Peter Eleey

  • SOCIAL FORMATION

    “I THINK ABOUT MORANDI painting on top of a hill surrounded by fascism.” This is the first line of 1943, a text that Francis Alÿs wrote on the occasion of Documenta 13 in 2012, in which he muses, line by line, about the activities and sufferings of various European artists during the eponymous year of the war. Otto Dix watches his works destroyed by Nazis; Max Beckmann is under siege in Amsterdam. Leni Riefenstahl, however, deploys a cast of prisoners borrowed from the camps to film part of Tiefland. Alÿs’s list serves as a self-interrogation: Does an artist have an ethical obligation when

  • Trisha Brown

    THERE IS A PHOTOGRAPH of Trisha Brown and Stephen Petronio dancing her masterpiece Set and Reset in 1983, in which Brown appears to levitate. She seems to have flown in and alighted briefly on Petronio’s shoulder. And where had she come from? Brown grew up in coastal Washington, and she spoke often of the primordial effects that the forests of the Olympic peninsula had on her. “I never studied ballet,” she was quick to point out. “But I studied the natural principles one applies when one crosses a stream on a log. I know a lot about instinctive behavior. You’re working with energy and initiated

  • Sturtevant

    STURTEVANT WAS NOT HER NAME. It originally belonged to someone else, but she inhabited it and made it her own, inaugurating a kind of vaudeville that she would repeat many times over the fifty years of her career. She often said that she liked the name because of its power, but its camouflage surely also appealed to her. Abandoning any kind of recognizable style, she began in 1964 “utilizing Johns, Duchamp, or Warhol . . . as catalysts to dispose of representation,” dedicating herself to a practice whose force depends upon first being seen as what it is not. This meant that a lot of people