Jack Bankowsky

  • Deana Lawson, Roxie and Raquel, 2010, ink-jet print, 35 × 42 3⁄4".


    Jack Bankowsky is a critic, a curator, and Artforum’s editor at large. He currently organizes the spring seminars for ArtCenter College of Design, bringing notable artists and writers to the school’s Pasadena, CA, campus, and is working on a series of biographical studies of contemporary artists.


    These photos are good, good in the way a Nan Goldin is good, which is to say that Lawson’s subjects, Black subjects, are at once real people and reliably larger than life—larger, certainly, than their typically

  • David Hammons, Day’s End, 2014–21, stainless steel, precast concrete. Installation view, Gansevoort Peninsula, Hudson River, New York. Photo: Jason Schmidt.


    Jack Bankowsky is a critic, a curator, and Artforum’s editor at large. He currently organizes the spring seminars for ArtCenter College of Design, a series that brings notable artists and writers to the school’s Pasadena, CA, campus.


    As a longtime Hammons fan, I will admit that I followed the seven-year gestation of Day’s End with a measure of pique and bemusement, as the museum jumped high, and then higher, to meet the $17 million price tag, and then—how else to justify their

  • Kerry James Marshall

    WHERE TO START with “Black and part Black Birds in America,” the new series of paintings by Kerry James Marshall—modest, easel size—I stumbled on this July when, starved for art, I turned to the web. Does one begin with their manifest pictorial qualities—garish and gorgeous and cartoon-wonky? Or with the sly weave of sociocultural associations these faintly foreboding images improbably access? The twain—this holds, I suppose, for all incisive artmaking—will not be sundered.

    Inspired by John James Audubon’s landmark 1827–1838 folio The Birds of America, Marshall’s in-progress series of paintings

  • Cady Noland, Cart Full of Action, 1986, metal cart, rims, rear-view mirror, exhaust, engine oil, battery charger, various plastics, oil-based car care products. Installation view, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, 2018. Photo: Fabian Frinzel.

    Cady Noland

    MORNINGS ARE FOR CEASE-AND-DESIST LETTERS, afternoons for rebuffing the advances of the great museums of the world. Conspiracy theory is Cady Noland’s lifeblood, refusal her modus operandi. Difficult, reclusive, idle and industrious, forsaken by her vocation (for how long now?), yet still ferociously committed. Noland—we mythologize art’s mad widows—would be certifiable if she were not simply right. The world today—if you’re fool enough to shed your survivalist armor, to look up from your navel and out from your bubble—is enough to drive you crazy. Unless, like the crazy in the Oval Office . .

  • Andy Warhol’s T.V., 1980–83, still from a TV show on MSG Network and Manhattan Cable TV. Season 1, episode 18.

    Andy Warhol

    I’M PROBABLY THE WRONG PERSON TO ASK. As a forever Warhol devotee, I feel proprietary, cranky, when it comes to other people’s Andys. I will out myself up front: Half of me was ready for this show to fall flat. The other, better half was bracing to be blown away, to be overawed once more by the breadth and depth and prescience of the man who, in the years since I first began seriously consuming contemporary art, ascended from the washed-up Pop star many wrote him off as in the late 1970s to all but inarguably the most significant artist of the second half of the twentieth century. Alas, neither

  • Jack Bankowsky

    1 JUTTA KOETHER (MUSEUM BRANDHORST, MUNICH; CURATED BY ACHIM HÖCHDORFER AND TONIO KRÖNER) Corralling some 150 paintings, and accompanied by a book as brainy as it is brawny, “Jutta Koether: Tour de Madame” made a most eloquent case for a painter whose recognition is all the more satisfying for having been hard-won. Koether began her career in 1980s Cologne on the periphery of the new painting boys’ club, and her emergence as her generation’s German painter of record has required patience, cunning, and, well, Art. It has demanded that she come at her medium from both inside and outside the frame,

  • “Jutta Koether: Tour de Madame”

    Jutta Koether is an itch I’ve been scratching since 1992, when she summoned me, the then-new editor of this publication, to a room on a gold-coast block of Manhattan’s Ninth Street to announce her arrival as a painter on the New York scene. What to make of the canvas unfurled on the floor—its curiously hand-­hating facture and disagreeable neo-expressionist aftertaste? Something (begin with the fact that this “neo-expressionist” was improbably a woman) told me that the game was more evolved than said painted ciphers would admit. It involved the

  • Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017. Performance view, German pavilion, Venice, June 23, 2017. From the 57th Venice Biennale. Stine Omar. Photo: Nadine Fraczkowski.

    Jack Bankowsky

    1 BENJAMIN H. D. BUCHLOH AND ANNE IMHOF (ARTFORUM) Adding to her Golden Lion and Absolut Art Award, Imhof brings home the art world’s most coveted honor: a thoroughgoing evisceration by the Marxian eminence that made the arrival of this magazine’s September issue the highlight of my autumn season. The critic’s nuanced refusal (I think of his famously ambivalent attentions to Andy before Anne) provides all the tools we need to appreciate just what made the artist’s Venice spectacular last summer’s motherlode symptom!

    2 SPF-18 (ALEX ISRAEL) I mean, this movie is totally ridiculous! I mean, I cried

  • Kai Althoff, untitled, 2011, wood stain, Plexiglas, rubber, metal, fabric, and silk-screen ink on wood. Installation view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016. Photo: Kai Althoff.

    Jack Bankowsky

    1 KAI ALTHOFF (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY LAURA HOPTMAN AND MARGARET EWING) Consult the deliberately tattered (and conspicuously incomplete) checklists at the gallery’s entrance; savor the catalogue’s contentious curator interview (“KA: I think you are blind. . . . LH: I am most certainly not blind”); and lose yourself in the vertiginous, granny’s-attic mise-en-scène that threatens to gobble up the jewel-like easel paintings which stud the chaos. If Althoff bites the hand that feeds as hard as he does—and, what’s more, performs his ingratitude for all to see—this has

  • View of “Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age,” 2015–16. Foreground, from left: Kerry James Marshall, Buy Black, 2012; Heimo Zobernig, Untitled, 2011; Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2007. Background, from left: Christopher Wool, Kidnapped, 1994; works by Josh Smith, 2007–13. Photo: Stephan Wyckoff.

    “Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age”

    NOT SO LONG AGO, lots of perfectly intelligent folks believed that the art of painting was vanishing before our eyes, its last allegiants locked in a death dance with the specifics of the medium. Today, the art form seems very much alive. Painting remains the coin of the realm of art (this much seems inarguable), though whether this empirical truth guarantees its vitality is a separate matter. So how, then, does painting live on in the culture of the proliferating image, and what in the World Wide Web does it all mean?

    Enter “Painting 2.0: Expression in the Information Age.” The title refers to

  • View of “Stanley Whitney: Dance the Orange,” 2015, Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. From left: Lightnin, 2009; Hearts and Brains, 2012; Elephant Memory, 2014; My Name Is Peaches, 2015.

    Jack Bankowsky

    1 “PICASSO SCULPTURE” (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY ANN TEMKIN AND ANNE UMLAND WITH VIRGINIE PERDRISOT) Picasso’s sculpture may be no more than the tip of the artist’s pinky, but as this exhilarating survey makes plain, it’s a big pinky. While a good two-thirds of the works in any given room blindside with their originality, it was the late sheet-metal inventions in the final gallery that sang for me. Take the pair of whitewashed works from 1961, each a woman with child: Reprising the Simple Simon cut-and-fold means of the paper maquettes on which they were based—here a scissors

  • View of the 2013 Carnegie International, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh. From left: Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2013; Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2013; Wade Guyton, Untitled, 2013. Photo: Tom Little.

    Jack Bankowsky

    1 WADE GUYTON AT THE CARNEGIE INTERNATIONAL (CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF ART, PITTSBURGH) Given the human taste for schadenfreude, what could be more disagreeable than to discover that a pair of installations by one of the moment’s hottest art stars all but stole the show? Commandeering two separate spaces outside the galleries proper, Guyton decorated the first, a dismantled cloakroom complete with the glue-stain traces of a deinstalled carpet, with four of his next-to-nothing abstractions—and a pair of old sofas. By contrast, the patrician luxury of the “Founder’s Room” afforded the setting for