Sam McKinniss

  • THE COME DOWN; OR, HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING

    THE TWENTY-FOUR-HOUR NEWS CYCLE, or whatever we’re calling it, served us roundups of reheated takes from the year being put down to rest. It had us believing our instincts that 2020 was bad, while suggesting that 2021 would be something else, which is a very fine claim as far as the selling of products goes. But no matter what comes next, the experiences of the past year will never go away, and they will never not be noteworthy. The annus horribilis of 2020 will never end, similar to the way trauma and post-traumatic stress might as well weigh the same upon a life. In media, however, during the

  • Garbage Man

    GORE VIDAL, the author, once said that people should never turn down the opportunity to have sex or be on television. Having seen television recently, I doubt he meant to equate the pleasures of sex with the experience of being on TV; rather, I suspect, he was trying to suggest that America is a land of opportunity, and that it would thus be un-American and potentially rude for a citizen of this country to turn down one opportunity or the other. I’m not sure. Many people might assume that the act of appearing on television validates lived experience in a manner similar to the way that intercourse

  • DEATH BECOMES HIM

    WHEN THE AMERICAN ARTIST, illustrator, and author Edward Gorey died out on Cape Cod in 2000 at age seventy-five, the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford was notified—I imagine via ominous phone call and completely without warning—that they were to receive a bequest of Mr. Gorey’s creepy and mysterious fine-art collection. Included in the gift, as the museum would soon learn, were a total of seventy-three works: etchings by Eugène Delacroix, Édouard Manet, and Charles Meryon; a lithograph by Edvard Munch and another by Odilon Redon; a Félix Vallotton woodcut; ten exquisite

  • CLOSE UP: HATCHET JOB

    Pa, (said George very seriously) do I ever tell lies?”

    —Parson Weems

    NORM MACDONALD tells a joke during his 2017 Netflix stand-up special in which he attempts to unravel one of America’s most cherished fake-news stories. That would be Parson Weems’s allegorical sketch of the country’s first president, a tale of a little boy hacking away at a perfectly good cherry tree for what would seem to be no reason other than the bratty fun of it, a little boy who nevertheless grew up to assume iconic, mythological status the world over. Weems invented this story out of thin air in 1806 as a way of

  • the best of 2016

    TO TAKE STOCK OF THE PAST YEAR, ARTFORUM ASKED AN INTERNATIONAL GROUP OF ARTISTS TO SELECT A SINGLE IMAGE, EXHIBITION, OR EVENT THAT MOST MEMORABLY CAPTURED THEIR EYE IN 2016.

    ALEX HUBBARD

    Rodin’s The Thinker, 1880–81, after a bomb planted by the Weather Underground exploded on March 24, 1970, at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Photo: C. D. Moore.

    ANNE COLLIER

    Portrait of Hilton Als by Catherine Opie, wrapped in bubble plastic, as it appeared in “James Baldwin/Jim Brown and the Children,” curated by Als for the Artist’s Institute, New York, June 14.

    SLAVS AND TATARS

    A disposable, self-administering

  • PaJaMa

    Vacation is boring, but does it have to be? I found myself reconsidering after seeing vintage photographs at Gitterman Gallery by the artists’ group PaJaMa, a loosely defined collaboration formed by American painters Paul Cadmus, Jared French, and Margaret French during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s. PaJaMa is an acronym made out of the first two letters of each member’s name. Jared and Margaret were husband and wife; Paul was Jared’s lover. All three shared affinities as painters, like tastes for the male nude and egg tempera.

    Gitterman gathered about forty pictures made in Fire Island, Nantucket,