COLUMNS

  • Sitegeist

    Last week I took the morning train to Cologne. On the new high-speed line, the trip from Frankfurt only takes an hour (you feel like you’re playing some kind of virtual-reality game), and I didn’t even manage to finish reading the newspaper before I had to get off and attend to the strange question: What can you do with a hole in the ground and half a million dollars? That’s what Nicolaus Schafhausen, the newly appointed director of Cologne’s as-yet-unbuilt European Kunsthalle, has to figure out. (I was a member of the jury that picked him, so you can blame me if it turns out to be a failure.)

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  • Hello to an Idea

    One of very few publicly funded galleries in the East End, the Showroom has a civic remit that primarily involves giving deserving artists their first London exhibitions. Last year, though, it expanded its brief to include an annual conference, which is why, during last Saturday’s freakish burst of warm weather, several dozen delegates elected to sit in the gallery’s windowless, triangular back room and listen to Thomas Lawson and Nicolas Bourriaud debate the modernist tropes encoded in The Incredibles. OK, so this was an uncharacteristically light moment but permissible: The conference’s title

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  • Coffee Kvetch

    The Hort’s ginormous annual Armory Show brunch at their ginormous three-floor Tribeca loft was rollicking. As I entered their sprawling kitchen/living area, I noticed Jack Pierson’s funkily unmatched letters spelling out “Being Alone” over the mantle, and half the art world having bagels and coffee and schmoozing away. There was a lot of great work: Nicole Eisenman, Karen Kilimnik, Andrea Zittel, and Marlene Dumas among others; too much to absorb after my megadosage uptown, lest my head explode. Charlie Finch, the yenta from Artnet, was centrally located on a couch: “There’s Rhonda Lieberman,”

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  • Pad News

    Dear Artforum diary, my mission this time was to attend several collectors’ open houses, where big art buyers esteemed for their shopping prowess graciously extend their hospitality so that fellow Armory Show VIPs can check out their stuff. What Imelda Marcos is to footwear, these people are to cutting-edge art. It was a weekend-long schlepathon—in heels, though they weren’t required—but also a chance to see big-ticket contemporary art in its intended setting: some of the swellest pads in Manhattan. Alas, I skipped Jeanne Greenberg’s. The uptown dealer’s event was first thing Friday

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  • Beers for Peers

    The opening of P.S. 1’s locals-only megasurvey “Greater New York 2005” marked the climax of a protracted and, for some, rather fraught selection procedure. Doleful also-rans nursing lukewarm beers in P.S. 1’s courtyard reported having had up to five studio visits with the show’s curators and still not making the cut; others complained of having had their initial invitations to participate humiliatingly revoked. Some of those who did secure a spot on the roster were not informed of their inclusion until mid-February and were then asked to make new work in time for the opening. Even the official

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  • Free for All

    On Friday night, I found myself in a newly renovated loft above the former McBurney YMCA on Twenty-third Street, ambling among the candles and lace that filmmaker Mary Jordan had strewn about liberally in loving tribute to underground film nonpareil Jack Smith. The event was ostensibly a showcase for edited segments of Jordan’s forthcoming documentary Jack Smith and the Destruction of Atlantis; refreshingly, on a weekend during which it seemed that everyone in New York was selling something, the only thing on offer here was Smith’s dream of absolute beauty in an anything-goes environment. If

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  • High and Dry

    How many of the seemingly thousands of art-world revelers drinking to Damien Hirst on the Lever House terrace Friday night knew that what they were really celebrating was the end of art? At least that’s how it felt on West Twenty-fourth Street, where Gagosian presented Hirst's first show in New York since the former YBA gave up the bottle for more sober pursuits. Like painting. Executed in photo-realist style from pictures in magazines and print ads, the thirty variously sized works on view depicted Hirst's familiar fascinations with soul-killing violence and living death. One painting showed

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  • Furry Friends

    At 4 pm on Thursday, a mere hour before the doors of the 2005 Armory Show opened for the preview gala for which ticket-holders had paid as much as $1,000 a head, the floor was still buzzing with non-paying “professionals”—a pre-preview group that, in something of a gaffe on the part of the fair’s organizers, included not only the press and museum dignitaries but a number of “discretionary” guests (read: collectors) invited by dealers who, for the first time, were permitted a pass or two for favorite clients unprepared to pay to shop. By 4:15, fair administrators had taken to the floor with

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  • Junk Bonds

    Among the surprises at the US premiere of Asia Argento’s film The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things were the Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys passed out to the huddled hipster masses in the Anthology Film Archives’ interminable stairway line, the pre-screening absence of Argento, and the presence of Lou Reed, wearing black leather pants, natch, and a gray cotton hoodie. The film, based on J. T. LeRoy’s story cycle of the same name, kicked off the twelfth annual New York Underground Film Festival, and Lou, apparently still “underground,” was charged with reading a touching if rambling statement by

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  • Mary's and Jesus

    “Nature abhors a vacuum,” playwright Marsha Norman was saying. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'Night Mother was speaking of life in New York, but her observation perfectly characterized both the capacity crowd filling Mary Boone's Chelsea gallery for Eric Fischl's show of new paintings and the sudden plethora of Martin Kippenbergers all around town.

    At Fischl's opening, just about the only empty space was between the many jostling pairs of legs. The artist stayed near the front of the gallery, greeting friends and fellow Boonies (David Salle, Karin Davie, Will Cotton, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders),

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  • The Dye Is Cast

    The undiscovered, the up-and-coming, and the never-will-be snaked along the cobbles of Wooster, around Grand, and back down Greene on Monday morning, braving a twenty-three-degree wind chill and an approaching snowstorm. It looked like the usual throng outside a Deitch Projects opening, but this time the kids were lining up in hope of being selected for the new reality-TV series Artstar. Created by artist Christopher Sperandio and dealer James Fuentes in collaboration with Jeffrey Deitch, the show will follow nine artists chosen to participate in a group exhibition at Deitch’s gallery. In the

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  • Palaver North

    A meal, a workshop, a bonfire, a film screening, an interview, a hike...uh-oh! It’s relational art, rural style. Art in public has changed its flavor in the last ten years, from formal engagements with (preferably dramatic) sites to social collaborations with the locals. Few projects are more emblematic of this shift than “Artistic Interruptions” in Nordland, the outermost neck of Norway. Per Gunnar Tverbakk, the energetic organizer of this long-term program, argues that “interruption” is the operative word: His commissions aim to shake up forlorn, forgotten little towns by importing big name

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