Jack Bankowsky

  • “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

  • 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

  • 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

  • “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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Christopher Wool

    When the Whitney Museum of American Art boldly leaped a decade and honored Wade Guyton with an early, if well-deserved, survey last year, even this late-to-the-game Christopher Wool fan felt a pang of sympathy for the elder artist, widely acknowledged as a precursor to Guyton and his generation. For this reason, the Guggenheim’s timely retrospective feels that much more so. This full-rotunda roundup—the most comprehensive showing of Wool’s output to date—will bring together roughly ninety paintings, photographs, and works on paper made since the mid-1980s.

  • Haim Steinbach

    Conspicuous in his absence from the generation-defining 1986 exhibition that catapulted Ashley Bickerton, Peter Halley, Jeff Koons, and Meyer Vaisman (forever after known as the Sonnabend Four) into the blue-chip empyrean, fifth wheel Haim Steinbach went from white-hot to “underrecognized” in the hiccup of a SoHo season. Twenty-seven years on, this bolt-from-the-blue survey, tracking the artist’s career from his grid-based paintings of the 1970s to today’s large-scale installations, means to lay that epithet to rest. Surely the artist’s signature Formica

  • Jack Bankowsky

    1 Christopher Wool (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; curated by Fabrice Hergott) I never gave Wool’s art the time of day until this survey of recent paintings roused me from my slumber. When I first encountered Wool’s word paintings in the late 1980s, they felt self-consciously of the moment and, frankly, tepid; today, from the far side of pick No. 2 (and Josh Smith and Kelley Walker), things are looking rosier. With their evacuated palette, exhausted benday facture, and automatic automatism, Wool’s abstractions are—eureka!—exactly what I want to look at now.

    2 Wade Guyton (

  • Jack Bankowsky on Scene & Herd

    WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE to run a magazine within a magazine, a forum inside Artforum, and one whose purview, rather than art itself, would be “the art world,” the 24-7 social whirl the parent publication’s very identity depends on holding at arm’s length? How might it feel, after a decade of heavy exposure to the soul-numbing (OK, occasionally amusing) panels and openings and gallery dinners and galas that froth atop the making and showing of contemporary art, to go out armored with “literary” purpose––or, better still, to command a battalion of junior Prousts to go out for me? Would the art

  • Damien Hirst

    WHATEVER ONE THINKS of its architecture, strolling across the London Millennium Bridge on an early spring morning is an agreeable way to start the day, and I arrived at Tate Modern feeling clearheaded and not a little excited. The occasion was a retrospective devoted to the art of Damien Hirst (the first in Britain since the 2003 Saatchi survey that Hirst publicly disavowed), and I was eager to reconsider the contribution of an artist whose work I have never liked but at the same time have never been able to dismiss.

    At opening hour, the timed-ticketed crowds snaked though the Turbine Hall, an

  • Jack Bankowsky

    1 Kai Althoff, “Punkt, Absatz, Blümli (Period, Paragraph, Blümli)” (Gladstone Gallery, New York) The first time I met Kai Althoff, the rakish ephebe was perched expectantly on the edge of a wheelchair, furtively scratching his stigmata. Not really! But there is something in the overwrought desiring machine that is his art—an old-fashioned aesthete’s brew of inverts and valiants, blood oaths and brother love—that gives the truth to my lie. His winter solo, a stuffed-to-the-gills mise-en-scène bathed in a sickly fluorescent glare, led one through a salon-style smattering of mostly

  • Jack Bankowsky

    1 “Ryan Trecartin: Any Ever” (MoCA Pacific Design Center, Los Angeles) I want to celebrate Trecartin and his “superhuman crew”—Dylan’s phrase for Warhol’s posse—for an exhibition design that single-handedly redeemed the punishing convention of video installation and for transforming the PDC’s de Chirico–scary plaza (and its even scarier Wolfgang Puck eatery) into an opening-night carnival perfectly paired with the artful delirium inside. But mostly I want to marvel at the videos: Not only is Trecartin’s visual slice-and-dice uniquely equal to today’s virtual whirl; his ingenuity with

  • Jack Bankowsky

    JACK BANKOWSKY

    1 Gustave Courbet (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) and Petra ten-Doesschate Chu, The Most Arrogant Man in France: Gustave Courbet and the Nineteenth-Century Media Culture (Princeton University Press) I know it’s lame to award the top slot to a gilded oldie, but the arrival at the Met of this breathtaking survey, coupled with my simultaneous discovery of Chu’s 2007 study (recommended by none other than Courbet collector Jeff Koons), made an afternoon in the art-historical vault the contemporary high point of my year. I ogled The Origin of the World with eyes for La Cicciolina

  • Jack Bankowsky

    JACK BANKOWSKY

    1 Panama Pavilion (Venice Biennale) Richard Prince’s Nancy Spector–curated Guggenheim Museum retrospective was the undisputed center of gravity of the artist’s annus mirabilis, but as ever in the Princeian scheme of things, the museal main event was half the story. First, he raised the Body Shop on a freshly cleared upstate lot; then, with the help of a bodacious babe, he turned an art fair (Frieze) into an auto show. Let’s admit it, the runway debut of the artist’s customized handbags for Louis Vuitton seemed a dead-tired alternative—until the all-nurse lineup unmasked to

  • Jason Rhoades

    By going between places, it will generate things. It’ll snowball, take on a mythology and a history, and then at some point it’ll just stop. And that’ll be it, it’ll be a finished sculpture. —Jason Rhoades

    THE MYSTERIOUS “it” in my epigraph is Jason Rhoades’s IMPALA, 1998, the car-cum-sculpture the artist loaded up with cheese and Chanel No. 22,1 drove across Europe, and eventually parked outside the Kunsthalle Zurich, where it remained for the entire busy art month of June. But Rhoades might have been talking about any number of his “sculptures,” not least of all his last and, I am convinced,

  • David Hammons

    If it’s good kitsch, it will be good art!

    —David Hammons

    INDULGE ME in an anecdote from the roaring ’80s. My set piece places a certain art consultant (of storied chutzpah and a measure of clout) at the feet of a certain SoHo gallerist (of storied sangfroid and even greater clout), bewailing the cruelty of her colleague who has just stiffed her on her accustomed commission. “You can’t do this to me,” the consultant wails, her prized client having momentarily stepped out of earshot. “That woman keeps me in furs!”

    For those of you whose cultural memories don’t reach back this far, the high-’80s art

  • Robert Rosenblum

    A pioneering critic of the past fifty years and a revisionist scholar of the preceding two hundred, Artforum contributing editor Robert Rosenblum will be remembered for the stunning breadth of his erudition and taste. In the issue, a trio of his colleagues—and, above all, his friends—recall a protean figure whose love of art was matched only by his joie de vivre.

    LINDA NOCHLIN

    IT IS HARD not to be lighthearted when remembering Robert Rosenblum. Bob was himself one of those rare people who, though deeply serious, was never ponderous or solemn. His was a quintessentially blithe spirit. From the very

  • Jack Bankowsky

    1 RICHARD PRINCE Healthy contrariness all but dictates that the self-respecting critic pass over Prince this year—save for a higher call to rescue a bumper crop of cross-pollinating projects from a distracting (if overdue) spike in the artist’s market. Consider the sublime sellout at Gagosian Beverly Hills (scratch the surface of these Rothkoesque ciphers and discover the customized—and cashed!—checks below the oil and angst). Consider, too, the self-anthologizing miniretrospective at Barbara Gladstone in New York concurrent with the artist’s reprise of his near-mythical 1983

  • TENT COMMUNITY: ART FAIR ART

    ART FAIRS MAY NOT BE NEW but these days they are certainly more: more frequent, more crowded, more lucrative. With Miami and London joining Basel and New York as obligatory circuit stops, with artists decrying the constant pressure from dealers for fresh work, and with dealers bemoaning the drain on quality stock (never mind the toll of constant caravanning on the flagship operations back home), bristling under the big top has become an art-world way of life. Last season, indefatigable Chelsea cheerleader Jerry Saltz professed to sitting out the Miami and Frieze fairs “because these events make