Jean Fisher

  • Louise Lawler

    On the wall of the residential interior in Louise Lawler’s Paris New York Rome Tokyo, 1985 (one of a pair of photographs labeled Homes), a large framed text concludes, “Ce discours n’est pas seulement ce que vous voyez, c’est ce à travers quoi vois voyez” (This discourse is not only what you see, it is that through which you see). The discourse we are given in this artist’s work is frequently the scene of art as a formalist play on the House and Garden photograph, locating the Modernist art object in its “natural” environment of stylish furniture and decor, and hinting at the wealthy salon.


    FOR THOSE OF US RAISED in the idealist climate of art schools in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Hans Haacke is a seminal artist, his work a model for an art practice that would challenge the isolation of art from worldly issues. Unlike most politically motivated art, Haacke’s has not only explored the institutional mind, it has entered and touched its nerve endings, forcing responses from it and bringing it into visibility by incorporating those responses within itself. Haacke made a particular contribution at a time when it felt actually possible that art would break out of its incarceration in

  • Oleg Kudryashov

    Russian artist Oleg Kudryashov came to the West 12 years ago with none of the publicity and rhetoric that has attended the arrival of other emigres. Since then he has continued to work in his quietly impassioned manner, using the modest techniques of drypoint and relief construction on paper. He works directly on the plate; lines of various densities, burnished or incised, build a cubistic matrix through whose volumes and planes breathes a generous spaciousness. The resultant print provides a further surface that may be rescored and reworked with additional smaller drypoints, or treated with

  • Richard Long

    The pleasure and power of Richard Long’s work lies not only in the elegance of its execution but in the economy with which it condenses the cultural demands we make of landscape: the esthetic and the documentary (the evidence of “nature”), the romantic (solitude, wildness, transience), and the rational (order, harmony, permanence). In his photographs this is achieved without using the conventions of the picturesque; the scene is animated by the organization of materials. In his work, the inaccessible is brought, by analogy, into close visual alignment; horizontality is fore-grounded, placing us

  • Tim Rollins + Kids of Survival

    To a significant extent, dominant culture’s misrepresentations of others lies in our failure to acknowledge that different but equally valid ways of conceptualizing the world may exist. Romantic paradigms of the transcendental self, the creative individual, or one who possesses privileged knowledge continue to frame questions of subjectivity. Tim Rollins + Kids of Survival (K.O.S.) radically challenge these purist and elitist notions. Their collaborative art interprets culture through young people who are generally dismissed as having virtually nothing to contribute to it. Rollins has worked

  • Susan Hiller

    In Sisters of Menon, 1972–79, writing slips across the pages, in and out of legibility; “We three sisters are one sister / You are one sister / You are the sister / Menon is this one.” Our thoughts drift with the rhythm of this script that recalls, perhaps, the Oresteian chorus summoning the Furies in response to a crime (matricide).

    Sisters of Menon was the first Susan Hiller work to materialize from her experiences with automatic script, the theme around which her present exhibition circulates. Automatic writing here does not reveal the autobiographical self, but instead unmasks the limits of

  • “Lost and Found Traditions: Native American Art 1965–1985”

    When an exhibition presents the work of cultural minorities, we may discover more about our own attitudes than theirs. Such is the case with “Lost and Found Traditions,” organized by the American Federation of Arts. The curator (Ralph T. Coe) spent a decade traveling the country, seeking out and collecting “contemporary traditional” artifacts to demonstrate that, far from having vanished, Indian cultures have been undergoing a renaissance, revitalizing local customary skills and, in some cases, reinventing them where they seemingly had been forgotten. Museums play an ironic role in this process;

  • Rosalyn Drexler

    According to the show catalogue, Rosalyn Drexler’s original career as a painter occupied no more than a few years during the ’60s; by the end of that decade, her energies were concentrated on her performances as novelist and playwright—with a brief appearance as a wrestler—resulting in the persona with which we are most familiar.

    Drexler’s retrospective exhibition, “Intimate Emotions,” forces us into some ironic art-historical contortions. What does not fail to arrest our attention is the work’s confrontation with marginality, and what this may say about the place of women artists at that time;

  • Group Material

    Group Material’s strength lies in its “alternative” curatorial role; concerned with the nonelitist, sociopolitical responsibilities of art, and particularly sensitive to context and audience, it has operated as often “on the street” as in the more conventional exhibition space, bringing together artists of different cultural backgrounds who may not otherwise be very visible. Its current, traveling installation took shape from an invitation to over a hundred artists to submit an image 12 inches square that, altogether, would express the diversity of contemporary imagery and seek a common ground

  • Victor Burgin

    The influence of Victor Burgin’s work has rested in its quiet insistence on a rigorously critical art practice, informed by interdisciplinary cultural studies, that recognizes Modernist painting as yet another encoding of capitalism’s master narrative of egocentric individualism. Burgin’s concern is with the relation between the individual and the social, and, in “Office at Night,” 1985–86, with those “subjective” responses to an image that escape critical analysis. Drawing on Roland Barthes’ reflections on the “obtuse meaning” of affective but nonverbalizable image details, Burgin speculates

  • Judith Barry

    In most accounts of the myth of Narcissus little attention is given to the significance of Echo: she is, as it were, expelled in a breath. Condemned first by Hera (for interrupting the goddess’ spying) to repeat only the last phrase of another’s speech, she is condemned a second time by desire and Narcissus’ indifference to fade away to a distant sound—no longer a voice, even, but a listener and recorder.

    Echo, however, represents more than the absence of body or speech; she appears as an effect of a transference, as a persistent mnemonic residue. Her repetition, moreover, questions the conventions

  • Harold of Orange

    For the past four years the Museum of the American Indian has hosted a modest but important festival of films and videos about Native Americans. The predominant genre is the sympathetic documentary, but in most cases, production crews are white. Under these circumstances, whose world vision does the documentary project? Implicated in the miasma of fear, nostalgia, and guilt by which the dominant culture incorporates different peoples, the anemic, consuming eye of the camera takes up a position that can hardly be other than anthropological, with all its underlying vampiric connotations.