Nico Israel

  • Richard Hamilton, Bronze by Gold, 1985.

    High Falutin Stuff

    You can almost hear Stephen Dedalus’s voice echoing in the halls of this hospital-turned-museum located on the edge of Phoenix Park.

    You can almost hear Stephen Dedalus’s voice echoing in the halls of this hospital-turned-museum located on the edge of Phoenix Park. To commemorate the one-hundredth anniversary of Bloomsday (June 16, 1904, as all Ulysses fans know), the IMMA presents an exhibition of seventy-five works—drawings, book illustrations, paintings, lithographs, and a number of recent artworks—related to James Joyce, the literary giant of Dublin who lived almost his entire adult life abroad. This show gathers works by fifteen artists, including Matisse, Lucy Richardson, Richard Hamilton,

  • Left to right: Farid al Jabari, Untitled, n.d., photo-transfer on vinyl, 72 x 24“. Dilovan Amin, untitled, 2003, digital image. From the series “Explosions,” 2003. Esam Pasha, Baghdad, 2003, mural, 13' 1 1/2” x 9' 10 1/8".

    Nico Israel on artists on the Iraqi front

    DURING THE NAZI OCCUPATION of Paris in the early 1940s, Picasso’s atelier at 7 rue des Grands-Augustins was regularly visited by Gestapo agents in search of inflammatory material and hidden Jews. Once, an officer noticed a sketch of Guernica pinned to a wall, and he asked the artist, “Was it you who made this?” Picasso replied succinctly, “No, it was you.”

    Whether or not the anecdote is true—Picasso supposedly told it to a Newsweek reporter shortly after the liberation of Paris—it reveals a great deal about the art of war. Picasso had never visited the Basque town of Guernica y Luno; he learned

  • “The American Effect”

    Taking a brief holiday from the Whitney’s declared mission to survey and promote American-made art, curator Lawrence Rinder offered up a gallery last summer to recent international artworks that explore the image of the post–cold war United States—a timely and quite brave gesture in a moment of “wars on terror,” “coalitions of the willing,” and pervasive self-censorship. To the extent that the United States now regards itself variously as beacon of freedom, misunderstood victim, and/or indispensable global policeman, the exhibition promised to provide a corrective; the fact that the US is regarded

  • High Desert Test Sites

    WELCOME TO THE REAL of the Desert: rocks, heat, cacti, empty beer cans, all-terrain vehicles, horizon, fire ants, lizards—and contemporary art.

    It’s Memorial Day weekend, and we’re heading east from Los Angeles on the Christopher Columbus Transcontinental Highway, more prosaically known as Route 10. We pass Diamond Bar, Rancho Cucamonga, and other barely distinguishable towns, about two hours later approaching the giant windmills of Morongo that mark the passage from the semi-arid desert to the arid extra-dry desert. Our destination is High Desert Test Sites, a project providing alternative space

  • Third Taipei Biennial

    Viewers entering the Taipei Fine Arts Museum were immediately confronted by Arena, 1997, Rita McBride’s enormous, semicircular sculpture in the form of curved empty stadium bleachers made of Kevlar. McBride put the viewers on stage, so to speak, in a performance of their own making and yet allowed them, if they wished, to sit down and take in the museum’s surroundings and the ongoing, ever-incipient play of others. This tension between potentiality and vacancy, between acting and watching, informed “Great Theatre of the World,” which took its title from a play by the seventeenth-century Spanish

  • Rudolf Schlichter Meeting of Fetishists and Manic Flagellants, c. 1923

    Phantom der Lust

    Shiny boots of leather/slimy bouts of pleasure: Graz pays homage to two of its most famous nineteenth-century residents, Leopold (Venus in Furs) von Sacher-Masoch and Richard (Psychopathia Sexualis) Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, with a summerlong salute to perversity.

    Shiny boots of leather/slimy bouts of pleasure: Graz pays homage to two of its most famous nineteenth-century residents, Leopold (Venus in Furs) von Sacher-Masoch and Richard (Psychopathia Sexualis) Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, with a summerlong salute to perversity. “Phantom der Lust: Visions of Masochism in Art” curated by Peter Weibel and Michael Farin, brings together works by 156 artists, from Bellmer and Beuys to Araki, Oehlen, and Opie; a symposium presents heavyweight thinkers Georges Didi-Huberman, Klaus Theweleit, and Gianni Vattimo; and a series of performances draws on the peculiar

  • Meg Cranston

    “Magical Death,” Meg Cranston’s most recent show, presented five portraits of the artist as a piñata. Papier-mâché mockups of the artist herself, “dressed” in colored-tissue outfits—striped pants, red shorts, shod in boots or adorned with an elaborate headdress—hung from the ceiling in a variety of poses. Fabricated by Cranston with the help of her art students, the pieces represented a semi-sincere attempt to portray her physically, as well as a direct send-up of the cult of the artist.

    With Kippenbergeresque energy and wit, Cranston has been investigating aspects of body and soul for several

  • Guillermo Kuitca, Nocturnes (Confessional Booths), 2002, oil and colored pencil on linen, 77 x 76 1/2".

    Guillermo Kuitca

    Mattresses, maps, theater layouts: Whatever Guillermo Kuitca paints, he paints exhaustively, producing through focused repetition and nuanced variation conceptually dense explorations of intimacy, order, and memory. The artist is only forty-one, but he has been making distinctive work for over twenty years and, astonishingly, had his first solo show at age thirteen. Curated by Paulo Herkenhoff and Sonia Becces, the exhibition surveys one hundred paintings and drawings and includes selections from Kuitca’s most recent suite of works, on Wagner’s Ring cycle. The Buenos Aires leg of the tour will

  • Josiah McElheny

    In Jorge Luis Borges’s “Los espejos velados” (Covered mirrors), the narrator (named Borges) tells of a former lover who had to veil all the mirrors in her room because every time she looked for her own face in the glass she would see his “usurping” image. The story resonates powerfully with Josiah McElheny’s conceptually infused blown-glass art, and not only because one of the newer works he showed during his first major museum exhibition in Europe was called Four Veiled Mirrors after a Fiction by Borges, 2001. When McElheny reflects on the objects he breathes into being, fiction intrudes,

  • Robert Smithson, Spiral Jetty, 1970.


    “There’s nothing to see. But if you want to head out there, more power to you,” said Nickie Smith, an employee of the Golden Spike National Historic Site visitor center, as she handed over a poorly photocopied map, her sidelong glance issuing a perceptible warning. This was an inauspicious way to begin the final leg of a ten-day journey.

    Late last summer my friend Andrew Leitch and I drove from New York to Promontory Summit, Utah, in search of Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, 1970. I still can’t say exactly why. Maybe it was the way Smithson pronounced “water,” northern New Jersey style, as he

  • Clockwise from top left: Jun Nguyen-Hatsushiba, Memorial Project Nha Trang, Vietnam. Towards the Complex. For the Courageous, the Curious, and the Cowards, 2001, still from a color video, 12 minutes. Chien-Chi Chang, The Chain (detail), 1998, installation with black-and-white photographs, each 61 3/4 x 41 3/4“. Sarah Morris, Midtown—Armitron (Madison Square Garden), 1999, house paint on canvas, 84 1/4 x 84 1/4”. Michael Wesely, 27.3.1997–13.12.1998 Potsdamer Platz, Berlin, 1997–98, color photograph, 68 7/8 x 78 3/4".

    the XXV Bienal de São Paulo

    After a nearly four-year hiatus during which infighting and political posturing nearly brought about its demise, the Bienal de São Paulo resurfaced with an exhibition that was a compromise from its inception. In desperation two years ago the Bienal Foundation made the tactical decision to turn to a foreign curator, Alfons Hug, an act of disavowal akin to what academic departments call receivership: the “we can’t do it; you do it” approach to conflict (see News, January 2001). A German national who has held various curatorial and cultural-envoy positions worldwide (mostly with the Goethe Institut;

  • Dominic McGill

    Doomsday is nigh, and Dominic McGill is ready. In his first solo show, the English-born, New York–based artist, formerly half of the performance duo Standard & Poor, presented a fascinatingly ambiguous series of sculptural installations that address the nuclear age and the paranoia that has accompanied it. There was of course a generation of artists—from Motherwell, Rothko, and Pollock to the early Robert Morris—whose weightily abstract existentialese made manifest a concern with the bomb and its potentially devastating effects. McGill's work is different in its embrace of pictorial possibility