Lane Relyea

  • BODY HORROR

    TISHAN HSU’s paintings and sculptures evoke nightmarish visions of the body’s forced integration with its technological surrounds. After a spate of exhibitions in the 1980s at venues including Pat Hearn Gallery and Leo Castelli, the artist’s work largely disappeared from public view. Now, New York’s SculptureCenter has organized the survey “Tishan Hsu: Liquid Circuit.” The show debuted at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, this past winter and was slated to open at SculptureCenter in May before being postponed in the wake of Covid-19. To mark this occasion, Artforum invited artist MATTHEW RONAY

  • Gretchen Bender

    GRETCHEN BENDER MOVED to New York in 1978 and had her first solo show there in 1983, when she was thirty-two. She fast became a fixture of an East Village art scene centered on the Nature Morte gallery and the tireless publishing and curating efforts of Tricia Collins and Richard Milazzo, a milieu that featured artists such as Sarah Charlesworth, Jessica Diamond, Kevin Larmon, Peter Nagy, Steven Parrino, David Robbins, and Julia Wachtel. Perhaps not all of those names ring a bell, and it’s likely Bender’s wouldn’t have, either, only a few years ago. Which raises the question, Why was she almost

  • Frank Stella 1958

    The search for the real Stella continues with this exhibition, which gathers twenty works (many previously overlooked, even by the catalogue raisonné) from the months in 1958 leading up to the “Black Paintings.”

    In 1968, a decade into Stella's groundbreaking career, David Antin could only shake his head: “Frank Stella is also not the Frank Stella everybody thought he was.” The search for the real Stella continues with this exhibition, which gathers twenty works (many previously overlooked, even by the catalogue raisonné) from the months in 1958 leading up to the “Black Paintings”—when a freshly graduated Stella shared studio space with Carl Andre, attended lectures by an increasingly optical-minded Clement Greenberg, gawked at the sudden rise of Jasper

  • “Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist’s Eye”

    The fact that tourism is “the largest industry in the world” is trumpeted several times in the opening pages of the catalogue for “Universal Experience: Art, Life, and the Tourist’s Eye,” curated by Francesco Bonami and featuring more than seventy artists from nearly thirty countries. Given that museums themselves compete in this industry, usually by throwing millions at brand-name architectural add-ons while lining up blockbuster exhibitions of designer evening wear and laying off staff, the decision to make tourism the subject of curatorial investigation would seem a welcome instance of

  • “The Shape of Colour: Excursions in Colour Field Art, 1950–2005”

    Amid the dust kicked up by a Frank Gehry–designed expansion (including board resignations and staff layoffs) the Art Gallery of Ontario’s new contemporary curator, Toronto native David Moos, is launching an “excursion in colour field art.” Canadians have always crowded both the telling and the making of the Color Field saga, from elder painters like Jack Bush to recent scholars like Shep Steiner and Robert Linsley (who does not, unfortunately, contribute to the catalogue). If Moos’s checklist of thirty-six artists (from Helen Frankenthaler to a Charles Long–Stereolab

  • “Donald Judd: Early Work 1955–1968”

    Donald Judd did not begin to produce mature, wholly distinctive works of art until shortly after his thirty-second birthday, in the summer of 1960. Or so the story is told in the artist’s 1975 catalogue raisonné. “Early Work 1955–1968,” curated by Thomas Kellein, director of the Kunsthalle Bielefeld (which co-organized the show with the Menil), gathers together paintings and drawings executed before the official oeuvre’s clock started ticking. Offering itself as a missing prequel to the Judd epic, the exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue whose cover (in Judd’s signature cadmium red) is an

  • THICK AND THIN: A ROUNDTABLE

    As the 1970s gave way to the ’80s, the slogan “return to painting” was as often heard in the discussion around contemporary art as the counter-mantra, the “death of painting.” In the last issue of Artforum, a group comprising mostly critics and art historians opened our two-part examination of painting in the ’80s and beyond with a look back at the death-of-painting debate that raged at the beginning of the decade. For this month’s pendant discussion introduced by ROBERT STORR, we assembled a second panel, largely made up of painters and curators—and asked them to tell us where painting has

  • Minimalism

    TO SPEAK OF “ART SINCE 1960” is familiar enough, but the period thus delineated is certainly no seamless continuum. Hal Foster, who calls it the “neo-avant-garde,” uses the Freudian notion of deferred action to relate it to the radical provocations of the early-century European avant-garde. But it may be more accurate to say—twisting Foster’s model a bit—that the ’60s themselves mark the trauma to which artists of the past few decades have mostly responded, alternately returning to its theories and practices and recoiling from them. Perhaps the ’60s appear all the more strange today since, sans

  • James Welling

    AS WITH FRANK STELLA BACK IN THE '60s, everyone seems to want James Welling on their team. When Welling first began exhibiting in the early '80s, his black-and-white close-ups of crumpled tinfoil, strewn chunks of Jell-O, and lush velvet drapes sprinkled with pastry flakes were widely applauded as postmodern object lessons that ironized the very possibility of reference. More recently, writers like Walter Benn Michaels and Ulrich Loock have hailed these same photos as rich in metaphorical possibility, even if what they end up referencing is photography itself by dramatically figuring such

  • James Welling: Photographs, 1974-1999

    “I appreciate the act of putting an image on the wall that can only be misinterpreted,” James Welling is quoted as saying in 1980, the same year he made his well-known photographs of crumpled foil. Having enjoyed a number of large shows in Europe, Welling now gets the chance to display a full range of easy-to- misconstrue images in the US. —Curator Sarah J. Rogers has assembled a comprehensive survey of the artist's twenty-five-plus-year career. In the accompanying catalogue, postmodernism's poster boy turns over the exegesis of his work to modernist stalwart Michael Fried.

  • Barbara Kruger

    The problem with mounting a retrospective of Barbara Kruger’s art is that “art” gets misleadingly emphasized. That artist is now just one of several occupations notched on Kruger’s résumé—graphic designer and media critic are among the others—is a fact MOCA has bravely tried to own up to, even though doing so has led to some pretty absurd curatorial moves. For example, standing in one pristine gallery is a Plexiglas vitrine safeguarding a tastefully arrayed sampling of Kruger-designed coffee mugs, notepads, and umbrellas, the very same merchandise stocked in bulk and available for purchase in

  • VIRTUALLY FORMAL: LA PAINTERS

    The f-word is getting tossed around again. “Formalism is back and better than ever,” gushed David Rimanelli in these pages a few months ago. The recent encore performance by the Bennington Bunch (Olitski, Noland, et al.) at Emmerich in New York, to which Rimanelli was responding, proved that, yes, Color Field painting can still thrill audiences young and old. But the phenomenon extends much further: galleries, particularly those in Los Angeles, have been mounting more than a few exhibitions by newcomers who also traffic in precisely defined shapes and high-keyed, immaculate colors. Numerous