Michael Bell-Smith

  • Guy de Cointet, My Father’s Diary, 1975. Performance view, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York, February 4, 2009. Mary Ann Duganne Glicksman.


    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.


    “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

  • Michael Bell-Smith, Subterranean House (Oonce Oonce), 2007, still from a black-and-white video.

    Michael Bell-Smith

    FIVE YEARS AGO, music videos were specific things you saw in specific places. Working with music video meant engaging a big-budget, commercially motivated form that was strongly tied to the cable stations (MTV, BET, etc.) promoting it. Artists could be complicit with this structure, intervene in it, work alongside it, parody it, or deconstruct it, but, explicitly or implicitly, these acts were always undertaken with regard to this highly codified commercial system. It was a stratified relationship.

    Today, discussions of who has access to technology aside, that relationship is far more level.