Lorraine O'Grady

  • THEIR FAVORITE EXHIBITIONS OF THE YEAR

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions and events were, in their eyes, the very best of 2009.

    RICHARD ALDRICH

    “Pierre Bonnard: The Late Interiors” (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) You kind of get the feeling that Bonnard was a real artist. He was concerned not with the past (art history), present (his contemporaries), or future (his legacy), but with expressing himself in terms of his own perceptions, interactions, and experiences of the world. Whether of a room, a still life, or a loved one, each painting becomes

  • THE BLACK AND WHITE SHOW

    OUTSIDE, EAST SECOND STREET between Avenues B and C in 1983 was Manhattan’s biggest open-air drug supermarket. It was always deathly quiet except for the continual cries of vendors hawking competing brands of heroin: “3-5-7, 3-5-7” and “Toilet, Toilet.” From the steps of Kenkeleba, looking across at the shooting galleries, you saw unreflecting windows and bricked-up facades, like doorless entrances to Hades. How did the junkies get inside? There was almost no traffic. Behind the two columns flanking Kenkeleba’s doorway unexpectedly was a former Polish wedding palace in elegant decay owned by a

  • WAC

    Today again, it feels like a World War I moment, what with a breakdown in bourgeois certainties and the new order nowhere in sight. The world seems cut deep with trenches out of which heads pop only to be shot off by mortars from the opposing side. That Dada arose then, and WAC now, proves that the sleep of reason produces not only monsters but millenarian dreams of bliss.

    WAC (for anyone who hasn’t been watching) is the Women’s Action Coalition, and for me it’s become a sort of “guilty pleasure.” Begun anonymously in New York last January by some 15 women, mostly artists, WAC in five months

  • Black Women Directors

    THE INVISIBILITY OF black women has been much on my mind of late. Asked recently to speak on the topic “Can women artists take back the nude from a voyeuristic male gaze as a site to represent their own subjectivity?” I have to discard the premise: from mass culture to high culture, white women may have been objects of the fetishizing gaze, but black women have had only the blank stare. In fact we feel lucky when we get to take our clothes off. Manet’s Olympia, Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon, and Judy Chicago’s Dinner Party, 1973–78, are landmarks in our unseeing erasure by both the multicolored