Katy Siegel

  • THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR

    13 SCHOLARS, CRITICS, WRITERS, AND ARTISTS CHOOSE THE YEAR’S OUTSTANDING TITLES.

    BRIGID DOHERTY

    I turned to Psyche: Inventions of the Other, Volume I (edited by Peggy Kamuf and Elizabeth Rottenberg; Stanford University Press) in connection with my attempts to look differently at what is made of thinking (and writing) in the art of Hanne Darboven, whose work has often been regarded (to my mind erroneously, or mostly erroneously) as an instance of “Conceptual art.” Psyche—which comprises translations of the first sixteen essays from a volume of Jacques Derrida’s writing that originally appeared

  • “The Age of Discrepancies”

    IN THE EARLY 1990S, Mexico City played the role more recently occupied by Berlin: peripheral to the art market, yet home to a vital, seemingly organic local art scene and inexpensive rents that drew an international crowd. The market follows the scene, of course, and many of the artists who gathered there soon rose to global visibility, a process that tended to sever them from a Mexican context and history. Such is the contention of Olivier Debroise, Pilar García de Germenos, Cuauhtémoc Medina, and Álvaro Vázquez Mantecón, the curatorial team that organized the extraordinary exhibition “The Age

  • Francis Alÿs, Politics of Rehearsal, 2007, stills from a black-and-white video, 30 minutes. From “Think with the Senses, Feel with the Mind: Art in the Present Tense,” Arsenale.

    Katy Siegel

    IF THE VENICE BIENNALE is still a treasure trove of trends for early adapters, look for cutting-edge art and fashion this year to feature . . . Harry Truman. Two artists as different as Francis Alÿs and Louise Bourgeois—Alÿs in a video that samples a Truman speech, Bourgeois in a series of blue marker drawings called Untitled (Harry Truman), 2005—refer to the little haberdasher, hardly the kind of figure usually called upon to electrify an artistic experience. Why Harry Truman? Why now?

    In 1945, Truman’s presidency inaugurated the two decades that make up the short American century, a

  • Marlene Dumas, The Teacher (sub a), 1987, oil on canvas, 63 x 78 3/4".

    “The Painting of Modern Life”

    “The Painting of Modern Life” brings together approximately a hundred paintings that use photographs as their starting point—highlighting a prevalent strategy for picture making over the past forty-five years.

    In his debut show as the Hayward’s director, Ralph Rugoff eschews the small, quirky delights he is known for in favor of a broader brush. “The Painting of Modern Life” brings together approximately a hundred paintings that use photographs as their starting point—highlighting a prevalent strategy for picture making over the past forty-five years. The show kicks off with high-fidelity favorites such as Andy Warhol and Gerhard Richter but also features younger artists such as Elizabeth Peyton and Wilhelm Sasnal, who evidence other, less faithful marriages of source and product.

  • Who's Afraid of Red, Yellow and Blue? Positions in Color Field Painting

    In New York, Color Field painting has suffered from a bad reputation for the past couple of decades—the legacy of provincial partisanship on behalf of an anointed few. Gräßlin extends the purview beyond the canonized New York–Washington, DC, inner circle of the early 1960s (Morris Louis, Kenneth Noland, et al.) to reconnect with Color Field forebears Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, and Ad Reinhardt—and even embraces Europeans, such as Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo. Clement Greenberg and André Emmerich probably wouldn’t have endorsed the paintings of Austrian Heimo

  • Mark Grotjahn, Untitled (Black & Cream Butterfly) (detail), 2005, colored pencil on paper, 62 1/2 x 48“. From ”Gone Formalism."

    “Gone Formalism”

    Jenelle Porter, in her first show for the ICA, tackles the way formalism still resonates by focusing on six artists: Charles Long, Evan Holloway, Mark Grotjahn, Liz Larner, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, and Gitte Schäfer.

    Can't we call it something else? “Formalism” may be a lost cause, with its connoted rejection of anything personal, social, imagined, or weird. Yet relations between front and back, inside and outside, material fact and illusion, structure and image continue to compel many of the best artists working today. Jenelle Porter, in her first show for the ICA, tackles the way formalism still resonates by focusing on six artists: Charles Long, Evan Holloway, Mark Grotjahn, Liz Larner, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, and Gitte Schäfer. Her selection of thirty sculptures, paintings,

  • Kerry James Marshall

    History painting seems relevant again, with younger artists diving into the narrative waters en masse. So the timing’s perfect for this survey of Kerry James Marshall’s paintings, sculptures, and works on paper. Marshall has often been pigeonholed as naive or too American, which may explain why this is his first British solo show. Yet his painting is not just political, but sharply experimental in its treatment of surface and illusion. Perhaps this drew Luc Tuymans to write for the catalogue, which also includes an essay by Valerie Cassel Oliver.

    Travels to BALTIC, Gateshead,

  • William Eggleston, Wedgewood Blue Book, 1979, color photograph, 11 x 13". From “Colour After Klein.”

    “Color After Klein”

    Often thought of in terms of chromophobia, contemporary art turns out to have a severe case of latent chromomania. The Barbican’s Jane Alison makes the diagnosis in an exhibition of about sixty paintings, videos, photographs, and sculptures from the past half century by noted chromomaniacs like William Eggleston and Sophie Calle, as well as a few surprises, such as Bas Jan Ader. The topic has long been a red herring in the antiaesthetic-versus-beauty grudge match, so it will be interesting to see if this rainbow coalition tells us anything about color’s social meaning or

  • ALL TOGETHER NOW: CROWD SCENES IN CONTEMPORARY ART

    German art historian Wolfgang Kemp has observed that the crowd appears in art when it erupts in political life. Jacques-Louis David’s Tennis Court Oath, 1791, depicting the start of the French Revolution, began what would be a line of images of politicized crowds by artists including Daumier and Delacroix.1 The nineteenth century also saw the leisure crowd, at the opera or swarming the streets of Paris on a holiday. After modernism’s long (but not, of course, complete) vacation from such subjects, analogues of this classic imagery have been appearing during the past decade in the work of artists

  • Paul Chan, Happiness (Finally) After 35,000 Years of Civilization—After Henry Darger and Charles Fourier, 2000–2003, still from a color digital video, 17 minutes 20 seconds.

    the 2004 Carnegie International

    A couple basic premises for large-scale international art exhibitions over the past few years: Theory is over—and it wasn’t that great for art, anyway—but the market is pretty gross, too; and since September 11, everything seems so serious. Notwithstanding the portentous superficiality of this curatorial temperature taking, it’s a reasonably accurate assessment of the current state of affairs. Nevertheless, after this diagnosis, what’s a curator to do? In the 2004 Carnegie International, Laura Hoptman’s self-consciously ambitious answer moves beyond art-world discourse to themes

  • Leopoldville, 2000.

    Luc Tuymans

    Luc Tuymans has been everyone's favorite candidate for serious European painter for several years now. Tate senior curator Emma Dexter brings together eighty works from the past twenty years for the artist's first major exhibition in the UK.

    Luc Tuymans has been everyone’s favorite candidate for serious European painter for several years now. Far away from the American brand of ostentatious figuration, Tuymans draws on Raoul de Keyser for minimalist eccentricity and Richter for a mournful commentary on painting itself. Tate senior curator Emma Dexter brings together eighty works from the past twenty years for the artist's first major exhibition in the UK. Tuymans's seemingly impersonal combination of weighty topics (ranging from the Congo to the Holocaust); the faint affect of found photographs (on which his

  • William Kentridge, Untitled (drawing for the film Tide Table), 2003, charcoal on paper, 31 1⁄2 x 47 1⁄4".

    William Kentridge

    William Kentridge’s animated films and drawings are many things to many people: a principled eye on postapartheid South Africa, an exercise in medium-specificity, a rare expressive adult sensibility. This retrospective surveys all the Kentridges in one show.

    William Kentridge’s animated films and drawings are many things to many people: a principled eye on postapartheid South Africa, an exercise in medium-specificity, a rare expressive adult sensibility. This retrospective surveys all the Kentridges in one show. Older, politically oriented films evolve into recent works that push into formal issues of film and narrative. Most exciting is the debut of Tide Table (Eckstein on the beach?), a film that brings us into a South Africa haunted by AIDS. The catalogue features essays by South African writer Jane Taylor