John Baldessari

  • The Best Exhibitions of 2014

    TO TAKE STOCK OF THE PAST YEAR, ARTFORUM ASKED AN INTERNATIONAL GROUP OF ARTISTS TO SELECT THE SINGLE IMAGE, EXHIBITION, OR EVENT THAT MOST MEMORABLY CAPTURED THEIR EYE IN 2014.

    OSCAR MURILLO

    KIM GORDON

    LORETTA FAHRENHOLZ

    Broad City is the first TV show to fully exploit the comic potential of the gentrification of our minds.

    WOLFGANG TILLMANS

    LAURE PROUVOST

    This is an image from a book on Ferdinand Cheval’s Palais Idéal (1912). My family was recently seeking architectural inspiration for a museum that will be built when our lost granddad comes out of his conceptual tunnel. It has now been more than

  • Michael Asher

    JOHN BALDESSARI

    THE RECENT NEWS that the skeleton of King Richard III was unearthed in a parking lot in Leicester, UK, somehow reminds me of the work of Michael Asher. Michael would often go back in time to investigate art institutions and to unearth buried information. The news item would have been even more Michael if the parking lot had been used as a stable to park King Richard’s horses.

    I was instrumental in bringing Michael to teach at CalArts. We were both included in a show organized by Lucy Lippard titled “557,087” at the Seattle Art Museum in 1969. Michael’s work was a room interior

  • L.A. STORIES: A ROUNDTABLE

    To better survey the manifold sites of postwar art in Los Angeles, Artforum invited art historians THOMAS CROW and ANDREW PERCHUK, curators MAURICE TUCHMAN and ALI SUBOTNICK, and gallerist HELENE WINER to join in conversation with artists JOHN BALDESSARI, HARRY GAMBOA JR., and LIZ LARNER—a group whose experiences span five decades and some of the most vibrant, vital scenes in the city. Critic and scholar RICHARD MEYER and Artforum editor MICHELLE KUO moderate.

    Michelle Kuo: We all know the myth: “The Cool School,” coined by Philip Leider himself in these pages [Summer 1964]. Leider was speaking of a “new distance,” a remove, which he saw manifested in the adamantine surfaces of the work of the Ferus Gallery artists and which came to stand for LA culture as a whole. But how might we attend to art in LA now, without reducing it to the same clichés about regional or even outsider production that persist, rather astonishingly, in many exhibitions, in much of the literature, and certainly in the market?

    How might we attend to the relationship—if

  • William Leavitt

    William Leavitt: Theater Objects

    MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, LOS ANGELES

    March 13–July 3

    Curated by Bennett Simpson and Ann Goldstein



    WILLIAM LEAVITT IS FINALLY having a retrospective, and in his hometown. There is some justice in the world.

    I came to Los Angeles in 1970, when the dominant modes were Ferus Gallery, Light and Space, and plastics. I felt isolated but gradually met a few other arrière-garde artists: Bas Jan Ader, Michael Asher, David Askevold, Guy de Cointet, Ger van Elk, Richard Jackson, David Lamelas, Allen Ruppersberg, William Wegman, and Bill Leavitt.

    Bill’s subjects are almost

  • THEIR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS OF 2008

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2008.

    DUNCAN CAMPBELL

    James Coleman, Background, 1991–94 (Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin) Existential photo-novel? Soap opera? Mail-order-catalogue photo shoot? Coleman’s installations, pairing slide projection with synchronized audio, don’t lend themselves to easy categorization. In Background, shown at the Irish Museum of Modern Art this year, the male narrator’s voice adds to the general dislocation, straining earnestly to convey some sort

  • THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

    13 SCHOLARS, CRITICS, WRITERS, AND ARTISTS CHOOSE THE YEAR’S OUTSTANDING TITLES.

    BRIGID DOHERTY

    I turned to Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume I (edited by Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg; Stanford University Press) in connection with my attempts to look differently at what is made of thinking (and writing) in the art of Hanne Darboven, whose work has often been regarded (to my mind erroneously, or mostly erroneously) as an instance of “Conceptual art.” Psyche—which comprises translations of the first sixteen essays from a volume of Jacques Derrida’s writing that originally appeared

  • Sol LeWitt

    Sol LeWitt died on April 8 at the age of seventy-eight. At the time, Artforum was poised to publish “Scribbles” a new group of seven drawings that he had recently completed for our pages. LeWitt had asked that these images be accompanied by no explanatory information, save for his name and the title on the table of contents. Though we might have been tempted to say more after learning of his passing, we presented the work in our May issue exactly as he had wished—yet now as a memorial tribute. Here, we follow that portfolio with remembrances by artists Mel Bochner and John Baldessari, LeWitt’s

  • THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

    ELEVEN SCHOLARS, CRITICS, AND ARTISTS CHOOSE THE YEAR’S OUTSTANDING TITLES.

    JOHN BALDESSARI

    Kierkegaard once said that his goal in writing was to make life difficult for people. I read Edward Said’s On Late Style (Pantheon) because its title suggested that it might offer insights into my life’s pursuit of trying to understand art. The subtitle of the book is Music and Literature Against the Grain. The photo of Said on the back cover shows his shirt collar slightly askew, which I chose to understand as an unintended message.

    There are no artists (in the narrow sense) discussed, but the book contains