Ian Wallace

  • Rosemary Mayer, Galla Placidia, 1973, satin, rayon, nylon, cheesecloth, nylon netting, ribbon, dye, wood, acrylic paint, 9 x 10 x 5'.
    picks November 02, 2021

    Rosemary Mayer

    “Ways of Attaching” is the first comprehensive institutional exhibition devoted to the art of Rosemary Mayer (1943–2014), and adds even more knotty complexity to the artist’s story. The show explores a cross section of Mayer’s oeuvre, including her process-based text pieces of the 1960s and the durational installations of the ’80s. Sister to poet Bernadette Mayer, for whose work she created numerous illustrations, Mayer became known in the mid-’70s for her eccentric large-scale fabric sculptures with titles that reveal her broad historical interests: Take Hroswitha, 1972–73, which is named for

  • Banksy, Love Is in the Bin, 2018, aerosol paint, acrylic paint, canvas, board, 40 x 31 x 7''. Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images.
    books May 18, 2021

    Face Value

    Isabelle Graw, Three Cases of Value Reflection: Ponge, Whitten, Banksy. Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2021. 64 pages.

    ISABELLE GRAW’S oft-cited 2009 book, High Price, which explores art’s economy of fame and prestige as the prototype for creative labor under capitalism, was published just after the collapse of a speculative bubble in the market for contemporary art. Now, roughly a decade later, Three Cases of Value Reflection: Ponge, Whitten, Banksy arrives contemporaneously with a series of meteoric high-dollar sales of NFTs (“nonfungible tokens”), a class of digital nonobjects that seems to reduce

  • Folded photograph of the expulsion of Palestinians from Ramle, 1948. From Ariella Aïsha Azoulay’s exhibition "Potential History,” 2012, various locations.
    books March 10, 2020

    Empire Records

    Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, by Ariella Aïsha Azoulay. London and New York: Verso, 2019. 634 pages. 

    INSTITUTIONAL EFFORTS to de-imperialize museum collections over the past several years have offered technocratic solutions to an existential problem. Following French President Emmanuel Macron’s 2017 commitment to repatriate Sub-Saharan African objects housed in French museums and the subsequent, widely publicized report by Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy proposing that the restitution of cultural property should be implemented on a state level, the British Museum has announced that

  • James Lee Byars, The Chair for the Philosophy of Question, 1996, mixed media, 63 x 63 x 46".
    picks August 05, 2014

    James Lee Byars

    This retrospective, which takes over the second floor of PS1, reveals James Lee Byars as a peripatetic showman whose work engaged some of the most compelling artistic questions of his time. Included in his variegated oeuvre is a collection of letters—the majority addressed to Joseph Beuys, Byars’s hero and most obvious influence—that evince the artist’s desire for creative correspondence. But, these letters, written in Byars’s intricately ornamented “star script,” evince a simultaneous fascination with gnomic indecipherability, as in all of his work. This conflicting set of impulses is equally

  • View of “Ramps,” 2014.
    picks February 12, 2014

    Park McArthur

    For her second exhibition at this space, Park McArthur has laid out an arrangement of twenty wheelchair ramps on the gallery floor, from the weatherworn and homemade to the high tech and telescoping. Vinyl lettering on the wall points visitors to the URL for the Wikipedia page on disability activist Marta Russell, who wrote extensively on the political economy of ableist prejudice; a copy of Russell’s book Beyond Ramps (2002) sits on the gallery’s office desk.

    McArthur, who uses a wheelchair, has borrowed the ramps from institutions where she has worked as an artist. Each readymade sculpture is

  • David Malek, Blue Lozenge (Erik Roehmer), 2013, enamel on canvas, 39 1/2 x 67".
    picks November 25, 2013

    David Malek

    Each painting in David Malek’s latest exhibition is composed of enamel in two colors applied with either a roller or a brush. These limitations in palette and texture echo familiar strategies of painting from the last century, but Malek also makes canny use of quasi-subliminal iconographic motifs culled from various ancient and contemporary sources. Some of his paintings, which appear at first glance to be Op art–esque abstractions, use images directly from pop culture: Mainframe (all works 2013), for example, displays the artist’s penchant for sci-fi refulgence as it visually mimics a backdrop

  • Philip Guston, Alfie in Small Town, 1979, oil on canvas, 68 x 80".
    picks April 05, 2013

    Philip Guston

    This year marks the centennial of the late painter Philip Guston and the forty-third anniversary of his alienating midcareer exhibition at the Marlborough Gallery, which prompted New York Times critic Hilton Kramer to proclaim the artist “a mandarin pretending to be a stumblebum.” Kramer was referring to Guston’s unexpected turn to cartoonish figuration after his successful career as an Abstract Expressionist was curtailed by his increasing disenchantment with abstraction’s stymieing commercialism (Guston said in 1969, “Every time I see an abstract painting now I smell mink coats”).

    This exhibition

  • Peter Nadin, Tomato II, 2012, Lycopersicon esculentum, pigment, handmade bamboo, cattail paper, 64 x 40".
    picks January 30, 2013

    Peter Nadin

    This exhibition of thirteen paintings and a short film is upstate New York artist Peter Nadin’s first solo exhibition since his 2011 showing at Gavin Brown, which marked the artist’s return to the New York art world after nearly a decade of abstention. Nadin spent the interim years as a farmer in New York’s Catskill mountains, raising livestock and crops, and producing paintings and sculptures as a part of that milieu.

    As Nadin intones in Taxonomy Transplanted (all works 2012), a 16-mm film made in collaboration with designer Aimée Toledano, “If you want to sell the pork, you have to name the

  • Odilon Redon, Domecy Decoration: Trees, Yellow Background, 1901, oil, distemper, 94 5/8 x 72 7/8".


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions and events were, in their eyes, the very best of 2011.


    Mary Reid Kelley, Sadie the Saddest Sadist (Armory Show, New York) Tucked away in the back of the Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects booth at the 2011 Armory Show was a monitor showing a costumed figure with exaggerated face paint, pacing in front of a hand-drawn black-and-white background. The piece was Mary Reid Kelley’s Sadie the Saddest Sadist, 2009, and the mixed metaphors, narrative snippets, and repurposed