Richard Flood

  • Ed McGowin

    “Inscape” is the term Ed McGowin uses to describe his brand of visual story-telling. The term encompasses both his three-dimensional sculptures and his two-dimensional wall reliefs. The sculptures, such as the artist’s monument to William Faulkner in Mississippi, are a strange marriage of architecture and stage design whereby neo-Modernist structures are punctuated by windows and/or peepholes looking into sets which tellingly elaborate on a subject (the Faulkner piece is a tableau meditation on As I Lay Dying). The wall reliefs are brilliantly orchestrated explosions of right-angled fragments,

  • “Intimate Architecture: Contemporary Clothing Design”

    Fashion exhibitions in an art context are often little more than bad jokes which serve neither community. For the most part they are amateurish displays of glamorous haute bourgeois garments pinned on borrowed mannequins with bad wigs (or, frequently, no wigs). Institutions that wouldn’t allow a ginger jar to be mounted on a badly proportioned base think nothing of forcing an 18th century gown onto the armature of a 20th century mannequin. Equally inappropriate are the postures that the mannequins are assembled to hold; poses unthinkable for a person of a certain time are routinely incorporated


    This is the second section of Artforum’s coverage of the Documenta 7 exhibition, in which the work of some of the individual artists in the show is discussed. (See Artforum, September 1982, for a review of Documenta’s curatorial approach.) In the November issue, the Venice Biennale will be covered.


    Sol LeWitt seems to be in a period of productive splendor, a period that was trumpeted here by last fall’s high-reverb, triumphant cubes. LeWitt’s site-specific wall drawing for an alcove at Documenta 7 seemed nearly reckless, so thorough was its involvement with the architecture, even that

  • Wagner’s Head

    FOR A MOMENT, IT appeared that an enormous, 65-foot-long facsimile of Richard Wagner’s death mask, which had provided the craggy landscape for Hans Jürgen Syberberg’s film Parsifal, 1982, might be trucked into Kassel and installed on the grounds of Documenta. For a moment, Syberberg enthusiastically investigated the possibility of shipping it. In the end, the tentative offer from Documenta 7 was withdrawn and the head remained on a backlot in Munich. It is, perhaps, foolish to speculate on the implications of something that was only, for a moment, a possibility, but I think not. Nor is it possible

  • Helmut Newton

    In Emile Zola’s Nana, the critic Fauchery pens a vitriolic article for Le Figaro in which he likens the fabulous whore of a heroine to a golden fly: “And it was at the end of this article that the comparison with a fly occurred, a fly of sunny hue, which had flown up out of the dung, a fly which sucks in death on the carrion tolerated by the roadside, and then buzzing, dancing, and glittering like a precious stone, enters the windows of palaces and poisons the men within by merely settling on them in her flight.” Count Muffat, Nana’s guilt-ridden protector, reads Fauchery’s piece while covertly

  • “The Vietnam Experience”

    “The Vietnam Experience,” an exhibit of work by Vietnam veterans and Vietnamese emigres, closed on December 6, 1981. I wanted to write something about it back then, but couldn’t. Part of the problem was that the show really had very little to do with art. More than that, I felt stuck for something to say that would make sense of my totally emotional response to it. Well, time has passed and I’m still back where I was in December except that I’m convinced of the need to honor the importance of the effort and the potency of the accomplishment.

    Now as then, I am hard put to single out one piece of

  • William Copley

    Through 1980 and ’81, a retrospective of William Copley’s paintings bounced from the Kunsthalle in Bern to the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris to the Stedelijk in Eindhoven. It was a prestigious circuit, especially for an American artist who has yet to have an institutional show in his own country. It’s not hard to understand the reason for Copley’s neglect at the hands of American curators—the work is simply too naughty, a quality not sought after by public trusts. (I can’t think of one naughty painting in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, but there are several in the Barnes collection in

  • “Soundings”

    “Soundings” was a vast smorgasbord of a show, more akin to a Beaubourg extravaganza than anything normally experienced in an American museum. It had as its goal nothing less than a survey of the marriage of art and sound in this century.

    The show was divided into four main categories: “Paintings, objects and books that sound or imply sound”; “Instruments as sculpture and sculpture as instruments”; “Records and tapes”; and “Sound installations/Documentation of sound projects.” The loveliest work in the first category came from the dervish days just prior to World War I, when Europe was spinning

  • Theodora Skipitares

    There are moments of such emotional and esthetic persuasiveness in Theodora Skipitares’ most recent performance that,even though it was presented as a work in progress, it warrants discussion. For Skipitares to work with puppets is not new; her use of motorized puppets in their own detailed environments, however, is a recent development. The puppets are suggestively lifelike but only selectively animate: in one, for example, only the arm and head have mobility; the entire body of another is immobile, but that body is programmed to perform a convulsive jerk. The former is also capable of vomiting,

  • Christof Kohlhofer

    Christof Kohlhofer is a master of reverberant collisions. His imagery releases an exhilarating stream of consciousness which courses through popular culture, “high” art, current affairs, consumerism, politics, and the hagiography of crime. A seemingly expansive sentimentality acts as bait for what is ultimately revealed as mordant social satire, the essence of which conforms to what Samuel Johnson termed “discordia concors: a combination of dissimilar images, or discovery of occult resemblances in things apparently unlike.” One senses in Kohlhofer an artist reveling in the programmatic abandon

  • Earl Staley

    In the New Museum’s “Bad” Painting catalogue from 1978, Marcia Tucker relates an anecdote concerning a visit that she and others made to Earl Staley’s Houston studio: “When we left the studio, one of the visitors commented that his work ‘needs editing’ in order for one to see and appreciate it.” Wandering through Staley’s recent show, I could sympathize with that anonymous visitor’s reluctance to commit. The selection of work ranged from 1977 to 1981, and while it is definitely of a body (his pointy, jaw-intensive characterizations and hyper-Latin palette are highly distinctive), the focus of

  • Frank Young

    At last . . . real expressionist paintings. Just when everything from graffiti to a faucet with a drip is being described as expressionistic, there arrives a body of work that recalls the earlier, uncompromised meaning of the word. Frank Young’s paintings have a raw intensity that seems wrenched from a truly uncensored impulse. His six large canvases (most of them roughly eight by six feet), convey a sense of gestural violence only barely held in check by a mediating figurative concern. The surface quality is lush and, odd as it may sound, sophisticated. Francis Bacon, Georg Baselitz, and Willem