Julia Bryan-Wilson

  • Sadie Benning

    IN THE AFTERMATH of September 11, Sadie Benning took photographs—hundreds of them—on the streets of Milwaukee and Chicago. That obsessive endeavor turned out to be merely the beginning of a long-term project: Deploying a transfer process modeled on Henry Darger’s, Benning started making drawings based on her pictures. These stark black-and-white renderings of train stations, storefronts, and other urban settings, punctuated by static images of television shows and newspaper photos of helmeted soldiers, provided much of the substance for her most ambitious work to date, a video called Play Pause

  • Fernanda Gomes

    In 1907, Russian Symbolist-cum-Constructivist director Vsevolod Meyerhold called for a new kind of revolutionary audience of “vigilant observers,” hoping that concentrated effort on the part of theatergoers would foster a newly focused political subject. Brazilian artist Fernanda Gomes, in her third solo show in New York, demanded a comparably active viewership. The art on display included filaments of string casting barely perceptible shadows, a tiny gold thread looping out about an inch from the wall near the floor, and pieces of clear tape applied to the wall. One does not see much of Gomes’s

  • Esko Männikkö

    For his recent exhibition “Cocktails,” Finnish photographer Esko Männikkö installed a selection of works from the past fifteen years, intermingling images of animals living and dead, aging Finnish bachelors, ramshackle interiors, and border life in southern Texas. But the show, the artist’s first in the US since 1997, was less eclectic than this list of subjects might imply—the images were drawn together by Männikkö’s social-documentary interest in rural dilapidation as well as by his project’s formal coherence, particularly its emphasis on deep, saturated color.

    The photographs, presented

  • Louise Lawler

    This exhibition fills half the Wexner’s gallery space with some sixty works, starting with a sound installation from 1972 and ending with five photographs taken of the Wexner itself during its 2005 “Part Object Part Sculpture” show, crisply illuminating the self-awareness of Lawler’s conceptual project.

    Louise Lawler’s photographs—which document the discursive framing of art by showing the institutional and domestic sites of artworks—are influential and frequently reproduced, yet her work has never been subject to a museum retrospective in the United States. This exhibition addresses that oversight by filling half the Wexner’s gallery space with some sixty works, starting with a sound installation from 1972 and ending with five photographs taken of the Wexner itself during its 2005 “Part Object Part Sculpture” show, crisply illuminating the self-awareness of Lawler’s

  • Juan Muñoz

    Wrecks and collisions have featured in much contemporary art, from Andy Warhol’s early-’60s car and plane crashes to Aernout Mik’s video of the aftermath of a bus catastrophe (Refraction, 2005). One of the most evocative entries in the “accident art” subgenre is Juan Muñoz’s Derailment, 2000–2001, a pileup of four rusted Cor-Ten steel railroad cars. A greatly enlarged reworking of a small-scale model, the train is at once monumental (it absolutely commands its space) and relatively diminutive (the viewer must crouch down to peer, voyeuristically, into the cars’ open windows). Inside are

  • Cover of LTTR 1, 2002

    LTTR

    “IT IS OUR PROMISCUITY that will save us,” AIDS activist and art theorist Douglas Crimp asserted in 1988, defying the media’s brutal vilification of gay sex—in which a devastating health crisis was portrayed as punishment for pleasure—by arguing that gay men’s sexual flexibility would help them adapt to safer sex. While the AIDS crisis continues, albeit cushioned for some by the effects of life-extending drugs, it is nevertheless difficult to render Crimp’s claim intelligible today. The value of promiscuity considered literally, as Crimp did, seems impossible to imagine given the profound

  • Sharon Hayes, Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) Screed #16, 2002, still from a color video, 10 minutes.

    OPENINGS: SHARON HAYES

    “MOM, DAD, I’M OK.” This is the opening line of Patty Hearst’s first taped message, recorded soon after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. Hearst made four such audiotapes in a few short months, her tone shifting from one of shaky reassurance to that of strident declaration as the rechristened, gun-toting Tania. New York– and Los Angeles–based artist Sharon Hayes repeats these words verbatim in her four-part video Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) Screeds #13, 16, 20, and 29, 2002, in which she attempts to recite from memory (with her face framed tightly against a white