PRINT December 2001

David Rimanelli


1 Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Büsi (Times Square, New York; sponsored by Creative Time and Panasonic for “The 59th Minute: Video Art on the Times Square Astrovision”) A three-story kitten laps contentedly from a saucer high above Forty-third Street, looking up only once, as if to regard the crowds below, then returning to its milk. Greedy kitty.

2 John Bock (Anton Kern, New York) Performance-art kookiness lives. Many important dealers and critics in attendance. It was awfully hot, so I had to leave before the promised stinky goat finally came out, but I heard the animal was terrific.

3 James Meyer, Minimalism: Art and Polemics in the Sixties (Yale University Press) Meyer’s study traces in intricate and rewarding detail the evolution of the term, the concept, the group. He bases his analyses in large part on close attention to specific exhibitions, such as Kynaston McShine’s “Primary Structures” at the Jewish Museum and Samuel Wagstaff’s “Black, White, and Gray” at the Wadsworth Atheneum. Notable for its resurrection of “Greenberg’s minimalist,” Anne Truitt, and for its close attention to the word’s star-crossed history in art, fashion, and design. A model of contemporary art history at its most scrupulous.

4 Larry Clark, Teenage Caveman I caught most of this teen-sexuality/monster movie on cable a few days before Halloween. The onscreen guide stated that it was “Mexican. Directed by Larry Clark.” I didn’t believe it, but yes, it’s true: Clark even makes a cameo appearance at the beginning. I thought the film looked insufficiently gorgeous by the standards of recent Clark productions; the frolicking and marauding youths were rangier and less nubile than, say, Natasha Gregson Wagner and Vincent Kartheiser in the photographer-director’s Another Day in Paradise (1998). But you’ve got to hand it to Clark for sticking to his tried-and-true themes even as he moves into a different shade of lurid.

5 Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin (Matthew Marks Gallery, New York) Curated by van Lamsweerde and Matadin, “We Set Off in High Spirits” stood out among the summer offerings. Many interesting juxtapositions were on view—e.g., a Rosenquist painting shared the small gallery with a tiny Lucian Freud and a glass Koons-fucks-Cicciolina sculpture. Loved almost everything, but especially the ’70s Swiss photorealist Franz Gertsch’s huge canvas depicting the “Sticky Fingers” lifestyle of the era’s Euro-bohemians. Also Ed van der Elsken’s voluptuous and perverse color photograph of a prone beauty in a leg cast looking out the window at a mountain landscape—darling, what ever happened to you in Crans-Montana?

6 Rob Pruitt, “Pandas and Bamboo” (Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York) Large paintings of pandas amid bamboo settings—in one, only a screen of lonely shoots—all rendered in enamel and glitter. Regardless of the kitschy, draggish, and Ziggy Stardust-y associations, these paintings evinced a certain becalmed stasis verging on gravitas. Has it already been two years since we mourned the passing of Hsing-Hsing at the National Zoo?

7 Karen Kilimnik Paintings (Edition Patrick Frey) Kilimnik’s last solo show in New York may not have been her best, but this extremely handsome volume more than makes up for it. Princesses, witches, and supermodels disport themselves in grand and haunted settings. Amber Valletta stands in the foreground while the Hamptons bum. Is she, wicca-super-model, somehow responsible? Kilimnik’s paintings often look as if they had been rendered in nail polish, but that only adds to their ostentatiously lush charm. Great Christmas gift—what creep wouldn’t thrill to the black velvet cover?

8 Jan Dibbets (Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York) Late ’60s to early ’70s photo-Conceptualist classiness. Those works bearing the traces of wear and tear were perhaps the most desirable—vivid tokens of the “last” moment of twentieth-century avant-gardism. Dibbets’s Shortest Day at My House in Amsterdam, 1970, tracing the movement of the sun across the artist’s abode in the course of a day, was especially lovely, even poetic.

9 Alex Bag, The Van (Armory Show, New York) The van itself was a white Dodge with customized interior, set up near the American Fine Arts booth at the Armory Show, but Bag’s video shown inside is, once again, a star turn. The premise: The proprietor of the Leroy Le Loupe Gallery is driving three of his “stars” (all played by Bag) to the Armory, where the van itself will serve as their exhibition space. The young artists—all female—explain their works, talk about what they’re wearing, and dream of career advancement. “I want Charles Saatchi to buy out my studio. I want Hauser & Wirth to buy me a Ferrari. I want a solo show at the Fondazione Prada. I want Rosalind Krauss to write an essay about me in October.” This is just some of the printable stuff.

10 Shirin Neshat, Possessed (Barbara Gladstone Gallery, New York) Imaginative title, no? I actually liked some of Neshat’s earlier films, but the preposterously melodramatic Possessed definitely wins my personal award for campiest artwork of the year. A woman looking rather like a Tehranian Anna Magnani walks through the streets of an Islamic city. She might as well be saying: “I’m crazy—possessed! I’m surrounded by men, but they don’t see me! Can’t they see that I’m crazy?” The chic of Araby.

David Rimanelli is a New York-based critic and a contributing editor of Artforum.