Mark Van de Walle

  • Tom Sachs

    Tom Sachs’ full-service installation Cultural Prosthetics re-creates life in the Bourgeois Zone: product, protection, life behind closed doors, everything. So you can’t just wander on in, first you have to pass the Security Threshold. There’s a check point where the front desk usually is, cobbled together out of scavenged police barriers, then a series of little video monitors, another police barricade, followed by a metal detector built into an archway. The metal detector inevitably beeps when someone walks through, at which point the harried looking gallery attendant waves a detector wand at


    with panther skins,

    widen them, pelt-to and pelt-fro,
    sense-hither and sense-thither,

    give them courtyards, chambers, drop doors
    and wildnesses, parietal,

    and listen for their second
    and each time second and second tone.

    —Paul Celan,
    from Fadensonnen/Threadsuns, trans. Pierre Joris

    Amid the generalized hubbub of last year’s Whitney Biennial, Ellen Gallagher’s paintings (drawings?—they contain elements of both) registered as a kind of music, equal parts elegance and wildness. A Mingus big band, a Money Jungle trio, a full gospel chorus, they pulsed along, possessed of a kind of

  • Mark Van de Walle on Web Sights

    A FEW QUICK NUMBERS: 6.6 million host computers hooked into the Net; 38,796 Web servers as of June, 40,000-plus by the beginning of the new year. If numbers are generally dull, these are not without a certain allure.
    Which means that the art world, like everyone else, has been taking notice: museums and institutions have been going online, art magazines are starting to, even Christo and Jean Claude have a homepage; eventually Web pages will be works of art themselves (although not yet, mostly). What follows is the first installment of a regular rundown of our favorite places to visit on the Web.

    Mark Van de Walle is a writer living in New York.

  • Mike Kelley

    Satan! Satan! SATAN!! Satan wants YOU! And he’s everywhere. That’s right, you heard me, everywhere.

    Mike Kelley tells you all about it in his new exhibition of nasty Satanic-type stuff. Stuff like: high-school yearbook photos of kids playing mischievous—but obviously Satanic—pranks like mooning people and dressing up as the opposite gender, all stuck under dummy headlines from lefty liberal newspapers such as the New York Times and the Detroit Free Press. Stuff like: models of institutional spaces where Kelley has suffered, complete with basements and sub-basements—Satanists and other ritual

  • Markus Baenziger

    Markus Baenziger makes sculpture out of Plexiglas and synthetic resin and rubber: filmy, opalescent stuff that looks like it might not really be there after all. Which is just fine, since what he makes out of it might not really be there either. There’s a piece called Soft Landings (all works 1995), a pile of towels made of synthetic resin and rubber indented in the center as though something had dropped there from above. Then there are three works all entitled Nocturnal Trail, frosted synthetic-resin pillows resting on top of Plexiglas cubes, with depressions indicating where the dreamer’s head

  • “Pierced Hearts and True Love”

    “Pierced Hearts and True Love: A Century of Drawings for Tattoos” is a sprawling show with over a century’s worth of work from more than 80 artists, including flash (readymade tattoo images), advertising, some portraits, some actual vintage-and modern-tattoo machines, a gorgeously produced catalog with essays by three PhDs (Mark Taylor, Margo DeMello, Alan B. Govenar) and two tattooists (Don Ed Hardy, Michael McCabe). Here, there are none of the clichés endemic to shows centered on tattooing: no photos of anyone with tattoos, no portraits of anyone getting tattoos, no lame/smug captions about

  • Paul Pagk

    Paul Pagk knows the truth; you can follow the lines on his canvases straight (more or less) to the heart of it. You know the truth, too, even if you try to forget every now and again. The truth is that the Institution permeates our existence so completely that it is all but invisible, so completely that we hardly notice it at all anymore. Like air, like water—there are alternatives, but none of them are very practical, at least not for now. So, wherever we look, we invariably find that the institution is already there, waiting for us, arms outstretched.

    Which is not to say that any of this is

  • “Site Santa Fe”

    New Mexico has always been about tourists—one way or another. It was settled by them, and kept alive economically for centuries (Spaniards, Old Mexicans, Texans, and Californians, in order of appearance). So it’s fitting, in a way, that “SITE Santa Fe,” Santa Fe’s new biennial, was curated by tourists (Bruce Ferguson and Vincent Varga) for tourists (the “contemporary art world,” whoever that is nowadays). And since “place” seems to be the theme of choice for international-scale exhibitions this year, “SITE Santa Fe” carries the subtitle “Longing and Belonging: From the Faraway Nearby.” Which

  • Abel Ferrara’s The Addiction

    The Lost Object . . . must be therefore both adored and feared or despised, set apart. . . . “The most profound lost object” . . . is the immortality or perfection we imagine ourselves missing. . . . We invent gods and devils to measure up to it.
    —Peter Canning, “The Regime of Misery and the System of Judgement”

    FOR A WHILE THERE, as you may or may not remember, the abject was having its little moment on the intellectual catwalk, putting in its appearance as an esthetic-slash-ontological category. Confronted with the apparent impossibility of almost everything, we eagerly embraced the obvious

  • Mark Van de Walle


    After almost a year of indulging in a kind of semisolitary vice, I’m finally ready to come clean: for my money, HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS, the latest in a line of Hercules vehicles dating back to the ’50s, is the best rush on television. Certainly, it’s the finest example of queso currently available for regular public consumption.

    The current series has everything you want from a Hercules vehicle: scantily clad bimbos of both genders (you pretty much know why everybody in the leather loincloths and chain-mail thong bikinis got the job); excellent computer-generated monsters;

  • Vito Acconci

    Realizing that, by any objective standard, a good rock band is better than most art, Vito Acconci made the obvious choice and called in a rock and roll band—the Mekons—for his portion of the Artists in Action project, a new addition to BAM’s annual “Next Wave Festival,” which enables visual artists (this year it was Acconci, Ilya Kabakov, Kristin Jones and Andrew Ginzel) to present works-in-progress for the stage. Of course, since Vito was given a largish quantity of someone else’s money to spend, he couldn’t reasonably be expected to just let the Mekons play a gig at Dia (which would have been

  • Toland Grinnell

    Pity the poor white boy. Here, at the beginning of the end of everything, he is having a hard time. His dick is mostly limp, or in the wrong place, or sometimes just cut off altogether (at which point, it’s spread all over the news). Strange and alien things and people and technology press in on him from all sides: black people and brown people and women and computers and cars that talk back. Previously assured of his divine right to rule the world, the white boy is currently discovering that it isn’t quite as divine or right as it used to be. Which leaves the white boy in the position that