Katy Siegel


    Call it the mind/body problem. If I were preparing a slide comparison for class, I probably wouldn’t pair Jasper Johns and Lisa Yuskavage. He is a notably cerebral artist who traffics in reflexive visual puns and sets up intricate perceptual conditions. She is all T&A, turning to cultural flashpoints to make her trademark fleshpots. But, just as Johns reveals erotic subject matter on closer examination, a roomful of Yuskavages reveals what you would more likely expect from Johns—meaning of a deeply hermetic sort, much of it linked to formal features. Despite the fact that she is often saddled

  • Frank Stella

    FRANK STELLA IS TOO MUCH. His art and career have always been outsize in every sense, from the less-than-zero “Black Paintings” of 1959–60 to the giant, Day-Glo late-’60s “Protractor” series and wild relief paintings of the ’70s and ’80s. Each time he realizes a personal breakthrough in his work, he expects to pull the world along with him, to effect a paradigm shift in modernism. Such audacity has bagged him no less than two full-scale MOMA retrospectives, but the work has met with diminishing returns and increasing skepticism. By his third retrospective, the take-no-prisoners rubric under

  • Richard Tuttle

    In this culture of big spectacle and loud noise, it’s inevitable that understatement and beautifully modest production will come to be valued, if only by certain cults. Richard Tuttle certainly qualifies as a high priest in this regard. He makes art that’s small but not cute, simple but not smug, minimal but not Minimalist, casual but not sloppy, formal but not rigid. A lot of pitfalls to skirt for one career, much less one series of work.

    In “Two With Any To,” Tuttle shows twenty square plywood panels with pieces of two-by-two attached, on which he has painted simple abstractions in acrylic.


    THE OPENING THIS MONTH OF THE 2000 BIENNIAL EXHIBITION—the latest installment of the Whitney’s flagship show and the most-talked-about event on the museum’s calendar—also marks a closing of sorts: that of the moderately embattled first chapter of Maxwell Anderson’s tenure as director. Seventeen months into his term and with his final key appointment in place—Biennial team member Lawrence Rinder was recently named curator of contemporary art (see page 39)—the upcoming exhibition affirms one thing for certain: Any organization with the size and stature of the Whitney Museum of American Art inevitably

  • Carroll Dunham

    When critics talk about Carroll Dunham, the artist they usually mention next is Philip Guston, who, in his late style, also employed crude figuration and garish colors. But if critics invoke Guston to signal a precedent shift from abstraction to figuration, what they often fail to note is that the “Klan” paintings of the ’70s refer back to his pre-AbEx career as a young social realist. Thirty-some years later, Guston depicts himself as the man beneath the hood, turning self-righteous idealism into self-loathing realism.

    This sadder-but-wiser routine is the opposite of Dunham’s move, the classic


    “MAKE IT NEW”: Modernist directive or detergent jingle? Maybe both. In Appliance House, 1998–99, Jennifer Bolande mixes and matches Lever House, the International Style landmark on Park Avenue built by the eponymous soap company in 1952, with a cut-rate appliance store on the Lower East Side. The sculpture’s light-table construction reproduces (at roughly human scale) the insistently rational, right-angled silhouette of the Skidmore, Owings & Merrill office tower. Inside the stainless-steel frame, backlit photo-graphs of windows open alternately onto high-modernist office interiors—and rows of

  • 1999 Carnegie International

    When you walk into the lobby of the Carnegie Museum, the program of this year’s International announces itself in microcosm. There in front of you is atmospheric video projection (Diana Thater), a deadpan disquisition on the nature of representation (Gregor Schneider’s replication of his home), a labor-intensive, intricate installation (Suchan Kinoshita), a bluntly phenomenological sculpture (Olafur Eliasson), and flat, icy painting (Alex Katz). Undoubtedly the best part of the show, the lobby is also an archi-tectural site of hesitation, a threshold. Here the installation encapsulates the

  • David Reed

    No one will be shocked to hear that David Reed is not a minimal painter these days, but he began as one. In the ’70s, he reduced painting to its basic elements: a canvas, a brush, black and white paint, the reach of his arm. The literalism of the late ’60s and ’70s produced some great art, but the blunt assertion of material as material turned out to be not only limited as an aspiration, but impossible.

    And complexity is simply more interesting, as Reed has been proving since the early ’80s; his most recent paintings are intricate without being overwrought. One of the finest, #448, 1995–99, is

  • the Whitney Biennial

    THE BIG QUESTION LEADING up to this year’s Whitney Biennial was as much “how!” as “Who?” With six outside curators working under a relatively new, still-controversial director, the setup seemed more than a little unwieldy. So how did this ad hoc team—Michael Auping, Valerie Cassel, Hugh Davies, Jane Farver, Andrea Miller-Keller, and Lawrence Rinder—come up with the final set of artists?

    Now that the list is in, it appears that the averaging of multiple viewpoints in what has proven one of the largest Whitney Biennials to date was more diversifying than homogenizing. Still, while the curators and

  • Willem de Kooning: In Process

    Klaus Kertess’s show of de Kooning’s work on paper last year at the Drawing Center culminated in a vellum tracing of an earlier painting by the artist. Growing out of that survey, the curator’s Houston exhibition, will examine more explicitly de Kooning's working practices—tracings, drawings, opaque projections, a newspaper monotype lift—as well as the paintings that generated and were generated by these mediations. Naked ladies and abstract ellipses leap in equal measure from rectangle to rectangle—de Kooning was an artist in perpetual motion. What could be finer than the chance to follow along?

  • Mike Kelley and Paul McCarthy: Collaborative Works

    This artistic family burlesque act takes the stage for a revue of their 1987–99 collaborations, plus a little something new (the photodocument Sod and Sodie Sock Portfolio), in a show curated by the Power Plant’s Philip Monk. Like Robert Gober, Kelley and McCarthy triangulate the law of the father with social control and modernist authority. But their abjection is aggressive, and their libidinal impulses squirt in all directions. Best known for Heidi, their chocolate-coated elfin horrorshow, the boys also take on hi/lo, performance art, and the US army in their down-and-dirty videos, photography,

  • Anni Albers, Robert Beck, Cady Noland, Joan Semmel, Nancy Shaver

    How to deal with the art of the past—especially the recent past? As we fumble around for alternatives to the old do-away-with-dad modernist model (passive-aggressive postmodernism—i.e., replicate, don’t wrestle—was a nice try), three current shows take the lead, serving up yesterday three different ways.

    As ever, context is everything. Joan Semmel looks like two different artists in the group show (“Anni Albers, Robert Beck, Cady Noland, Joan Semmel and Nancy Shaver: Black and White Photographs 1975–77”) curated by Robert Gober at Matthew Marks and in her jewel of a solo (“Joan Semmel: Self-Images”)