Gregg Bordowitz

  • DOUGLAS CRIMP

    I LOVE DOUGLAS CRIMP. He is the reason I am alive today. This is not an exaggeration. I am physically well, and more or less psychologically intact, thanks to Douglas. I am who I am because of him. No other person has so completely influenced the shape of my life.

    We met over thirty years ago. In 1987, I received a phone call. Without screening it on my answering machine, as I usually would have, I happened to pick up. “Hi, Gregg,” said a voice. “This is Douglas Crimp. I’m thinking about putting together an issue of October devoted to the AIDS crisis. I hear that you are doing work about AIDS.”

  • THEIR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS OF THE YEAR

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum asked an international group of artists to select the single image, exhibition, or event that most memorably captured their eye in 2012.

    RITA ACKERMANN

    Gang Gang Dance (September 22, Cameo Gallery, Brooklyn) If materialism is the unwanted fat on our spirits, Gang Gang Dance’s music is the blade that cuts it all off. Their sounds burn up that heaviness of need and greed and lift the spirits to other dimensions. A hundred years ago, Rudolf Steiner wrote The Philosophy of Freedom and feverishly lectured about protective space and other visionary ideas to

  • Robert Beck

    ROBERT BECK’S RECENT EXHIBITION, “dust”—organized by the Wexner’s Bill Horrigan—seemingly affirmed two contradictory positions: On the one hand, each piece in the show requires the discipline of psychology as the methodological basis of its interpretation. On the other hand, each work refuses any coherent psychological reading whatsoever. In this way, Beck’s work avoids clichéd interpretations while at the same time handling the very substance of creative labor.

    Consider a group of small, framed, meticulously crafted works on paper. They seem to be examples of drawings produced in art

  • Tactics Inside and Out: Critical Art Ensemble

    "To the Research Labs, Sirs: You may be proud

    As peacocks. You've endowed

    Us from the start with freedoms that entrap.

    We are the red-eyed mice on whom your maze

    Is printed. At its heart a little cloud

    Thins and dwindles—zap!—

    To nothing in one blink of rays.

    —James Merrill, from The Changing Light at Sandover

    “IN THE 1990S, MANY ARTISTS USED the term ‘intervention’ to describe their interdisciplinary approaches. While intervention specifically means to stand between things, or to bridge a situation, in the case of the arts, it points to practices that use the strategies of art to

  • MY ’80s: MY POSTMODERNISM

    FILMMAKER AND ACTIVIST Gregg Bordowitz’s passage through the 1980s mirrors the course of AIDS activism in that decade. From the very first ACT UP demonstration in New York to the triumphal storming of the FDA headquarters outside Washington, DC, he deployed his art in the battle against AIDS. Bordowitz leads off this two-issue series of personal chronicles of the decade, recounting his experiences as an activist and guerrilla filmmaker at the forefront of the fight.
     
    Art does have the power to save lives, and it is this very power that must be recognized, fostered, and supported in every way possible.
    —Douglas Crimp, introduction to AIDS: Cultural Analysis/Cultural Activism (MIT Press, 1988)

    IDENTITY

    When Ronald Reagan was elected president, I was sixteen years old, living in Coram, Long Island. A smart faggy teen, I spent every possible minute drawing and painting in the art rooms of Longwood High School. I loved Jackson Pollock and Andy Warhol. I listened to an eclectic mix of music, including Miles Davis, James Brown, and the Ramones. It was my girlfriend Michelle who introduced me to punk culture. She taught me everything I needed to know—where to get the music, where to shop for jewelry (any pet store), and how to cut my own hair without a mirror. Well, almost everything. My

  • ART OF LIVING

    In early 1989, I attended a conference on the subject of art and AIDS at Ohio State University. A number of compelling figures were present in that Columbus auditorium that gray February weekend, but one made a particular impression on me: Gregg Bordowitz. From the moment he began to discuss strategies of contemporary cultural activism, which he outlined with a kind of breathtaking clarity, I knew I was in the presence of a serious thinker—an impression that has only increased over the years.

    From the beginning, Bordowitz’s work has been characterized by an extraordinary adaptability and