John K. Grande

  • Friedensreich Hundertwasser

    During his first one-man show at the Vienna Art Club in 1952, Hundertwasser, then 23 years old, delivered a speech entitled “We Must Free Ourselves From the Bluff Civilization.” Now a permanent resident of Kaurinui, New Zealand, he planted over 60,000 trees of diverse species on his property to stimulate diversity. Ever since, Hundertwasser the painter, protoecologist, and architect has been transforming urban and industrial sites as part of his ongoing crusade for a more humanized environment. These include an AGIP gas station in Vienna with grassy, tree-lined roofs, a fairytale-like kindergarten

  • Frank Morzuch

    Stringing a strand of light bulbs from the center of a hollowed-out tree trunk and placing them upside down in vessels filled with water and chrome-yellow pigment may not be everybody’s idea of fun. After all, water is electricity’s best friend—a natural conductor—but for us humans the meeting of the two is downright dangerous. In Frank Morzuch’s Transformateur (Transformer, 1994), the transition from an inner response to outward recognition becomes a difficult barrier to cross, a pressure-sensitive membrane that separates the object’s meaning from its associative potential. Metaphors for the

  • Attila Richard Lukacs

    Collectively titled “E-Werk” after a night spot in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, Attila Richard Lukacs’ macho punks of the leftist-redskin or neofascist variety are cast as laborers in the new Germany. Though as solemn as the defenders of Rome in David’s The Oath of the Horatii, 1784–85, the gay boys in these paintings, who stand, stoop, or pose in the raw, are anything but heroic. These warriors are the scarred and sacrificial residue of Germany’s cultural miasma and the nation’s seeming incapacity to deal with its past and present. They act out their private scenarios as isolated enigmas

  • Betty Goodwin

    While Betty Goodwin’s “Swimmers,” 1982-85, and “Carbon Series,” 1986, with their free-floating, visually truncated figures have a note of tragic finality to them, the “Nerve Series,” 1993, seems more open-ended. Here, her usual allegorization of the human figure has been tempered by real-life photos of exposed root systems transferred onto Mylar and then reworked. The imagery Goodwin has chosen here seems more potent and mysterious precisely because it is more explicit. These works allow us to imagine our own inner feelings about the process of birth, life, death, and decay in an open-ended,

  • Kim Adams

    Dodes ‘Ka-dan, 1993, the centerpiece of Kim Adams’ latest show, examines a consumer culture in which utilitarian values have gone into hyperdrive. Loosely titled after Akira Kurosawa’s 1970 film about an adolescent who drives an imaginary trolley through a combined garbage dump and shantytown in the wastelands of Siberia, this post-consumer wagon train is put together with the practical know-how and childlike ingenuity of utopian engineering. A full-scale, nonfunctioning model of a truck cab—with pink windshield wipers and a turquoise body—pulls a septic tank and water tank on wheels, as if

  • Antony Gormley

    A floor-level flood of 40,000 red, yellow, brown, and orange figurines, Field filled the halls and pressed against the walls of the museum, barring one’s entry. A population explosion of metasculptural archetypes, Antony Gormley’s installation challenged many of the West’s sacred assumptions about art—the perpetual refinement of form, the notion that completion realizes intention, and the idea that uniqueness equals value. Whereas critics of Rodin’s era referred to his immortalized Balzac, 1897–98, as a hunk of mud, these sculptures actually are hunks of mud, hollow-eyed terra-cotta figurines

  • Laurie Walker

    Laurie Walker’s Altus, 1992, was filled with sensory ambiguities. Upon climbing in virtual darkness one of four ladders welded to Walker’s minimalist tower of steel, one found oneself peering at a vat of bioluminescent bacteria. The immediate sensation was of looking up instead of down, of intractable distance. The contrast between the patterns of living light and the austere, structural shell of the piece reaffirmed Thomas Carlyle’s notion that, “unconsciousness is the sign of creation; consciousness at best that of manufacture.” Not simply a feminist assault on Minimalism, Altus foregrounded

  • Lazar Khidekel

    For young artists such as Lazar Khidekel, Kazimir Malevich’s doctrines were full of promise. The October Revolution provided the political framework for Constructivism’s utopian disengagement from mimesis: it was pulled into the orbit of Malevich’s Planits, ca. 1920, and Gustav Klutsis’ “flying cities”. As an architect, Khidekel created projects for floating cities and cities built on piles, the foundations (terra firma or water) and hypothetical constructions of which were designed to integrate nature’s organic and harmonious movements within their schema. While virtually ignored as an artist,

  • Michèle Waquant

    It was hard not to be moved by Michéle Waquant’s latest installation, Impression Debacle, 1992, a video and sound environment that presented nature as a cathartic force, rather than as an object for creative interpretation. Waquant’s earlier videos include 212, rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, 1989, in which voyeuristic shots of passersby taken from a window are stretched out of shape, anamorphized, and only fleetingly come into focus. These recorded images distort time with a neurotic urgency. En attendant la pluie (Waiting for the rain, 1987), a video totem of four vertically stacked color

  • Natalya Nesterova

    Like the playing cards in Alice in Wonderland, which hurried to paint the living white roses red before the queen’s arrival for fear of having their heads cut off, Russia’s official artists cling to Stalin’s social-realist dogma though it has lost any real ideological function. As expressions of the awkward state of self-denial that pervaded Russia before and after the collapse of communism, Natalya Nesterova, a former official artist, documents in her paintings as grotesque a social farce as one could imagine.

    In her retrospective show in 1992 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, earlier works

  • Dominique Blain

    Since the ’70s, Dominique Blain’s art has explored the fine line between information and propaganda, between politics and art. In a work exhibited in “Écrans Politiques,” (Political screens, 1985)—at Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain—Blain presented Stars and Stripes, 1985, a photosilkscreen work on canvas that used Pop art montage effects to present a two-fold attack on war’s exploitation and objectification of humanity, particularly women. Divided by a red cross in its center, its uppermost sections portrayed a regiment of duplicate images of bathing beauties from a ’50s Miss America pageant.

  • Carl Beam

    The profusion of images surrounding Carl Beam’s The Columbus Boat, 1992, collapsed and consumed historical stereotypes, creating an ahistorical rhetoric of image production through intensely personal and condensed references. A Canadian artist of Ojibway descent, Beam’s ongoing “Columbus Project,” 1989-92, focuses on native and nonnative historical stereotypes. Superficially, the media images and objects Beam incorporates into his paintings seem indebted to Robert Rauschenberg’s flatbed constructions from the ’50s, while his autobiographical notations and curious numerological and alphabetical