Laurie Simmons

  • Laurie Simmons

    DEBORAH TURBEVILLE’S bathhouse pictures in the May 1975 issue of Vogue changed my world. Her women looked dissolute, depressed, louche, lonely, self-involved—far more in sync with my own inner life than the fashion photos I’d seen in Seventeen and Mademoiselle. They were shot in restrooms and public showers, places I’d begun to explore in my own photographs. Around the same time, I also discovered Helmut Newton, Chris von Wangenheim, Sarah Moon, and Guy Bourdin. Bloomingdale’s had commissioned Bourdin to shoot the now-infamous Sighs and Whispers lingerie catalogue of 1976. Rumor was he’d

  • Laurie Simmons

    From my first viewing of Étant donnés as a young art student in Philadelphia, Marcel Duchamp has been The Man. I’ve rarely met an artist who didn’t obsess at some point about Duchamp’s work, personal life, or enigmatic style. So I’m sure I’m not the only one eager to jump into the Museum of Modern Art’s revised edition of Calvin Tomkins’s Duchamp: A Biography, which originally appeared in 1996. This updated version will reveal significant new material, including details about Maria Martins, the great love of Duchamp’s life, and more on the making of the artist’s endlessly generative final work.

  • passages November 10, 2013

    Sarah Charlesworth (1947–2013)

    THE DOOR TO SARAH CHARLESWORTH’S STUDIO—one large room in a modest, single-story office building on the leafy-green main street of Falls Village, Connecticut—is slightly ajar. I’m visiting for the first time since she died unexpectedly on June 25, and I’m a little rattled. I’ve just picked up the key from the kitchen of her unlocked house, where her hairbrush and Chanel lipstick are, as always, next to the sink in the downstairs bathroom.

    Everything is peaceful and scented with summer (her favorite season) as I walk the few dozen yards past her garden and down the street to her studio.

  • Sarah Charlesworth

    THE DOOR TO SARAH CHARLESWORTH’S STUDIO—one large room in a modest, single-story office building on the leafy-green main street of Falls Village, Connecticut—is slightly ajar. I’m visiting for the first time since she died unexpectedly on June 25, and I’m a little rattled. I’ve just picked up the key from the kitchen of her unlocked house, where her hairbrush and Chanel lipstick are, as always, next to the sink in the downstairs bathroom.

    Everything is peaceful and scented with summer (her favorite season) as I walk the few dozen yards past her garden and down the street to her studio.

  • The Best Exhibitions of 2005

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2005.

    MARTIN CREED

    “Edward Munch by Himself” (Royal Academy of Arts, London) This show gave me butterflies, screwed me up, and made me cry.

    AA BRONSON

    John Baldessari, “A Different Kind of Order” (Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna) I rarely go to exhibitions these days. Perhaps I’m too jaded. But the Baldessari retrospective was something else. Focusing on his production from 1962–84, it was notable for its curatorial indifference to the marketplace—so

  • GUY AND DOLLS: MORTON BARTLETT

    Goodness, what crazy purchases were prompted by the poignant predilection Humbert had in those days for check weaves, bright cottons, frills, puffed-out short sleeves, soft pleats, snug-fitting bodices and generously full skirts! Oh Lolita, you are my girl, as Vee was Poe’s and Bea Dante’s, and what little girl would not like to whirl in a circular skirt and scanties? Did I have something special in mind? coaxing voices asked me. Swimming suits? We have them in all shades. Dream pink, frosted aqua, glans mauve, tulip red, oolala black. What about playsuits? Slips? No slips. Lo and I loathed

  • TOYS ARE US: JARVIS ROCKWELL IN HIS STUDIO

    Jarvis Rockwell’s toy collection is housed in a suite of offices on the corner of Main and Railroad in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. This is Norman Rockwell country, and Jarvis is Norman’s eldest son. I first saw the collection with the poet Geoffrey Young, who thought I might find some things to borrow for my work. But given the cloyingly nostalgic image of a kinder gentler America Rockwell’s lineage evokes, I assumed I would only find a bunch of tin toys from the ’30s and ’40s.
     
    He and I were both wrong.
     
    First, you don’t borrow from Rockwell’s collection. I had to stick to looking (though he invited me back to take the photographs that appear below). Indeed, during the warmer months Rockwell sits on a bench in front of the building and invites people to come in and see his toys. For the last eighteen years he has been accumulating seemingly every figure and object churned out as kid culture wherever he happens to be—K-Marts, AMES stores, drugstores, airports, supermarkets. Sometimes he buys by the dozens. I estimated 10,000 objects in the collection. He guesses the number’s around a million.
     
    Second, the collection bears no relation to antique-shop Americana. Instead, it represents a relentless drive to archive and organize a sorcerer’s apprentice–like assembly line of plastic objects. To take the kind of time looking that Rockwell’s painstaking arrangements merit is to discover detailed narratives and subtle transitions, moments of luminous beauty, and some flat-out wackiness. There are cowboys and princesses, Ninjas and Barbies, Happy Meal freebies, tons of Disney and TV, and a shelf dedicated to ex-presidents.
     
    In the last five years a handful of figures have migrated into ten-by-twelve-inch Plexiglas boxes where heads are swapped, tiny carpets and potted palms are added, and satellite worlds are created. Last January I included Rockwell’s work in an exhibition of mostly younger artists I organized, “The Name of the Place,” at the Casey Kaplan Gallery in New York. Though Rockwell is comfortable calling his boxes artworks, defining the scope and nature of the collection is tougher to do.
     
    —Laurie Simmons

    Laurie Simmons: When did you buy your first toy?

    Jarvis Rockwell: Oh, you mean as an adult? In 1979. I bought a little German pressed-metal duck that you pull back, and then it went forward like that.

    LS: And when did you start buying in multiple? I mean, when were you aware that you were leaving the realm of a toy collector—

    JR: Of reality.

    LS: Of reality, right, and moving into some other territory?

    JR: Oh, I don’t know. About a few months into it. I started buying—there were Fisher-Price policemen, and I saw a bunch of those, and I wanted those. And, you know, policemen, if you have a line