Rachel Kushner

  • Olivia Booth

    “IT IS NO COINCIDENCE," Walter Benjamin wrote in 1933, “that glass is such a hard, smooth material to which nothing can be fixed.” No coincidence, in other words, that cold and sober glass features prominently in the programmatic austerity of Loos and Le Corbusier. Glass in place of walls, Benjamin felt, offered a new, “good” sort of poverty. Traceless and transparent, the enemy of secrets and possessions, glass enacted modernism’s liberation from the plush, festooned decor of bourgeois Victorian interiors. But something can, of course, be fixed to this hard, smooth material: paint.

    For Los

  • David Korty

    If Pierre Bonnard employed color to domesticate modernist aesthetics, painter David Korty has used it to tame LA’s polluted skylines, lending a phosphorescent majesty to its poisonous sunsets, dusty twilights, and thick parfaits of smog. In a substantial shift, Korty’s recent show of paintings (all Untitled, 2004) at China Art Objects was considerably more austere than usual, dominated by ashen grays that suggested his subjects’ blanched, skeletal frames. His former trademark palette was characterized by acid shades of pomegranate, violet, and orange—colors that bleed. Gray, by contrast, can

  • Jim Drain

    For anyone unfamiliar with Forcefield, the Providence-based art and music collective in which Jim Drain participated, a brief synopsis might be in order: Forcefield surged to popularity when, as the cliché goes, they were “plucked from obscurity” for the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Their contribution to that show was a pandemonium of ear-cracking sound, seizure-inducing films, and bewigged mannequins sheathed in the collective’s trademark knit Afghans, which look like they were produced by a team of Taylorist acidheads with industrial looms. With an engagé ethos involving anticommercial, trash-assimilating,

  • OPENINGS: MINDY SHAPERO

    For centuries, Europeans had the means to cross the Atlantic but didn’t. The biggest challenge to ocean navigation wasn’t technical, as one might suppose; rather, explorers had to conquer their staggering fears of the unknown. S’engoulfer, or taking the plunge, the French said of those with the hubris to sail beyond the offing.

    “Take your eyes out to sea,” the title of Mindy Shapero’s solo show this past spring at Anna Helwing Gallery in Los Angeles, is a gentle solicitation to travel the high seas––not the Ocean of Darkness, as the Atlantic was once known, but its metaphoric double: the realm

  • 1000 WORDS: PAUL McCARTHY

    If politics acquaints a man with strange bedfellows, they become stranger still in the hands of Paul McCarthy, whose latest project, Piccadilly Circus, 2003, stars George W. Bush, Osama bin Laden, and England’s late Queen Mother (in triplicate). McCarthy filters Bush’s grave new world order through his trademark carnivalesque: Piccadilly’s protagonists wear clown shoes, speak in glossolalia, and cover one another with viscous goo. Exhibited last fall to open Hauser & Wirth’s new London space in a historic former bank, a listed Lutyens building on Piccadilly, the installation filled three floors;

  • 1000 WORDS: ROMAN SIGNER

    SINCE THE EARLY '70S Roman Signer has been conducting and documenting self-described “sculptural events” in the Swiss countryside, employing a limited repertoire of objects (blue barrel, red balloon, Christmas tree, dynamite) to produce various physical phenomena. Effects range from the pink smoke of flares trailing Signer's skis as he crossed a pristine snowfield (Zakopane, l994) to the subtle roving of a camera's eye view from a tabletop raft as it floated past vivid riparian scenery (Table with Camera, 2001), to more dramatic outcomes, like the controlled explosion of Observation Box,

  • 1000 WORDS: RODNEY GRAHAM

    In The Phonokinetoscope, 2001, Vancouver-based artist Rodney Graham once again casts himself as the protagonist of a short film loop. But unlike the desert-isle burlesque Vexation Island, 1997, or the sepia-hued Western How I Became a Ramblin' Man, 1999, Graham's latest project allows charm to reign over travesty. The film is set in Berlin's spring-blooming Tiergarten; its only props are a playing card, a clothespin, a vintage German bicycle, a thermos, and last but not least, a blotter of lysergic acid diethylamide, which Graham casually drops on his tongue while reposing on a rock.

    The title

  • Walter Hopps

    THE ANNOUNCEMENT IN MARCH of Walter Hopps’s appointment as the Guggenheim’s adjunct senior curator of twentieth-century art marks the latest triumph for director Tom Krens’s expansionist agenda—a campaign that is proving at least as vigorous when it comes to intellectual property as international real estate. Indeed, the visionary curator is but the latest jewel in the crown for the Manhattan museum superpower, currently celebrating the Gehry-Guggenheim partnership (a branding victory unrivaled since Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiral went up on 89th Street) with a full-dress retrospective of the

  • OPENINGS: CHRIS VERENE

    SOMETIMES THE RICHEST NARRATIVES have the humblest origins. Eudora Welty's worldly-wise fictions, for instance, were drawn almost entirely from her hometown, Jackson, Mississippi. Likewise, Chris Verene is elaborating an intricate narrative in his ongoing series of photographs about his birthplace, Galesburg, Illinois, where his family has lived for three generations. A railroad town of some 33,000 people, Galesburg has few sights to offer the occasional visitor besides the childhood home of Carl Sandburg and a charming if faded Main Street. If you have a job in Galesburg, chances are you work

  • 1000 WORDS: JIM SHAW

    In the late ’80s Jim Shaw went under. Plumbing the depths of his swampy unconscious, he brought back what seems a limitless supply of weirdness. Dreams at night were drawn by day; the idea was that, at some point down the road, he would fabricate the objects from his nocturnal visions, and he fell into what he now calls an addictive circle. The dream project (“Dream Drawings,” 1992–, and “Dream Objects,” 1995–) was conceived as a way to present oneiric artworks without all the baggage of Surrealism. But the obsessiveness with which he pursued that end is pure Buñuel. He describes his state of