Scott Rothkopf

  • OPENINGS: RICHARD ALDRICH

    RICHARD ALDRICH hates being called ironic or a slacker. The fact that critics have lately called him both, without any air of opprobrium, may say more about the critical winds encircling recent abstract painting than it does about his disparate and disarming canvases—most “nonobjective” in the old-fashioned sense, some scrawled with graffiti or collaged with media scavengings, a few overtly depictive. Such modest multifariousness invites us to imagine that Aldrich is involved in a kind of authorial gamesmanship, and it is comforting to read jokey gestures like gluing almonds to a painting or

  • Peter Saul, Vietnam, 1966, oil on canvas, 79 1/4 x 67".

    Peter Saul

    Peter Saul has been enjoying (or mired in) a protracted state of critical rediscovery for nearly twenty years—a process that may finally reach its conclusion with the artist's first American survey, organized by guest curator Dan Cameron.

    Peter Saul has been enjoying (or mired in) a protracted state of critical rediscovery for nearly twenty years—a process that may finally reach its conclusion with the artist's first American survey, organized by guest curator Dan Cameron. We've long heard how Saul's acrid allegories of rubbery humanoids stood apart from Pop's prevailing pieties and paved the way for artists from Mike Kelley to Dana Schutz, but this show of roughly fifty paintings and drawings made since the late 1950s will put his own oeuvre squarely in the spotlight. At a time when global politics seem as

  • Christian Jankowski, Puppet Conference, 2003, still from a color video, 26 minutes.

    “The Puppet Show”

    Citing Alfred Jarry's 1896 play Ubu Roi as their touchstone, curators Carin Kuoni and Ingrid Schaffner look beyond the use of actual puppets to related artworks exploring themes of the alter ego, miniaturization, and control.

    Close on the heels of Team America and Avenue Q, an unlikely puppet-art zeitgeist seemed to be dawning a few years back when marionettes, dolls, and dummies made star turns in works by Christian Jankowski, Philippe Parreno and Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Pierre Huyghe (who cast this writer as a bobblehead manikin). Each of these projects makes a command performance in this show of some forty works made since 1973, alongside contributions by Nathalie Djurberg, Kara Walker, and twenty-one others. Citing Alfred Jarry's 1896 play Ubu Roi as their touchstone,

  • Peter Doig, Reflection (What Does Your Soul Look Like?), 1996, oil on canvas, 116 x 78 3/4".

    Peter Doig

    Peter Doig coaxes a languid air from tremulous surfaces, and this may make him closer to the painters of the 1890s than to those of the 1990s, the decade in which he emerged.

    Peter Doig coaxes a languid air from tremulous surfaces, and this may make him closer to the painters of the 1890s than to those of the 1990s, the decade in which he emerged. His slow unspooling of color and the ambling specificity of his touch are easily lost in reproductions but will be abundantly evident in this survey of more than fifty paintings and related drawings from the past two decades. The catalogue features essays by Tate Britain's Judith Nesbitt and art historian Richard Schiff, supplemented by an ample selection of Doig's photographic sources, which promises

  • INTRODUCTION

    What was once seditious is now ubiquitous. If ninety years ago Marcel Duchamp infamously claimed the products of industry as his own and a half century later Donald Judd furthered this scandal by directly co-opting the language of manufacture, today artists employ the hands and machines of others so commonly as to scarcely draw notice. A cursory survey of contemporary galleries, biennials, and art magazines reveals that a vast preponderance of artworks in our time—like the two dozen apparently disparate examples arrayed here—involve outsourced labor, industrial processes, and custom

  • 1000 WORDS: FRANCESCO VEZZOLI

    GO AHEAD, ADMIT IT: You’re more than a little curious to see Francesco Vezzoli’s contribution to the new Italian Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennale. If, for some, disclosing such curiosity might be a kind of quasi confession, it’s in part because Vezzoli’s last Venetian outing—Trailer for a Remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula, 2005—has over the intervening years become something of an art-world guilty pleasure, an unrepentant consummation of art’s long and sometimes agonized courtship with the firmament of celebrity-addled spectacle. Sure, we’ve managed to carve out an amorphous critical space

  • EMBEDDED IN THE CULTURE: THE ART OF PAUL CHAN

    THE ELEVATOR man is hassling me. I’m in a building in Chelsea trying to find Paul Chan’s studio, but his name isn’t listed in the directory and I’m not making much progress with the attendant. “Why do you want to see him?” I’m asked. “What do you do? Is he expecting you?” The interrogation is unsettling—my first maximum-security studio visit. Despite my best efforts, the attendant refuses to divulge the suite number but eventually agrees to take me there. He asks the other passengers to wait as he chains the elevator cage open and proceeds to lead me along an anonymous hall to a door simply

  • Eva Hesse

    Following Hesse's landmark multimedia retrospective in 2002, this exhibition, co-organized by the Drawing Center and the Menil Collection, brings drawings to the fore with a survey of one hundred “finished” works on paper, supplemented by a selection of Hesse's 1965 reliefs, a small group of sculptural works, and rarely seen notebooks and diaries.

    Eva Hesse spent much of her decade-long career engaged in drawing—at times even in her sculpture. Perhaps more than any artist of her generation (with the possible exceptions of Fred Sandback and Richard Tuttle), she brought qualities of line off the page into her work in three dimensions. Following Hesse's landmark multimedia retrospective in 2002, this exhibition, co-organized by the Drawing Center and the Menil Collection, brings drawings to the fore with a survey of one hundred “finished” works on paper, supplemented by a selection of

  • 1000 WORDS: JOSIAH McELHENY

    It’s easy to love a Castiglione lamp. Harder, perhaps, to embrace without irony the more tricked-out artifacts of modernism’s schizophrenic dotage. Such Jetsons-era concoctions could scarcely be called “timeless,” but for artist Josiah McElheny that’s precisely their allure. McElheny has repeatedly gravitated toward a class of objects that show both their age and their Age, embodying as they do the often unresolved or inassimilable aesthetic aspirations of their historical milieu. He has taken as his subject not the Bauhaus’s iconic Wagenfeld lamp but that design school’s madcap Metal Party,

  • View of “Karen Kilimnik,” Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Palazzetto Tito, Venice, 2005.*

    Palazzo Intrigue

    As I made my way past souvenir shops crammed with gold- and crystal-encrusted trinkets toward Karen Kilimnik’s exhibition at the Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, I began to worry that Kilimnik needed a show in a Venetian palazzetto about as much as Thomas Cole needs a retrospective in a forest. After all, her off-kilter studies in fandom, whether directed at contemporary urban waifs or traditional bucolic splendors, have always thrived on their palpable alienation from the glamorous and tawdry worlds they conjure—an ambience not lived but learned from glossy magazines, a period memoir, a paused

  • Glenn Ligon, Boys with Basketball, Harriet Tubman, Salimu, Letter B#3, 2001, oil crayon and silk screen on paper, 22 1/2 x 16 1/4".

    Glenn Ligon

    Glenn Ligon has long demonstrated an omnivorous taste for words and images by the likes of Richard Pryor and Adrian Piper. However, this midcareer survey of more than fifty works spanning two decades traces Ligon’s penchant for gobbling up and reevaluating his own earlier output. Condition Report, 2000, for example, is based on a conservator’s assessment of a painting from twelve years before, while other works find Ligon meditating more generally on the theme of revision. A catalogue with contributions by Wayne Koestenbaum and Mark Nash, among others,

  • On the left: Artforum editor Scott Rothkopf talks with Yoko Ono. On the right: A Miamian.
    diary December 04, 2004

    High Crass

    Miami

    Day two of the art fair began with a phone call from Yoko Ono. “Hello,” I said tentatively, picking up the receiver. “Hello,” she replied. With the easy part behind us, we talked about the weather. “Is it warm in Miami?” she asked. “Yes,” I answered. “And sunny.” I couldn’t believe it—not that I was actually chatting with Yoko, but that the conversation was virtually indistinguishable from one I might have had with my grandmother. Perhaps this shouldn’t have surprised me, though, since she had absolutely no idea who had answered the ringing phone of her Talking Sculpture, perched on a table