Joshua Decter

  • Raymond Pettibon

    Raymond Pettibon is mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore. With “Here’s Your Irony Back (The Big Picture),” the artist may also have been seeking some mainstream political relevance, appearing to dive headfirst into the deep end of the already crowded Bushbashing pool. In his characteristic ferocious dreamscape style, he pounds us with lamentations regarding the Iraq morass. Comprised of groupings of small-scale drawings on paper, the show finds Pettibon painting a lot of blood onto the hands of our current administration, and staging his deadpan outrage as a freak show: The title

  • Dara Friedman

    Beyond the notion that an art activity may be consummated through social exchange, subsequent to the historical institutionalization of “dematerialized” conceptual practices, have we reached a threshold of art as rumor? The art-as-life/life-as-art dynamic has always been a beautiful contradiction, yet as certain art activities become increasingly phantomlike, it is incumbent upon us to tease out new critical criteria to evaluate these dispersed processes and situations. In a sense, we are invited to become “actors” in the construction of a conceptual framework, even if we don’t necessarily

  • Noritoshi Hirakawa

    In “The Reason of Life,” one of Noritoshi Hirakawa’s recent photographic series, the camera assumes the role of a Peeping Tom, offering a view of the world underneath a woman’s skirt. Shameless exploitation? Or a playfully subversive gesture? Either way, dismissing these works solely as the product of a lascivious mind would be wrong, for each Cibachrome crotch shot is accompanied by a black-and-white image that reveals that the female subjects may well be Hirakawa’s willing accomplices.

    The artist invited women in various cities, from Tokyo to Lisbon, to find a rather populated urban setting

  • Robert Grosvenor

    Alternately ugly and gemlike, intellectual and dumb; both stubbornly formalist and uncannily fake—Robert Grosvenor’s recent sculpture is seductive in its paradoxes. Throughout his career, Grosvenor, who had his first solo exhibition in 1965, has rejected the orthodoxies of Minimalism in favor of a considerably less rationalist language that aligned him more closely with post-Minimalists like Jackie Winsor. But compared to Winsor (never mind Donald Judd or Joel Shapiro), Grosvenor seems to have managed—deliberately or otherwise—to avoid consolidating a recognizable style or “handle.” Indeed, it

  • Paul Shambroom

    Where was Paul Shambroom when the arms race ended? His photos of nuclear weapons and the places they are stored and deployed enter a decidedly complex discourse about the legacy of cold-war military buildup. From Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove to The Hunt for Red October to recent terrorists-steal-bomb potboilers like Broken Arrow, public understanding of nuclear arms has always been contingent on a mixture of reality- and fantasy-based sources, among them the Pentagon, the news media, and the entertainment industry. We are still reminded regularly that the threat of nuclear conflict is

  • Tobias Rehberger

    In the early part of this century, the Bauhaus and de Stijl endeavored to conjoin art, architecture, and design in order to reorganize—not merely aestheticize—everyday life according to unified ideological and formal principles. A distant inheritor of their ideas, Tobias Rehberger, is more absorbed in fabricating postideological hybrid objects that have the capacity to reveal the sensuous, pleasurable, and intellectually provocative underpinnings of such cross—pollinations.

    Rehberger’s vocabulary might be characterized as alternately object-based and installation-oriented. He invokes the

  • Nobuyoshi Araki

    Working and living at the intersection of various worlds—including art, fashion, and the periphery of the Tokyo sex industry—Nobuyoshi Araki has produced some of the most sensuous, erotic images you arc likely to encounter anywhere. Araki manages to find eroticism even in the most innocuous places. He also frankly sexualizes the female body, but without objectifying it beyond the extent to which he foregrounds his own libidinal reveries.

    Araki’s photographs have been labeled by certain viewers as brazenly misogynist, but this criticism is misplaced. His work articulates a love for women, albeit

  • Joachim Koester

    Constructing the record of a place or mapping an event is always fraught with contradictions: the moment one grasps a context or situation one has also to acknowledge that it is almost impossible to stake a claim to an unmediated relation to the phenomenal world. But this dilemma, which assumes a strict philosophical and material dichotomy between reality and artifice, is one that Danish artist Joachim Koester seeks to question. In his first one-person show in New York, Koester offered two distinct types of work that, when considered in tandem, indicate a general desire to both extract theater

  • Jorge Pardo

    Had you visited the new MCA building in Chicago in the past few months, you too would have stumbled across a gorgeous white sailboat resting inside the museum’s dramatic four-story atrium as if in dry dock. This, the main element of Jorge Pardo’s exhibition project Untitled, 1997, was both more and less than what it appeared to be. It was, to a certain extent, an adjusted readymade: a racing boat (the Santa Cruz 27, originally created by designer Bill Lee), or at least its shell, the interior of which had been slightly modified, according to Pardo, to reflect his interest in the Modernist

  • Piotr Uklanski

    Last November, Piotr Uklanski transformed Gavin Brown’s modest establishment into a simulated disco. With no apologies for his ’70s nostalgia trip, and with an economy of formal means, Uklanski created a backdrop just a few hustle-steps away from a set in Saturday Night Fever.

    Uklanski isn’t the only one looking to disco’s glory days. John Travolta has made a triumphant comeback; the Bee Gees were recently honored by the American Music Awards as “International Artists of the Year”; KC and the Sunshine Band’s “That’s The Way I Like It” has been transformed into a commercial jingle for Burger King;

  • Martin Kersels

    Martin Kersels’ recent series, “Tossing a Friend,” 1996, consists of a group of color photographs that feature the artist hurling people through the air in sunny California landscapes. Much has already been made in the art press of Kersels’ exceedingly massive frame (tall, wide, and overweight), and to some extent these pictures might be understood as meditations on a physical state usually considered abnormal. Like those portly comedians (John Belushi and John Candy, for example) who redeemed their size and weight through burlesque gestures, Kersels may seek to empower himself by throwing back

  • Simon Grennan & Christopher Sperandio

    While Simon Grennan & Christopher Sperandio’s latest New York show may not have been the first time the collaborative team invited the public to articulate its experiences through artmaking, it did mark the pair’s foray into the phantasmagorical, quasi-mystical aspects of contemporary American life. To produce this project, Manchester, UK–based Grennan and New Yorker Sperandio placed ads in the local newspapers of New York, Glasgow, and Bordeaux (Fantastic Sh*t was also presented at Glasgow’s Centre for Contemporary Arts and Bordeaux’s Musée d’art contemporain) soliciting written testimonies of