Jay Sanders

  • Sopé Bahké performing at Shanzhai Lyric’s Canal Street Research Association, New York, December 6, 2020. Photo: Constanza Valenzuela.


    IN A YEAR when collective organizing became the social innovation, New York’s Canal Street revealed itself as a site of complex and conditional overlays. Stretching much of the width of Lower Manhattan, from West Street to Essex, and connecting the Holland Tunnel to the Manhattan Bridge, the thoroughfare is defined by its arterial nature. Valued for its supposedly authentic grit despite generations of failed beautification attempts, it is both a microcosm of global trade routes and a long-standing channel of excess and surplus—be it of sewage, industrial waste, or fashion. With retail mostly

  • “Josephine Pryde: Lapses in Thinking by the Person I Am”

    In her photographs, Josephine Pryde frequently stages determinedly pitched, inscrutable parodies of selfhood. For her first show in a US institution, she presents a series of roughly twenty newly created images of women’s hands in close encounters with their own bodies, as well as with touch screens and touch lamps. Held in suspended states of discovery, these hands are living it up, footloose and perhaps in the midst of one of the “lapses” of self-awareness suggested by the show’s title. Pryde manages subtle affectations in each scene, lampooning her caricatured subjects

  • Bear Fetus amulet from Punuk or Thule culture, western Alaska, ca. 500, walrus ivory, 2 1/2 x 1 1/8 x 3/4". From “Upside Down: Arctic Realities.”

    Jay Sanders

    1 “Upside Down: Arctic Realities” (Menil Collection, Houston; curated by Edmund Carpenter) Organized by the late anthropologist, filmmaker, and media theorist Edmund Carpenter, this exhibition of ancient art and objects from the Arctic foregrounded the artifacts’ original sensory and environmental contexts. With mostly very small amulets, funerary offerings, and hunting tools—often carved from walrus ivory and seeming to defy frontality or vertical orientation—Arctic cultures expressed the complexity of utilitarian and spiritual life in an unstable landscape that can fundamentally

Brion Gysin with Dreamachine at Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1962. Collection William S. Burroughs Archive, Courtesy William S. Burroughs Trust, Lawrence, Kansas. Photo:  Harold Chapman/Image Works.

    Brion Gysin

    “Writing is fifty years behind painting,” Brion Gysin (1916–1986) declared in 1959, a still-contentious statement made the year he chanced upon the cut-up technique...

    “Writing is fifty years behind painting,” Brion Gysin (1916–1986) declared in 1959, a still-contentious statement made the year he chanced upon the cut-up technique. This procedure—slicing and suturing swaths of text—begat his two most infamous verbal-art endeavors: The Third Mind, 1965, a massive image-and-text collage made with his longtime comrade William S. Burroughs, and the “permutation poems,” realized using magnetic tape, in which Gysin semantically unlocks single phrases by reordering their constituent words in every possible variation. This survey will include

  • Police officers patrolling the streets of Tarnac, France, November 11, 2008. Photo: Thierry Zoccolan/Getty Images.


    Every year Artforum invites a spectrum of scholars, critics, and writers to reflect on the year’s outstanding titles.


    Once upon a time in Paris, there was a short-lived meeting place in the form of a journal called Tiqqun, which, in two volumes, published anonymous philosophical writings that combined resonances of Agamben, Benjamin, Foucault, Heidegger, and Schmitt. Then there was no more Tiqqun, or Tiqqun went on hiatus. Its dissolution, according to rumors, had something to do with 9/11 and disagreements over the way to proceed in its wake. Sometime after this, an anonymous video,

  • Masaya Nakahara

    THE COOLHEADEDLY strange artistic course of Japanese critic, novelist, and musician Masaya Nakahara has been shaped by a long line of unexpected fits and starts, but few have been so disarming as his “Monthly Hair Stylistics,” a series of twelve albums, recorded and released over the course of a year, which landed on fans’ doorsteps with titles like Electric Success in the Ghetto, 30 Minute Panty People, and Wild Hair Style. (They were sold by subscription as well as in stores.) Each is a total Nakahara creation, an installment of head-scratching noise workouts built on densely scaffolded

  • Guy de Cointet, Tell Me, 1979. Performance view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1979. Denise Domergue and Helen Mendez.

    Jay Sanders

    IT’S A PERFORMANCE taken up a thousand times a day: The gallerist, museum tour guide, or art collector stands in front of an enigmatic painting, takes a deep breath, gestures toward it—an object in need of an explanation—and opens her mouth. . . .

    For art audiences, the primary point of contact with an artwork is often the social space right in front of it (modern art as verbal production). In Guy de Cointet’s work, however, this space becomes the art itself. He creates a staging area to enact a theater of “understanding,” “appreciation,” and “decoding”—fundamentally reorienting