William E. Jones

  • Luther Price, Meat – A Fly In the Lens, 2005, 35-mm slide. Courtesy: Estate of Luther Price.
    passages June 30, 2020

    Luther Price (1962–2020)

    I FIRST HEARD OF LUTHER PRICE long before I saw him in person. Sodom (1989), his film juxtaposing Gregorian chants and gay porn footage that he had mutilated with a hole punch and then painstakingly put back together, earned him a legendary reputation in experimental film circles. We met in 2006 at Cinematexas, a disorganized festival on its last legs, and he was livid when his films were not presented as he wished. A negligent projectionist nearly destroyed one, which would have been a disaster, as the print was irreplaceable. Luther refused the convenient reproducibility of photographic media;


    PHOTOGRAPHER AND FILMMAKER James Bidgood might agree with a sentiment expressed in Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband: To be natural “is such a very difficult pose to keep up.” From 1960 to 1970—the period between the US court decisions affirming the redeeming social value of male physique photographs and subsequent ones establishing a legal definition of pornography—Bidgood constructed an elaborate artificial world for himself. His small, hermetic body of work combines eroticism and a vivid, campy vulgarity. Although artists such as Pierre et Gilles, David LaChapelle, and Steven Arnold have ransacked


    DAVID WOJNAROWICZ first became widely known during the brief vogue of the East Village art scene in the 1980s, but he distinguished himself from his contemporaries with the seriousness of his literary interests and the depth of his rage. In a passage from his book Close to the Knives: A Memoir of Disintegration, he describes his writing as a way of overcoming alienation:

    I had almost died three times at the hands of people I’d sold my body to in those days and after coming off the street and adapting to familiar routines of working and living under a roof, I could barely speak when in the company
  • Vern Blosum, Planned Obsolescence, 1963, oil on canvas, 67 1/4 x 53 1/4".

    Vern Blosum

    Between 1961 and 1965, an artist using the pseudonym Vern Blosum made forty-four paintings of common objects in the style of Pop art. These attractive artifacts were sold by Leo Castelli to prestigious collections, while the abstract paintings to which the artist would devote most of his working life achieved little worldly success. This summer at Kunsthalle Bern, curator Lionel Bovier will assemble nearly the entire oeuvre of Blosum’s brief vogue. A catalogue raisonné of this work is also in preparation. However, the artist, who has lived to see the revival of interest

  • Odilon Redon, Domecy Decoration: Trees, Yellow Background, 1901, oil, distemper, 94 5/8 x 72 7/8".


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions and events were, in their eyes, the very best of 2011.


    Mary Reid Kelley, Sadie the Saddest Sadist (Armory Show, New York) Tucked away in the back of the Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects booth at the 2011 Armory Show was a monitor showing a costumed figure with exaggerated face paint, pacing in front of a hand-drawn black-and-white background. The piece was Mary Reid Kelley’s Sadie the Saddest Sadist, 2009, and the mixed metaphors, narrative snippets, and repurposed

  • Left: Fred Halsted, L.A. Plays Itself, 1972. Still from a color film in 16 mm, 55 minutes. Right: Fred Halsted, Sextool, 1975. Production still.
    film August 23, 2008

    Halsted Plays Himself

    BORN IN LONG BEACH IN 1941 and raised all over the state of California, Fred Halsted rarely left his adopted city of Los Angeles. Capturing the city as few other films could, L.A. Plays Itself (1972), Halsted’s first film, has come to be regarded as a classic within the genre of gay porn. It looks more like an experimental film than a porno, and, in its time, it garnered Halsted the kind of celebrity that simply isn’t possible today. Halsted never held a regular job; he didn’t teach; he had no gallery representation; he had no agent; he didn’t shoot commercials or advertising campaigns; he didn’t

  • Pierre Klossowski, Les barres parallèles III (The Parallel Bars III), 1975, colored pencil on paper, 79 1⁄2 x 49 5⁄8". © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris.


    To take stock of the past year, Artforum contacted an international group of artists to find out which exhibitions were, in their eyes, the very best of 2007. Contributions by ten of those artists have been reproduced below. For the rest, see the December issue of Artforum.


    Daniel Mendel-Black, “The Paintings Are Alive” (Mandarin Gallery, Los Angeles) The eleven paintings in this show seemed to create a place for the palette of Play-Doh to oppress acrylic and oil into some perilous graphic universe of cynical optimism. Looking is like falling in these paintings; your eyes are