PRINT April 2003



In this second installment of “Time Capsules,” David Rimanelli picks up where his March look at the first half of the decade left off, tracking the high (and low) points of 1986–90.


Joseph Beuys, the artist/shaman/charlatan—take your pick—dies at age 64.


Sturtevant’s “comeback” show opens at White Columns, New York; Eugene Schwartz, the renowned collector of contemporary art, serves as curator. An appropriationist avant la lettre, Sturtevant began making copies after Stella, Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, and Warhol in the mid-’60s; Warhol even lent her his screens. She finds a devoted advocate in critic/curator Christian Leigh.

Karen Finley’s Yams Up My Granny’s Ass opens at the Kitchen, New York. In what is perhaps her most notorious routine, Finley assumes the character of a drug addict who tortures and sexually abuses his grandmother on Thanksgiving. She then smears canned cooked yams over her buttocks.


Chernobyl nuclear disaster occurs.

United States bombs Libya.


Thierry de Duve, “The Readymade and the Tube of Paint,” Artforum: De Duve challenges that trite opposition between painting and the Duchampian legacy. “It may seem that the fact that painters do not grind their own pigments anymore is a mere consequence of the availability of industrially processed tubes of paint. Yet this fact is crucial in understanding the cultural changes that disrupted the tradition of painting . . .”

Zone 1/2 appears. The following year, the first Zone Books (ed. Jonathan Crary, Michel Feher, Hal Foster, and Sanford Kwinter) titles appear: Foucault/Blanchot and Pierre Clastres’s Society Against the State. The books, designed by Bruce Mau, are alluring physical objects, sensuous yet pointy-headed.

Reina Sofía opens in Madrid. The House of Bourbon continues its centuries-old tradition of artistic patronage, as Queen Sofía dedicates Spain’s preeminent museum of modern art.


First Sonsbeek since 1971, curated by Saskia Bos, opens in Arnhem, Holland. Sculptures by 50 artists scattered around Park Sonsbeek. Many “outdoor” works are in fact sheltered within glass pavilions. Bos: “More than ever, today’s artworks are artificial products that are not suited to a natural environment, let alone being involved with it.”

Chambres d’amis,” curated by Jan Hoet, opens in Ghent. The show includes installations and exhibitions in private homes by contemporary artists (from Carla Accardi to Gilberto Zorio).

Ernst Nolte’s “The Past That Will Not Pass: A Speech That Could Be Written but Not Delivered” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) ignites the “Historikerstreit” in Germany. Large public debate among historians spreads to include theorists, philosophers, and writers pitting the notion of the singularity of German guilt against the rightist idea that the 20th century witnessed a “global civil war” of comparable totalitarianisms.

Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges dies at age 86.


Mary Boone weds Cologne dealer Michael Werner. Romance cements the Cologne–New York axis, as Boone mounts numerous shows of Werner-associated artists (e.g., Lüpertz, Baselitz, Polke).


Endgame: Reference and Simulation in Recent Painting and Sculpture,” curated by Elisabeth Sussman, David Joselit, and Bob Riley, opens at ICA Boston. The October crowd meets neo-geo. Works by Sherrie Levine, Jeff Koons, Haim Steinbach, Philip Taaffe, Robert Gober, et al. Notable in that the catalogue essays by Yve-Alain Bois and Hal Foster largely pan the work exhibited.

Museum Ludwig, founded by chocolate magnate and supercollector Peter Ludwig, opens in Cologne, fortifying the city’s flourishing gallery scene with a major institution devoted to postwar art.


Keith Haring paints a mural on the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie. “It’s a humanistic gesture,” Haring says, “a political and subversive act––an attempt to psychologically destroy the wall by painting it.”

The neo-geo Fab Four—Jeff Koons, Peter Halley, Meyer Vaisman, and Ashley Bickerton—open at Sonnabend. The exhibition becomes one of the most widely discussed and hyped shows of the decade. Commodity critique in gleaming finish-fetish art objects. Kay Larson (New York magazine), among others, is unamused, decrying the show as “Cynical, consumerist art . . . the perfect mirror of its coked-up, sensation-seeking society.”

Spy magazine launches.


Art and Its Double: A New York Perspective,” curated by Dan Cameron, opens at the Fundació Caixa de Pensions, Barcelona. A broad, 15-artist survey treating “Pictures,” neo-geo, and appropriationist painting as interrelated phenomena, at a decidedly establishment venue. Like Pop, Minimalism, and Conceptualism before, much of this art finds its most enthusiastic audience (and collectors) in Europe.

Nan Goldin’s Ballad of Sexual Dependency exhibited at the Burden Gallery, New York, and simultaneously published as book by Aperture. This evolving slide show debuted in 1979 at the Mudd Club and subsequently made the rounds at various other hour-of-the-wolf venues. Goldin’s ecstatic/depressive paean to downtown sex, drugs, and dirty feet becomes available to a wide audience of avid consumers.

Leaked report of arms sales instigates the Iran-Contra scandal.



Eric Fischl, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Rodney Graham, Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne

Roni Horn, Galerie Maeght Lelong, New York (New York solo gallery debut)

Fabrice Hybert, Maison de l’Avocat, Nantes (solo debut)

Larry Johnson, 303 Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Michael Krebber, Fettstrasse 7a, Hamburg (solo debut)

Raymond Pettibon, Semaphore Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Rick Prol, B-Side Gallery and Nada Gallery, New York

David Robbins, Nature Morte, New York (solo debut)

David Salle, ICA, Philadelphia; traveled to Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, MoCA, Los Angeles, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and MCA, Chicago

Lorna Simpson, Just Above Midtown Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Meyer Vaisman, White Columns, New York (solo debut), Jay Gorney Modern Art, New York, and Daniel Weinberg Gallery, Los Angeles

Wallace & Donohue, Postmasters, New York (solo debut)

■ “The Anticipated Ruin” (cur. Howard Halle; Gretchen Bender, Peter Nagy, Steven Parrino, et al.), The Kitchen, New York

Bernd and Hilla Becher, Günther Förg, Reinhard Mucha, Luhring, Augustine & Hodes, New York

■ “Damaged Goods: Desire and the Economy of the Object” (cur. Brian Wallis; Judith Barry, Andrea Fraser, Jeff Koons, Haim Steinbach, et al.), New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York

■ “The Mirror and the Lamp” (cur. Michael Newman and Mark Francis; Richard Artschwager, Christian Boltanski, Tony Cragg, Gerhard Richter, David Salle, Cindy Sherman, et al.), ICA, London, and the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh

IX Salão Nacional de Artes Plásticas (featured artists: Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica), Paço Imperial, Rio de Janeiro

■ “Split Vision” (cur. Robert Mapplethorpe and Laurie Simmons; Alan Belcher, Robert Longo, Allan McCollum, et al.), Artists Space, New York

■ “When Attitudes Become Form” (cur. Bob Nickas; Richard Artschwager, Jennifer Bolande, Steven Parrino, Allen Ruppersburg, Philip Taaffe, Imants Tillers, Julia Wachtel, et al.), Bess Cutler Gallery, New York


Arthur C. Danto, The Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art

Paul de Man, The Resistance to Theory [title essay, Yale French Studies 63 (1982)]

Henry Louis Gates Jr., ed., “Race,” Writing, and Difference

Andreas Huyssen, After the Great Divide: Modernism, Mass Culture, Postmodernism

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York

W.J.T. Mitchell, Iconology: Image, Text, Ideology

A.L. Rees and Frances Borzello, eds., The New Art History

Jacqueline Rose, Sexuality in the Field of Vision

Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale


Absolute Beginners, dir. Julien Temple

Down by Law, dir. Jim Jarmusch

Matador, dir. Pedro Almodóvar

She’s Gotta Have It, dir. Spike Lee

Sid & Nancy, dir. Alex Cox


Chicago House phenomenon first appears in music press

The Mekons, The Edge of the World

Run-D.M.C., Raising Hell


In his last opening, Andy Warhol debuts the Last Supper pictures at Alexander Iolas Gallery, Milan, across the street from the original at Santa Maria delle Grazie.


Resistance (Anti-Baudrillard)” opens at White Columns, curated by Group Material. Works by Honoré Daumier, Odilon Redon, George Grosz, John Heartfield, Leon Golub, Nancy Spero, Gretchen Bender, Barbara Kruger, Gerhard Merz, et al. The complaint is ostensibly not directed at Baudrillard himself but rather at the uses and abuses of his theories in the art world. Judith Barry: “Is the art world the most effective place for political action? Historically it hasn’t been.” Peter Halley: “I think it is actually. . . . If you want to effect some sort of change . . . I think it’s as good a place as any to begin.”


Silence = Death” stickers begin showing up around New York. Refers at once to the stigma surrounding AIDS and to the conspicuous silence of national leaders––Reagan didn’t mention the word until 1987. Designed by Ken Woddard, the stickers proliferate ominously. Almost simultaneously, ACT UP––AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power––forms. First action: Mar. 24 rally
in front of Trinity Church, Wall St.


John Dogg opens at American Fine Arts, Co. and 303. The artist’s name is widely regarded as a pseudonym for the collaborative efforts of Richard Prince and AFA director Colin de Land. (Other suspects: Collins and Milazzo, Gary Indiana, 303 Gallery director Lisa Spellman.) A show of tires configured as various deadpan artworks, all of them making (parodic?) reference to now fashionable appropriation art and commodity critique.


Barbara Kruger becomes the first female artist in Mary Boone’s stable; Sherrie Levine joins in September 1987. Their “defections” to Boone addle sensibilities preferring clear-cut distinctions between “political” art practices and filthy lucre.

CalArts: Skeptical Belief(s),” curated by Suzanne Ghez, opens at the Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago. Fifty-three artists—Barbara Bloom, Troy Brauntuch, Jack Goldstein, Larry Johnson, Mike Kelley, Stephen Prina, Mark Stahl, James Welling, Christopher Williams, et al.—educated under the Conceptual-art dispensations of Michael Asher, John Baldessari, and Douglas Huebler.


Documenta 8 curated by Manfred Schneckenburger, opens in Kassel. Unlike Rudi Fuchs’s inchoate ’82 show, the overriding theme is “art of social concern” rather than neo-ex ego. Installations and video very prevalent, by Jenny Holzer, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Merz, Hans Haacke, Group Material, Marcel Odenbach, et al. Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s Filmzyklus über Kettenreaktionen is a big hit.

Skulptur. Projekte in Münster,” curated by Kasper König and Klaus Bussmann, opens. Ten years after Bussmann’s first Münster show, this next installment includes works by 53 artists, among them Michael Asher, Giovanni Anselmo, Daniel Buren, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Fischli & Weiss, and Katharina Fritsch. Jeff Koons offers a solid stainless-steel copy of the city’s Der Kiepenkerl. The statue survived heavy Allied bombing, only to be destroyed by a tank. During the ’50s, Münster, still largely in ruins, erected a bronze copy of the original. Koons kitsch meets Bavarian kitsch.

Infotainment (18 Artists from New York),” a traveling group show of mostly Nature Morte and International With Monument artists, closes in Amsterdam after a two-year tour. Catalogue essays by David Robbins, George W.S. Trow, and Thomas Lawson. Media-savvy art with an autocritical yet insistently Pop vibe. Robbins: “To the children of Barthes and Coca-Cola, television affords the opportunity to monitor civilization from our bedrooms.”


Paul de Man’s articles for Le Soir come to light. The revelation that the dean of American deconstructivist criticism, who had died four years earlier, had written articles tainted by anti-Semitism for a right-wing Belgian newspaper during the war years provokes responses of disbelief and outrage. Aside from the legitimate questions raised by de Man’s wartime journalism, scholars with a grudge against the tremendous success of deconstruction attempt to discredit the entire movement as inherently “fascistic.”


Third Text begins publication. Edited by Rasheed Araeen, the journal focuses on visual arts, attempting to disrupt the idées reçues of imperialism, colonialism, and “Third World” culture.

Paradise Garage closes. The King St. club reigned for years as the epicenter of the burgeoning house scene. Frequented primarily by gay blacks and Hispanics, it had at least one famous white regular: Keith Haring.


Elizabeth Hess’s “Success! A Boone for Feminists?,”Village Voice: Is the ascension of Levine and Kruger to Boone’s previously all-male stable good or bad for women artists and feminism? “Artists with disdain for success rarely have any,” Hess opines. Unless perhaps you’re recently dead, e.g., van Gogh.

Dow crashes. Initial wave of fear that the flush art market will suffer a junk bond–style collapse subsides as money pours into art rather than the unstable stock market. The next two years witness the most profligate expenditures at auction to date.


Peter Hujar dies at age 53. Although he produced only one book of photographs, Portraits in Life and Death (1976), Hujar’s work exerted tremendous influence on younger photographers of “alternative lifestyles” and the demimonde.

Fictions,” curated by Douglas Blau, opens at Kent Fine Art and Curt Marcus Gallery, New York. Paintings, drawings, and photographs roaming the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Romantic landscapes, images of scientific instruments and dissections, paintings by Mark Tansey, Mark Innerst, and David Deutsch, and Cindy Sherman’s picture of the wannabe Hollywood starlet mingle elegantly on the walls. Blau describes the associative exhibition as an “archeological excavation.”

At the invitation of New Museum curator William Olander, Gran Fury installs Let the Record Show . . . in the museum’s Broadway storefront, indicting various right-wing figures for their indifference to the crisis or the satisfaction they take in it. SILENCE = DEATH glows in neon over the whole.


Anselm Kiefer retrospective, curated by Mark Rosenthal, opens at the Art Institute of Chicago (the exhibition travels to Philadelphia before closing at MoMA). As the decade wears on, Kiefer emerges as the big winner among German neo-expressionists.



Jeanne Dunning, Feature, Inc., Chicago (solo debut)

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders, Leo Castelli Gallery, New York (“The Ninth Street Show,” portraits of surviving participants of Castelli’s 1951 exhibition)

Andreas Gursky, Galerie Johnen + Schöttle, Cologne (solo debut)

Thomas Hirschhorn, Kaos-Galerie, Cologne (solo debut)

Alfredo Jaar, Logo for America, One Times Square, New York

Mike Kelley, Metro Pictures (exhibition) and Artists Space (performance), New York (“Plato’s Cave, Rothko’s Chapel, Lincoln’s Profile”)

Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Max Hetzler, Cologne, Galerie Peter Pakesch, Vienna, and Metro Pictures, New York (“Peter”)

Christian Marclay, Clocktower, New York (solo debut)

Tom Otterness, Brooke Alexander Gallery, New York

Julian Schnabel, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; traveled to Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, SF MoMA, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

Cindy Sherman, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York

Kiki Smith, Piezo Electric Gallery, New York (solo debut)

■ “Abstract Expressionism: The Critical Developments” (cur. Michael Auping), Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo

■ “Art Against AIDS,” various venues, New York

■ “Avant-Garde in the Eighties” (cur. Howard Fox), Los Angeles County Museum of Art

■ “Berlinart 1961–1987” (cur. Kynaston McShine), Museum of Modern Art, New York

■ “Brennpunkt Düsseldorf 1962–1987” (cur. Stefan von Wiese; Beuys, Hesse, Immendorff, Morris, Paik, Palermo, Polke, Richter, Ruthenbeck, Sieverding, et al.), Kunstmuseum Düsseldorf

■ “Latin American Artists in New York Since 1970” (cur. Jacqueline Barnitz; 38-artist survey), Archer M. Huntington Art Gallery, University of Texas at Austin

■ “L’époque, la mode, la morale, la passion: Aspects de l’art d’aujourd’hui, 1977–1987” (cur. Bernard Ceysson, Alfred Paquement, Bernard Blistène, Catherine David, Christine Van Assche; commemorates Pompidou’s 10th anniversary), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

■ “Les courtiers du désir” (cur. Howard Halle and Walter Hopps), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

■ “Modernidade: Art Brésilien du XXe Siècle” (cur. Aracy Amaral), Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo

■ “Out of the Studio: Art with Community” (cur. Thomas Finkelpearl and Glenn Weiss; John Ahearn, David Hammons, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, Tim Rollins, Meirle Ukeles, et al.), P.S. 1, New York

■ “Perverted by Language” (cur. Bob Nickas; Jenny Holzer, Larry Johnson, Ronald Jones, Louise Lawler, Haim Steinbach, et al.), Hillwood Art Gallery, Long Island University, Greenvale, New York

■ “Surveillance” (cur. Branda Miller and Deborah Irmas; Martha Rosler, Sam Samore, Julia Scher, et al.), L.A.C.E., Los Angeles


Hans Belting, The End of the History of Art? [Das Ende der Kunstgeschichte, 1983]

Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind

Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and
[Capitalisme et schizophrénie tome 2: Mille plateaux, 1980]

Peter Sloterdijk, Critique of Cynical Reason [Kritik der zynischen Vernunft, 1983]

Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities


Films of the Brothers Quay, dir. Brothers Quay

Full Metal Jacket, dir. Stanley Kubrick

King Lear, dir. Jean-Luc Godard

Robocop, dir. Paul Verhoeven

Wall Street, dir. Oliver Stone

Wings of Desire, dir. Wim Wenders


Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction

Michael Jackson, Bad

Speed Metal/Thrash phenomenon


Cultural Geometry,” curated by Jeffrey Deitch, opens at the Deste Foundation, Athens. The show takes an internationalist view, integrating simulationist/neo-geo practices (understood primarily as an American phenomenon) with works by Europeans—John Armleder, Jan Vercruysse, Juan Muñoz, etc. The catalogue, designed by Dan Friedman, is distinctive: Rather than the usual alteration of images and text, a kind of “visual essay” is constructed of the sort that is subsequently much imitated.


Supreme Court decides Flynt v. Falwell.


Ida Panicelli’s first issue as Artforum editor: comprises projects by Enzo Cucchi, Rebecca Horn, Robert Longo, Lothar Baumgarten, Jenny Holzer, Dara Birnbaum, and Jannis Kounellis, and texts by Jonathan Borofsky, Nancy Spero, Joseph Kosuth, Tony Cragg, Vito Acconci, and Daniel Buren. Panicelli’s four-year editorial tenure is prescient regarding the global and sociopolitical concerns of the ’90s. She also reveals herself to be a steadfast supporter of the legacy of arte povera.

Gerhard Richter begins painting his “Baader-Meinhof” series, “October 18, 1977.” Exhibited the following year at Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, and Portikus, Frankfurt (before traveling to London, St. Louis, and elsewhere), the paintings provoke intense debate in the German press.

Sandra Bernhard’s one-woman show Without You I’m Nothing, cowritten by artist John Boskovich, runs for six months off-Broadway.


Altered States” opens at Kent Fine Art, curated by Rosetta Brooks, with concurrent issue of ZG magazine (interview with Paul Virilio, writings by J.G. Ballard, Vito Acconci, et al.). Techno-dystopia of the future/present.


Mike Kelley’s “Three Projects: Half a Man, From My Institution to Yours, Pay for Your Pleasure” opens at the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago. The last consists of 42 banners bearing quotations by famous artists, writers, philosophers, etc., averring the creative genius’s exemption from ordinary moral codes, culminating in a self-portrait by serial killer John Wayne Gacy as Pogo the Clown. Site-specific: When the work is shown at MoCA’s “A Forest of Signs,” Kelley includes a drawing by LA Freeway Killer William Bonin instead.


Jean-Michel Basquiat found dead, at age 27, from a heroin overdose in the Great Jones St. loft he had rented from Andy Warhol. Friends of the artist maintain he was exploited, that his escalating drug use was ignored by interested parties, and that Warhol’s death the previous year had left him without anchor.

Paul Thek dies at age 54.


Impresario: Malcolm McLaren and the British New Wave,” curated by Paul Taylor, opens at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. Mixed-media installation designed by Judith Barry and Ken Saylor, featuring materials related to McLaren’s various fashion endeavors (e.g., Sex, the boutique he ran with Vivienne Westwood) and his musical enterprises (the Sex Pistols, etc.).


ACT UP, joined by the national ACT NOW coalition, closes down the Federal Drug Administration headquarters in suburban Washington, DC. More than 1,000 activists stage demonstrations that result in some 180 arrests. A historic event garnering international press coverage, the action demonstrates the lethargy of the bureaucracy in charge of testing possible AIDS treatments.

François Mitterrand dedicates I.M. Pei’s pyramids at the Louvre after four years of controversy.


George Bush elected 41st president.


Jeff Koons’s “Banality” show opens at Sonnabend, New York. Sculptures in porcelain and polychromed wood, reveling in kitsch sources. Like Sonnabend’s ’86 neo-geo group show, Koons’s superdeluxe vulgarity incites lots of commentary, much disparaging. (Peter Schjeldahl: “To stroll through the Sonnabend Gallery today is to be gang-banged by a crew of inanimate demons.” Sounds charming.) But the images are indelible, e.g., the white-and-gold Michael Jackson and Bubbles (Jackson’s skin: white).



Ashley Bickerton, Sonnabend, New York (includes LED “price tag” works)

John Boskovich, Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles (solo debut)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rastovski Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Ilya Kabakov, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (New York solo debut)

Tadashi Kawamata, Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York

Liz Larner, Margo Leavin Gallery, Los Angeles (solo debut)

Sally Mann, Marcuse Pfeiffer Gallery, New York (New York solo debut)

Cady Noland, White Columns, New York (solo debut)

Jorge Pardo, Bliss Gallery, Pasadena, CA (solo debut)

Laurie Parsons, Lorence-Monk Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Richard Phillips, Holly Solomon Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Marc Quinn, Jay Jopling/Otis Gallery, London (solo debut)

Collier Schorr, Cable Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Rosemarie Trockel, Kunsthalle Basel and ICA, London

Rachel Whiteread, Carlisle Gallery, London (solo debut)

Nayland Blake, Liz Larner, Richard Morrison, Charles Ray, 303 Gallery, New York

■ “Brazil Projects” (cur. Alanna Heiss, Chris Dercon, et al.; Lygia Clark, Franz Krajcberg, Hélio Oiticica, et al.), P.S. 1, New York

■ “Democracy” (cur. Group Material; John Ahearn, Beuys, Halley, Faith Ringgold, Warhol, et al.), Dia Art Foundation, New York

■ “The Latin American Spirit: Art and Artists in the United States, 1920–1970” (cur. Luis Cancel; 136-artist survey), Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York

■ “Utopia Post Utopia” (Robert Gober, Richard Prince, Meg Webster, et al.), ICA, Boston


Steven Hawking, A Brief History of Time

Gary Indiana, Horse Crazy

Griselda Pollock, Vision and Difference: Femininity, Feminism, and the Histories of Art

Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses


Damnation, dir. Bela Tarr

Days of Eclipse, dir. Alexander Sokurov

Dead Ringers, dir. David Cronenberg

The Decalogue, dir. Krzysztof Kiéslowski

Hairspray, dir. John Waters

Working Girl, dir. Mike Nichols


Pixies, Surfer Rosa

Public Enemy, It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back

Rave phenomenon throughout Europe

Sonic Youth, Daydream Nation

Sugarcubes, Life’s Too Good


Andy Warhol: A Retrospective,” curated by Kynaston McShine, opens at Museum of Modern Art almost exactly two years after the artist’s death. Essays by Robert Rosenblum, Benjamin Buchloh, and Marco Livingstone. The show focuses on “canonical” works and stints Warhol’s activities beyond the fine arts.

Ayatollah Khomeini issues fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan completed.

Refigured Painting: The German Image 1960–88,” curated by Thomas Krens, Michael Govan, and Joseph Thompson, travels to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, after opening at the Toledo Museum of Art. A Teutonic grab bag, ranging from Polke and Richter through neo-ex (Baselitz, Dokoupil, Fetting, Hödicke, Immendorff, Lüpertz, Middendorf) to Kippenberger, Georg Herold, and Rosemarie Trockel. Savage critical reception, although Peter Schjeldahl manages a recuperative twist: “It’s a disaster worthy of an ‘I Survived . . . ’ T-shirt and, as such, a must-see.” The death knell of German neo-ex?


Howardena Pindell, “Art World Racism: A Documentation,” New Art Examiner: Pindell, an artist, provides statistics concerning the severe lack of representation of artists of color in New York galleries and museums. “Black, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American artists are . . . with a few, very few exceptions systematically excluded.”

Robert Mapplethorpe dies at age 42.

Exxon Valdez disaster.


Bilderstreit. Widerspruch, Einheit und Fragment in der Kunst seit 1960,” curated by Siegfried Gohr and Johannes Gachnang, opens at the Köln Rheinhallen. Presenting a smorgasbord of artists (Balthus to Baldessari, Picasso to Prince, Schwitters to Schnabel), “Bilderstreit”—“picture fight”—is indeed a scrap, but not in the way the curators imagined. Many Cologne dealers sign a declaration attacking the exhibit’s “market-politics selection,” referring especially to the preponderance of artists represented by Mary Boone and Michael Werner; German critics are virtually unanimous in pronouncing the show a disaster. The hostility drives Gohr from his position as director of the Museum Ludwig.

A Forest of Signs: Art in the Crisis of Representation,” curated by Ann Goldstein and Mary Jane Jacob, opens at Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. Coming at the end of the decade, the broad survey of the “critical” art of the past ten years—i.e., “Pictures,” neo-geo, etc.—accrues an inevitable valedictory air. Much of the work is photo-based, its background Conceptual. Many of the artists also display a marked feminist disposition. David Salle declines the invitation to show.

Magiciens de la Terre,” curated by Jean-Hubert Martin in collaboration with Mark Francis, opens at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. The show includes nearly 100 artists, half from the recognized “centers” of contemporary culture, half culled from the “margins.” The first major exhibition to take “globalism” as its subject; nevertheless, it is criticized as “neo-colonialist,” reiterating in a contemporary-art vein some of the complaints that greeted MoMA’s historical “‘Primitivism’ in 20th Century Art” in 1984.

New York senator Alfonse D’Amato presents Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ to the US Senate. Serrano had received $15,000 from a grants organization funded partially by the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Silent Baroque,” curated by Christian Leigh, opens at Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg. Former Artforum reviews editor–turned–independent curator Leigh’s most grandiose (preposterous?) statement. “My interest in the Baroque is as a social and cultural catalyst,” he says. “My interest lies in those places where things that are different come together and resemble one another.” Now that’s a lot of places. Very diverse group of some 50 artists and writers.


The Corcoran Gallery cancels “Robert Mapplethorpe: The Perfect Moment.” As part of a protest against the cancellation, Krzysztof Wodiczko projects Mapplethorpe’s self-portrait on the museum’s facade. Throughout the summer, attacks on the NEA for its support of “pornography” escalate.

Daniel Libeskind awarded Jewish Museum commission in Berlin; the architect says that his design attempts “to make visible the invisible.” After numerous postponements, the museum’s first exhibition opens in Sept. 2001.

Francis Fukuyama, “The End of History,” published in the National Interest: Fukuyama presents an essentially right-wing celebration of history’s putative terminus, as if the world had finally reached its appropriate telos; Alexandre Kojève spins in his grave.

Tiananmen Square massacre.


Gerhard Richter’s Atlas exhibited at Lenbachhaus, Munich, before traveling to Cologne. Marks the first exhibition of this gargantuan photographic archive since the ’70s.


Jack Smith, director of notorious underground classic Flaming Creatures (1963), dies at age 57. Fanatically dedicated to ’40s B-movie actress Maria Montez, he recuperated her ineptitude as a virtue: “The acting was lousy but if something genuine got on film why carp about acting—which HAS to be phony anyway—I’d RATHER HAVE atrocious acting.”

Matthew Barney’s Field Dressing performance takes place at the Payne Whitney Athletic Complex at Yale, in Barney’s senior year at the university.


Gran Fury’s Control project appears in Artforum. Pointed juxtapositions of image and text, e.g., a picture of a masked scientist bending over a petri dish with a quotation by a Hoffmann–La Roche executive: “One million [People with AIDS] isn’t a market that’s exciting. Sure it’s growing, but it’s not asthma.”


Witnesses: Against Our Vanishing,” curated by Nan Goldin, opens at Artists Space. The show addresses the massive losses from AIDS sustained within the arts community. A wide range of works, by David Wojnarowicz, Kiki Smith, David Armstrong, Greer Lankton, et al. Wojnarowicz’s incendiary catalogue text becomes the center of a huge media fracas as NEA head John Frohnmayer threatens to defund the exhibition.

Image World: Art and Media Culture,” curated by Lisa Phillips, John G. Hanhardt, and Marvin Heiferman, opens at the Whitney. Sort of a more inclusive New York pendant to “A Forest of Signs.” TV, movies, ads—the “culture industry” as fodder for a generation of post-Pop/post-Conceptual artists often vacillating between critique and complicity. Call it “Richard Prince’s World.”

The Berlin Wall falls.


Day Without Art organized by Visual AIDS. A wide variety of responses, from galleries closing their doors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s draping Picasso’s portrait of Gertrude Stein.

United States troops invade Panama.



Marcel Broodthaers (cur. Michael Compton and Marge Goldwater; first US retrospective), Walker Art Center, Minneapolis

Tony Cragg, Tate Gallery, London

John Currin, White Columns, New York (solo debut)

Jeanne Dunning, Feature, Inc., New York (New York solo debut)

Andrea Fraser, Philadelphia Museum of Art (“Museum Highlights: A Gallery Talk”)

Jenny Holzer, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York

Gary Hume, Karsten Schubert Ltd., London (solo debut)

Komar and Melamid, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York (“Bergen Point Brass Foundry, Bayonne”)

Sean Landers, Tom Solomon’s Garage, Los Angeles (solo debut)

Donald Moffett, Wessel O’Connor Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Vik Muniz, Stux Gallery, New York (solo debut)

Cady Noland, American Fine Arts, Co., New York, Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh, and Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan

Tim Rollins/K.O.S. (cur. Gary Garrels), Dia Center for the Arts, New York

Lorna Simpson, Josh Baer Gallery, New York (New York solo gallery debut)

Philip Taaffe, Pat Hearn Gallery and Mary Boone Gallery, New York

Tunga, Whitechapel Gallery, London

Jeff Wall, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York (New York solo debut)

■ “Against Nature: Japanese Art in the Eighties” (cur. Kathy Halbreich, Tom Sokolowski, Shinji Kohmoto, Fumio Nanjo; Kaoru Hirabayashi, Shoko Maemoto, Tatsuo Miyajima, Yasumasa Morimura, et al.), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

■ “Art in Latin America: The Modern Era, 1820–1980” (cur. Dawn Ades and Guy Brett; 170-artist survey), Hayward Gallery, London

■ Inaugural Istanbul Biennale


Susan Buck-Morss, The Dialectics of Seeing: Walter Benjamin and the Arcades Project

Pat Hackett, ed., Andy Warhol Diaries

Cornel West, The American Evasion of Philosophy


City of Sadness, dir. Hou Hsiao-hsien

Do the Right Thing, dir. Spike Lee

Drugstore Cowboy, dir. Gus Van Sant

Heathers, dir. Michael Lehmann

Histoire(s) du Cinéma, dir. Jean-Luc Godard

Sex, Lies, and Videotape, dir. Steven Soderbergh

The Unbelievable Truth, dir. Hal Hartley


De La Soul, 3 Feet High and Rising

Nirvana, Bleach

N.W.A., Straight Outta Compton


Keith Haring dies at age 31.


Van Gogh’s Portrait of Dr. Gachet sells at Christie’s for $82.5 million to a Japanese buyer, surpassing the previous record of $53.9 million for Irises at Sotheby’s three years earlier. But many works from the Impressionist and modern sale go for around or below their estimates, and 24 fail to sell.

Gran Fury invited to show at Venice Biennale (The Pope and the Penis project, as members of the collective describe it). Commissioners of the Biennale refuse to assist in getting the project through customs. Finally, Gran Fury appears in the show. Censorship only aggrandizes their presence.

Jenny Holzer becomes the first woman from the US to win the Venice Biennale’s Golden Lion.


Grants to “NEA 4”––Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, John Fleck, and Tim Miller––rejected. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Republican from California: “It shouldn’t have been that difficult to reject sacrilegious and pornographic art. It is time we set some standards.”


Critic Craig Owens dies at age 39. Beyond Recognition, his collected essays (Barbara Kruger, Jane Weinstock, Lynne Tillman, and Scott Bryson, eds.), appears two years later.


Just Pathetic,” curated by Ralph Rugoff, opens at Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles. Work included by Mike Kelley, Cady Noland, Jeffrey Vallance, Jessica Diamond, David Hammons, et al. Four months later, “Stuttering” (curated by Vik Muniz) opens at Stux Gallery, New York, with works by Muniz, Cary Lebowitz/ Candyass, et al. Incipience of the “loser” or “abject art” trends of the early ’90s.

Iraq invades Kuwait.


Texte zur Kunst founded in Cologne by Isabelle Graw and Stefan Germer. The journal sedulously advocates critical theory (shades of the Frankfurt School) in its approach to contemporary art.


At Sotheby’s, fewer than half of the post-war works sell. Total sale: $19.8 million, a mere half of the low end of the presale estimate. Andre Emmerich: “I would expect that [prices] will be more sensible in the next series of sales in May. The craziness has gone out of the auctions.” (Between 1990 and 1993, some 70 Manhattan galleries will close as a result of the dwindling market.)

Sigmar Polke retrospective, curated by John Caldwell, opens at SF MoMA. As the decade closes, an opportunity to examine in depth an artist who influenced divergent trends in contemporary art, on the one hand held up as an exemplar by Buchloh, on the other an all-too-obvious influence on Salle and scores of lesser figures.



Candida Höfer, Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery, New York

Cildo Meireles, “Mission/Missions (How to Build Cathedrals),” ICA, London; “Cinza,” Museum of Modern Art, New York

Juan Muñoz, Renaissance Society, Chicago

■ “Sigmar Polke: Fotografien” (cur. Jochen Poetter), Staatliche Kunsthalle Baden-Baden

Fiona Rae, Third Eye Centre, Glasgow (solo debut)

Thomas Schütte, Kunsthalle Bern

Jessica Stockholder, American Fine Arts, Co., New York

Carrie Mae Weems, “Calling Out My Name,” CEPA Gallery, Buffalo; traveled to P.P.O.W., New York (solo gallery debut)

■ “Paintball” (cur. Richard Prince; Prince, Pruitt/Early, Tom Henry III), 303 Gallery, New York, and Stuart Regen Gallery, Los Angeles

■ “Transcontinental: Nine Latin American Artists” (cur. Guy Brett), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, England


Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Jonathan Crary, Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century


Misery, dir. Rob Reiner

Paris Is Burning, dir. Jennie Livingstone

Pretty Woman, dir. Garry Marshall

Reversal of Fortune, dir. Barbet Schroeder


Ice Cube, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted

Yo La Tengo, Fakebook

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