Jessica Morgan

  • Jessica Morgan

    A CONFERENCE AT TATE MODERN in London this fall titled “Landmark Exhibitions: Contemporary Art Shows Since 1968” drove home to me the degree to which the major temporary events on the art-world calendar have replaced museums as the last, best hope for experimental exhibition making. Against the backdrop of a proliferation of blockbuster monographic shows in museums—to say nothing of those institutions’ meek or celebratory surveys of recent art whose critical theorization is limited to the vague moniker “contemporary”—we have seen the memorable statements of Catherine David’s Documenta

  • OPENINGS: AURÉLIEN FROMENT

    THE INTERACTIVE SCULPTURE Who here listens (to) BBC news on Friday night?, 2008, might be said to offer a key or a code to French artist Aurélien Froment’s photographic, video, book, and object-based practice. The piece, whose title is a mnemonic for the first lines of the periodic table, consists of a glass table covered with fifty-two “playing cards,” all white on one side and with various pictures on the other, in pairs. The depicted items—as diverse as a Bauhaus staircase, a fossil, a billiard ball, and Froment’s own works—circulate around the artist’s concerns both formal (e.g., the image

  • Between Bridges and London’s alternative spaces

    ALONG WITH THE ARRIVAL of the supersize gallery in London, the past few years have witnessed the opening of a handful of galleries that barely warrant the term space, given that they are so entirely lacking in square footage. For example, Ancient & Modern, run by Rob Tufnell and Bruce Haines, is situated in no more than a corridor off Old Street; Associates, the yearlong project run by artist Ryan Gander that closed in 2007, took place in a boxlike storefront on Hoxton Street; and the Bethnal Green gallery Between Bridges is located in what can only be described as a stairwell leading to artist

  • Jessica Morgan

    JESSICA MORGAN

    1 Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, “Expodrome” (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, Paris) A generation of artists who have long been concerned with questioning the status quo of exhibition making—and therefore largely steered clear of standard-fare solo or thematic shows—have now arrived at a point in their careers when they are being invited to present “comprehensive retrospectives” of their work in major art-world institutions. Gonzalez-Foerster wisely resisted lapsing into convention with her stunning journey through the unusual spaces of the Musée d’Art Moderne

  • Jessica Morgan

    ROBERT STORR’S lackluster performance as director of the 52nd Venice Biennale does unequivocally achieve one thing: It makes clear how stimulating and sharp Francesco Bonami’s 2003 version really was. Criticized by some at the time for its surfeit of artists, curators, and ideas, Bonami’s “Dreams and Conflicts” insightfully took on the pluralistic state of contemporary art, illuminating the coexistence of discrete but related dialogues in a series of exhibitions that took advantage of the many and divided spaces of the Biennale itself. “Dreams and Conflicts” not only introduced the work of

  • Matthew Buckingham, The Spirit and the Letter, 2007, color video, 18 minutes 30 seconds. Production still. Mary Wollstonecraft (Kate Miles). Photo: Romain Forquy.

    1000 WORDS: MATTHEW BUCKINGHAM

    WHETHER EXPLORING the colonial history of the Hudson River, recounting the life story of a freed slave in the American Northeast, staging a tale by Edgar Allan Poe, or recording his own attempts to discover the origin of four home movies from the 1920s found on a Manhattan street, Matthew Buckingham, in his film and video projects, often seems also to be documenting the exploits of an amateur enthusiast: himself. Indeed, the New York–based artist’s practice might be seen as sharing common ground with the fast-growing hobby of historical reenactment, involving as it does the exhaustive researching

  • Jessica Morgan

    1 Mario Ybarra Jr. (“Uncertain States of America: American Art in the 3rd Millennium,” Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo/Serpentine Gallery, London/Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, NY) Ybarra excelled in his double contribution to this otherwise confused exhibition. In Oslo and at Bard he presented Dance to the Beat of a Different Drum Machine, 2005, a vast assemblage of flyers and mix tapes collected in the early 1990s by his friend DJ Haven Perez, as well as interviews with participants in the West Coast rave scene. Ybarra’s eye for subcultures’ design aesthetics was also

  • ULLA VON BRANDENBURG

    UNLIKE MANY ARTISTS TODAY who scavenge from every last scrap of modernist production, Ulla von Brandenburg has leaped over that period of utopian experimentalism, alighting instead in the preceding century. Von Brandenburg is attracted to the sophistication, escapism, extreme aestheticism, world-weariness, and fashionable despair that characterized the literary and artistic climate of the European fin de siècle (though in practice she looks equally to German Romanticism and the baroque metaphor of theatrum mundi). Rather than longing for ideological absolutes, the apparent impetus for the ongoing

  • Geoffrey Farmer

    IT WOULD BE FAIRLY EASY to eat up my allotted space here just describing the various sources of information contained in a typical work by Geoffrey Farmer. Literary, pop-cultural, and art-historical allusions; site-specific details; and gestures to his native Vancouver’s local industries and art scene form the structural edifice around which his sculptural and installation-based works develop. Posing a similar challenge to my descriptive faculties is the constantly shifting status of the works-in-process that Farmer generally exhibits, from projects that evolve and grow over weeks, even while

  • Jessica Morgan

    In his characteristically evasive fashion, Michael Krebber used his solo exhibition at Vienna’s Secession this past summer to launch two books and present what appeared to be an addendum of just twelve framed works and a single slide projection of a pink sea anemone. The two publications—a catalogue following the Secession’s classic template designed by Heimo Zobernig and an artist’s book reflecting on the subject of dandyism—seemed to take pride of place. At least that was the impression I gained from a conversation with the artist, a sense that was reinforced on being offered both catalogues

  • MAN WITHOUT QUALITIES: THE ART OF MICHAEL KREBBER

    From empty galleries and appropriated objects to paintings on canvas and artist’s books, MICHAEL KREBBER’s multifarious artistic output confounds easy understanding—let alone description. This elusiveness may in part explain why the Cologne-based artist has for many observers remained a mysterious, even cultish figure despite having participated in nearly one hundred exhibitions over the past twenty years. Following Krebber’s recent solo outing at Vienna’s Secession and a surge of interest in his work among a younger generation of artists, curators, and critics, Artforum asked DANIEL BIRNBAUM,

  • Roman Ondak

    You may have seen Roman Ondák’s work and not realized it. Among the Slovak artist’s projects that easily disappear into the fabric of quotidian life are Good Feelings in Good Times, 2003, a queue of ten to twenty people that formed daily outside the Kölnischer Kunstverein main entrance for half an hour; Teaching to Walk, 2002, for which the artist invited a young mother to bring her one-year-old boy into an otherwise empty gallery space for his first steps; and Silence, Please, 1999, in which attendants at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum dressed in the original guard uniforms from the periods in