Sam Pulitzer

  • the 2015 New Museum Triennial

    THE NEW MUSEUM TRIENNIAL is an exploration of culture’s future through the art of today. And this futurity is the province of curating and marketing alike: The traditional retrospective survey is here replaced by a predictive model, going for broke rather than for taste, for speculative investment rather than accrued aesthetic value. As one of the more recent kids on the New York block to inhabit a brick ’n’ mortar architectural logo, the New Museum has made a triannual wager on art that relies on bankability. The first two go-rounds, in 2009 and 2012, laid some notable groundwork. The first

  • Tobias Kaspar

    Tobias Kaspar’s recent exhibition, parenthetically titled “(Many who have a notion of their potential and needs, and who nevertheless in their heads accept the ruling system and thereby consolidate and downright confirm it),” could be seen as an exercise meant to gauge how much interest remains in mimicry as an artistic technique. When the communicative potential of artistic reduplication enunciates not the differences that condition such a parrot act but instead, as suggested by the title, strategically mouths the present arrangement of power’s effects, what call is sounded in this charade of

  • The Best Exhibitions of 2013

    To take stock of the past year, Artforum asked an international group of artists to select the single image, exhibition, or event that most memorably captured their eye in 2013.

    SERGEJ JENSEN

    Two thousand thirteen was a good year for art. Whoever says the opposite is an ignoramus. I like the artist Flame.

    PHILIP-LORCA DICORCIA

    Alighiero Boetti (Museum of Modern Art, New York) I don’t see all that many shows, but I’d bet on MoMA’s recent “Alighiero Boetti: Game Plan” as one of the recent best. Boetti’s work and name are equally memorable, and to think that he was operating like this well before “

  • “Forrest Bess: Seeing Things Invisible”

    “The work of Forrest Bess has recently reemerged in art-historical culture, contextualized with a narrative not dissimilar to that of Bess’s artistic idol, van Gogh.”

    The work of Forrest Bess has recently reemerged in art-historical culture, contextualized with a narrative not dissimilar to that of Bess’s artistic idol, van Gogh: A painter (rich in homo sacer innuendo) rends open the aesthetic dialectic of corporeality and sensibility to clear room for an exceptional bioaesthetic art, resulting not only in radical acts of body modification and diagnoses of madness but also (for us) a ground plan for the reorganization of artistic possibility, both on canvas and off. Consolidating forty-eight of Bess’s paintings and an expanded version

  • OPENINGS: DAVE MIKO

    STOWED AWAY IN THE SUBTERRANEAN ENVIRONS of a Chinatown mall, Dave Miko’s current New York show is by no means a public affair. Since February, the artist has been hosting visitors to this closet-size exhibition one by one. And with no opening, press release, or publicity of any kind, there are only two ways to become a visitor. The first is to receive an invitation extended by Miko himself. The second is to piggyback onto someone else’s invite, crashing this party of two. Either way, Miko’s elaborately constructed social architecture brings the volitional status of both spectator and artist to

  • “It Is What It Is. Or Is It?”

    Considering the vast art-historical legacy of Duchamp’s invention of the readymade, it seems wise that Dean Daderko has opted for a protean approach in curating “It is what it is. Or is it?”

    Considering the vast art-historical legacy of Duchamp’s invention of the readymade, it seems wise that Dean Daderko has opted for a protean approach in curating “It is what it is. Or is it?” Daderko’s inaugural project at the museum aims to highlight the diverse artistic formations that have descended from Duchamp’s acerbic dispositif, paying particular attention to the multivalent, global contexts of media, technology, and social histories from which artists are drawing today. Among the contributions from eighteen figures, expect to see Bill Bollinger’s little-remembered

  • Darren Bader

    The self-penned introductory wall text for “Images,” Darren Bader’s first museum exhibition, opens with a trio of epigrams. While two are easily attributable (to Groucho Marx and Leonard Cohen), the third, courtesy of “Ford” (Tom, perhaps?), is less so. However, of the bunch, it offers viewers the closest thing that Bader’s absurdist practice has to a guiding principle. “Stuff: the precise affinity between the generic and the specific,” it decrees. Accordingly, throughout the exhibition’s gallery space, where one would expect to find the products of artistic labor, stuff appears instead, and,

  • diary February 16, 2012

    Doom Generational

    THOSE ARTS WORKERS who find themselves cc’d in the Google Group discussion threads of the OWS–initiated Arts & Labor group are no doubt aware of a plan to shut down the Whitney Biennial in 2014 (a protest against its apparent exclusionary curatorial habits). No such clamor was raised against the imminent arrival—or presumed future, this being the year of Quetzalcoatl after all—of the New Museum’s now-signature triennial, the Generational. The second edition’s Palgrave Macmillan–worthy subtitle, “The Ungovernables,” set a high bar for how social behavior might manifest during Tuesday’s “VIP”

  • picks January 26, 2012

    Greg Parma Smith

    If paintings produce painters, how might one understand this painting subject correctly? Certainly correctness is relative to its milieu, so in what sense can painting’s social proprieties be sullied, and, more important, to what reasonable ends? With this in mind, let’s consider Greg Parma Smith’s current exhibition, “Life Drawings, Poseurs, and ‘thirteen oil paintings on canvas.’ ” In the eleven works on view, this conceptual trio of figurative themes are put to work with wildly disparate results. Painted from nude models, the “Poseurs” offer a United Colors of Benetton–esque collection of

  • picks January 18, 2012

    Matt Hoyt

    Minutely arranged on a number of unobtrusive shelves, Matt Hoyt’s sculptural works appear as art as if by incidence: Each seems to resemble cast-off flotsam one might typically kick about while wandering through a train yard or a former industrial lot. This may lead an inattentive viewer into mistaking Hoyt for a rarified variant of the urban archaeologist, classing findings according to a cryptically individuated set of aesthetic criteria.

    Yet close scrutiny soon reveals these works as the product of an immersive craft. Amalgams of putty, clay, paint, plaster, resin, and a number of mercurial

  • The Generational

    Differentiated from its predecessor by a late-Foucault-meets-Cedar-Tavern title—“The Ungovernables”—this sophomore edition of the New Museum Triennial assembles a globe-spanning coterie of thirty-plus artists and collectives.

    Differentiated from its predecessor by a late-Foucault-meets-Cedar-Tavern title––“The Ungovernables”––this sophomore edition of the New Museum Triennial assembles a globe-spanning coterie of thirty-plus artists and collectives. One can expect to find a gamut of artistic approaches arrayed here––from Danh Vo’s diasporic flaneurism to Public Movement’s totalitarian charades to Abigail DeVille’s explosive decoupage. Additionally, Joo will introduce a number of long-gestating projects to the exhibition’s format, including residencies by Wu Tsang, Adrián Villar Rojas, and Shaina

  • picks October 17, 2011

    Andrei Koschmieder

    In his first stateside exhibition, “ANDROID KOSCHMIEDER,” Andrei Koschmieder seizes the license contemporary art offers its producers to fabricate works wholly dissolved of custodial convention. Here, the distinctions that stratify media into concrete disciplines have liquefied—sometimes quite literally, as in this show’s thirteen epoxy resin pieces—into an elastic hybridity founded equally on gestural interpretation and industrial specifications. In keeping with this gravely irreverent stimmung, one is tempted to label Koschmieder’s pieces simply as “resins” in place of typical referents such

  • picks September 06, 2011

    Xavier Cha

    It is not every day that one is greeted with cries of anguish when entering the lobby gallery of the Whitney Museum. However, thanks to Xavier Cha’s performance-based work Body Drama, 2011, such wails are standard fare for visitors through the remainder of this exhibition’s tenure. In the first component of this gravely austere two-part work, at the top of every hour, a hired actor—an ostensible stand-in for the artist—emotes an anguished state of extreme anxiety as part of a roughly twenty-minute live performance in a bare gallery. For the work’s second part, a video projection of these

  • Ryan Trecartin

    EMULATING THE INFORMATION NETWORKS that are its chief distribution platform, Ryan Trecartin’s digital cinema doesn’t tell stories—it generates content. And then some. His exhibition at MoMA PS1, “Any Ever,” presents seven films: the trilogy Trill-ogy Comp, 2009, and the quartet Re’Search Wait’S, 2009–10. Like all of Trecartin’s videos, these are replete with the fashion-conscious use of postgender drag, zeitgeist-baiting sound bites, hyperkinetic montages of live and animated footage, and a troupe of youthful protagonists who nimbly wend their way through a rapid sequence of surreally

  • picks June 13, 2011

    David Ratcliff

    Given David Ratcliff’s predilection for monochromatic, stenciled paintings—museum-ready pieces augmented by the facture of punk graphics—comparing this California-based painter to an inveterate New York artist like Christopher Wool seems like a clean fit. When one settles for such an easy comparison, though, where does that leave Ratcliff’s hometown of Los Angeles—a city whose visual culture, thanks to its global entertainment industry, also stands in for America’s?

    His unlikely marriage of two of the city’s earlier practices—the highbrow pastiches of Lari Pittman and the subcultural scraps of

  • picks December 12, 2010

    Dan Torop

    If we are in fact “jetting through the world with our tails on fire,” as Ishmael Reed’s 1977 poem “Sky Diving” suggests, how might we approach photography, a medium that can uncannily seize a passing moment and give it a new life as an image? In a manner that is as erudite as it is modest, Dan Torop eloquently responds to this question with his current exhibition, “Skydiving.” Reframing the prephotographic depiction of nature––in particular Nicolas Poussin’s arcadian sensibility and the tradition it fostered––through the democratic camera of postwar photography, Torop’s fifteen photographs

  • picks September 28, 2010

    Katharina Wulff

    “Hysteric Whimsy,” the translated title of Katharina Wulff’s latest exhibition, “Wanwizzi,” could very well describe much recent figurative painting. The idea of paintings whose subjectively tailored idiosyncrasies, their very wanwizzi, lie in an ability to effectively claim ownership of the masterful subjects of premodernist painting—this, despite obvious ironies, draws artists such as John Currin, Lukas Duwenhogger, and Mark Ryden into dangerously close proximity. Or consider, on the other hand, the work of Karen Kilimnik and Elizabeth Peyton, where the uniform lack of a master’s surface is