PRINT September 1996


New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Venice, Turin, Paris, Cologne, Berlin, Stockholm, Liverpool, London, Brisbane

This fall, Dada finally gets its due as a stateside movement. Curated by Dada scholar Francis M. Naumann with staffer Beth Venn, the WHITNEY’s show will include Duchamp’s Bride Stripped Bare. . . , as well as more than 200 objects by American and European artists associated with the movement on this side of the Atlantic. Along with the usual suspects—Francis Picabia, Man Ray, and, lately, Florine Stettheimer—you’ll also get to see works like Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven’s Portrait of Marcel Duchamp (feathers and a champagne glass) and a partial recreation of Dada collectors Walter and Louise Arensberg’s apartment, which was the setting for much of the Dada activities in NYC during World War I. This show should confirm what New Yorkers already knew: the City is Dada. Frenetic, absurd, functioning in defiance of all logic. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; 11/21–2/23.

Mark Van de Walle

Nan Goldin’s retrospective won’t be like the WHITNEY’s other, just slightly rushed, midcareer retrospectives. The giddy highs and disconsolate lows of Goldin’s work, its explorations of sex, gender, drag, drugs, AIDS, and physical abuse, just might resist premature museumification. Essays by the show’s curator Elisabeth Sussman, freelance curator (and Goldin’s first dealer) Marvin Heiferman, and urban-demimonde historian Luc Sante contextualize Goldin’s photographs within the downtown New York world of artists, musicians, and junkies (groups not always mutually exclusive).

When Goldin’s justifiably renowned, always-evolving slide show “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” was shown last year, it was clear that it had gained power over time. “Ballad” will be on view again at the Whitney, along with a recent slide show, “All By Myself”: the artist its single subject.

Faced with classic Nan Goldin images from the early ’80s, a viewer may be urged to confront who one was then, and what one did. The result isn’t always pretty. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York,10/3–1/5.

Bill Arning

Anthony Artaud has been notorious for a lot of things at one time or another during his career. Aside from standing as a paradigmatic Modernist genius/madman, he was also a strikingly beautiful actor, inventor of the “Theater of Cruelty” and author of various works of poetry and theatrical theory. In this show, Margit Rowell, chief curator of drawing department at MoMA will focus on yet another aspect of his creativity hitherto little seen in the U.S. the drawings he limed throughout his lifetime in the spirit of Artaud’s theatrical bent, Patti Smith (who was influenced by his stage theories) will perform, Jacques Derrida will lecture, and the Drawing Center will host a parallel program of events. At the Museum of Modern Art, New York; 10/3–1/7.

Of course, the really big news at MoMA this season is the Jasper Johns retrospective. See feature; 10/20–1/21.

Mark Van de Walle

For the past 12 years, sculptor Juan Muñoz has asked ostensibly neutral exhibition spaces to double as miniature urban worlds (as if they never were): his rather precious bronze figures have perched on balconies attached to otherwise blank walls, wandered among freestanding columns, and circulated within horizontal sectional models. Now, with A Place Called Abroad, he’s telling the walls to be the city—by building a street that cuts diagonally across 7,500 square feet of DIA. At Dia Center for the Arts, New York; 9/26–6/29.

Ernest Pascucci

Carolee Schneemann’s career has run the gamut of media and methods: a pioneering performance artist, she was also an early and notable practitioner of video and installation art. In pieces like the 1964 Meat Joy, Schneemann was one of the first artists to use the body to address feminist issues. And yet, she’s never had a solo U.S. museum show. Senior curator Dan Cameron finally gives her props at the NEW MUSEUM, presenting a selection of her best-known works while focusing on more recent production. At the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; 11/24–1/26.

Mark Van de Walle

ARTISTS SPACE and the Printed Matter bookstore present “The Living Testament of the Blood Fairies,” a selection from Visual AIDS’ Archive Project, which documents the work of artists living with HIV/AIDS and those we have already lost to the epidemic. Curators Geoffrey Hendricks, Sur Rodney (Sur), and Frank Moore are rummaging through this invaluable registry to present the work of Conceptual, text-based, and book artists such as Valerie Cans, Joe De Hoyos, and Mike Parker, among others. At Artists Space, New York; 11/9–1/4.

Bill Arning

ART IN CHICAGO, 1945–1995
Presenting 50 years of evidence, “Art in Chicago” aims to cure an unwarranted inferiority complex—the Second City syndrome. At Chicago’s new MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, curator Lynne Warren has organized over 200 works by 150 artists, including Leon Golub, Jeanne Dunning, and Ed Paschke, into five chronological sections that tell the story of a strong political and social activist tradition. The idea is that, away from the big white rooms in Europe and New York, Chicago artists worked with what they had—a city grounded in neighborhoods, each with its own strong ethnic identity—and much of their art was a result of that engagement. At the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; 11/16–3/23.

Mark Van de Walle

Educated at Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie in the late ’70s, Katharina Fritsch has been a staple of the European art-show circuit for some time. This year she finally stars in a big show stateside. Her first major U.S. retrospective, curated by SFMoMA’s Gary Garrels, features Fritsch’s signature, monumentally scaled kitsch objects and German cultural icons. Highlights will include work from the late ’70s to the present—including the life-size Lourdes-souvenir Virgins of Madonnenfigur, and the massive architectural model Museum, first shown at the ’95 Venice Biennale. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; 10/31–3/11.

Mark Van de Walle

Portraits of intimates at ease with the erotic rhythms of the night; rural life in all its resigned grace, and baseball in all its awkwardness; the tidy variegated iconography of suburbia. SFMoMA’s “Commonplace Mysteries,” organized by Sandra S. Phillips, curator in the photography department, will challenge any misconceived notion that the only way to cause a revolution in vision is by shock. These three quiet innovators show that the diurnal activities on display are just as strange as (or no stranger than) the more widely recognized mysteries of love, beginning, ending. At the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; 10/10–2/4.

Bruce Hainley

Based on extensive photodocumentation of the present state of some 74 Olmsted parks in North America, “Viewing Olmsted,” at the CENTRE CANADIEN D’ARCHITECTURE, wisely eschews the impossible task of cataloguing every inspired placement of shrubbery, instead directing its critical attention toward the act of vision itself. Focusing on how we perceive Olmsted’s sites today gives his work a critical presence. The commissioned photographers—Burley, Friedlander, and James—represent three distinct generations and photographic styles (newcomer Burley produces chromogenic color prints with a four-by-five-inch view camera), often resulting in nearly incompatible takes on the same subject matter. At the Centre Canadien d’Architecture, Montreal; 10/16–2/2.

Ernest Pascucci

Viennese architect Hans Hollein, director of the Sixth International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, promises quakelike tremors with his exhibition at the GIARDINI DI CASTELLO appropriately titled “Sensori del futuro—L’architetto como sismografe” (Sensing the future—the architect as seismograph). Hollein understands the architect-seismograph as “someone possessed of a particular ability to look towards the future, to pick up the various tendencies and trends that our culture will encounter,” a claim that should be substantiated in the “Emerging Voices” section featuring less established architects. Also, “Golden Lions” for lifetime achievement will be awarded to Ignazio Gardella, Philip Johnson, and Oscar Niemeyer. At the Giardini di Castello, Venice; 9/15–11/17.

Pascaline Cuvelier

Curated by Flash Art’s New York editor Francesco Bonami, this show takes off where “Campo”—an exhibition of photo-based work by young artists held during last year’s Venice Biennale—left off. In the spirit of Hillary Clinton’s It Takes a Village, Bonami describes this exhibition, to be held at the GALLERIA CIVICA D’ARTE MODERNA E CONTEMPORANEA, as a “village in which selected artists of various nationalities [and six different continents] will establish a dialogue between their own identities and those of the visitors.” Traveling throughout Europe, this show features: Doug Aitken, Maurizio Cattelan, Dinos and Jake Chapman, Thomas Demand, Mark Dion, Gabriel Orozco, Philippe Parreno, Steven Pippin, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Sam Taylor Wood. At the Galleria Civica d’Arte Modernae Contemporanea, Turin; 9/27–11/3.

Daniel Birnbaum

Curated by Jean Paul Ameline, “Face a l’histoire” at the POMPIDOU maps the chaotic adventure of the “modern artist confronting history.” Divided into four sections, it begins with the “apocalyptic visions” occasioned by World War II and the Spanish Civil War, carries us through the “crisis in representing the historical subject” that followed, revisits the revolutionary frissons and utopias of the ’60s, and finally grinds to a halt with the identity politics that have animated contemporary art since the ’80s. But there’s hope: this last section ends with the promise of a return to “protest art.” At the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; 12/19–1/7.

Pascaline Cuvelier

Jean-Marc Bustamante’s work is summed up by the catalogue cover for his 1994 show at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg: a black and white photograph shows a room with walls covered in paintings—most notably by Renoir—with a giant, fascinatingly incongruous potted plant in the foreground. In this retrospective featuring his floor and wall sculptures and photos, Bustamante opens a window onto a world of sculptural objects that evoke floating memories on a ground of photographic experience. At the GALERIE NATIONALE DU JEU DE PAUME, Paris; 10/5–11/24.

Jean-Pierre Criqui

Reiner Speck, a physician who heads Cologne’s Marcel Proust society, has assembled one of the most important collections of contemporary art in Germany, and it’s on view for the first time at the MUSEUM LUDWIG this fall. Speck’s literary bent is reflected in the predominantly Conceptually oriented artwork and the impressive selection of artists’ books that constitute his collection. With Lawrence Weiner, Georg Herold, Joseph Beuys, and Cy Twombly among the 40 artists to be exhibited, the show promises to serve as a cerebral counterpoint to the celebrated Pop art collection usually housed in these rooms. At the Museum Ludwig, Cologne; 9/17–11/17.

Yilmaz Dziewior

As the first recipient of Germany’s most heavily endowed art prize, the Central-Kunstpreis (courtesy of the Cologne-based Central Health Insurance Company), neo-Conceptual art star du jour Rirkrit Tiravanija—known for his ephemeral installations featuring the artist cooking Thai food—will be given a comprehensive exhibition at Cologne’s KUNSTVEREIN. This marks the first time Tiravanija has been accorded a solo museum-scale show, though no major group show—from 1995’s Whitney Biennial to this summer’s “Manifesta I” in Rotterdam—has seemed complete without him. At the Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; 11/1–11/30.

Yilmaz Dziewior

How does the utopian ideal of the “Family of Man” stack up today? Forty-one years after the landmark exhibition of photographs at the MoMA, “Family Nation Tribe Community Shift,” organized by Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst curator Frank Wagner at Berlin’s HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT, reexamines the legacy of Edward Steichen’s MoMA show. Juxtaposing installation photos taken during the six years “Family of Man” traveled the world against the work of 22 international artists—among them Martha Rosler, Alfredo Jaar, Edward Kienholz, Wolfgang Tillmans, Mike Kelley, Elaine Sturtevant, and Lincoln Tobier—the show looks at themes of universalism and utopia in the visual arts today. At the Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; 9/13–10/20.

Harald Fricke

Cocurators Bo Nilsson, director of Malmö’s ROOSEUM, and David Neuman, director of MAGASIN 3, STOCKHOLM KONSTHALL, want to go beyond the “simplistic dialectic” of the death and resurrection of painting, “in order to penetrate more deeply into the survival strategies of present-day painting.” This two-institution collaboration includes not only paintings but also works in other media that nonetheless possess painterly qualities. Invited artists are Polly Apfelbaum, Uta Barth, Imi Knoebel, Jutta Koether, Guillermo Kuitca, Abigail Lane, Paul McCarthy, Rudolf Stingel, Jessica Stockholder, Nahum Tevet, Diana Thater, Yanagui Yukinori, and Remy Zaugg. At the Rooseum Museum of Contemporary Art, Malmö; 10/5–12/15; Magasin 3, Stockholm; 10/13–12/19.

Daniel Birnbaum

Rachel Whiteread, universally celebrated, has at last been given the retrospective she deserves in her own country: the TATE GALLERY LIVERPOOL will display 40 works made from 1988 to 1996. Smaller sculpture, such as the artist’s casts of household furniture, make up the bulk of the show, but this is also the first local chance to see Untitled (One Hundred Spaces), her hit from the 1995 Carnegie International. Whiteread’s reputation should soar way beyond the notoriety of her now-demolished concrete cast of an East London house, hitherto her best-known work in Britain. At the Tate Gallery Liverpool; 9/14–1/5.

Richard Shone

Bringing its arts into line with foreign policy, Australia is pursuing cultural exchange with Asia. Brisbane’s Second Asia-Pacific Triennial, presenting 76 artists from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, the Pacific Islands, and New Zealand, will have much to say on the interplay of Western contemporary art with other artistic traditions; Chinese artist Cai Guo Qiang’s gunpowder event should be an explosive high point. At the Queensland Art Gallery, South Brisbane, Australia; 9/27–1/19

Robert Leonard


As you may recall, the GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM announced it’s partnership with Hugo Boss AG in 1995. The menswear company hoped this association would help them tap into those who shape contemporary culture and its trends (not to mention enjoy the cachet that comes with a connection to a major museum); the museum, in turn, looked forward to steady financial support (not to mention the cachet that comes with a connection to a major fashion house).

The first publicly visible signs of this five-year partnership were the brand-new Boss suits Guggenheim staffers were sporting at last year’s Bleckner retrospective (Ross got one, too). More recently, the Guggenheim announced the most substantial result of its new partnership: the formation of the Hugo Boss Prize, an annual award of $50,000. As with England’s Turner Prize, the Boss will be awarded in recognition of a recent body of work or a “significant development in contemporary art”; unlike the Turner, however, this prize is open to artists of any nationality. According to the museum, this is in keeping with the internationalism of both parties, Boss being a European company with stores worldwide, and the Guggenheim boasting branches uptown, downtown, and in Europe.

After a nearly five-month review, the jury (this year’s is made up of Marie-Claude Béaud, executive director of the American Center in Paris, Lisa Dennison, curator of collections and exhibitions for the Guggenheim, Dakis Joannou, collector and president of the Guggenheim’s International Directors Council, Thomas Krens, director of the Guggenheim, Fumio Nanjo, curator and critic, and Nancy Spector, associate curator at the Guggenheim) announced the shortlist for the first award, which features four men and two women selected from a pool of about 60: Laurie Anderson, Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Cai Guo Qiang, Stan Douglas, and Yasumasa Morimura. With the winner to be announced in February, it remains to be seen whether the Boss prize will generate the sort of buzz the Turner has been so successful at creating, conferring a sort of “artist of the year” status on its recipient. In the meantime, the Guggenheim SoHo will showcase the shortlisted artists, most of whom have already enjoyed substantial success, and at least two of whom (Anderson and Barney) have—unofficially at any rate—already been crowned. At the Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York; 11/19–1/26.

Mark Van de Walle


The 23RD BIENAL DE SÃO PAULO, which opens on October 5 at the PAVILHÃO DE IBIRAPUERA, represents not only a new approach to the increasingly problematic international-scale exhibition but a significant departure from previous biennials. This year it boasts three separate exhibitions linked by an overarching theme: “the dematerialization of art at the end of the millennium.” The almost frightening globalism and conceptual breadth of this topic are precisely the qualities that, according to second-time curator Nelson Aguilar, make it workable: “The theme of dematerialization is part of the essence of every work of art. At the same time, it posits and generates a poetics.” In Aguilar’s view, “dematerialization” is as present in Cézanne’s analytic painting as it is in Duchamp’s readymades. Contemporary art in particular, according to Aguilar, is replete with disembodiments, dematerializations. “ I could not have selected a specific theme, say, ‘Monochromaticism in art,’ because I would have limited what could be shown. That is not the idea. The intent is to encourage thought, reflection.”

To this end, the number of participants were reduced from 206 two years ago to 134 this year, in an attempt to focus what has often been a sprawling, even chaotic, show. Seventy-five artists will represent the same number of countries (Sol LeWitt, USA; Waltércio Caldas, Brazil), while a museum-scale installation in 18 exhibition rooms will bring some of the most prominent figures in the history of Western art to Brazil. In the spirit of the now defunct Venice Biennale’s “Aperto,” the third component, “Universalis,” will showcase the most recent developments in contemporary art. Though based on a “global” view of contemporary artistic production, “Universelis” also emphasizes cultural specificity: each of the seven sections is organized by a different curator who has been asked to select six artists from a particular region. Jean-Hubert Martin, curator of the Musée National des Arts d’Afrique et d’Océanie de Paris, will be in charge of Africa and the South Pacific; Mari Carmen Ramirez, of the Archer M. Huntington Gallery at the University of Texas, will concentrate on Latin American art; Tadayasu Sakai, director of the Museum of Modern Art in Kamakura, Japan, will be in charge of Asia; Paul Schimmel, curator of L.A. MoCA, of the U.S. and Canada; independent Italian curator Achille Bonito Oliva will oversee Western Europe; Katalyn Néray, director of the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Eastern Europe; and, finally, the Bienal’s adjunct curator, Agnaldo Farias, has organized the Brazilian section.

Offering the visitor a broad, original vision of contemporary Brazilian artistic production, Farias has not only abandoned the facile equation of Brazilian art with exoticism, but also bypassed Brazil’s top commercial art galleries, choosing to go much further afield. The six artists selected by Farias are Portuguese-born installation artist Arthur Barrio, figurative painter Nelson Félix, 34-year-old sculptor of ephemera Geórgia Kyriakakis, Amazonian videomaker Rubens Evangelista, 35-year-old miner and videomaker Eder Santos, and São Paulo painter Flávia Ribeiro.

In sharp contrast to the experimental impulse of “Universalis” and the in-depth views of those artists chosen by each of the 75 participating countries, the survey of 20th-century art that will occupy the third floor of the Pavilhão serves a pedagogical function. Filled with the work of 17 artists as renowned as they are heterogeneous—from Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol to Louise Bourgeois and Cy Twombly—these rooms represent the first opportunity to bring much of the canon of 20th-century Western art to Brazil and to place Brazil’s own tradition within it. Guest curator Emanoel Araújo, director of the Pinacoteca of the Province of São Paulo, encouraged Aguilar to settle on Japanese-Brazilian artist Tomie Ohtake, as well as Afro-Brazilians Rubem Valentim and Mestre Didi for Brazil’s special exhibition room. “There is no limit between the popular and the folkloric,” says Araújo, “It is necessary to think about the roots of culture in a deeper, less colonial way. The view of African art as primitive, for example, is a colonial, prejudiced view. . . . In this biennial we will be able to see it as a primal art, which is a very different thing.” As Araújo explains, Mestre Didi’s sculptures are also sacred objects, with profoundly spiritual connotations, and Rubem Valentim “creates symbols that do not exist in the original African vocabulary. He re-creates his own origin.” Similarly, Kyoto-native Tomie Ohtake, now 83, is a painter whose works are masterpieces of synthesis, both cultural and formal.

The collision of diverse artistic traditions in the work of these artists speaks for this year’s biennial as a whole, which, with its unprecedented attention to transcultural dialogue both past and present, promises to be much more than just another large-scale, international show.

Katia Canton is an art critic for the Folha de São Paulo and professor at the University of São Paulo. She is the author of The Fairy Tale Revisited (New York: Peter Lang) and is preparing a book series of Brazilian artists and narrative.

Translated from the Portuguese by Sheila Glaser and Yara Nagel.