Katy Siegel

  • Katy Siegel


    1 Barnett Newman (Philadelphia Museum of Art) The best. Fantastic paintings rarely seen together, exquisitely hung by Ann Temkin. Reading Newman’s writing, seeing the works in reproduction, his project seems like a great idea. In person, the paintings are much more than that. Working within a narrow set of possibilities (vertical lines and horizontal grounds), the artist somehow evades formula. His color combinations are eccentric, although beautiful, and his compositions never obviously geometric. The unexpectedness of one painting after another kept this spectator on her toes. As

  • Brice Marden

    Ever since I saw my first Brice Marden show, in Houston in 1991, I have been trying to figure out why I don’t like his paintings more. They are well made and worked out over time, they develop a set of personal concerns and preferences, and they’re often beautiful—many of the things I look for in art. His pair of spring shows, his first in New York in five years, provided an occasion to think about what is going on in his work The exhibitions, at Marks’s two Chelsea venues, encompassed a selection of his work from 1996–2002 and his most recent paintings.

    My problem with Marden isn’t necessarily

  • Douglas Gordon, Monument to X, 1998.


    Maybe it has to do with the end of one century and the beginning of another, but lately artists and curators seem to have the issue of time on the brain. In this timely exhibition, MoMA curator Paulo Herkenhoff explores the gamut of temporal categories as they are reflected in contemporary art, including geologic time, history, personal memory, metabolism, experience, and duration. The thematic heavy lifting here is done by Herkenhoff’s conceptual organization. The curator has isolated the nearly fifty artists in his show into five broad areas, but will the art bear

  • Naked Girl (detail), 1966.

    Lucian Freud

    If ever there was an occasion to learn to stop worrying and love expressive figuration, this is it. Lucian Freud’s most comprehensive retrospective to date presents six decades of yummy, icky bodies rendered in yummy, icky paint, with subjects ranging from provincial lads and lasses to performance artist Leigh Bowery to the painter’s own fabulous family. Freud biographer William Feaver does the curatorial honors and is joined in the catalogue by painter Frank Auerbach and Tate Britain curator Lizzie Carey Thomas. On the way from angry young man to grand old master, Freud

  • Artforum, March 1972

    Thirty years ago, Leo Steinberg’s “Reflections on the State of Art Criticism” punctured the proscriptive formalism that still held sway over contemporary commentary. Art historian Katy Siegel, who joined our masthead last month as contributing editor, looks back at Steinberg’s paradigm-shifting essay.

    EARLY IN 1972, John Coplans, who had recently been appointed editor of Artforum, called Leo Steinberg to ask a favor: Coplans had nothing in the drawer for the upcoming March issue—did Leo have anything? Steinberg, then a professor of Renaissance art history at Hunter College, sent the editor an

  • Eva Hesse,  Ringaround Arosie, 1965, pencil, acetone varnish, enamel, ink, and glued cloth-covered electrical wire, 26 3/8 x 16".

    Eva Hesse

    Eva Hesse, with her lumpy, handmade sculpture, her bumpy, dramatic personal life, and her premature death at the age of thirty-four, has long been something of a heroine in college art departments, not unlike Frida Kahlo or Sylvia Plath. With a mere ten-year career to her name (1960–70), you couldn’t say precisely that she was ever overlooked: Early supporters included Sol LeWitt, Lucy Lippard, and Dan Graham, and an adolescent gouache even won her a Seventeen magazine contest. Still, scholars and critics have been laboring for the past fifteen years to shore up her place in the ’60s canon.

  • Roy Lichtenstein

    The hard thing about Roy Lichtenstein’s paintings of brushstrokes isn’t getting the joke (they. are often extremely funny) but thinking of them as paintings.

    The forty-eight drawings, sculptures, and paintings in this show of work from the late ’50s to the mid-’90s weren’t lined up chronologically, but I went to the early canvases first-partly out of curiosity, as they are seldom shown. Lichtenstein had at one time wanted these abstractions to be destroyed, presumably to emphasize his post-’61 Pop production. But the 1959 paintings, made during the heyday of Abstract Expressionism, point as much

  • Katy Siegel


    1 Photojournalism Even if 2001 hadn’t gone down as a generally so-so year for cultural production, art would have been hard-pressed to compete with the papers—especially post-September 11. In the past few months, New York Times photographers (as well as those from the Associated Press, Reuters, Agence France-Presse, and Al-Jazeera) have turned the front pages into an ever-changing gallery of history painting: airplanes, fallen towers, grieving firemen, grim National Guardsmen, Pakistani police beating demonstrators, Afghani refugees fleeing famine and American bombs, grinning

  • Michael Snow, Two Sides to Every Story, 1974.

    Into the Light: The Projected Image in American Art, 1964–1977

    Whatever hope film and video work have for artistic excellence depends on addressing questions specific to the medium—both visual and spatial.

    Whatever hope film and video work have for artistic excellence depends on addressing questions specific to the medium—both visual and spatial. Curator Chrissie Iles brings together nineteen seminal works that first posed such questions in the ’60s and ’70s, including pieces by Bruce Nauman, Dan Graham, Andy Warhol, Michael Snow, and Yoko Ono. Projected film and video is a hot topic today, its nature and status much contested. Rasters and reception, broadcast and projection, phenomenology and opticality: Theories about this art have been at once raw and pretentious, much like the medium itself.

  • Richard Tuttle, Overlap, A9, 2000.

    Richard Tuttle, In Parts, 1998–2001

    Richard Tuttle, master of the deceptively slight hand, used to be overlooked amid late-twentieth-century isms.

    Richard Tuttle, master of the deceptively slight hand, used to be overlooked amid late-twentieth-century isms. Now, midcareer, he has our full attention. For this exhibition, Tuttle and curator Ingrid Schaffner bring together recent works shown in the US, Switzerland, and Italy (including two pyramid-shaped paintings fresh from the Venice Biennale). Despite Tuttle’s eye for detail, he never loses sight of the whole: Seen en masse, these works combine to explore the nature of lines, both narrative and graphic. The installation of the exhibition is dictated by the innovative catalogue (which

  • Katy Siegel

    MEA CULPA. LIKE OTHERS REVIEWING THE LAST VENICE BIENNALE, I complained about the high entertainment quotient of the art, which seemed chosen (and perhaps made) to match the cavernous spaces and festival atmosphere of the event. Many also bemoaned the lack of more serious or politically engaged art at a time of European social turmoil. Well, be careful what you wish for.

    This time around, curator Harald Szeemann has chosen a weightier theme than the last Biennale's “d'Apertutto” but one no less vague: “Plateau of Humankind.” He begins the guide accompanying the exhibition by citing Edward