John Miller

  • Arnold Fern

    At least since the publication of Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, the image of the flower has shouldered symbolist overtones that distinguish it from the other so-called natural subjects. Artists as diverse as Vincent van Gogh, Odilon Redon, Georgia O’Keeffe, Andy Warhol, Lowell Nesbitt, Robert Kushner, Judy Chicago, Robert Mapplethorpe, Gilbert and George, Colette, Jim Isermann, and Christopher Williams have exploited this distinction. Even if most floral depictions can claim no special significance, an outright convergence of beauty and sexuality makes the image of the flower seem less

  • Bruce and Norman Yonemoto

    Bruce and Norman Yonemoto’s latest videotape, Made in Hollywood, 1990, falls somewhere between two films to which its title seems to refer: Jean-Luc Godard’s widely recognized Made in U.S.A., 1966, and Jeff Koons’ upcoming Made in Heaven. Situated between the past and the future, between Godard’s worldly hell and Koon’s heaven (insofar as Hollywood symbolizes the quintessentially American promise of dreams come true), Made in Hollywood weaves a tight allegory the simplicity of which is deceptive.

    By serving as a blank screen onto which all of the other characters project their desires, an alluringly

  • Candyass

    “i like to pretend i,m someone else as much as possible so i wont get too depressed. well i cant do alot of things, lots of things indeed and i;m not as smart as i would like to be and not as politically aware/politicaly correct as i would like to be and this is nerveous making if i let it so i like to try and kill time and avoid the serious issues i was tought to well sort of avoid by making art. . . .”—so reads the notarized artist’s statement for Cary Leibowitz’s (a/k/a CANDYASS) recent show of pennants, felt banners, door mats, plates, wallpaper, plaques, and cardboard boxes emblazoned with

  • Douglas Huebler

    This survey of 12 works offers a concise overview of Douglas Huebler’s oeuvre and suggests a revaluation of this generally underrated artist. Huebler is best known as a member of Seth Siegelaub’s core group of Conceptualists, and especially for his early statement that “the world is full of objects, I do not wish to add anymore”—a manifesto some considered hypocritical in light of his subsequent output. Interpreting that stance too literally, however, overlooks its status as an exemplary conceptual gesture, as well as its broader expression of a general ecological economy. At the very least this

  • Tony Oursler

    Oozing blobs, leaky vessels, encrusted bits of debris, and mutant bodies have been longtime staples of Tony Oursler’s expressionist universe, a decrepit sci-fi wasteland a la Jean Cocteau, where crude props mingle with magical video effects. Here Oursler’s rich but cheesy theatrical dreamscapes serve as a perfect vehicle for the theme of pollutio—and, in this case, visions of colonial America provide the unexpected twist that brings it all back home.

    In a small house of mirrors inscribed with astrological symbols and hex signs, entitled Krypt (all works 1990), a video monitor set amidst flickering

  • Notes on the Underground

    Notes on the Underground: An Essay on Technology, Society, and the Imagination, by Rosalind Williams. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990, 265 pp., 17 black and white illustrations, $19.95.

    JUST AS the historian of religion Mircea Eliade argued that the Neolithic shift from a pastoral, nomadic way of life to a settled, agricultural civilization precipitated a phase of profound upheaval and spiritual breakdown, so Rosalind Williams contends in her new book, Notes on the Underground, that the apprehension of losing the natural world to a predominantly technological one has triggered deep mourning

  • Perry Hoberman

    Perry Hoberman’s new interactive installation, entitled Faraday’s Garden, featured dozens of used household appliances, arrayed across a waist-high counter. Spanning an entire room, the platform was cut through with a circular path, carpeted with mats equipped with pressure-sensitive switches. As viewers made their way through the “diorama,” their footsteps automatically triggered appliances ranging from hair dryers and electric knives to film projectors. Turned on inadvertently, the appliances seem almost autonomous, inspiring the childlike fantasy of a living garden of consumer goods.


  • Mark Tansey

    “Dumb it down,” could be a motto for Mark Tansey’s work. Everything in a Tansey painting funnels into a one-liner. He uses writers and other artists as “straight men,” insinuating the viewer into a good-natured complicity, that only a sourpuss would spoil. At the same time, the paintings make disconcertingly large claims for themselves; Tansey aims to critique nothing less than discourse itself.

    Using Robert Smithson’s drawing A Heap of Language, 1966, as his point of departure, Tansey creates a “ground” of stenciled, rubber-stamped or rendered type from which he conjures forth his images. These


    ONE OF THE MORE IRONIC quirks of recent discourse on visual art is how seldom the word “beauty” crops up. A once seemingly natural thing has become cause for embarrassment, left to grudging asides and awkward hesitations. But of the many artists and critics who apparently spurn it, few would forfeit beauty’s enhancements in their own lovers, surroundings, or personal adornments without feeling a deep pang of regret. This attachment registers the nice disparity between the spontaneous generation of values and the sometimes duplicitous way in which these values are represented and perpetuated;

  • Allen Ruppersberg

    In keeping with the premises of Conceptual art, Allen Ruppersberg generates new work by deftly manipulating format and creating distinct juxtapositions within his existing oeuvre. In his recent show, this method yielded three different projects: You and Me, The Gift and the Inheritance and See For Yourself (all works 1989).

    In You and Me, a checkerboard of black and white floor tiles inlayed with a contrasting italic “poem” that combines the pronouns “you” and “me” variously (“me + you and you + me,” “me + you and you – me,” etc.), became a kind of recombinant dialogue between self and other.

  • Ford Crull

    Ford Crull’s paintings suggest figures, but leave it at that. They invite the viewer not so much to ascribe one particular form to a given instance of shape and color as they do to acknowledge the possibility of figuration latent in a range of incidents across the pictorial field. Sketchy black cartoon lines frequently outline Crull’s shapes and although his gestural technique is reminiscent of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s neoprimitivism, where Crull’s approach differs—and this difference is telling—is in its ongoing deferment of words and explicit iconography. A palette predominantly of pastels and

  • Lewis Stein

    Lewis Stein’s new photographic works operate somewhere between the imagistic cancellation of Roy Lichtenstein’s mirror paintings and the horror vacuii of Allan McCollum’s surrogates. The specificity of influence would completely bog down a less focused esthetic proposition, but here, where the work intimates its own disappearance, specificity becomes a distinct advantage. Stein’s method is simple. He first selects reproductions of mirrors from mail-order catalogues. He then photographs them and blows them up to life-size, laminating each print to a thin board which has been cut to match the