Richard Meyer

  • Martha Rosler, Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem, 1966–72, collage on paper, 20 x 48 1/2".

    The “WACK!” catalogue

    A TECHNICOLOR SEA of bare-breasted women spills across the cover for the catalogue to “WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution,” an international survey of women’s art from 1965 to 1980 on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles through July 16. Designed by Lorraine Wild, the dust jacket reproduces a large detail from a Vietnam-era photocollage by Martha Rosler titled Body Beautiful, or Beauty Knows No Pain: Hot House, or Harem, 1966–72. More than any single work in the exhibition, more perhaps than the exhibition itself, the WACK! cover has become a site of interpretive conflict

  • Glenn Ligon, Warm Broad Glow, 2005, neon and paint. Installation view, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, 2006. Photo: Rick Gardner.

    LIGHT IT UP, OR HOW GLENN LIGON GOT OVER

    I'VE JUST ARRIVED in Toronto and am already running late. My taxi driver isn’t familiar with the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, the art space I need to get to. But he does know Harbourfront Centre, the cultural complex of which the Power Plant is part. He drops me off beside an expanse of shops and high-rise condominiums and I run into the building that looks the most like a refashioned factory. I am here for the opening of the survey exhibit “Glenn Ligon: Some Changes”—but virtually no one else seems to be. The place is nearly deserted. I look over to the gallery assistant at the front

  • “Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction, 1964-1980”

    The fifteen artists included—Al Loving, Alma Thomas, and Howardena Pindell among them—pursued vibrantly modernist alternatives to the figuration of the contemporaneous Black Arts Movement.

    Organized by Yale art historian Kellie Jones, this group exhibition joins the politics of race to the practices of avant-garde painting, sculpture, and video in the mid-'60s and '70s. The fifteen artists included—Al Loving, Alma Thomas, and Howardena Pindell among them—pursued vibrantly modernist alternatives to the figuration of the contemporaneous Black Arts Movement. The show's catalogue explores the creative contexts—like Minimalist sculpture and free jazz—that shaped black abstraction and presents a transcription of the museum's cross-generational

  • Art Since 1900

    “The first obligation of an art critic is to deliver value judgments.”

    —Clement Greenberg1

    FORGET EVERYTHING you know about the modern art survey––the capsule summaries of avant-garde movements, the potted versions of social-historical context, the glancing, “drive-by” descriptions of artists and works. Art Since 1900: Modernism, Anti-modernism, Postmodernism invests the art-history textbook with an unprecedented degree of critical intensity, intellectual ambition, and interpretive difficulty. Structured as a series of more than one hundred short but fully loaded essays, the book makes a powerful

  • Lynda Benglis

    “Vulgarity is gendered, of course.”1

    —T.J. Clark

    WHEN I TEACH AMERICAN ART of the 1970s, there is one work that always stops the class cold: Lynda Benglis’s ad from the November 1974 issue of Artforum. College students who respond matter-of-factly to other controversial works from the period––Vito Acconci masturbating beneath the floorboards of the Sonnabend gallery or Chris Burden’s having himself shot with a .22-caliber rifle––are visibly (and, on occasion, audibly) taken aback by the image of Benglis, naked and greased with oil, extending a dildo from her vagina. In contrast to the photographs

  • Robert Rauschenberg

    BEYOND THEIR FOCUS on the same artist, two new books on Robert Rauschenberg would seem to have almost nothing in common. Robert S. Mattison’s Robert Rauschenberg: Breaking Boundaries positions the artist’s life, intentions, and studio practice as the keys to understanding his work. Its highly accessible text and generous color illustrations suggest the book’s suitability for coffee-table display. Branden W. Joseph’s Random Order: Robert Rauschenberg and the Neo-Avant-Garde sets the artist’s early work within a dense context of Bergsonian philosophy, poststructuralist thought, and recent