COLUMNS

  • Bernd Becher

    BLAKE STIMSON

    IT IS TEMPTING TO SAY that with the sad news of Bernd Becher’s death in June at age seventy-five we have seen the passing of an era. Curator Emma Dexter, writing in The Independent, memorialized the artist’s contribution by describing the photographic project Bernd and his wife and partner, Hilla, began a half century ago as a “portrait of a lost world, using a lost technology—the gelatin silver prints, the large format plate cameras are now a thing of the past,” so distant from our own glimmering postindustrial world and its snazzy new media that it “can never be repeated.”

    Indeed,

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  • Jörg Immendorff

    JÖRG IMMENDORFF WAS A FIGHTER, and I miss his presence. News of his death last May came as no surprise; after struggling against the crippling effects of ALS for almost a decade, he died in his sleep at the age of sixty-one. What has proved more difficult is the fact of his silence. Immendorff was one of the ballsiest artists I have ever met. He lived his life to the fullest, and even when he was confined to a wheelchair not one word of self-pity passed through his lips. He didn’t give a damn what people thought; all he wanted to do was paint, teach, and enjoy himself on the weekends. Yet he

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  • Jean Baudrillard in Paris, 1986. Photo: Sophie Bassouls/Corbis.

    Jean Baudrillard

    JEAN BAUDRILLARD was buried in Paris on March 13, 2007. I had learned about his death a week earlier; I was in the middle of a seminar at Columbia University, and I immediately called Marine Dupuis, his wife. Less than two years ago, when Jean was diagnosed with cancer, Marine took over, wouldn’t let him go, and fought on his behalf until the very end. No one could have done it better. Jean had very specific ideas about dying. He summarized them in a song he wrote, which he read as Mike Kelley’s band played on the stage at Whiskey Pete’s, a casino near Las Vegas, in 1996, during the “Chance

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  • Sol LeWitt

    Sol LeWitt died on April 8 at the age of seventy-eight. At the time, Artforum was poised to publish “Scribbles” a new group of seven drawings that he had recently completed for our pages. LeWitt had asked that these images be accompanied by no explanatory information, save for his name and the title on the table of contents. Though we might have been tempted to say more after learning of his passing, we presented the work in our May issue exactly as he had wished—yet now as a memorial tribute. Here, we follow that portfolio with remembrances by artists Mel Bochner and John Baldessari, LeWitt’s

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  • Jules Olitski

    BEFORE SITTING DOWN to draft these reflections, I went to my shelves and brought forth Yve-Alain Bois, Benjamin H. D. Buchloh, Hal Foster, and Rosalind Krauss’s monumental and tendentious Art Since 1900: Modernism, Antimodernism, Postmodernism (2004), consulted the index, and looked up “Olitski, Jules.” There was one reference, on page 472. I turned to page 472, where I found an inset column headed “Artforum.” In the last paragraph I read: “[Editor Philip] Leider’s insistence on lucid analytical prose forged a close relationship between him and Michael Fried, opening the magazine’s pages as well

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  • Michael Hurson

    THE PHONE RANG early, usually the harbinger of some sort of trouble from New York or London. I paused before answering, uncertain if I was ready, without a cup of coffee for comfort, for whatever it was that wanted my attention so badly. I picked up the phone and unexpectedly heard the voice of an old friend. “Michael died—yesterday, of a heart attack,” she said, before launching into a needlessly guilt-ridden account of signs missed, opportunities not taken. Michael Hurson was a sweetly funny man, a quick-minded friend as well as a remarkable, if too little appreciated, artist whose loss this

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  • Robert Rosenblum, Houston, 2005. Photo: Will Michels.

    Robert Rosenblum

    A pioneering critic of the past fifty years and a revisionist scholar of the preceding two hundred, Artforum contributing editor Robert Rosenblum will be remembered for the stunning breadth of his erudition and taste. In the issue, a trio of his colleagues—and, above all, his friends—recall a protean figure whose love of art was matched only by his joie de vivre.

    LINDA NOCHLIN

    IT IS HARD not to be lighthearted when remembering Robert Rosenblum. Bob was himself one of those rare people who, though deeply serious, was never ponderous or solemn. His was a quintessentially blithe spirit. From the very

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  • Pontus Hultén

    To remember Pontus Hultén, legendary curator and director of six art institutions in Europe and America, Artforum asked three of Hultén’s colleagues to reflect on the man and his work.

    DANIEL BIRNBAUM

    AT A DINNER I attended some years ago, an artist friend of mine asked Harald Szeemann whether “Les Machines Celibataires” (The Bachelor Machines), a legendary 1976 exhibition inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s Large Glass that treated the theme of obsession in contemporary art, hadn’t been a project by Pontus Hultén. Clearly pained at this younger individual’s mistake—the show was Szeemann’s own brainchild—the

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  • Robert Altman in 1993 at the 50th Venice film festival, where he received first prize for Short Cuts. Photo: Magnum/Nikos Economopoulos.

    Robert Altman

    IS NO ONE GOING TO SAY that Robert Altman was a great pothead? Let me, then. Robert Altman was a great pothead. In the war on drugs, he won. To look at his work without thinking about marijuana’s specific gifts and poisons . . . umm . . . specific . . . What was I saying? Oh. Right. Altman. Robert Altman. I met him, did I tell you that already?

    Or as Fernando Pessoa says, “But he must be on fire somewhere. Otherwise, he will not cook the goose of his human inferiority.”

    Six years before The Player (1992), I stopped smoking pot, for the typical reasons, but not the least of them was paranoia. And

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  • Marcia Tucker at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, ca. 1995. Photo: Joe Fornabaio.

    Marcia Tucker

    PEOPLE TOOK NOTICE of Marcia Tucker, and in the mid-1970s I was one of them. She was an inspiration—a brilliant curator and strong woman who had something to do and to say. At the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Marcia had become famous for her groundbreaking shows, having arrived in 1969 to co-organize the first exhibition devoted to process art in an American institution, “Anti-Illusion: Procedure/Materials,” before giving Bruce Nauman and Lee Krasner their solo museum debuts, and James Rosenquist and Joan Mitchell their first retrospectives. And then she became infamous for

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  • Arlene Raven

    ARLENE RAVEN cut a complex swath through the world before she died this past summer on August 1. Indeed, she was an activist as “pluralistic” as the 1970s feminist art community from which she emerged—a quality perhaps most clearly recalled when one considers a 1983 landmark exhibition she curated at the Long Beach Museum of Art in California, titled “At Home,” which brought together many of the artists and ideas she had championed for the previous decade. The show included Suzanne Lacy, who pioneered massive group performances on social themes; West Coast–based performance artists Rachel

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  • Jason Rhoades

    Well before his untimely death on August 1, 2006, at the age of forty-one, Jason Rhoades had made an indelible mark on the art of his generation. Artforum asked four of Rhoades’s colleagues and friends to reflect on the man and his work.

    LINDA NORDEN

    The thing with Perfect World is you can fall off of it and it can kill you. You can walk on this surface, but it has these holes, these cracks and these soft spots, these traps, where it’s just papered over. It is kind of a reality of (my) working. I wanted to build this thing which somehow mimics real life.

    —Jason Rhoades, in a 1999 interview with

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