Mark Van de Walle

  • Music

    Action on and off the stage in music: Tupac was killed and immediately turned into a martyr of sorts; various members of various alterna-bands OD’ed on various kinds of drug cocktails, creating no martyrs but lots of hypocritical musing about drugs and rock. People finally started to realize that “alternative” describes a merchandising niche rather than an ontological condition. Indie rock got more Byzantine than ever, which is good (a kind of “let 10,000 flowers bloom” moment) or not (everybody is simply following the contours of sundry navels to nowhere in particular). Elsewhere, on dance

  • Mark Van de Walle


    The ’90s have, by now, been firmly established in everybody’s mind as a fairly awful morning after a really big night before—marked by overflowing ashtrays, leftover second-tier fashion types, and a generalized feeling of malaise and exhaustion in the big, empty room. Mostly people seem to be intent on either trying to re-create the hoopla with the leftovers (now-toothless third-hand commodity/institutional critique or Minimalist tropes resurfaced with a shiny layer of glam) or just maundering on about how lousy they feel now that the party’s over. So it was nice that you could

  • Polly Jean Harvey

    THERE’VE BEEN MORE than a few pretenders to the throne of New Rock Goddess—Courtney Love, Liz Phair, Joan Osborne, Alanis Morissette, not to mention sundry Bikini Killers, Breeders et al—but for whatever reason, nobody’s been willing to take the risk to come across as an artist with a capital “A,” a Romantic-style genius, someone possessed by her muse or her daimon, or even the hellhounds on her trail. Nobody except PJ Harvey: a nice girl from a small town near Yeovil, England, who, as the legend goes, was brought up by groovy boho parents in a house full of blues musicians and stonecutters.


    THERE WERE REALLY TWO melodramas. The first was called Breaking the Waves, a new film by Lars von Trier; it was scheduled to show at Cannes. The second revolved around luring this notoriously phobic director out of Denmark; he was scheduled to show at Cannes, too. But getting him on a plane to fly to the South of France was impossible—planes, he reasoned, are late, crowded, blow up, crash, and have windows that don’t open. Planes were out. That left two options: trains and automobiles. Last-minute claustrophobia killed the train idea (more nonopening windows), while the thought of potentially

  • Web Magazines

    When they caught Ed Gein (the serial killer Psycho was based on), the thing that really made people think he was crazy—besides all the body parts—was the mess. Newspapers and magazines stacked in huge teetering piles against the walls, moldering away in the parlor, rotting along with everything else in the kitchen (though he did keep his mother’s room clean). Poor Ed was a serious pack rat. Which is not to imply some sort of causal relationship. It’s just that the old magazine situation can so easily get out of hand.
    Online publications solve this problem by being both free and electronic—there’s nothing to throw away, or keep either. And since they’re in a medium that allows for interactivity, some of them even have other advantages (multimedia, links to other sites, and so on) which we’ll get into this month.

    Mark Van de Walle writes regularly for Artforum.

  • Mark Van de Walle

    IN THE FUTURE ONE BOX, one cable, will do and be everything—answerphone, personal banker, home computer with Internet access, television (with 500 channel satellite downlink). You’ll have to give Bill Gates all your money to get it, but by then money will probably have Bill’s bespectacled mug on it anyway.
    You’ve already witnessed the first steps toward this if you’ve caught MSNBC, the Microsoft/NBC cable news and Internet joint venture (complete with a fawning Bill Clinton on its less than scintillating inaugural broadcast). You may, also have heard the rustling of sheets, as various communication companies and media conglomerates raced into bed with one another in the wake of the Telecommunications Act; they are hoping to give birth to The All-In-One Box, too, preferably (from their point of view and maybe yours) before Gates does.
    For now, however, your TV and your computer are reduced to looking longingly at one another across the room. But, like most frustrated lovers, they can still talk about each other; here’s a few places to listen in.

    Mark Van de Walle is a frequent contributor to Artforum.

  • Toba Khedoori

    It’s impossible to say what exactly Toba Khedoori does. Or rather, what exactly she draws when she draws. You could say, for instance, that she places huge sheets of paper on a studio floor, and then thinly covers them with wax. You could point out that they start out white, but don’t, of course, stay that way: apart from the wax (which is clear) and the images themselves, there are also stains and hairs and lines that go nowhere. You could mention that this detritus skitters like graffiti across her urban and industrial nonplaces, and, in her recent drawings, over meticulously rendered empty

  • Michael Ashkin

    In a certain sense, the single most important thing informing Michael Ashkin’s psycho-hobbyist dioramas is the fact that he grew up in New Jersey. He makes scale models of the parts of Jersey everyone likes to make fun of: the toxic industrial zones where nature has more or less packed it in and been replaced by decaying trucks and refineries, nasty smelling gasses and strange balls of flame. As for people, they come in machines, or not at all. The particular chunk of wasteland reproduced in #33, 1996, is a straight stretch of highway, bordered by a string of power lines, that runs through an

  • New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Venice, Turin, Paris, Cologne, Berlin, Stockholm, Liverpool, London, Brisbane

    This fall, Dada finally gets its due as a stateside movement. Curated by Dada scholar Francis M. Naumann with staffer Beth Venn, the WHITNEY’s show will include Duchamp’s Bride Stripped Bare. . . , as well as more than 200 objects by American and European artists associated with the movement on this side of the Atlantic. Along with the usual suspects—Francis Picabia, Man Ray, and, lately, Florine Stettheimer—you’ll also get to see works like Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s Portrait of Marcel Duchamp (feathers and a champagne glass) and a partial

  • Two Dollar Guitar

    Way back in the era BCD (Before Cobain’s Death), when alternarock had barely begun to rule the world, some people were already sick of all that . . . Zepness. So they went in another direction altogether and invented something called slo-core: bands like Low, Mazzy Star, and TWO DOLLAR GUITAR made music that had a lot more to do with early blues, bummed-out country, and Joy Division during their heroin days than “yo, my dick is sooo big” guitar theatrics.

    Two Dollar Guitar, the Hoboken, New Jersey, band made up of former Half Japanese member Tim Foljahn, ex-Das Damen bassist Dave Motamed, and

  • Uta Barth

    Uta Barth takes photographs which, by virtue of being pictures of nothing in particular, manage to be about a great deal indeed. The pictures are broken down into two different series: either “field” or “ground.” The “Field” series, 1995, (shown at Tanya Bonakdar last spring) comprises photos taken outside; the “Ground” series, 1995–96, (featured at London Projects in June) of pictures taken inside. In the former, Barth (un)focuses on the sort of places you never actually visit, but always pass through on your way somewhere else. So there are scenes of nondescript buildings (with and without

  • Web Sounds

    There's this great scene in Diner where Daniel Stern loses it because his wife misfiled one of the albums in his precious record collection: the shouting match ends with her screaming (sensibly enough), “Who cares what's on the B side of ”Blueberry Hill?“ and him screaming that he does, because music is the history of his life, of their life.
    Which, in a way, is true. Dumb, but true: it does all matter—names, dates, personnel, your opinions, someone else's opinions. Music is not just product, it's the real thing (anyone who's witnessed a ”Beatles vs. Stones“ argument can vouch for this). This may explain why it's one of the most popular topics on the Web; popular enough to make your search engine seize up when you type in ”music." So here, to save you from that and get you started, is the tip of the iceberg.

    Mark Van de Walle is a frequent contributor to Artforum.