In print: A Lodestar that Radiates When the Lights Go Out
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Eva Hesse Eva Hesse, Expanded Expansion, 1969, fiberglass, polyester resin, latex, cheesecloth. Installation view, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2022. Photo: Midge Wattles and Ariel Ione Williams. © The Estate of Eva Hesse.
What art persists? How do certain works become eidetic, or grow coextensive with our very sense of self? One throughline of Artforum’s 60th anniversary issue is art’s unusual psychic potency, the possibility that it can resist instrumentalization. We invited a group of esteemed contributors, members of the extended Artforum family, to respond to a simple prompt:

We all have those things that stick with us, works or words that feel in some way out of time, lodestars that radiate even (or especially) when the lights go out. We ask that you choose one of those things—preferably an artwork or a special text—and tell us about your first or most vivid experience with it.

The responses were singular, varied, and often beautifully unexpected.
Cy Twombly Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1990, acrylic, wax crayon, and pencil on handmade buff paper, 30 5⁄8 × 21 5⁄8". © Cy Twombly Foundation.
Ralph Lemon
“I have two xeroxed Cy Twombly images taped to one of my studio’s walls that I glance at most days. Palpable secrets revealed. Revelations that I can’t appropriate.”
Nan Goldin Nan Goldin, Cookie with Max in the hammock, Provincetown, Mass., 1977, Cibachrome, 9 × 13 3⁄4". From The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, 1986.
David Rimanelli
“In the memoirs of my life, it will be on the first page: I returned The Ballad of Sexual Dependency, first edition, first printing.”
James Benning James Benning, Landscape Suicide, 1986, 16 mm, color, sound, 92 minutes. Ed Gein (Elion Sacker).
Rachel Kushner
“This film achieves the opposite of landscape suicide: It’s an indelible requiem, though for what I’m not exactly sure.”
Jean Vigo Jean Vigo, Zéro de conduite (Zero for Conduct), 1933, 35 mm, black-and-white, sound, 44 minutes.
Yvonne Rainer
“The boys hoist the sleeping guardian aloft and parade him around—a lovely metaphor for rebellion against dictatorships everywhere.”
Édouard Manet Édouard Manet, Olympia, 1863, oil on canvas, 51 3⁄8 × 75 1⁄4".
Emmelyn Butterfield-Rosen
“What I want most when I read about art is writing that convinces by showing something that is already plainly visible.”
Madonna’s Ray of Light Cover of Madonna’s Ray of Light (Maverick Records, 1998).
Martine Gutierrez
“Madonna’s Ray of Light was the first object I stole.”
Sarah Nicole Prickett “What I am trying to say is that the impression of the world on the mind can be so preferable to the world itself, and to everything in the world, even art.”
Pick up the September issue or visit to read additional contributions from Tuan Andrew Nguyen, Amy Taubin, Precious Okoyomon, Wolfgang Tillmans, Adrian Piper, Joan Jonas, Anicka Yi, Ryan Ponder McNamara, and Gary Indiana.
Ádám Kokesch Ádám Kokesch, Untitled (Caravan), 2022, caravan, polycarbonate sheet, wood, paint, plexiglass mirror, plastic, metal, cord. Installation view, Bootsverleih Ahoi, Kassel. From OFF-Biennale Budapest at Documenta 15. Photo: Frank Sperling.
Harry Burke, and Abhijan Toto and Pujita Guha for the Forest Curriculum on Documenta 15; plus more from New York, Cold Spring, Oyster Bay, Newark, Portland, Richmond, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Medellín, Santiago, São Paulo, London, Dublin, Paris, Biarritz, Val Gardena, Vienna, Berlin, Jevnaker, Prague, Riga, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Dakar, New Delhi, Seoul, Manila, and Melbourne
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