• Trash and Vaudeville

    Nicolas Trembley at the opening of “Dionysiac” in Paris

    As people queued up for the opening of “Dionysiac” at the Pompidou Center last Tuesday night, a group of women calling themselves Les Artpies (a pun on “harpies”—it sounds better in French)—distributed flyers that stated, “Glory to virile art! Finally, the Pompidou Center has opened up to masculine art!!!” Clearly inspired by the Guerrilla Girls (though not wearing masks—I recognized a few of the artists and journalists amongst them), the Artpies were expressing the view that the Pompidou has hit a new high with “Dionysiac.” While 93% of the works in the collection are by male

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  • Dialectical Materialism

    Claire Bishop on the Moscow Biennale

    Colorful rumors and breathless warnings about the perils of visiting the Moscow Biennale are circulating with predictable alacrity. According to the grapevine, a Dutch installation techie was found dumped outside the city, groggy from Rohypnol, and corrupt police are supposedly extorting money from foreign visitors under the pretense of “visa checks” (though flashing your press pass might deter them). And then there's the biennial itself, plagued with controversies and troubles. The full list of artists was announced mere weeks ago, whereas the lineup of usual-suspect Euro-curators (Daniel

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  • Reductio Ad Rirkrit

    Brooks Adams on Rirkrit Tiravanija in Paris

    We hopped in a cab last Wednesday night and headed over to ye olde sixth arrondisement, where Rirkrit Tiravanija's “Une Retrospective (tomorrow is another fine day)” was opening in the venerable Couvent des Cordeliers. The Couvent, a beautifully delapidated thirteenth-century gothic hall (and the site of a French Revolutionary club, where Marat's dead body lay in state), is the interim headquarters of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris/ARC, whose building on Avenue du Président Wilson is closed for restoration. We've seen some good shows at the Couvent in the last year, including ones

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  • Glass House

    David Rimanelli at Imitation of Christ's Fall 2005 show

    The Imitation of Christ show at Lever House on Park Avenue last Sunday was a very chic fashion-week ticket. Tara Subkoff, the mind behind the madness, is notorious for her unconventional approach to the runway—in this case, she’d dispensed with it altogether. The seats fanned out in three directions to face the glass curtain walls of Lever House’s lobby; models stalked around the perimeter while the passersby and paparazzi outside looked on. There were also a number of planted gawkers, young but conspicuously unstylish women holding up copies of Marie Claire, Nylon, Vogue, etc. Perhaps they had

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  • West Coast Thing

    Michael Ned Holte on “THING” in Los Angeles

    It’s not often that the unfashionably early are rewarded in Los Angeles, but at the opening of “THING: New Sculpture from Los Angeles” at the UCLA Hammer Museum, those who showed up on time (myself included) were actually able to enjoy the exhibition, while latecomers were hustled through the crowded galleries in a scant five minutes by the officious guards. Five minutes? Actually, the drive-by viewing worked in the show’s favor, to the extent that “THING” curators Christopher Miles, James Elaine, and Aimee Chang predicated their choices on a generational return that reverses sculpture’s course

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  • Happy Returns

    Linda Yablonsky around New York

    The most radiant face in the art world last Thursday night belonged to Jane Smith, celebrating her ninetieth birthday at her LaGuardia Place loft with a party given by her artist daughters, Kiki and Seton. Before marrying their father, artist Tony Smith, Jane (née Lawrence) was a babe of Broadway. She appeared in the original production of Oklahoma in 1943, eventually taking over the romantic lead, and also modeled for the photographer Edmund Teske (1911–1996); his dreamy black-and-white portraits resurfaced in an exhibition at the Getty last summer, where several images of Jane pointed up her

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  • Hot Commodities

    Rhonda Lieberman on Mother Inc.'s listening party

    The band was bee-oo-tiful, the crowd was bee-oo-tiful . . . It felt like Weimar in Chelsea on Wednesday night at Mother Inc.'s Fendi-sponsored CD “listening party” at Marquee. The cute invite, styled like a Fendi-brand 12-inch, advised a “Luxurious Lounge” dress code. I wore the tight brown Citizen cords I've worn all season: As a chronic skirt-addict, I'm working on accepting myself in pants. “You all look so great,” Yvonne Force-Villareal purred from the stage at her über-glam, über-connected art-world supporters. “I hope I look as good as you do!” The unofficial themes of the evening were

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  • String Theory

    Daniel Birnbaum on Ilya Kabakov's former studio in Moscow

    “The piece is from '85,” says American critic and Ilya Kabakov expert Amei Wallach. “No, no, it's from '86,” retorts Joseph Backstein, Kabakov's old friend. Both of them should know, but here in the artist's former studio—where the classic work 16 Strings has been reconstructed—all straightforward facts seem to disappear into a thick cloud of Slavic mythology. It's January 30, the day after the opening of Moscow's first contemporary art biennale, and the curators, artists, and critics in town for the show have come here to pay homage. Kabakov built the studio himself in 1968 and lived

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  • Red Alert

    Brian Sholis on “Regarding Terror: The RAF Exhibition” in Berlin

    “We are here to view an art exhibition. We are here for art, not politics,” Klaus Biesenbach said emphatically during his opening remarks at last Friday's private reception for “Regarding Terror: The RAF Exhibition,” the new show at the Kunst-Werke Institute for Contemporary Art (KW). Featuring over fifty artists, “Regarding Terror” bestirs the ghosts of the Red Army Faction, the group of Marxist-Maoist terrorists who hoped to destabilize the West German government and kick off the revolution via a series of targeted arsons, kidnappings, bombings, and shootings that began in 1968 and crescendoed

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  • Rake's Progress

    Linda Yablonsky on Cecily Brown at Gagosian

    “Jerry and Roberta hate me and Artforum doesn't know I exist,” Cecily Brown was saying to playwright Tom Stoppard and Artforum senior editor Scott Rothkopf. The three were sharing a rear banquette on the third floor of 5 Ninth, where—despite the winter's first major snowstorm—Larry Gagosian had brought out the troops to toast Brown's opening at his Chelsea gallery.

    The artist was swapping war stories with Stoppard, a surprise guest, sharing tales of the awkward moments that can result from being friendly with critics. Stoppard, who has won (and deserved) just about every top honor the theater

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  • Blonde Ambition

    David Rimanelli at Jeff Koons's fiftieth birthday party

    “Pam: American Icon,” a series of photographs by Sante D’Orazio of sexy-deluxe former Baywatch star and preeminent pop icon Pamela Anderson, opens at Stellan Holm Gallery in Chelsea. Crowded, but slightly mystifying. Velvet ropes. I stand tentatively at the door until some guy in black waves me in, hearing inwardly a not-altogether-agreeable echo of my club-going days. Paparazzi galore, but, with Ms. Anderson a no-show, who are they planning to take pictures of? Cologne art dealer Raphael Jablonka? It’s almost impossible to see the photographs given the unseemly hordes. I did admire Pamela

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  • Conference Crawl

    Alison Gingeras around Mexico City

    Art junkets always sound good on paper: the allure of expense-paid travel to some distant metropolis; a conference or fair or biennial to dive into; a crash course in the local art scene; a highly condensed bit of gratuitous tourism. Yet inside this pretty Trojan horse lurk a host of challenges that arise when you spend concentrated blocks of time crowded into minivans alongside other art professionals with whom you might not see eye to eye, to put it mildly. Luckily, last weekend’s SITAC conference defied such uneasy expectations. While the “serious” side of the conference was a real mixed bag,

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