Peter Halley

  • View of “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between,” 2017, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

    The Artists’ Artists

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum asked an international group of artists to select a single exhibition or event that most memorably captured their eye in 2017.


    Rei Kawakubo (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) This exhibition was an ecstatic explosion of imagination and ingenuity with a radical reconsideration of form at its core. Much of Kawakubo’s work is joyful and energetic, yet it is far from escapist; her practice is deeply grounded in the social, aesthetic, and material history of clothing and in the importance we humans have assigned to appearance and comportment.

  • Franz Erhard Walther, Element No. 5: Elfmeterbahn, 1964, cotton. Installation view, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 1969. From the series “1.Werksatz” (First Works Set), 1963–69. Photo: Timm Rautert.

    “Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Decides”

    Franz Erhard Walther’s 1960s work with the body hasn’t received the same critical attention as that of Chris Burden or Bruce Nauman, perhaps because it never engaged issues of popular culture. What’s more, Walther himself was seldom the protagonist. Instead, he choreographed other bodies in scenarios akin to the experimental dance of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer. And his sensibility is emphatically European, the photographs of these performances recalling the brooding existentialist films of Ingmar Bergman. Walther’s work eerily evokes the diametrically opposed

  • Peter Halley

    IN THE EARLY ’80S, THERE WERE PROBABLY A HALF DOZEN artists, all of them very different from one another, who claimed a relationship to Warhol. I thought my work had something to do with Warhol, but so did Julian Schnabel. Warhol was one of the first artists to see the photographic image as the subject of a work of art. He was virtually unconcerned with anything tangible, real, or lived. For him, the photograph became reality, or his touchstone to reality.

    I read Interview religiously in the ’70s. I was fascinated by it—both the idea of the interview and the range of people the magazine covered.

  • Nicholas Krushenick

    NICHOLAS KRUSHENICK was one of the most exciting painters to emerge in the early ’60s. His work has always resisted classification. On an obvious level, it combined elements of coloristic hard-edge abstraction and Pop. More subtly, he was part of a trend that has been little discussed—the desire to transform the physical energy of AbEx into a vocabulary of coolly produced, impersonal, industrial-and commercial-looking forms. He shared this goal with artists as diverse as Ronald Bladen, George Sugarman, Al Held, and even Yayoi Kusama—all of whom exhibited at New York’s Brata Gallery, which


    SOME PEOPLE SAY we live in a world of objects—a world of three-dimensional lived space, the apprehension of which can somehow yield autonomous experiences. For me, however, our world is a two-dimensional place of images and signs, where our thoughts are focused on the flat screen. Painting remains of interest because of its one-to-one relationship with this two-dimensional world.

    A lot of people, of course, have trouble with the idea of painting. They argue that the practice of painting today is an anachronism. I think this argument is flawed. One cannot make a case based solely on historical