Jack Bankowsky

  • 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, Display #6, 1979, wood, metal brackets, wallpaper, polyester-and-glitter vest, metal hanger, wool dog, ceramic vase, wooden box, cotton lion, lamp, seashell, wooden candlesticks, candles, painted stones. Installation view, artist’s studio, New York.

    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

  • View of “Christopher Wool,” 2012, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris. Photo: Pierre Antoine.

    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 (

  • Cover of Artforum 42, no. 1 (September 2003).
 Click here for Alison Gingeras, “Paris-a-Go-Go,” November 18, 2004

    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

  • View of “Damien Hirst,” 2012. Floor: Mother and Child Divided, 1993/2007. Walls, from left: Iodomethane, 1999–2001; Furegrelate, 2006. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates.

    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

  • View of “Kai Althoff: Punkt, Absatz, Blümli (period, paragraph, Blümli),” 2011, Gladstone Gallery, New York.

    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


    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


    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, Houston, 2005. Photo: Will Michels.

    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.


    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