Neville Wakefield

  • Juergen Teller

    His first major show in France comprises some eighty photographs. Expect to find iconic images of Yves Saint Laurent and Kate Moss alongside prints of weeds poking out of Albert Speer’s Nuremberg ruins.

    To fashion consumptives, Juergen Teller is best known for his Marc Jacobs–inspired collaborations with the likes of Cindy Sherman and Charlotte Rampling. And while Teller is not alone in raising the stakes in the conceptual project of disguising art as commerce, his ability to create images whose brutality, tenderness, humor, and seriousness endure regardless of context signals a unique and singular vision. His first major show in France comprises some eighty photographs. Expect to find iconic images of Yves Saint Laurent and Kate Moss alongside prints


    Though identical twins Jane and Louise Wilson grew up wanting to be artists, when it came to choosing schools they opted to go their own ways: Jane remained in Newcastle, while Louise was off to Dundee. Years later, with graduation approaching, the sisters each mounted the customary degree show. The results: identical to the detail. Less the pure product of the telepathic simultaneity sometimes attributed to twins than willful artistic gesture, their mirror shows animated the dilemma at the core of their work. Both of and not of a single mind, the Wilsons share much, including their practice as



    REVISIONING THE SANITIZED BODY of commercial fashion, Juergen Teller’s images suggest a postcoital aesthetic, the messy pleasures of a sexuality with consequence. A recent series for the magazine supplement of Suddeutsche Zeitung shows a naked Kristen McMenamy, her shoulder bruised from dislocation, her flesh as mottled and pale as an anemic Soutine. In one shot a tampon string peeks from between her thighs; the name “Versace” scrawled across her behind is framed by a sloppy red-lipstick heart. In another, our attention is drawn to a fringe of undepilated hair breaking out from an unflatteringly


    Nan Goldin once declared her “aspiration was to be a fashion photographer”; her goal, “to put the queens on the cover of Vogue.” Denizens of the other side, Ivy, Misty, Colette, Bea, Crystal never did make it to the cover. Theirs may have been a theater of affect, of lip gloss and excess, but the glamour was real: it rode shotgun with them in the backs of cabs, in foil sachets, in the exotic accoutrements of a third sex. And for a generation of photographers sick of overlit and unattainable ideals, these were indelible images. The gender game may have veered the other way—toward the liminal

  • Jim Dow

    What taxonomical photography has in common with lepidopterology, poisonfrog collecting, and train spotting is that it, too, can be a means of nurturing an idiosyncratic obsession. It combines the scientism of typological investigation with the more or less obvious charm of an eccentric interest cultivated over time.

    Jim Dow’s recent photographic series of British storefronts, “Corner Shops of Britain,” 1983–93, offers a glimpse into this kind of obsession nurtured over a decade. Forty 8-by-10 color contact prints depict the façades of family-run businesses, once keystones in the social and


    ANNOUNCED WITHOUT FANFARE OR disclaimer, Toba Khedoori’s immense but delicate works join the art party as reluctant guests enticed out of solitude. Her slow deliberations, inscribed as they are on empty expanses of paper, take uneasy position within the throng and jostle, where intimacy comes protected by the thick prophylactics of in-talk and irony. Standing aside from the slippery prattle of “discourse” and the quips of gallery-opening repartee, their allure is that of the lone stranger glimpsed from across a crowded room. Familiar in imagery yet emotionally distant, they are the conversations

  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres

    It seems that everyone—with the exception of the vain and the nakedly ambitious artist—hates the midcareer retrospective. The origins of the age of prematurity can be traced to exhibitions such as the one mounted by Jane Livingston and Marcia Tucker in 1972 at the L.A. County and Whitney museums documenting the career of then-31-year-old Bruce Nauman. Since then, the increasing emphasis by art dealers on "judicious placement”—a euphemism for thrusting the work of younger artists onto those collectors who sit on museum committees—coupled with the expanding ranks of art administrators, has firmly

  • Neville Wakefield


    Tucked away at Dia, some distance from the stirrings of Soho sediment (or do I mean sentiment?), GERHARD RICHTER’s Atlas was, it seems, too distant, too big, too complex, or perhaps, one suspects, too German, to attract the attention it deserved. Certainly, with more than 4,000 images amassed over 31 years it taxed the attention spans and retinal capacities of those of us fattened on predigested platitudes cased in singular images. But Atlas realized, as the United Nations has not, that there is no representation without taxation. A prism through which perception has been splintered

  • Keith Edmier

    For Keith Edmier’s recent show, the window of the gallery had been altered to accommodate a single form, Nowhere (Insideout) (all works 1995), convex on the inside, concave on the outside, which consisted of an acrylic cast that pushed forward into the gallery, ulcerating the interior space with a gorgeous, incandescent amethyst glow. The diagonal fissure across its center could, in the psychosexual reading that finds a phallus in every protrusion and a vagina in every concavity, have suggested a wound, but the central fissure’s spiky, crystalline structure soon laid such interpretative impulses

  • Sarah Lucas

    If nothing else, Sarah Lucas’ sometimes abrasive, invariably funny art puts paid to the myth of British decorum. Delivered with the visual equivalent of a belch, Lucas’ work turns the tables on her American audience, placing the dainty tea cup in the hands of those who espouse the politically correct. Though the “fuck off” quotient that previously afforded her work its Doberman bite may be somewhat diluted in her recent show, this in no way signals that she has surrendered to the protocols of identity politics. Rather, in redirecting attention from the expletive to the sculptural, this latest

  • Cindy Sherman

    For more than a decade, Cindy Sherman has delivered what many have regarded as one of the most sustained and eloquent disquisitions on the morphology of the image and the structure of desire. By contrast, the response to Sherman’s most recent work has been nothing if not circumspect. Admittedly, as a group the latest series of photographs lacks a clear agenda; its language is polyglot and its subject matter elusive: Sherman draws on Christian iconography, the legacy of Surrealism, the cult of the grotesque, and horror-movie schlock. If Caravaggio is here, along with Hans Bellmer, and Joel-Peter

  • Tatsuo Miyajima

    In its descent from science to popular culture, chaos theory has not fared particularly well. Coopted by a rave generation who like their ecstasy served on a bed of fractals, chaos has, for the vast majority, been virtually reduced to this graphic leitmotif. Greeted at first with wide-eyed wonder, fractal images now grab our attention with the force of someone else’s baby pictures. While the fractal-generating crowd aggresively promote their fuzzy paisleys as if they themselves had discovered DNA, the nontechno literati make do by rehearsing half-baked theories usually focused on the incredible

  • Lucas Samaras

    At one time or another, Lucas Samaras has played Svengali to almost every currently fashionable art practice. His Polaroid images predate the reconstructed narcissism of the current but not-so-new school of photo self-portraitists; his psychedelic, quiltlike “Reconstructions” of the mid ’70s were putting in “more love hours than can ever be repaid,” a decade before Mike Kelly; and the legacy of his particular brand of scato-fetishism can be felt in just about every project that comes under the all-purpose umbrella of “installation art”—whether phobic, abject, or sexually transgressive. Yet

  • Easy Virtue

    IF HISTORY, as the saying goes, repeats itself, then Baudelaire’s observations of life at the beginning of the Modern-era might apply equally to its end. What he saw, in terms that exceeded the purely sartorial, was “an immense procession of undertakers, mourners, political mourners, mourners in love, bourgeois mourners. All of us,” he went on to surmise, “are attending some funeral or another.”1 In the ’70s, when Ross Bleckner’s work first came to public attention, it too partook in a procession, announcing if not the death of painting, then its terminal exhaustion.

    Back then, painting appeared

  • Gary Hume

    Gary Hume’s early work took the form of a series of abstractions based on a type of double door familiar to those who have worked in restaurants or walked the corridors of Britain’s dysfunctional public service buildings—the kind that swing open from either side and from either direction. Featuring little more than a rectangular push plate and a round window, the doors, like the paintings, suggest the possibility of passage through an institutionalized—and increasingly bankrupt—space.

    Breaking with the formal constraints of the door series, Hume’s recent work nonetheless retains that high-gloss

  • Bill Owens

    Though conspicuously absent from public collections, Bill Owens’ photo-chronicles of middle America belong alongside those of the better known “social landscape” photographers of the ’60s and ’70s: Diane Arbus, Bruce Davidson, Lee Friedlander, and Gary Winogrand. Why Owens has slipped through the net is hard to tell. Admittedly Owens’ subject—the quotidian as sanctified in form and ritual—lacks the instantaneous allure or fashion quotient of Davidson’s subcultures or Arbus’ freak shows. Also perhaps the texts that often accompany his images work better in the book form of Suburbia, 1968–72,

  • Jon Kessler

    Like dreams of a future already past, Jon Kessler’s art is driven by a mechanistic poetics filled with nostalgia for things yet to come. The prophecies once held fast in the machine now seem but memories, slipping easily between past and future, the present and the imagination. Kessler exposes the obsolescence of our dreams, reconstructing them within the derelict space of evacuated technologies and unrealized worlds. Sifting through the remains of the future he forces us to confront the prematurity of modern science, and with it, our homesickness for a world we have never known. Where Kessler’s

  • Nicole Eisenman

    Oxymoronic when institutionally sanctioned and otherwise just plain moronic, the “bad girl” moniker went from epithet to epitaph in less than the allotted 15 minutes. Nevertheless, the trajectory of the term—from the pejorative to the laudatory and back again—has in most cases been a star far brighter than the practices it sought to illuminate.

    The work of Nicole Eisenman, however, might well be one of the few exceptions. Though within the rubric of the “bad”—subversive, funny, and not incidentally lesbian—it successfully exceeds the terms of the debate, finding a voice that is neither that of

  • Cady Noland

    Now that the uncanny, the abject, and the pathetic have been curated and written into submission, rummaging through the detritus of the American psyche has become something like business as usual, albeit in the inflated currency of the debased. Corralled within the critical rubric of antiform and establishment-baiting, the iconography of dysfunction and despair seems curiously disinherited from the social realities it purports to represent. It is as if malevolence and dis-ease have become the moral comforters of a generation uneasy with its own establishment status. In charting parallel territory,

  • Chris Burden

    As the oft-cited Michel Foucault has noted, in a society of generalized surveillance we do our own policing. In such regimes, power is not exercised but displayed, since its real operations come not from without but from within. Exploiting the fault lines of power and control, Chris Burden’s work has, in the past, invoked the internalization of perpetual but covert surveillance as conscience by recreating extreme situations. The notorious performances from the ’70s can he conceived as the deliberate and willful transgression of social and legislative codes: the power to inflict pain on the body,