim coup d’état, is it a stretch to

  • diary December 02, 2010

    Rubell de Jour

    SO FULL OF PERVERSE PROMISE, the PR fantasia known as Art Basel Miami Beach remains a burlesque of fevered pitches and swift rejections, grandiose “launches” for “architectural footwear” and “scent collaborations.” On Tuesday, while important things transpired elsewhere (e.g., the National Portrait Gallery’s knee-jerk yanking of David Wojnarowicz’s video Fire in My Belly), the Miami crowds, wallets thick with cards declaring Elite airline status and VIP fair access and other distensions of the first-person singular, reaffirmed the city’s standing as the capital of frivolous fabulosity.

    Not that

  • THE BEST DANCE OF 2010

    David Velasco is editor of Artforum.com and a regular contributor to Artforum. He is currently working on his first novel.

    1 “American Realness” (Abrons Arts Center, New York, January 8–10, 2010) All the legendary children of the New York dance world served up over one crash-course weekend intensive: Miguel Gutierrez, Jack Ferver, Trajal Harrell, and don’t forget Ann Liv Young, whose fraught “Sherry” performances were utterly nonpareil.

    2 Alexei Ratmansky, Namouna, a Grand Divertissement (David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, April 29, 2010) I’m not sure who Namouna is,

  • Jérôme Bel

    Jérôme Bel’s Cédric Andrieux, 2009, begins promisingly enough, with the handsome, virtuosic, eponymous French dancer walking casually onstage and plainly announcing: “My name is Cédric Andrieux. . . .” In the iteration performed in September at the Joyce Theater in New York, as part of the French Institute Alliance Française’s Crossing the Line festival, Andrieux charmingly narrated aspects of his life, his discovery of dance, his early ineptitude, his mother’s belief in the form’s “egalitarian” principles, his flagging faith in said principles, his eventual stardom, his move to New York and

  • diary November 12, 2010

    Wild Carte

    “GOOD EVENING! And now let’s start with Carte Blanche—Philippe Ségalot!” Kicking off a dizzy week of contemporary art sales, Monday night’s auction at Phillips de Pury & Company’s freshly unwrapped Park Avenue HQ got off at 6:14 PM, a fashionably late start for the inaugural haul. Ségalot’s Carte Blanche program of works, “curated” according to mysterious but supposedly nonfinancial criteria by the private dealer (and former head of contemporary art for Christie’s), opened the two-part evening sale. It drew a real crowd: Larry Gagosian, the Mugrabi family, Aby Rosen, Peter Brant, Maria Baibakova,

  • A. K. Burns and A. L. Steiner’s Community Action Center

    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

  • diary October 16, 2010

    Rear View

    ON WEDNESDAY MORNING, just before 11 AM, a svelte crowd of collectors and their consorts snaked their way through the VIP obstacle course of VIP-card kiosks and VIP fast-track lanes on their way into that Caruso St John–designed big top plopped in Regent’s Park. “This is how we get our exercise,” offered a pert Thea Westreich, one of a few early birds warming up for the Frieze Art Fair parkour. Calisthenics for curators, I pictured. Art-advisor aerobics.

    Once through the gates, everything was same as it ever was. Some people spotted Claudia Schiffer. Others Keith Richards. Someone mentioned

  • diary October 02, 2010

    Palm Reading

    “DID YOU SEE WHO THAT WAS?” Gavin Brown asked, clapping Marc Spiegler’s shoulder. “Fucking Ronaldo!”

    Of course Brown would be the only one to recognize the football star in the elevator. Aren’t his eyes always on the prize? The rest of us—Spiegler, Marian Goodman’s Rose Lord, upcoming Venice Biennale curator Bice Curiger, and myself—were too busy trading itineraries to notice the lone guy in the striped polo.

    It was, I suppose, an auspicious beginning to a short trip to São Paulo to catch the twenty-ninth edition of the city’s Bienal, the second-oldest such exhibition in the world (after Venice).

  • interviews October 01, 2010

    Gregg Bordowitz

    Gregg Bordowitz is a writer, AIDS activist, and artist. In 1993, he produced the autobiographical documentary Fast Trip Long Drop, which considers events around his experience testing positive for HIV antibodies in 1988, and in 2004 MIT Press published a collection of his texts, The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings: 1986–2003. Here he discusses his latest project, The History of Sexuality Volume One by Michel Foucault: An Opera, which has a work-in-progress showing at Tanzquartier Wien October 1 and 2.

    ABOUT A YEAR AGO, Paul Chan asked me to come by his studio to discuss an idea he

  • interviews September 26, 2010

    Ishmael Houston-Jones

    The New York–based choreographer Ishmael Houston-Jones has been a leader and educator in the field of contemporary dance for over thirty years. This year, the New Museum and Performance Space 122 are coproducing the twenty-fifth-anniversary version of Them, a controversial work that Houston-Jones made in collaboration with the musician Chris Cochrane and the writer Dennis Cooper. On September 30 and October 3, 7, and 10, audiences can view rehearsals for Them at the New Museum as part of a project called Them and Now. From October 21 to 30, PS 122 will present an updated version of Them. Here

  • Ann Liv Young

    IF SHERRY WERE ANY GOOD, she wouldn’t have to insult other people. The Kitchen in New York won’t present her work again, she guesses, “because I’m nasty to the audience.” Sherry sure is nasty. And mercurial, brash, honest, and mean. Her T. J. Maxx business-class drag (blond wig, makeup, pumps, polyester dress) exudes arriviste confidence: “It’s amazing / I’m the reason / everybody’s fired up this evenin’,” Sherry sings crazily, with gusto, atop the Kanye West anthem “Amazing.” This isn’t appropriation or karaoke; this is competitive Pop. Sherry sings not with the original track—played via

  • Larry Clark

    Larry Clark’s never-never land is the everyman’s nightmare.

    Larry Clark’s never-never land is the everyman’s nightmare. Adolescent burnout, teenage turpitude, drugs, sex, American decay: The vigilant Clark limns a familiar car-crash narrative, as much fodder for the moralists as morality tale. “Once the needle goes in it never comes out,” he writes bleakly in the preface to Tulsa (1971), his first (and classic) book of documentary photography. Recently he’s lightened up a bit, his movie Wassup Rockers (2005) and photographic series “Los Angeles,” 2003–2006 evincing a more avuncular spirit. This retrospective rounds up some

  • diary August 18, 2010

    Real to Reel

    New York

    LAST WEDNESDAY, parents, press, and punters joined artists and “celebrity guest judges” like Will Cotton and Richard Phillips at the “world-famous Brooklyn Museum” for the finale viewing party of Bravo’s Work of Art. I would have just watched at home, but I ended up giving in to visions of a glamorous gathering of Bravo reality TV stars—something, I imagined, like the network’s summertime promo, staged on a Manhattan rooftop, in which “Bravolebs” like Bethenny and Rachel Zoe buss cheeks and Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger cavorts on a couch with a live tiger.

    Instead, about two hundred mostly

  • diary July 23, 2010

    Wild West

    Los Angeles

    SHARON STONE, Eva Longoria, Jeffrey Deitch: check. No James Franco, Salma Hayek Pinault, John Baldessari. But yes: Joaquin Phoenix, Rose McGowan, Michael Govan, Michel Auder, Ruben Ochoa, Yoshua Okon, Shaun Caley Regen, Liz Goldwyn . . .

    “Location, location, location! This is a hit!” says a roaming dandy. It’s a good Wednesday LA crowd, someone tells me. And it’s a good setting: Eugenio López’s soigné ranch-style pad in Trousdale, a particularly choice part of Beverly Hills, I’m also told. (“Love the mix of the French-y Trous with the Scottish-Gaelic Dale—don’t you?”) It’s also, apparently, a

  • diary June 17, 2010

    Tony Basel

    Basel

    FOR ALL ITS undeniable charm, Aarau is not an obvious destination on the art-world map. But there many of us were early on a sunny Sunday morning, hovering over a very orderly Swiss buffet brunch of käse and brot and kaffee. It’s possible that the art intelligentsia needed somewhere pleasant to cool their heels in between Zurich and Basel, and that Olten (poor Olten) just wasn’t cutting it. But pleasant’s not enough to draw Eva Presenhuber and Barbara Gladstone and Beatrix Ruf to your township. For that you need a kunst-something of some renown—here the Aargauer Kunsthaus—and you need a formidable

  • diary June 14, 2010

    Manhattan Transfer

    Madrid

    MADRID NUNCA DUERME, they’ve said. Of course, New York never sleeps either. (No rest for the wicked.) So it wasn’t so strange, perhaps, that the two cities became bedfellows last Wednesday during the opening of Douglas Crimp and Lynne Cooke’s revelatory and expansive “Mixed Use, Manhattan” at the Reina Sofía. That day brought not just New York art but also New York weather as the sun was supplanted by a cranky gray, though rain didn’t stop a crowd of festive Madrileños from gathering to toast the occasion.

    “I was daunted by the idea of the exhibition at first,” Crimp admitted during Wednesday’s

  • Catherine Opie

    Catherine Opie began her “public” artistic career in 1991 with a series of thirteen photographs titled “Being and Having.” The title was a seeming allusion to Jacques Lacan’s contentious psychoanalytic system that posits women as “being” the phallus, and men as “having” it. Rejecting outright such heterosexist structuralism, Opie’s staged “documentary” portraits depicted (and thereby demarcated) a community organized around its members’ identifications with butch-dyke, queer, trans, and s/m politics. But the photos never seemed to represent “identity politics” proper, which, at least in its most