Jean Fisher

  • Born In Flames

    Born in Flames is a feminist film which examines the cultural place of women from a sociopolitical rather than overtly psychoanalytical perspective. The action takes place in New York of the future, ten years after a socialist revolution. Although promises of women’s social equality have been made, they have not been realized. The mise-en-scène does not present a futuristic world of sci-fi fantasy (an implausible fiction), but one which is all too bleakly like the present—a lack of difference which is not wholly successful, since we must constantly be told, rather than be shown, that it is future

  • Richard Prince

    The recognition of a shift in our view of reality from a somatic spatial model to a specular field transmitted via media representation began to take form in the work of certain West Coast-based artists about a decade ago, and since then, through his use of the advertising image, Richard Prince has become its most didactic exponent. Like the majority of advertisements, the Marlboro-cigarette image which is the source of Prince’s recent body of photographs, “Cowboys,” is designed for the casual glance that cruises the street or the pages of a magazine, so that the information is received by

  • Francis Picabia

    It has become possible to speak about Francis Picabia’s later work only in the light of the current postmortem on Modernist values, since what was previously unspeakable was its apparent subversion of one of Modernism’s most sacred canons: the artist as unique individual engaged in a problem-solving activity from which would develop an original “style,” a heroic myth that is currently enjoying a revival. Picabia’s work is not original in this sense; it stylistically defeats attempts to determine a unified “vision,” confiscating the image in favor of the signature as the sign of authorship.

  • Joseph Nechvatal

    Joseph Nechvatal, like Picabia, traces figures from Renaissance art, a strategy of quotation that is fast becoming so repetitive as to render it a meaningless gesture except insofar as it indicates the impoverished language of a reality unable to represent itself other than by a doubling back to the myths and icons of the past. Nechvatal does attempt to forestall this closure by also incorporating into his drawing images of American media icons and objects of modern technology. We are guided, therefore, into a reading of power and exploitation, impotence and alienation, that nevertheless is

  • “Beyond the Purloined Image”

    The aim of this selection of work by Ray Barrie, Judith Crowle, Karen Knorr, Yve Lomax, Olivier Richon, Mitra Tabrizian, Susan Trangmar, and Marie Yates was “to re-work and extend the notion of ‘appropriation’ . . . as used predominantly by American critics,” according to a statement in Block #9 by the show’s, curator, artist Mary Kelly. I hope I am not the only reader confused by the critical use of the term “appropriation”; important as this discourse has been for exposing the sociopolitical apparatus at work in culture’s codes of representation and the institutions of art, its emphasis on


    AT THIS CENTER OF BLACKNESS there is nothing more nor less than a bright white shadow contained by a blue-green iridescence. It is the nucleus of a space defined only by a rain of light and the indeterminate contours of landscape, or perhaps a body. Indefinable, unreal, timeless, it suggests the space of a half-remembered dream or an afterimage. In this fictional account of an imaginary space the image undergoes yet another metamorphosis in language. It was a photographic representation of an explosion. Now it is a painting by Jack Goldstein.

    This will be a speculation on a compelling body of

  • Tina Keane

    My girl’s a cor-or-ker,

    She’s a New Yor-or-ker,

    I’d buy her anything to keep her in style.

    She’s got a pair of eyes

    Just like two custard pies.

    Hot Dog! That’s where my money goes!

    This children’s street song, whose jocular but abusive tone seems to owe to an adult burlesque tradition, forms the thematic core of Demolition, Tina Keane’s witty contribution to Live to Air, Audio Arts’ cassette package of artists’ soundworks. Her piece begins with the sound of a steam-powered train arriving at a station and the distant, boisterous shouts of children in a playground. Suddenly we hear the clear voice

  • Alexis Hunter

    Who are the phantoms that stalk the night and steal the dreams of women? In Alexis Hunter’s new paintings, “Dreams, Nightmares and Male Myths,” 1982, they are the specters of patriarchy. “Neoprimitive” in style and lurid in color, these Gothic but absurd demons flap, grimace, snarl, and spit in a ritualistic display of aggression with an equally vociferous harridan.

    The experience of sexual politics that inscribed Hunter’s earlier photographic work remains in the paintings, but it is rephrased in terms of those archaic myths that sought to repress nature (the feminine) in order to validate a

  • Gerald Newman

    Over the past four years Gerald Newman has been engaged with a cycle of audiotape works subsumed under the title “Times,” which, using material drawn exclusively from familiar broadcasting sources, reflect various aspects of contemporary reality. Newman builds the works from a narrow range of sound events—mainly fragments of news reportage and anthems—but through a complex structuring of rhythm and duration, and through subtle modulations of pitch, tone, and volume, he orchestrates them into multi layered “scores” charged with a dramatic and emotional intensity. The listener is positioned in a

  • Jannis Kounellis

    Jannis Kounellis’ installation is an inspired use of this space as a total signifying structure. None of the works is new; but by a judicious choice of those whose common motif is primarily fire, and through a sensitive use of every dimension of the space, the artist has evoked a place of ritual appropriate to both the sense of the work and the gallery’s cool, pillared interior. The centerpiece in the lower gallery is an assembly of lighted butane-gas burners whose long tubes snake across the floor, drawing the viewer into a space pervaded by sound and odorous fumes. Other works are placed at