COLUMNS

  • The More the Scarier

    I arrive at the Saturday night opening of Jonathan Horowitz’s show “The New Communism” to find a sign at the front desk that reads, “Under the New Communism, phone calls to Gavin Brown’s enterprise will be answered by Gavin Brown himself.” (I discover a few days later when I call the gallery to ask a question that this isn’t entirely true; an assistant picks up, as the proprietor is, of course, in London for the Frieze Art Fair.) For some time now, Horowitz has explored ways to reinvest Pop iconography and conceptual strategies with contemporary social and political content, for instance in “Go

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  • Gin Biz

    It’s that time of year again. Several thousand specimens of international art trash and flash have descended on London for the Frieze Art Fair. The first site of infestation was the Turner Prize exhibition opening at Tate Britain Monday night. What work was visible through the swarm of bodies revealed what seemed to be a surprisingly evenly matched line-up. Simon Starling, the local favorite, chose to obstruct the first room with his vast ShedBoatShed (Mobile Architecture No. 2), 2005, a shed that became a boat and then, you’ve guessed it, was reassembled to become a shed again. After maneuvering

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  • Becking Order

    The only other time I’d noticed Tokion, self-described as “the National Geographic for our pop culture generation,” was when the groovily designed flyers (fin de siècle by way of Haight-Ashbury) for their last conference at Cooper Union caught my eye and aimed it at a stellar lineup of art and media people. This year’s third annual chatfest probes “Creativity Now,” and the line-up is no less impressive. Saturday afternoon, I caught two back-to-back panels: “Iconic Advertising” and “Design & Grace.” Heading across St. Marks Place, passing stall after stall of punk tchotchkes, I appreciated the

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  • Good Reception

    Three standing ovations, buffeted by extended applause from several hundred loudly cheering people, were not enough. Constant hugs and smiles from the assembled artists were not enough. Laudatory speeches were not enough. Even with the entire history of modern art rising to the occasion, none of it was enough to express the tender and powerful feelings that Elizabeth Murray inspired in her friends and colleagues on Monday night, at the “family” reception for her retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art.

    “It's serious but not lugubrious,” said a giddy Rob Storr of the exhibition, which was more

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  • De Young and the Restless

    The new de Young Museum, a smart, sexy, copper-clad edifice by Herzog & de Meuron, has international eyes on an institution that’s historically been more comfortable catering to its local community than to the global entity known as the “art world.” With the exception of conceptually-inflected new photos by Catherine Wagner, the opening exhibitions—an ancient Egypt crowd pleaser, Jasper Johns prints—weren’t designed to engender critical dialogue. It was the building itself, with its metallic façade and twisty, asymmetrical tower, that was thought-provoking. An opening weekend that featured a

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  • Ninety-Nine Percent Perspiration

    My faithful photographer and I arrive ridiculously early at the opening reception for the group exhibition “Both Ends Burning.” The show, at David Kordansky Gallery, is a reunion of sorts for four Los Angeles-based artists—Amy Bessone, Thomas Houseago, Matthew Monahan, and Lara Schnitger—who all met, circa 1994, at De Ateliers in Amsterdam. This is the first local gallery exhibition for them (though Schnitger appeared in “Thing” at the Hammer earlier this year), and anticipation runs high. Walking into the densely installed gallery, I immediately sense the show’s confrontational tone,

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  • Bump and Grind

    Slumped on a bench behind the check-in desk at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 2004 Bucksbaum Award winner Raymond Pettibon and his small-but-perfectly-formed entourage appeared to be less than fully engaged by the Tuesday evening reception. And despite the $100,000 paycheck and solo show attached to the still fairly new biannual prize (currently the largest of its kind), it was an oddly subdued affair. The select gathering of perhaps fifty people included museum director Adam Weinberg, curators Chrissie Iles and Shamim M. Momin, trustee and award funder Melva Bucksbaum, and dealers Shaun

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  • Murk of the Penguin

    It goes without saying that one must suffer for one’s art, but some of us prefer to suffer for other people’s art. And so it was that on Friday night a few hundred hardy, masochistic souls, myself among them, showed up in a downpour at Central Park’s (roofless) Wollman Rink, where a sequence for Pierre Huyghe’s film A Journey That Wasn’t was being shot. The film, which will debut at the 2006 Whitney Biennial (it’s not just for Americans anymore!), centers around a trip that Huyghe and some fellow artists took to Antarctica earlier this year. Having heard stories that the changes wrought by global

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  • Judd Club

    We woke up Saturday morning in motel beds, adobe guesthouses, and dew-damp tents to find that the freak cold front had passed and the skies over Marfa, Texas, were back to their regular shade of blinding blue. Lone Star hangover or no, we were determined to catch all we could of the nutty blur that was the Chinati Foundation’s nineteenth annual Open House weekend. Boots on. Find burrito and coffee. Hit the streets.

    The first weekend in October was not always the “Marfa Gras” it is now. Before Chinati founder Donald Judd’s death in 1994, Open House brought to this one-stoplight town each year

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  • Design Within Reach

    The attendees at the Wednesday evening opening reception for “Yinka Shonibare Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection” at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum were distinguished by a preponderance of formal suits and pocket squares, silver hair and lorgnettes (alright, I made up that least detail, but it certainly wouldn’t have looked out of place). Clustered in the oak-paneled lobby, the well-heeled and well-behaved group made for a welcome change of pace from Chelsea’s beer-fueled mob scene. Museum director Paul Warwick Thompson and curatorial director Barbara Bloemink were both busy

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  • Eat to the Beat

    I expect to be offered psychoactive drugs and scalped tickets outside a concert. But an apple? Then again, the Barbican Centre’s concert hall is used by classical musicians, and this is a Monday night Matthew Herbert gig—or, more specifically, a performance of the British electronica boffin’s recent eco-friendly platter, Plat du Jour. Someone has already pressed a complimentary copy of The Ecologist magazine into my hand, and the audience (gaunt metropolitan girls for whom the apple might be a little fattening and who say “dude” without a hint of irony, guys who work for hip-hop labels like

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  • Stealing the Show

    Marfa, Texas, home of the Chinati Foundation, Donald Judd’s sprawling museum, sits squarely next to nothing at all, a town of 2,500 residents that is accessible by rather spectacular desert highways and, more directly, by Lear jet. Recently, the town itself has proven to be almost as much of a tourist attraction as Chinati, enjoying a burgeoning reputation as an austerely chic, exclusive little contemporary art mecca. Craig Rember, the Judd Foundation registrar, put it well when he told me that Marfa is now a town where you can find Goethe at the local bookshop, drop $50,000 on some art, and

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