Jack Pierson

  • David Armstrong. Photo: Ryan McGinley.
    passages November 19, 2014

    David Armstrong (1954–2014)

    THE FIRST, most distinctive thing about David Armstrong you noticed upon meeting him was his voice. It had not so much an accent as a sort of wistful cadence. It sounded like a mother comforting a child she is preparing to suffocate with a pillow.

    I met David in the summer of 1981 in Provincetown. He was staying at the home of a man named Paul Johnson, a sparkly-eyed clammer whose house had many areas of old wallpaper that David used to beautiful advantage in a number of his classic photographs. The first thing I noticed about Johnson was that he had a tattoo. (In 1981, not everyone had a tattoo,

  • Shelly Silver, in complete world, 2008, still from a color video, 53 minutes.


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2008.


    James Coleman, Background, 1991–94 (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin) Existential photo-novel? Soap opera? Mail-order-catalogue photo shoot? Coleman’s installations, pairing slide projection with synchronized audio, don’t lend themselves to easy categorization. In Background, shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art this year, the male narrator’s voice adds to the general dislocation, straining earnestly to convey some sort

  • Colin de Land

    IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT, and I was standing, freezing, outside American Fine Arts, Co., when a shiny new purple pickup truck arrived with its ferocious cargo: The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black. Naked save for a coat of brightly colored body paint, seven band members leaped from the vehicle and paraded into the packed gallery for their performance. Inside the space, visitors were greeted by a photo in which bandleader Kembra Pfahler was seen prancing on a bed with another naked body—that of Colin de Land, the proprietor of American Fine Arts, painted completely blue and topped with a

  • Dusty Springfield

    AT CERTAIN TIMES nothing makes more sense than listening to a Dusty Springfield record all day. In the past you could just leave the arm on the phonograph and let the album replay over and over. Dusty in Memphis was particularly suited for this. You could play it all night (getting high), turn it down while you went to sleep (nodded), and turn it up again when you woke up Sunday morning (coming down). With the new Rhino edition of Dusty in Memphis, containing an additional fourteen songs (many previously unreleased), it's almost as easy, even if we're older now, trying not to stay up all night,


    I COULDN'T STAND Billy Sullivan the first time I met him. It was a few years ago, at a chic-ish sort of inner-circle dinner party of the kind I had lately been finding myself at the periphery of—a confab of art/fashion/magazine mavens. The food was superb. Anyway, I was the new blood and the whole thing had me internally thrashing with terror: everyone there had a history with each other, a certain élan, knew the names of roads in Amagansett. Billy seemed like some kind of leather-boy bullfrog, completely at home croaking away in this pond, where I felt like a turtle trying to make a small raft


    He saw Billie Holiday @ Carnegie Hall, “but it wasn’t a good night—near the end.”

    He’s watched “Pillow Talk” 4 times, and “Some Like it Hot” is one of his “all time favorites”

    He doesn’t go for science-fiction “at all.”

    He doesn’t like “paint all over my clothes or to get my hands dirty.”

    Consequently, he keeps his studio very tidy.

    “Too much contact w/ the outer world” gets him depressed and bored, but “if I’m by myself I’m usually O.K.”

    He knew Eva Hesse: “She lived in this building a while w/ Donald Droll while she was sick. Dear old Donald.”

    He played the violin when he was “a kid.”

    I told him that