Peter Lunenfeld

  • Lumière brothers, Panorama pendant l’ascension de la Tour Eiffel (Panorama from the Ascension of the Eiffel Tower), 1897–98, 35 mm, black-and-white, silent, approx. 50 seconds.

    “City of Cinema: Paris 1850–1907”

    THE DEATH OF CINEMA has been announced almost as often as the death of God. And why not link film to religion? For true cineastes, basking in the reflected images of more stars than there are in heaven (as the old MGM tagline had it) supersedes any epiphanies in church. But in Hollywood these days, signs of decay, if not of mortality, are everywhere. On Sunset Boulevard, the iconic Cinerama Dome has been shuttered since the start of Covid, the Oscars have been shedding categories and viewers, and box-office receipts were trending

  • Claes Oldenburg, Giant Ice Bag, 1969–70, polyvinyl, lacquered wood, mechanical and hydraulic components. Installation view, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1971. Photo: © Museum Associates/LACMA.

    “Art and Technology”

    THE TREACHERY OF IMAGES, 1929, is among the most iconic pictures produced in the twentieth century, but most people don’t know that this metatextual painting by René Magritte, depicting a pipe above the phrase CECI N’EST PAS UNE PIPE, is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It’s an ideal holding for the region’s largest and most comprehensive institution: The wit presages John Baldessari, the typography Ed Ruscha; the Foucauldian slippage between the real and the imaginary—well, that’s how SoCal rolls. The painting is also one of the last works you see before

  • Cameron in Los Angeles

    MARJORIE ELIZABETH CAMERON PARSONS KIMMEL—or Cameron, the name she preferred—was that rarest of figures, a seminal invisible. Artist, poet, witch, beacon of the counterculture, she knew everyone and materialized everywhere, though now her own name has all but vanished. Cameron showed with sculptor Edward Kienholz at Walter Hopps’s Syndell Studio in Los Angeles. She played the Scarlet Woman in Kenneth Anger’s 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. She knew L. Ron Hubbard before he founded Scientology. She had a small part in a movie with Dennis Hopper, who said that she scared

  • NET GAINS: A ROUNDTABLE ON NEW-MEDIA ART

    “EAVESDROPPING ON ONLINE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT digital and Net art, I always have a panic-attack feeling that the air has been sucked out of the room. Let's face it, a lot of this stuff is deeply sucky.” Strong words from self-styled tech maven Mark Dery, but the provocation mirrors a common enough skepticism when it comes to the marriage of art and digital technologies. As Saul Anton, Artforum's new website editor and the moderator of this roundtable, pointedly observes, such reserve is “inversely proportional to the exuberant embrace of all things digital in our culture at large.”

    Still, the ongoing

  • Focus: “Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945”

    “Hall of Mirrors: Art and Film Since 1945” must have seemed like a great idea when curator Kerry Brougher began working on the show almost a decade ago. Here was a way to infuse the hushed spaces of the museum with the vitality of popular culture, to draw in the art-shy masses and give them something they couldn’t get at home. The scope of the exhibition is intentionally broad, covering artists from Joseph Cornell to Cindy Sherman, and taking into account both the cinema’s dominant Hollywood mode and its avant-garde tangents. Indeed, the show’s catalogue, edited by Russell Ferguson, does manage