Jean-Pierre Criqui

  • Paris

    THIS SPRING BROUGHT WITH IT the rare opportunity to view, in its entirety, the donation Jean Dubuffet made to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in 1967. Presented under the title “Les Dubuffet de Jean Dubuffet ” (Jean Dubuffet’s Dubuffets), this exhibition comprised 21 paintings, 135 gouaches and drawings, as well as six sculptures, all produced between 1942 and 1966. It was unquestionably the best introduction to the work of an artist who, since his death in 1985, has yet to be acccorded a full retrospective. Most striking was the wealth of invention, the supreme indifference to hierarchies and


    “Act so that there is no use in a centre.”
    —Gertrude Stein, Tender Buttons: Rooms, 1914

    RATHER THAN A REASONABLY conceivable variant of the traditional chess game, Gabriel Orozco’s Horses Running Endlessly, 1995, calls to mind something resembling Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie remade by a hallucinating Bobby Fischer. Crowding onto this large four-color chessboard with 256 squares—instead of the usual 64—a throng of knights (also in four colors rather than two) mobilize, the pieces distributed in an order governed only by the principle that the color of the square must correspond to the color of the knight. The configuration of the pieces is rich in potential transformations.

  • Tony Smith

    Although Tony Smith is no longer “one of the best known unknowns in American art,” as Sam Wagstaff was able to write 30 years ago, he still has not enjoyed a large-scale presentation of the totality of his work and thought. In lieu of such a retrospective, however, this group of drawings spanning three decades (roughly 1940 to 1970) reflects the diversity of Smith’s activities (architecture, painting, sculpture), as well as, thanks to the addition of several letters and postcards, his particular place in the artistic circles of his time, including his ties with Barnett Newman. Born in 1912,

  • Jeff Wall

    Like the chameleon we remember from childhood picture books, whose color modulates to match the background, the light-box Jeff Wall has unswervingly employed in his work since 1977 has changed over the years, or rather our perception of it has. Evocative of technology and advertising at the end of the ’70s, emblematic of “photoconceptualism” in the ’80s, the light-box has today acquired a virtual patina. Indeed, as a familiar, almost conventional element in the repertory of contemporary art, it can even seem somewhat dated (a sign, ironically, of its relative youth). Given all this, one may well

  • “Wide White Space”

    In 1966 Anny De Decker and Bernd Lohaus launched their contemporary art gallery Wide White Space in Antwerp. This was an evocative though paradoxical name, given the dimensions of this first space. After going through two changes of address in its home city, in 1968 and 1973, and opening a second space in Brussels in ’73, the gallery remained active until 1977, although it slowed down considerably toward the end of this period, with only one exhibition a year in the two years before it closed. Among the artists shown were Marcel Broodthaers, Gerhard Richter, Joseph Beuys, Carl Andre, Daniel


    “CLOTH ON CLOTH” ––this could be the slogan presiding over the intrusion on this white background of a striped shirt and a striped pair of pants. There is another shirt, this one flowered, violating the work’s linear and graphic tone—a quality evidenced in three sketched figures, dressed à la Louis XIII, each of them gathering toward his eyes a fistful of tight-stretched threads. Students of the history of perspective will recognize these three gentlemen, each with his “visual pyramid”: they appear in an engraving Abraham Bosse made for the first volume of his Manière universelle pour pratiquer

  • Focus: Rachel Whiteread

    When Rodin was accused of having cast his St. John the Baptist, 1878, from life he is said to have answered, “But did I cast the desert, too?” There is a measure of truth to the master’s quip: casting—like doubt—knows no theoretical limits. Rodin’s words came to me during my visit to Rachel Whiteread’s exhibition at the Basel Kunsthalle (the artist’s most extensive to date), comprising 15 works—from Closet, 1988, to the three dated 1994 and never previously exhibited—all of which derive from the simple technique of casting.

    Though Whiteread began by using objects of modest dimensions as molds (

  • “Country Sculpture”

    Under the deliciously absurd title “Country Sculpture,” this exhibition—the invitation to which depicted Dolly Parton in full regalia—brought together one or sometimes two works by each of the following artists: John Chamberlain, Robert Grosvenor, Bertrand Lavier, Matthew McCaslin, Anita Molinero, Bernard Pagès, Nancy Rubins, Frank Stella, Jessica Stockholder, Jacques Vieille, and Carel Visser. The gist of this entire operation—which can be easily inferred from the title “Country Sculpture”—was the notion that the country-dweller feels cramped in the city. The show’s theme, manifested differently


    SPIRAL JETTY IS BACK, and it doesn’t look like itself. Robert Smithson’s epochal earthwork of 1970 no longer has the appearance preserved for us in photographs and on film shot before it disappeared beneath the surface of Utah’s Great Salt Lake. Submerged for twenty-odd years, its aspect has changed: the stones are completely covered with crystallized salt and the dirt between them has eroded so that at first glance the once solid promontory evokes a discontinuous ribbon of frost. Now that a falling water level has exposed it again, the jetty’s appearance brings it closer to the fusion with site


    SINCE HIS FIRST PUBLISHED WRITINGS appeared some twenty-five years ago, Marc Augé has progressively turned his attention toward the Western society from which he comes, and which is now as much an object of study as the African societies he initially examined. There is nothing surprising about this: when the ethnologist returns to the place he started from, how can he logically abandon the habits of observation and analysis that underlie his practice? It was inevitable, then, that Augé’s field of research would be as broad as possible, and that his work on himself and his own culture would also

  • Gabriel Orozco

    Acclaimed for his two recent solo exhibitions (one organized by the Kanaal Art Foundation in Kortrijk, Belgium, in the spring of 1993; the other last autumn for the “Projects” series at New York’s Museum of Modern Art), Gabriel Orozco showed his work for the first time in France last year. La D.S., 1993, conceived specifically for this exhibition, reigned alone at the center of the main gallery space. Summarily described, it was, one could say, an automobile (the Citroën D.S.), which Orozco subjected to a triple process: fragmentation, subtraction, and reassembly. The car was in fact cut lengthwise

  • Gerhard Richter

    If, as Barnett Newman asserted, the history of Modern painting is that of “the struggle against the catalogue” then lately the catalogue seems to be winning. At first glance, this victory is confirmed by the publication that accompanies this exhibition: three large volumes, collected in a single casing, with a photograph on the cover showing Gerhard Richter in his studio, posing in profile near one of his recent works. It is a calm and clear image, full of level-headed authority. Here, the painter is not at work, but at rest, as if meditative; the painting is finished. The three books inside