Joshua Decter

  • Willie Doherty

    Every city is a palimpsest of its own history, each urban territory an accumulation of linguistic and visual signs that constitute the representation of place. Since the 1980s, Willie Doherty’s practice has addressed the complex significations of Derry, a city in Northern Ireland that was at the nexus of the social unrest and violence associated with the “Troubles”—the conflict between Protestant unionist and the Catholic nationalist communities between the ’60s and the ’90s. This included the infamous Bloody Sunday incident of 1972—which the artist witnessed firsthand as a twelve-year-old

  • Alec Soth

    The initial photograph encountered in Alec Soth’s “Broken Manual,” Roman, the nocturnal hermit, 2006, embodies the tension between disclosure and concealment that underpins this exhibition, which comprises a series of photographs and a new installation generated from Soth’s journeys to remote areas of the United States in search of men—from eccentric loners to paranoid survivalists—who have excommunicated themselves from society. Roman’s ancient, bearded visage surfaces reluctantly from a grainy black-and-white miasma—he is a ghostly afterimage of himself. With a subtly quizzical

  • Zefrey Throwell Klemens

    On August 1, less than a month and a half before last year’s occupation of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, Zefrey Throwell staged the performance Ocularpation: Wall Street. At 7 AM, fifty volunteers, dressed in the garb of a range of professions—from personal assistant to trader, prostitute, dog walker, janitor, and lawyer—gathered in front of the New York Stock Exchange and at other locations on Wall Street and stripped naked for five minutes. Three performers were arrested, charged with exposure, and later bailed out by the artist. Throwell has stated that this project was triggered

  • Jim Lambie

    Spiritualized is the name of an English space-rock band; it was also the title of Jim Lambie’s recent quasi-psychedelic, kiss-me-I’m-so-clever display of painting and sculpture at Anton Kern Gallery. At once obsessive and frivolous—and maybe just a tad too enthralled by rock ’n’ roll culture—the artworks played with conventions of painting and sculpture and referenced the aesthetics of everyday things. The whole enterprise swam in an ether of Pop, containing repurposed items of clothing (zippers, T-shirts, and belts) and allusions to popular music (Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones) and

  • Paul Ramírez Jonas

    Presented in the Octagon project space at the Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo, The Commons, 2010, is further example of Paul Ramírez Jonas’s investigations of art’s social contingency. Foregrounding the different ways in which art becomes public as it enters various zones of social contact, Ramírez Jonas typically deploys objects, sculptural installations, and “public works” to explore agency and meaning. For the 2005 “inSite_05” exhibition in San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, for instance, the artist produced a situational, research-based project, Mi Casa, Su Casa (My House, Your House), which

  • Aïda Ruilova

    From the early Oh no, 1999, to Meet the Eye, 2009, Aïda Ruilova’s fast-art reflections on filmic constructions of women have progressed from schooled DIY antiaesthetic to polished commercial appearance (the latter work features 1970s B-movie queen Karen Black). In their synthesis of formal and stylistic elements from experimental filmmaking, avant-garde video, and mainstream psychological thrillers and horror flicks, Ruilova’s works conjure a condition of endless, narrativeless suspense: Women—her protagonists are usually female—confront existential and corporeal jeopardy, often

  • Harun Farocki

    “Harun Farocki: Images of War (at a Distance),” Farocki’s first museum survey in the United States, features thirty-six films, videos, and installations recently acquired by the Museum of Modern Art. Organized by chief curator of media and performance Sabine Breitwieser, the exhibition offers an illuminating view of the artist’s development over the decades, beginning with his emergence in post-1968 West Germany and moving through his subsequent engagements, over some forty years, with filmmaking, writing, editing, and curating. Consistently in his work, Farocki deploys strategies to foreground

  • Rirkrit Tiravanija

    Rirkrit Tiravanija has always understood, intuitively and intellectually, that a gallery is a social frame, at once quasi-private and quasi-public, wherein a diverse range of encounters and frictions connected to rituals of making, displaying, and consuming art are staged. I vividly recall his exhibition “Untitled, 1992 (Free)” at 303 Gallery, for which structural elements and appurtenances from the space’s back office were displayed in the front of the gallery, and the office was converted into a rudimentary cooking and eating area, with free curries offered daily. I saw this as a deftly

  • R. Luke DuBois

    Curious about the geographic distribution in the United States of men and women who characterize themselves as, say, submissive, shy, bored, or lonely? If so, you’ll likely be delighted by R. Luke DuBois’s project “A More Perfect Union,” 2008–, for which he created statistical maps of the nation describing the ways in which people represent themselves on online dating services—and the qualities those people are seeking in a possible mate. In 2010, DuBois, who might be considered something of a polymath (he is an artist, composer, performer, and a coauthor of the software Jitter, which

  • Sean Snyder

    What does the classic Warner Brothers cartoon “Road Runner and Coyote” have to do with the urban condition? Sean Snyder’s 1996–98 Urban Planning Documentation (Road Runner & Coyote)—the earliest of the eight works in this modest, twelve-year survey—proffers tentative answers. Beside a monitor playing clips of Wile E. Coyote’s elaborate, doomed-to-fail schemes, Snyder presents two groups of black-and-white photos, all depicting seemingly innocuous elements from the urban landscape. In the first set, each image is accompanied by an ambiguously descriptive sentence: A FAILED LANDSCAPING

  • “Serbia: Frequently Asked Questions”

    Yugoslavia’s disintegration commenced in 1991 with the secession of various republics, triggering an ethnoreligious civil war among Orthodox Serbs, Catholic Croats, and Muslim Bosnians. Much of the conflict centered on Bosnia-Herzegovina, and, for many in the West, the genocidal campaign against Bosnian Muslims, orchestrated by the Milošević-led Bosnian Serb ultranationalist army and paramilitary, came to typify the egregious violence of the war. Aware of this legacy, the curators of “Serbia: Frequently Asked Questions”—organized by the Austrian Cultural Forum New York and the Museum of

  • Do-Ho Suh

    If R. Buckminster Fuller were around today, he would likely be entranced by the idiosyncratically utopian vision and technical ingeniousness of Do-Ho Suh’s “Perfect Home: The Bridge Project.” Suh, working with a team of collaborators—architects, engineers, computer programmers, and animators, among others—has developed prototypes for four bridges that connect the artist’s home in Seoul with his home in New York. More allegorical than practical, the bridges represent imaginary links between disparate geographies and urbanisms, thereby emblematizing the artist’s long-standing concern with identity

  • Jill Magid

    In a 2007 work, Lincoln Ocean Victor Eddy, Jill Magid enacted a performative infiltration into a remote world by cultivating an ambiguous, clandestine relationship based on her fascination with a New York police officer: She persuaded him to train her as a cop, shadowing him on the night shift. Magid’s 2010 Reasonable Man in a Box—a project developed for the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Gallery on the Whitney Museum of American Art’s first floor—composed of a large-scale video projection featuring the shadow of a scorpion and a wall text with manipulated excerpts from the now infamous Bybee memo (

  • Rodney Graham

    “Don’t Trust Anyone over 30,” the title of one of Rodney Graham’s catchy and drily humorous alt-rock songs, emblematizes the artist/musician’s uncanny talent for redeploying cultural clichés and received typologies—“’cause they’re fucking old and they’re fucking mean,” he gently snarls on the track. Cunningly self-deprecating, meta-ironic yet seriously accomplished, Graham’s work allegorizes the vexingly absurd contradictions of making “original” art and music in an epoch of radical uncertainty regarding aesthetic criteria, value systems, and ideological distinctions (e.g., between the authentic

  • Sam Durant

    No one would accuse Sam Durant of restraint when it comes to contesting mainstream, representational narratives of American history. His recent work includes Proposal for White and Indian Dead Monument Transpositions, Washington D.C., 2005, which envisages moving all the memorials to Native Americans killed during colonization to the National Mall in Washington, DC; End White Supremacy, 2008, a sign adapted from a 1963 civil rights protest displayed on the façade of Paula Cooper Gallery during the 2008 presidential election; and a show of former Black Panther Emory Douglas’s posters and prints

  • “Pergola”

    A pergola comprises two parallel rows of colonnades that support an open roof of girders and cross rafters, providing a structure for climbing plants, usually set within a garden and attached to a house. The Palais de Tokyo—with its aspirations to function as a socially permeable, transparent, and nonhierarchical platform for contemporary art—recently became a metaphorical pergola for an idiosyncratic constellation of exhibitions and projects by five artists who engage history and memory through the languages of sculpture, the monument, installation, technology, architecture, and design.

    I was

  • Superflex

    Since 1993, the three-person Danish art collective Superflex have been encouraging locally driven, globally networked forms of self-organized cultural and economic labor in order to counter the abstractive tendencies of post-Fordist global capitalism. A well-known project is Guaraná Power, 2003–, an actual soda for sale and consumption, which Superflex are producing in collaboration with a cooperative of guarana farmers in the Brazilian Amazon. They have also tested the possibility of “free” economic exchange, for instance with FREE SHOP, 2003–, wherein real shops are temporarily converted into

  • Bruce High Quality Foundation

    The Bruce High Quality Foundation—an officially anonymous New York–based art collective, which drew attention to itself in 2005 by prankishly attempting to deliver by motorboat a scaled-down version of one of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s saffron-colored “gates” to Robert Smithson’s posthumously iterated Floating Island on the Hudson River—is now taking on art education. In September 2009, BHQF established the Bruce High Quality Foundation University, promoted as a free, unaccredited, antihierarchical, and collaborative art school in Tribeca. The declaration on the group’s website speaks to

  • Emily Jacir

    For her second solo show at Alexander and Bonin, Emily Jacir presented a new film, Lydda Airport, 2007–2009, and documentation of stazione, 2009. In different ways, both works are emblematic of the artist’s manipulation of subjective geographies to reimagine identity, history, and place. Stazione was commissioned as part of Palestine c/o Venice, a collateral event of this past summer’s Venice Biennale. The artist had envisaged the temporary inscription of Arabic translations alongside the Italian names of the vaporetto stops on the legendary route number one along the Grand Canal. A trilingual

  • K8 Hardy

    That K8 Hardy, one of the founders of the queer feminist art collective LTTR, wants to screw with our assumptions and expectations about how she should represent herself—or her multiple selves—to the world was loudly broadcast in “To All the G#%$! I’ve Loved Before,” her first one-person show in New York. With a post–Riot Grrrl intensity, neo-punk-inflected irreverence, and a dose of acidic wit, Hardy endeavored to provoke with a series of photographic (meta)self-portraits (and supporting props) that exploit campy visual tropes of gay cruising imagery, restaging gender/sexual identity as a