Elizabeth Schambelan

  • 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

  • Soundtrack for Wits and Rakes, 2004.
    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

  • Phoebe Washburn, Nothing's Cutie, 2004. Installation view.
    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

  • Ugo Rondinone, Roundelay, 2003. Installation view.

    Carnegie International

    It happens once every four years, it tends to engender heated debate, and it shapes the course of future events: Yes, it's the Carnegie International, the quadrennial survey of contemporary art that aims to home in on what Andrew Carnegie called the “old masters of tomorrow.”

    It happens once every four years, it tends to engender heated debate, and it shapes the course of future events: Yes, it's the Carnegie International, the quadrennial survey of contemporary art that aims to home in on what Andrew Carnegie called the “old masters of tomorrow.” This year's edition, curated by Laura Hoptman, includes thirty-eight prospects, some much-fêted (Lee Bontecou, Rachel Harrison, Yang Fudong), and some who have been flying under the radar for too long (Mangelos, Senga Nengudi). All are engaged in an exploration of “the ‘ultimates’ of what it is to be a human being on this