Jeff Wall

  • Richard Prince, Prince Billboard, 1990. Installation view, Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, 1990.

    A Roundtable

    “JEFF KOONS MAKES ME SICK.” The words are Peter Schjeldahl’s, and the occasion was a review in the SoHo weekly 7 Days, back in the ’80s, before Koons was quite the museum-certified star he is today. In the course of the write-up, Schjeldahl would turn his conceit around, explaining how undeniable, unstoppable, finally essential the experience of the artist’s work was for him. What makes Koons’s art simultaneously so toxic and so compelling? And why is it both institutionally embraced and yet seen by many as an art of diminishing returns, a symptom of all that is wrong with culture today? Koons


    Over the past two and a half decades, Jeff Wall has sustained a photographic practice of remarkable prescience. For this issue, the photographer looks back—as well as forward. A new essay revisiting his own coming-of-age as an artist in the late ’70s and early ’80s sets the stage for a portfolio of recently completed images presented here for the first time.

    In 1977, when I started making my large color pictures, it was still possible to talk about photography in, or as, art, in a way that wasn’t terribly different from the way it was talked about in 1970 or 1960. The classic idea of art photography


    Homi K. Bhabha: The times are out of joint, perhaps never more so than when we are seduced by that decade-end desire to say, One last time, what was the great work of the ’90s? The ’90s began in the late late ’80s with the big bang of The Satanic Verses, and the decade dribbles on with small arms sniping around an elephant-dung madonna. In between times, we realize how powerful is the appeal to religious orthodoxy; how insecure our sense of the secular; how fragile any idea of global cultural understanding; how the politics of art rarely lies in the artifice itself, but all around it, in the


    I’VE KNOWN THIERRY DE DUVE for about 15 years. We don’t see each other often, since we are usually on different continents, but he is one of the few writers on art about whom I regularly find myself wondering, What is he working on now?

    Early in the last decade, Thierry was one of the first people to draw my attention to Kant’s esthetics. In the early ’70s I had studied The Critique of Judgment in the context of Hegel, Marx, and the Frankfurt School, a vantage point from which Kant seemed, ironically enough, to be uncritical, “bourgeois,” and conformist. Thierry’s interest in Kant, which developed