Miriam Rosen

  • Ricard Terré

    In an uncanny reversal of roles, photographer Ricard Terré has been stalking, Death since the mid-’50s. Not the imminent death that resides over battlefields, natural disasters, or police morgues, but the transcendent death that haunts the rituals of the living: Carnival, Holy Week processions, funerals. This unconventional pursuit had a precise beginning, in 1957 in Terré’s native Barcelona, where the twenty-nine-year-old business-school graduate turned painter and caricaturist had begun experimenting with photography: “It was during Holy Week,” he said. “Twenty-four shots in half an hour. All


    RAYMOND DEPARDON TALKS LIKE HE PHOTOGRAPHS, like he films, like he writes: profusely. And the torrent of words is intensified by the singular sound of his voice, always slightly hoarse, out of breath, and devoid of Parisian preciosity. Difficult to translate into print much less into English (imagine a French version of Peter Falk), but eminently worth signaling by way of introduction. The title of Depardon’s current photo and film retrospective at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris felicitously captures the pattern of his speech no less than the meandering of his career: “Détours

  • “Transparence, Opacité?”

    Caution: An exhibition of fourteen contemporary Chinese artists curated by a French philosopher specializing in Byzantine doctrines on the icon is likely to be about something more than the works presented. Indeed, the key element of the title “Transparence, opacité?” is neither “transparency” nor “opaqueness,” but the question mark at the end. And the questions in question, as philosopher-curator Marie-José Mondzain explains in the remarkable travelogue that serves as catalogue essay, have to do with what is physically, perceptually lacking in the individual works themselves: a succession of

  • “Orbis Terrarum”

    As curator Moritz Küng acknowledges in his catalogue preface, the relation between cartography and contemporary art is not a new theme. But what distinguishes “Orbis Terrarum: Ways of Worldmaking” from such predecessors as MOMA’s 1994 “Mapping” or the Stedelijk Museum/Wellington City Gallery’s 1996 “The World Over-Under Capricorn” is the place where it was presented: the former Officina Plantiniana printing house, which published the finest maps of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries—including the very first world atlas, the Theatrum orbis terrarum (1570), which gave its name to the

  • Kader Attia

    LA PISTE D'ATTERRISSAGE (THE LANDING STRIP), 1997–99, is the name given to a deserted stretch of beltway at the northern edge of Paris by the Algerian transsexuals and transvestites who work there as prostitutes. It is also the name that French photographer Kader Attia has given to his color-slide installation about the lives of these several hundred “creatures” (as they call themselves) who have left Algeria under threat of murder, made their way clandestinely into France, and, for lack of working papers, “landed” on the sidewalks of the boulevard Ney in their wigs, miniskirts, and spike heels.

  • “Magnum°”

    Although the number of visitors may not be the best criterion for judging an exhibition, the crowds that made their way to the Bibliothèque Nationale to see the Magnum photo agency’s “Essais sur le monde” (Essays on the world) are worthy of note, and not only in quantitative terms. For these were visibly not the usual tourists “doing” Magnum between Beaubourg and the Louvre, or professional gallery-goers popping in between the Marais and avenue Matignon, but members of an elusive social category that all curators doubtless dream of attracting: the general public. They came alone, in pairs,

  • Orbis Terrarum

    Taking its title form the first modern atlas—Antwerp cartographer Abraham Ortelius's 1570 Theatrum orbis terrarum, printed in what is today the Museum Plantin-Moretus—this exhibition juxtaposes works by thirty-six international artists with a selection of major atlases from the golden age of Flemish and Dutch cartography. With contemporary works from the likes of Laurie Anderson, Fischli & Weiss, Mona Hatoum, Uri Tzaig, and Gabriel Orozco, plus public projects by Chris Burden, Thomas Hirschhorn, Job Koelewijn, Aglaia Konrad, Matt Mullican, and Rémy Zaugg, the show examines the ways we

  • Abbas Kiarostami

    Abbas Kiarostami, photographer? But of course—even, it might be argued, when he makes films: Just think of the Iranian director’s Taste of Cherry (1997), with its ninety-nine minutes of fixed-camera shots. And in his new film, The Wind Will Carry Us (1999), people move, cars move, clouds move, animals and insects move, but the camera’s eye that observes and records them most often remains motionless—and at one with the viewers sitting in front of the movie screen.

    As it turns out, Kiarostami has been taking “real” photographs for some twenty years. The motivation, he insists, came not from any

  • Felten-Massinger

    The photographs of Christine Felten and Véronique Massinger are literally one of a kind, for each is a positive image obtained directly on Cibachrome paper by means of a modern-day version of the camera obscura—an old camper painted black inside and fitted with a tiny aperture in its back wall. Indeed, the two Brussels photographers, who have been working as one for the past decade under the combined name Felten-Massinger, have transformed their collaborative venture into a nonprofit corporation known as Caravana Obscura (a play on the French word for camper, caravane). But, as evidenced by the

  • the Centre de la Jeune Création

    PARIS’S NEWEST CONTEMPORARY ARTS CENTER won’t open until September, but it’s already making waves on the French arts scene, if in ways not necessarily anticipated by its initiators. As announced by Minister of Culture Catherine Trautmann last April, the Centre de la Jeune Création will be a showcase for young, edgy French art. With about five million dollars in seed money, the new center will take up some 3,000 square meters of exhibition space in the now-vacant west wing of the Palais de Tokyo, the Neoclassical complex built in 1937 to house the Musée National d’Art Moderne (which moved to the

  • “L’objet désorienté”

    Like an Unidentified Flying Carpet, “L’objet désorienté” (The disoriented object) landed in the glass-roofed exhibition hall of the museum with a crew of nine contemporary Moroccan artists and a cargo of some four thousand everyday items from Morocco’s urban bazaars and rural markets. Suffice it to say that the “disorientation” was hardly limited to the objects on display. What to make of this giant installation, composed of everything from bread trays and butter churns to jogging shoes and motorbike seats, meticulously ordered by the artists into a series of geometric modules to create a kind

  • Massimo Vitali

    Massimo Vitali might not appreciate the comparison, but every time I look at his outsize color photographs, I think of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights. The tide is not entirely irrelevant to Vitali’s subjects—crowded Italian beaches and discos as sites of mass leisure activity. But the real association is perceptual rather than thematic: It has to do with the way we look at these works and what we actually see.

    For those unfamiliar with the Italian photographer’s imposing originals (approximately 59 by 71 or 71 by 83 inches), a brief caveat is in order: They reproduce about as