Mark Van de Walle

  • Work Sites

    There’s this ongoing argument around my house about whether or not time spent on the Web constitutes work time or play time. To get around it, whenever anybody starts looking over my shoulder, I get rid of The Quake Stomping Grounds, and immediately go to one of these sites—pre—opened on a separate browser. Here, to help in your own quest for that hard—at—work feeling (and actual information), is this month’s Hot List.

    Mark Van de Walle writes regularly for Artforum.

  • OPENINGS: VICTOR ESTRADA

    It’s important to know that “monster” is a verb as well as a noun. One says: “he monsters.” Or, more to the point: “Victor Estrada monsters.” By which, I mean: Victor Estrada is a man who makes monsters, taking our collective heteronomy and giving it shape. He does so with a kind of Rabelaisian playfulness and gravity; like the monk, he’s a creator of charming grotesqueries, prodigies, marvels. He gives us sculptures (and paintings) of excessive creatures, things that are both more—and less—than human; they look like escapees from some Disney studio run amok, at once funny and pathetic, horrifying

  • Paranoid Nation

    Fossilized martian bacteria. Independence Day. Water on the moon. It’s all part of the plan. Any day now the government will announce it’s discovered that life really does exist on other planets, Mars probably, and then, shortly after that, the ships will land and the little gray space guys will begin harvesting the human/alien hybrids they’ve been breeding for years. Then they’ll load up the ships and fly their not-quite-human cargo off to the headquarters of the intergalactic fast-food chain they work for, whereupon the hybrids—who, by the way, look just like you and me—will be given uniforms with little hats and name tags reading “Hi, What Can GalactiGrub Get for YOU today?,” and put to work flipping Filet o’ Flesh sandwiches for their methane-breathing masters. Then everyone will act surprised, like this wasn’t the result of centuries of forethought.
     
    Everyone, that is, except the forward-thinking folks on the Web, who’ve been unearthing this and other conspiracies since the Internet first got started. (By the military. Naturally.) So don’t be surprised, plan ahead—check out the Paranoid Nation on the Web.

    Mark Van de Walle writes regularly for Artforum.

  • Miles Davis/Gil Evans

    Even as an object, Columbia’s MILES DAVIS/GIL EVANS box is beautiful: just looking at it makes you want one. Of course, what really matters is that three of the six discs in the set—Miles Ahead, Porgy and Bess, and Sketches of Spain—are desert-island definites. (The set also contains a disc of flawed-but-still-interesting later projects, as well as two CDs of alternate takes, studio conversation, and overdubbings.) Made between 1957 and 1960, these recordings are jazz landmarks: documents of two men at the top of their game, producing an almost-perfect evocation of the cooly melancholic spirit

  • “Rrose is a Rrose is a Prose: Gender Performance”

    Over the past decade or so, few issues have been as hotly contested as that of identity. In this show, GUGGENHEIM assistant curator Jennifer Blessing assembles eighty photographic works—portraits, self-portraits, and photomontages—by twenty-four artists to focus on the construction of gender identity in photography. Divided into two sections, the show focuses on works from between the two world wars and after 1968; highlights include Cecil Beaton, Brassai, Hannah Höch, Matthew Barney, Janine Antoni, Cindy Sherman, and Yasumasa Morimura.

  • Jeff Wall

    For almsot two decades, Jeff Wall has specialized in elaborately staged tableaux ranging in content from chance events to fantastic occurrences; closer examination reveals multilayered art-historical and pop-cultural references. In A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai), swirling paper echoes the curving lines of Japanese prints; Giant reads as a kind of B-movie still, showing an enormous naked woman poised on a library staircase. Wall’s photomurals represent his ongoing attempt to find a new kind of vernacular for contemporary photography (and by extension, the project

  • Jeff Wall

    For almsot two decades, Jeff Wall has specialized in elaborately staged tableaux ranging in content from chance events to fantastic occurrences; closer examination reveals multilayered art-historical and pop-cultural references. In A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai), swirling paper echoes the curving lines of Japanese prints; Giant reads as a kind of B-movie still, showing an enormous naked woman poised on a library staircase. Wall’s photomurals represent his ongoing attempt to find a new kind of vernacular for contemporary photography (and by extension, the project

  • Ivan Albright

    There’s obsessive, and then there’s obsessive. Ivan Albright fell into the latter camp, carrying the behavior to heights rare even in the eccentric—friendly art world. The artist could spend an entire day working on a single square inch of his hyperrealistic American grotesques; paintings (in a similar vein) could take up to twenty years to complete. Associate curator Courtney Graham Donnell has assembled a lifetime’s worth of Albright’s hard work for the ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO—more than 120 gouaches, watercolors, works on paper, and small—scale

  • “Exiles and Emigres”

    Shortly after Hitler seized power in 1933, the former painter established the Reichskulturkammer, an organization whose stated purpose was to set legal guidelines on artistic practice. As the Führer’s power grew, so too did the number of artists and intellectuals in exile: Albers, Beckmann, Breuer, Chagall, Ernst, Mondrian, Schwitters, Gropius, van der Rohe. In “Exiles and Emigres,” LACMA senior curator Stephanie Barron (well known for her 1991 “‘Degenerate Art’: The Fate of the Avant-Garde in Nazi Germany” exhibition) and associate Sabine Eckmann

  • Toba Khedoori

    Toba Khedoori’s spaces and objects are disturbingly empty and uneasy yet remarkably familiar: vast building facades with rows of not quite identical windows; fenced-in places containing nothing; bridges that simply trail off; strings of anonymous train cars floating in luminous space. MoCA curator Elizabeth Smith presents the first solo museum show of these uncanny oil-and-wax-on-paper pieces. Hung without frames, they also bear mute testament to the process of their creation: they’re smudged here and there, and come with stray dog hairs and bits of dust and dirt from

  • “Parisien(ne)s”

    Paris has long claimed pride of place as Europe’s cultural heart, drawing intellectuals, authors, and artists from all over the world. At the Camden Arts Centre, writer and curator Hou Hanru (himself an emigre to Paris in the aftermath of Tiananmen Square), with assistance from the International Institute of Visual Arts, has gathered the work of nine fellow expats, including Chen Zhen, Sarkis, and Absalon, to examine the impact of a new wave of arrivals on the City of Light’s artistic culture. Included in the show are installations and objects, most commissioned for this

  • Hot List

    The future, as we used to envision it, was hard—copy free. In the Captain’s lounge of the Enterprise, books were displayed, like artifacts, in glass cases; Elroy Jetson carried around a clipboard—sized personal computer that told him what his homework was; and on the Forbidden Planet, knowledge was stored in endless racks of tapes. So much for the future as it used to be—right now, tomorrow looks to be as buried in books and paper as today.
     
    Still, the Internet is doing its part to make our wood—pulp culture a memory. On the Web, there may be no paper, but words are everywhere, and type, cut loose from its old constraints, issues in an apparently endless stream of fonts and typefaces that turn alphabets into eye candy. This month, we’ll look at sites where textual substance meets typographical style.

    Mark Van de Walle writes regularly for Artforum.