Steve Lafreniere

  • Left: Curator Dan Cameron and artist Lee Quinones. Right: Wild Style director Charlie Ahearn.
    diary December 11, 2004

    Blast from the Past

    New York

    The crush at the New Museum's opening for “East Village USA” was snarly yet fun, a little like being jammed into one of those unisex bathrooms at the Mudd Club, sans vomit. It was Old Home Week for the art world's Class of ‘81, seemingly a less-reserved bunch than one typically encounters nowadays, with air kisses replaced by cries of, “Shit, Anastasia, I thought you were dead!” The flamboyant mob—two glasses of wine were knocked out of my hands in five minutes—was a veritable who's-left of the era. Stephen Tashjian (Tabboo!) provided me with a running commentary worthy of Joan Rivers

  • Left: Phiiliip performing. Top right (left to right): John Connelly, Kathy Grayson, Jeffrey Deitch. Bottom right (left to right): Grant Worth, Michael Magnan, Alex Tuttle. (Photos: Conrad Ventur.)
    diary November 23, 2004

    Pop Live


    Maybe it was the ice-cream truck dispensing free sundaes out front or the guffawing long-haired dude boinging up and down on the trampoline inside, but the opening of “Phiiliip: Divided By Lightning” at Deitch Projects’ Williamsburg outpost felt like a decidedly off-kilter fun fair. Phiiliip—né Philip Guichard—is the 24-year-old cipher whose home-recorded album Pet Cancer made all the best-of lists in 2001. He’s also a club entrepreneur, DJ, and part-time Dior model with one glittery foot plopped in Scott Hug’s K48 magazine scene. “P:DBL,” organized by John Connelly Presents and produced by

  • Rodney Graham, Study for Rheinmetall, 2003

    Biennale d’Art Contemporain

    This seventh installation of the Lyon Biennale might prove to be this year’s idiosyncratic jewel.

    This seventh installation of the Lyon Biennale might prove to be this year’s idiosyncratic jewel. Organizers Anne Pontégnie (Brussels), Bob Nickas (New York), and Consortium curators Xavier Douroux, Franck Gautherot, and Eric Troncy (Dijon) aim to return primacy to the art, in part by ignoring the “who’s hot” expediency of other big shows. The Lyon team’s mix of around fifty artists is both curious and sound. There’s work by ’60s/’70s visionaries Betty Tompkins, Robert Grosvenor, and Gustav Metzger (with a rare Liquid Crystal projection); new films from Rodney Graham and Hiraki Sawa; and

  • Richard Prince

    STEVE LAFRENIERE: You weren’t in Douglas Crimp’s “Pictures” exhibition, but a lot of people seem to think you were, maybe because of your later association with Helene Winer, who was at Artists Space before starting Metro Pictures. Did you feel a kinship to the artists in the “Pictures” show?

    RICHARD PRINCE: I’ve never said this before, but Doug Crimp actually asked me to be in that show. I read his essay and told him it was for shit, that it sounded like Roland Barthes. We haven’t spoken since. I didn’t know anybody in the show at the time. I later became friends with Troy Brauntuch. I still

  • Ashley Bickerton and Roddy Bogawa in Bickerton’s studio, New York, 1988.

    Ashley Bickerton

    STEVE LAFRENIERE : In 1986 you were in the infamous neo-geo show at Sonnabend with Peter Halley, Meyer Vaisman, and Jeff Koons. It seemed as if the critics wanted to cast the four of you in total opposition to both neo-expressionism and the Pictures artists.

    ASHLEY BICKERTON: That was probably all that united us. We were cool—or cold—and we were against “them.” The angry young men rebelling, and like all rebellions it was about taking control.

    SL: Did the four of you have the idea of being shown together?

    AB: No. It didn’t even have to be the four of us, it just turned out that way. That package

  • Steve Lafreniere

    HANGING ON THE WALL OF CHRISTIAN HOLSTAD’s Brooklyn studio is a string of shiny cardboard letters that reads INFECT OTHERS. Just a suggestion, really, but one that couldn’t be plainer about the artist’s intentions. There’s a slyly evangelical tone to Holstad’s work; it aims to repudiate bad faith in a time seemingly piled high with it.

    Holstad is interested in cognition, in particular the shifty relationships between touch, neurology, and sublimer states. Investigating these, he’s developed a unique art practice, one that emphasizes its own meditative processes. If that sounds reductive, the work

  • Steve Lafreniere


    1. Paperecordings, Splinter 05 The best compilation yet from Manchester’s bewitching left-field deep-house label usefully narrows the distance between sex and thinking.

    2. Linda Thompson, Fashionably Late After seventeen years, Linda Thompson appears from out of the mist to plunge in a few more daggers. One of the most beautiful voices on earth.

    3. Royksopp, Melody A.M. Norway’s darlings cross Arling & Cameron with Sparks, but their lyrical heart belongs to Rod McKuen.

    4. Would-be-goods, The Camera Loves Me A rerelease of the strangest art-rock album of the ’80s. Protégés of ultradandy


    Spend any time in Providence, Rhode Island, and you begin to see why H.P. Lovecraft never moved away. The master of prewar horror lit was born in Providence and for much of his adult life could be found walking the streets of the old seaport, soaking up its indistinct light and sepulchral vibe. A kind of low-level dread held him there, he told friends, one he could only hope to insinuate into his writing.

    Forcefield hasn’t left Providence either. The four-man artist collective has been working there since attending the Rhode Island School of Design in the early ’90s. They’ve taken the town’s

  • “The LP Show”

    IN THE HISTORY OF GRAPHIC DESIGN there are few surfaces more burnished with dreamland desire than album covers. That’s probably the fault of Alex Steinweiss, a designer who in 1939 talked Columbia Records into letting him spruce up some of their standard blank sleeves. First was Smash Song Hits by Rodgers and Hart, for which Steinweiss created a collage of Broadway marquees floating over a red and black spiral. Sales spiked on Smash Song Hits, and soon enough, faux-surreal album covers were de rigueur. Every big label cleared space for an art department, and the rest, as they say, is Dark Side