Helen Molesworth

  • Catherine Opie and “theanyspacewhatever”

    MUSEUMS ARE MACHINES of amelioration. A Frank Stella on one wall, a Morris Louis on the other; it’s all good. Even though the scholarship of the past thirty years has argued that aesthetic choices are not mere evidence of the progression of style but have ethical implications—whether you pool paint on canvas or paint stripes the width of a store-bought brush means something—museums still prefer to disregard the philosophical discomfort of such tensions. The exhibition “The Desire of the Museum,” mounted in New York in 1989 by the Whitney Independent Study Program, suggested that it was not

  • Richard Serra and André Cadere

    IT WASN’T TOO LONG AGO that this magazine reviewed Richard Serra’s quasi-retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York [Artforum, October 2007]. It was clear that critic David Joselit was less than enthusiastic. For Joselit, the jump from the post-Minimalist prop pieces on the museum’s sixth floor to Serra’s most recent torqued ellipses on the second meant a calculated leap over the period when Serra’s works were considered “controversial and dangerous.” Joselit compared this elision with the Bush administration’s suppression of the danger and controversy of its ongoing, deeply


    PHIL COLLINS AND KARAOKE were both born in the 1970s, the decade during which, according to the novelist Michael Cunningham, dreams of revolution faded and people began to dance. And dancing is at the center of the project that is probably Collins’s best known to date, the seven-hour double-screen video projection of a dance marathon, called they shoot horses, 2004. This work lays out all the basic parameters of Collins’s practice: The British, Glasgow-based artist goes somewhere (in this case, Ramallah) that is not his home and that is politically volatile and vaguely suggestive of the biennial

  • Feminism

    TAKING THE SIXTH STREET EXIT off the Harbor Freeway in Los Angeles these days puts you square in front of an enormous mural featuring a group of well-dressed lovelies. When I saw it, my heart skipped a beat—was it the cast of The L Word, fittingly grown to Attack of the 50 Foot Woman proportions in their hometown? Nope, it was an ad for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the members all dressed in black tie—a uniformity that accounted for the freeway-enhanced gender confusion. It was as if all of LA, seen through the lens of The L Word, were engaging in a reconsideration of gender. One woman,

  • Robert Gober

    Robert Gober’s outsize ambition has thus far been matched only by the commitment of the institutions that have worked with him. Remember when the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles ripped up its floor so that Gober could make an indoor waterfall pour down an illuminated staircase? Hats off to Dia Art Foundation, the American Pavilion in Venice, and Matthew Marks Gallery as well. But the real kudos goes to the Schaulager, which is presenting eight large Gober installations at once, together with some forty other works. Perhaps the critical emphasis on the artist’s

  • Lee Lozano

    THOSE WHO KNOW of Lee Lozano know she ditched the art world and stopped talking to women. But the fact is most people don’t know of her, because she ditched the art world and stopped talking to women. Feminism taught us long ago that history is written as much through its exclusions as through its master narratives. This has certainly been the case for art history, whose neglect of, and outright hostility to, women artists is amply documented. It is doubly odd, then, to come across the problem of Lozano, for the version of ’60s and ’70s art that most of us carry in our mind is marked by the