Elizabeth Schambelan

  • Aernout Mik

    Aernout Mik’s video installation Refraction, 2005, which tracks the aftermath of a bus accident in the Romanian countryside, comes closer to naturalism than any of the Dutch artist’s earlier moving-image odes to disaster, dislocation, and freakish misadventure. Previously, Mik’s works have featured complex arrangements of screens, dizzying camera movements, ambiguously eschatological scenarios, and an almost Melièsian sense of creepy artifice. But Refraction, projected straightforwardly on a long, low, free-standing wall, at first seems to be merely an extended documentation of the type of


    “PERFORMANCE IS CRUCIAL TO THE HISTORY of visual art, and yet it’s always been kind of a sideshow,” says art historian, curator, and critic RoseLee Goldberg, who has spent her career making a case for the genre’s rightful place under the art-world big top. This fall, she finally takes on the role of ringmaster, organizing PERFORMA05, the first edition of a new biennial dedicated to performance—or “live art,” as she often refers to it. Taking place in venues around New York this November, the biennial will feature new works, film and video programs, panel discussions, and symposia bringing together

  • Jack Goldstein

    Around the turn of the millennium, as a widespread reappraisal of the art of Jack Goldstein (1945–2003) got underway—perhaps prompted by the 2001 re-creation at New York’s Artists Space of the seminal 1977 show “Pictures,” in which Goldstein appeared alongside Troy Brauntuch, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, and Philip Smith—his work seemed suddenly to be everywhere, but it was rarely all together in one place. For those who didn’t make it to his 2002 retrospective at Le Magasin in Grenoble, a concurrent pair of recent New York shows offered the next best thing—a chance to compare significant

  • Seamus Harahan

    Seamus Harahan’s large-scale, three-channel video projection Holylands, 2004, documents the street life of an urban community that looks as if it’s populated almost entirely by men and boys. By day, they hang out in groups or meander down the block drinking liquor out of bottles concealed in plastic bags; by night they commit petty crimes, such as vandalism, and possibly engage in more nefarious activities, furtively gathering around idling vans in a way that screams, “Drug deal in progress!” They roughhouse, amuse themselves with what’s at hand (which isn’t much—cardboard cartons, water escaping


    In his illustrated text Dispersion, 2002—which appeared in the catalogue of the 2003 Ljubljana Biennial and has since been taught in art and critical-theory classes at Columbia, Yale, NYU, and MIT—New York-based artist Seth Price re-poses Duchamp’s question “Can one make works of art which are not ‘of art’?” He rehearses some of the well-known problems that have attended efforts to answer this question—in particular, Conceptual art’s tendency to be institutionally recouped as portable, saleable documentation. Taking up this line of thinking, Price’s show at Reena Spaulings in New York

  • Unica Zürn

    Unica Zürn (1916–1970) is probably best known as Hans Bellmer’s longtime lover and sometime photographic subject, though, as Fassbinder succinctly indicated in the dedication of his 1978 film Despair—“To Antonin Artaud, Vincent van Gogh, Unica Zürn”—her contributions to cultural history go well beyond her role as flesh-and-blood poupée. She was a writer and artist who, like Artaud and van Gogh, operated in the zone in which visionary sensibility fades into mental illness—an easy place to romanticize but a difficult one in which to live.

    The last decade of Zürn’s life was defined by her

  • “Make It Now: New Sculpture in New York”

    Overlapping with the UCLA Hammer’s show on new sculpture in LA, “Make It Now” offers the bicoastal a chance to compare and contrast the state of sculpture, East and West. Those grounded in New York will have plenty to absorb in Queens, where Ceruti, Huberman, and independent curator Sirmans present some fifty works—most made within the last year, almost all specifically for the show—by about thirty up-and-coming object makers, including Ester Partegas, Gedi Sibony, and Nicole Cherubini. Despite the eclectic roster, this is not merely

  • Franz Ackermann

    Despite fifteen straight years of globetrotting, it seems there are still a few locales that the peripatetic psycho-cartographer Franz Ackermann has yet to survey. The Berlin-based artist’s first solo show in Ireland—accompanied by a catalogue with essays by IMMA senior curator Rachael Thomas, director Enrique Juncosa, and Daniel Birnbaum—features about thirty recent works, including his trademark “mental maps,” and five newly commissioned wall paintings and installations. The contradictions of contemporary Ireland—where the “Celtic Tiger” economy continues to grow, even

  • Peter Hujar

    Peter Hujar (1934–1987) is a hard photographer to pin down—to brand, so to speak—which might be one reason why his reputation is still percolating from “insider’s insider” status toward the mainstream. He has been compared aptly to Berenice Abbott and Eugène Atget, to Weegee and Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin. He was a storyteller; he was a formalist; he was a portraitist of artists, performers, and intellectuals; he was a chronicler of life on the margins. His work exudes insouciant verve, serene detachment, gothic creepiness. If he was consistently animated by any single impulse,

  • Kathe Burkhart

    Every cultural movement spawns its own lingo, some of which inevitably becomes vestigial and embarrassing, and feminist art is certainly no exception. About “femmage,” the less said the better, but the term “bad girls” bears examination. Title of several mid-’90s shows and irritant to many critics, the expression is often associated with Kathe Burkhart, who is credited with launching it into wide circulation in a 1990 Flash Art interview. Referring to the subject of her “Liz Taylor Series” (1982–), Burkhart said, “She is a representative of the ‘bad dark-girl’ rather than the ‘blond good girl.’

  • Louise Lawler

    The last few years have seen the emergence of a new trend in critical discussions of Louise Lawler’s art. If in the past Lawler’s reputation as an uncompromising standard-bearer for institutional critique has discouraged aesthetic appreciations, it now seems acceptable, even fashionable, to dwell on the fact that her art is often easy on the eye. Any number of factors may have contributed to this shift: a glut of glossily gorgeous photo-based art; late-’90s rehabilitations of beauty (viz, Dave Hickey, Peter Schjeldahl, Arthur Danto); Douglas Crimp’s observation that the less-cerebral dimensions

  • picks January 11, 2005

    Amy Yoes

    Bellflowers and barley twists, fruiting finials and dogs-of-Fo handles: The vocabulary of ornament is as recondite, in its way, as that of particle physics—though much more flamboyant. And just as most of us don’t know the terms, we don’t really see the forms they describe, though they surround us—on building façades, picture frames, wallpaper, furniture. Amy Yoes, on the other hand, has built a practice around her scrutiny of the motifs of various decorative traditions, which she tweaks and transforms (with digital help) and uses as the basis of sculptures, drawings, and paintings. At Michael

  • “Greater New York 2005”

    IT HAS BECOME A COMMONPLACE TO SAY THAT New York is no longer hospitable to artists, that Chelsea is a sort of Potemkin village fronting for a city whose economic realities make it increasingly difficult to keep a practice going, and whose Disneyfied ambiance provides diminishing incentive to try. For the second time in five years, a team of curators from affiliated institutions P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center and the Museum of Modern Art has set itself the task of marshaling evidence for the counterargument. From March 13 through September 26, “Greater New York 2005,” the successor to 2000’s “

  • Katharina Sieverding

    German artist Katharina Sieverding is oddly little known, or at least little shown, in the United States. In organizing the first comprehensive survey of her work in this country, curator Alanna Heiss—assisted by Amy Smith Stewart and Daniel Marzona—has focused on the artist’s photo- and film-based self-portraits, which comprise an oeuvre within an oeuvre that underpins Sieverding’s broader interrogations of the subject as a node of potential resistance within political, sexual, and cultural matrices.

    At P.S. 1, serial groupings of photos, film stills, and slide projections relentlessly present

  • Shadowland: An Exhibition as a Film

    “Shadowland” aims to show how still and moving images have affected artmaking and viewing over the past thirty years—a tall curatorial order, to which Vergne and Fogle take an open-ended approach. Their concept of the exhibition as a “movie without a camera” makes the viewer a flaneur-protagonist, ambling among forty-three works by some thirty contributors, including cinematic mavericks (Chantal Akerman), Picture Theory progenitors (Richard Prince), agitators at video’s spatiotemporal limits (Doug Aitken), and just plain agitators (the Chapman brothers).

  • Hernan Bas

    Sometimes sadomasochistically charged, but more often suggesting the listless longeurs of love gone bad or unrequited lust, Hernan Bas’s new paintings continue to map a fantastical narrative territory populated exclusively by wan, usually male adolescents. Working on wood panels with a mixture of water-based oil, gouache, and acrylic—sometimes adulterated with glitter and tiny stones—Bas depicts a couple in a graveyard preparing to carry out a suicide pact (The Lovers of Lyons) (all works 2004); what might be the aftermath of a double murder (The Kept Boy); and a bunker or mine filled

  • the US pavilion at the Venice Biennale

    SINCE THE EVENTS of 2001, public diplomacy—aka “soft propaganda”—has become a hot item on foreign-policy agendas to a degree not seen since the start of the cold war, and it should come as no surprise that the State Department is expected to take a leading role in the battle for hearts and minds. Testifying before Congress last August on the September 11 Commission’s public-diplomacy recommendations, assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs Patricia S. Harrison said that “after 9/11, we redirected funds to enable us to move quickly and reach beyond elites.” She went on

  • Jonah Freeman

    The Franklin Abraham, 2004—the creepy, darkly satirical video that was the centerpiece of Jonah Freeman’s recent show—is set in an indeterminate “parallel present” and concerns a building that is two miles long and houses two million people. A sort of Time Warner Center run amok, the eponymous Franklin Abraham takes the concept of mixed-use development to decadent extremes, comprising apartments, offices, casinos, theme restaurants, upscale lounges, dingy demimonde salons, retail operations both licit and illicit, and a “Sky Park.” Its inhabitants, who converse in a quasi-absurdist mixture of

  • picks September 05, 2004

    Phoebe Washburn/Simone Shubuck

    The recently expanded LFL has taken advantage of its extra space with a gallery-filling installation by Phoebe Washburn, who uses scavenged or recycled materials to make large-scale constructions that seem to take shape according to some organic logic of their own. Here she’s outdone herself with a promontory of vertically aligned, pastel-painted wood scraps, held together with drywall screws and punctuated by pencils, empty Staples boxes, rolls of masking tape, and debris-strewn sand traps. With its antic yet imposing presence and implicit ecological ethos, the piece situates itself in the

  • Gedi Sibony

    For his recent show at Canada, New York–based artist Gedi Sibony appeared to have raided the supply closets, mail rooms, and cubicles of America, cobbling the unassuming materials he found there into rough-hewn, kooky, weirdly elegant sculptures that owed something to arte povera, something to Richard Tuttle, and something, perhaps, to the laconic, screw-you formalism of Georg Herold. The impression of a kind of back-office bricolage was conveyed primarily by an abundance of commercial carpet, which climbed toward the ceiling in a patchwork tapestry (The Framework Planned [all works 2004]) and