David Velasco

  • Left: Artist Zhang Enli, K11 Art Foundation founder Adrian Cheng, and Ullens Center director Philip Tinari. Right: Artist Ming Wong at the Absolut Art Bar.
    diary May 15, 2014

    Pull Up to the Bumper

    ART BASEL Miami Basel Hong Kong Basel… Basel Basel Basel.

    This year, the third Frieze New York rear-ended the second Art Basel Hong Kong, and like a patchy crossfade some of us went to sleep in one city and woke up two days later in another wondering where on earth we were.

    It hardly matters. I’m not yet sure if I love Hong Kong, because I don’t quite know if I’m in Hong Kong or if the “Hong Kong” I’m looking at is just window dressing for another Art Basel. (And it is beautiful, this magic convergence of glass and water and neon and steep ascensions of tropical florae.)

    But at least I’m sure we’re

  • Yve Laris Cohen, Duke, 2010. Performance view, Dance Theater Workshop, New York, December 8, 2010. Yve Laris Cohen and Michael Mahalchick. Photo: Yi-Chun Wu.

    OPENINGS: YVE LARIS COHEN

    UPTOWN

    YOU COULD ALMOST MISS IT: A seam in the wall near the stairwell on the third floor of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York—five feet up, six feet over, and five feet down again. And maybe it’s meant to be missed, this rectilinear fissure that separates the secular museum walls from the sacred slab of drywall that serves variously as artwork, prop, and envoy for Yve Laris Cohen’s D.S., 2014, the artist’s contribution to the 2014 Whitney Biennial.

    Laris Cohen likes to play with what you don’t notice, the alien supports and protocols that shape and secure how we make and show

  • Sarah Michelson, Shadowmann: Part II, 2003. Performance view, P.S.122, New York, April 2003. Sarah Michelson, Parker Lutz, Paige Martin. Photo: Dona McAdams.

    I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR: THE WORK OF SARAH MICHELSON

    THIS MONTH, choreographer Sarah Michelson will present her new work, 4, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Artforum invited David Velasco to examine the long arc of her oeuvre and the groundbreaking performances that have led to her most recent investigations into dance, place, and form.

    “THE PLACE WHERE THE WORK WILL HAPPEN IS pretty much always my starting point,” Sarah Michelson has said. But when the Manchester, UK–born choreographer moved to New York in the late 1980s, that starting point was already split, multiplying. In 1989, a friend took Michelson to see a John Jesurun play at the Kitchen. Jesurun had twisted the space around and made it all fucked up, but Michelson didn’t know that yet because it was her first time. She didn’t know yet that this would be the first of many proliferating sites she would learn and inhabit, and where she would produce some of the most

  • Loretta Fahrenholz, Ditch Plains, 2013, HD video, color, sound, 29 minutes.

    THE YEAR IN PERFORMANCE

    IN THE YEAR OF MILEY CYRUS, we learned that pop’s rote vicissitudes are still key to how we metabolize, multiply, and refigure our common pleasures and insecurities. We learned that race and sex are still potent—in other words, salable—stocks, partly because we’re all investors. And we learned that the Disney dialectic of starlet to brand, as rehearsed by Selena Gomez in Spring Breakers (2013) and Cyrus at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards, is a fairy-tale trajectory of market-savvy trolling, a low-risk portfolio for those angling to mobilize the “new” capital of hits, likes, views,

  • Art Club 2000, Untitled (Art in America Library 2), 1992–93, C-print, 8 x 10". From the series “Commingle,” 1992–93.

    1000 WORDS: ART CLUB 2000

    IN THE YEAR 1993 you were about twenty years lighter, and everything was that much cooler. People were weirder and partied more (and better). We all stayed out a little bit later. Which is surely why that year got picked up as the ostensible subject of “NYC 1993: Experimental Jet Set, Trash and No Star,” opening at the New Museum in New York this month, in which the most interesting or important (in the curators’ eyes, of course) art from that date will be installed, syncretically, throughout the building.

    OK, maybe this all seems a bit arbitrary, but the show’s broad if procrustean scope will

  • Left: Cover for Cunningham Dance Foundation, Park Avenue Armory Event, 2012. Photo: Stephanie Berger. Emma Desjardins and Brandon Collwes. Right: Cunningham Dance Foundation, Park Avenue Armory Event, 2012, digital video, color, sound, 53 minutes. Andrea Weber and Brandon Collwes.
    film December 22, 2012

    Echo Park

    ONE OF THE BEST FILMS OF 2012 was not released in theaters or shown at any festivals or streamed on Netflix or anywhere really but is only available on DVD through a small San Francisco–based nonprofit art-film distributor. The Park Avenue Armory Event, a capstone of one of the great achievements in art of any era—the technique and choreography that travels under the vulpine name “Merce Cunningham”—is now viewable on a three-DVD release from Artpix.

    Park Avenue Armory Event: six performances featuring fourteen dancers dancing “excerpts” of fifty years of choreography on three separate stages in

  • interviews December 19, 2012

    Lucinda Childs

    The dancer and choreographer Lucinda Childs is one of the constitutive members of the group that came to be known as Judson Dance Theater in the early 1960s. Her extensive body of work as a choreographer includes such celebrated pieces as Einstein on the Beach, 1976, (directed by Robert Wilson and scored by Philip Glass) and DANCE, 1979, (with film/decor by Sol LeWitt and music by Glass). She is currently collaborating on a new piece with Glass, scheduled to debut in 2014. Here, Childs reflects on her involvement with Judson and the ongoing shifts in her work.

    WHEN I WAS at Sarah Lawrence in the

  • Left: Kanye West. (Photo: Gavin Brown) Right: Urs Fischer and Tony Shafrazi with Nick Relph’s Raining Room, 2012. (Photo: Fabienne Stephan)
    diary December 08, 2012

    Collins Calling

    I HATE MIAMI. DON’T YOU? Death and doom beneath the surface, tugging at all the smiles desperate for a camera. Bodies working hard to keep up with their implants. Implants working hard to keep up with other people’s implants. Everyone riffing on the “Miami experience,” as if such a thing exists outside the echo chamber of Collins Avenue mania and melancholia. As if the art-world’s “experience” of Miami is anything but a distorted symptom of a few billionaires’ bucket lists. As if ABMB is not the Doomsday Clock for critique, slowly ticking down to the time when “criticism” will be downsized and

  • Steve Paxton, Satisfyin Lover, 1967. Performance view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 17, 2012. From “Some sweet day.” Photo: Julieta Cervantes.

    David Velasco

    SATURDAY, OCTOBER 19. A conversation in the Donald B. and Catherine C. Marron Atrium at the Museum of Modern Art in New York during the first week of “Some sweet day,” a three-week-long performance series featuring six choreographers. The program is curated by Ralph Lemon, a choreographer himself, and Jenny Schlenzka, associate curator at MoMA PS1, along with MoMA producer Jill A. Samuels. The conversation features Jérôme Bel and Steve Paxton and is moderated by Lemon and Sabine Breitwieser, MoMA’s chief curator of media and performance.

    Here, near the beginning, Breitwieser and Paxton are talking:

  • Steve Paxton, Satisfyin’ Lover, 1967. Performance view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 17, 2012.
    interviews October 18, 2012

    Ralph Lemon

    Ralph Lemon has never been about just one thing. A celebrated dancer, choreographer, writer, and visual artist, Lemon turns toward the curatorial in his latest endeavor, “Some sweet day,” which stands to be a significant touchstone in developing conversations on the role of dance in the museum. Here he talks about the project, a three-week series of dance performances featuring six choreographers at the Museum of Modern Art that he coorganized with Jenny Schlenzka, associate curator at MoMA PS1, and Jill A. Samuels, producer in the department of media and performance art at MoMA. The program

  • Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Fase: Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich, 1982/2012. Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and Tale Dolven. (Photo: Herman Sorgeloos)
    interviews October 10, 2012

    Tate Tanks

    LIVE ART IS HERE TO STAY. On July 18, 2012, Tate Modern launched the Tanks, a subterranean group of cylindrical chambers and other spaces that constitute the first phase in a dramatic expansion of the museum’s building by Herzog & de Meuron. Formerly the repository of a million gallons of oil, the Tanks are touted as the first museum galleries in the world permanently dedicated to live art, film, and installation.

    The Tanks’ current stage of programming—an elastic, fifteen-week series of exhibitions and events titled “Art in Action”—runs through October 28, at which time the galleries will

  • Charles Atlas, Because We Must, 1989, video, color, sound, 52 minutes 30 seconds.

    “XTRAVAGANZA: Staging Leigh Bowery”

    Like Jesus, Leigh Bowery left this morbid world at age thirty-three.

    Like Jesus, Leigh Bowery left this morbid world at age thirty-three. Hardly a saint, however, Bowery was a complicated man: muse to Lucian Freud, cobelligerent of Michael Clark and Charles Atlas, thorn to straight thinking everywhere. “Everyone wanted to know Leigh because he was trendy,” said Bowery’s wife, Nicola Bateman, “but we just went to Sainsbury’s together.” A gravid Bowery would often eject Bateman, naked and “bloody” and covered in sausage links, from a bespoke “womb” onstage. But it seems he actually was pregnant, birthing outré pictures, performances, and