Martha Schwendener

  • Ken Lum

    Published in 1972, Learning from Las Vegas was the ultimate postmodern (or antimodern) document, as it showed how, in North America at least, buildings were often subsidiary to road signs; architecture was, in essence, secondary to advertising. Ken Lum’s latest work doesn’t reference that canonical book specifically, but it radiates from the same center: The artist also examines the convergence of the political, historical, and everyday through the commercial-strip business sign with “adjustable type” (used in Vegas to advertise performers and everywhere else to announce sales, birthdays, and

  • Aaron Cobbett

    LIKE WARHOL AND JOHNS, Aaron Cobbett started out in the trenches of fashion, dressing windows for Henri Bendel and Bergdorf Goodman. He moved into photography in the late '80s, taking pictures of drag queens and boys downtown and publishing them in magazines like Empire and H/X In the mid-'90s he started exhibiting his work in galleries. For this show he decided to do “something different”—photograph women. But the artist's claim of branching out is a little misleading: Cobbett has turned “ordinary” women into caricatures of glamorized womanhood, who resemble, more than anything else, female

  • Riko Noguchi

    For Americans who came of age in the ’70s and ’80s, it’s hard to think of Japan as anything other than the country that conquered the world—economically, at least. Their cars were better than ours; their yen more powerful than our dollar. But the Japan of those decades has devolved into something else: a country racked by recession, natural disaster, crime, and attacks by genocidal terrorist groups. So while Japan’s most celebrated contemporary artist, Mariko Mori, shows us the country of the postwar economic miracle—a high-tech, cybersavvy, moneyed world power—Rika Noguchi, a

  • Martin Mull

    Martin Mull would like nothing more than for us to ignore his celebrity. He has repeatedly referred to acting as his “day job,” admitting that earning respect as a visual artist is his highest priority. But Mull’s two careers are of a piece. From ’70s stand-up and roles on Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman and Fernwood fright to his mid-’80s cable special The History of White People in America (divided into episodes called “White Religion,” “White Politics,” “White Crime,” and “White Stress”), Mull the actor has focused on white American cultural myths and stereotypes. And Mull the painter brings to

  • Luc Tuymans

    BELGIUM WAS HARDLY one of the more ambitious forces of nineteenth-century Western colonialism. Compared with the British, Spanish, Dutch, and French, Belgians entered the land-grab race rather late: King Leopold II didn't think to seize the Congo until the late 1870s. All the same, the country's colonial rule was notorious: The scope of Leopold's empire may have been modest, but his policies and those of his successors were among the most repressive in Africa.

    Luc Tuymans's recent show of paintings, “Mwana Kitoko,” focused not on the origins of his homeland's imperialism but on a moment during

  • Panamarenko

    THE SINGLE MOST COMMON THEME in the critical literature on Panamarenko is his failure. This might seem strange, since the Belgian artist has had a long and fairly successful career (at least in Europe; this is his first major US exhibition). But the “f” word doesn't arise in discussions of his career—it relates to how his art objects function.

    Panamarenko skirts a long tradition of Belgian invention: Attributed to his countrymen are innovations from French fries to modem plastics, from the saxophone to the internal combustion engine. But perhaps his true ancestor is an Italian: Like Leonardo

  • Meg Cranston

    Outside certain Nazi circles, physiognomy did not enjoy a kind reception in the twentieth century. And even if it were revived today, teeth would not be likely candidates for analysis: Certain physical traits, such as height, are still irremediable in the twenty-first century, but teeth are not among them. In an age of modem dentistry and fluoridated water, “good” teeth are more common than at any other point in history—although, lie almost everything else, they are also a reliable indicator of socioeconomic position. And with bonding and new whitening techniques, some teeth are even an index

  • Diana Thater

    Diana Thater has spent her career larking the call of the wild, video-taping exotic animals like wolves, zebrasa, and Andalusian stallions. This isn’t Discovery Channel fare, though. Thater’s colorful, complex video installations investigate nature as a fluid concept, created by us and for us as a construct against which to locate our own identities. At Dia, monitors on the floor and projections on the walls and ceiling will fill the cavernous third floor in this, the artist’s largest American commission to date. Her subject is the honeybee and its systems of communicating and mapping space—an

  • Yoko Ono

    Yoko Ono entered mainstream consciousness in the late ’60s and was quickly branded an interloper. Never mind that by the time she met John Lennon in 1966 (at the opening of her solo show at the India Gallery in London), she had already caught the attention of John Cage and Ornette Coleman with her music; performed at Fluxus concerts and loft events organized with La Monte Young; and created a significant body of sculpture, mail art, and performance works, some of which had been staged at Carnegie Hall. For masses of pop-music fans mourning the demise of the Beatles, Ono was simply a troublemaker,

  • Sharon Lockhart

    What photographer wants to hear her work looks just like Robert Frank, Diane Arbus, or Cindy Sherman? That’s not Sharon Lockhart’s problem: Her photos and films garner comparisons to seventeenth-century Dutch painting instead. Like those still-lifes with twelve kinds of meat, her work privileges surface detail over narrative, studium over punctum. But the hangover notion of photography as a purely documentary medium haunts her work as well. As seen in this survey, her largest solo presentation to date, Lockhart has zoomed in on the role of the photographer in all its guises—as creator,

  • Jane and Louise Wilson

    In Victor Pelevin’s 1993 novel Omon Ra, a Russian boy who dreams of becoming a cosmonaut and flying to the moon gets his wish: He is accepted into the space program and even chosen to represent the Soviet Union in the space race against the United States. But what awaits young Omon isn’t glory. Instead, he finds himself surrounded by grotesques—power-hungry flight officers, aged space dogs, and cadets whose legs have been amputated to accommodate tiny cockpits. Eventually Omon learns the truth about his mission, that he is to pilot an officially “unmanned” lunar vehicle to the moon—then