Gregg Bordowitz

  • Ulrike Müller, The Conference of the Animals (A Mural), 2020, latex paint. Installation view, Queens Museum, New York. Photo: Hai Zhang.

    It’s a Small World (After All)

    I GREW UP IN QUEENS about twenty minutes from Flushing Meadows Park, the site of the 1964 New York World’s Fair and the home of the Queens Museum, where “The Conference of the Animals” opened last September—an exhibition of a forty-five-foot wall mural by artist Ulrike Müller and of children’s drawings selected by independent curator Amy Zion. The Unisphere, an enormous steel globe visible through the glass doors and windows of the museum’s lobby, was an abiding feature of my childhood landscape, glimpsed through the windows of cars and buses and visited regularly. Conceived as an ornament of

  • Photo: Brian Green

    Morgan Bassichis's The Odd Years

    The Odd Years (Wendy’s Subway), by Morgan Bassichis, is among my favorite books of the year. Is it poetry, comedy, a book of to-do lists? Yes! It is also a historically important artist’s book that I place in a lineage with Ed Ruscha’s A Few Palm Trees (1971), Lawrence Weiner’s Works (1977), Martha Rosler’s Service: A Trilogy on Colonization (1978), and Glenn Ligon’s A People on the Cover (2015), as well as canonical pieces of Conceptual art such as Lee Lozano’s language pieces and Hanne Darboven’s calendars, marked with her distinctive spirals. The Odd Years is a collection of weekly to-do

  • Jim Hubbard, United in Anger: A History of ACT UP, 2012, video, color, sound, 93 minutes. Gregg Bordowitz and Douglas Crimp.
    slant October 22, 2019

    Setting for a Cameo (for Douglas Crimp 1944–2019)


    Do all the instruments agree?
    Can they?
    When each day is a season,
    as the room narrows and
    compounds mingle in discrete bones
    Mind is instrument, includes heartspine
    All organs conjugations
    There, only discord remains

    What pours opaque eyes
    See: the transitive flow
    We fail to define it
    Words too remote from their roots
    Sewage and surge
    The swirl of it all in a cake
              with a preference toward custard

    Surface tension covers gooey centers,
    blotched onion skin transparencies,
    lemon juice inks invisibly,
    swirling aspic anatomies orchid blooms,
    skin’s waxy luminescent glow;
    While Instruments


    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.”

  • Nick Relph, Raining Room, 2012, car wheels, 2' 1“ x 5' 9 1/4” x 10' 6 1/4".


    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.


    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, Untitled (Clean), 2004, mixed media on stainless steel bathroom partition, 58 x 69 1/4".

    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

  • Gregg Bordowitz, 1988.


    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)

    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


    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