• Charles Atlas, Because We Must, 1989, video, color, sound, 52 minutes 30 seconds.

    “XTRAVAGANZA: Staging Leigh Bowery”

    Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier
    Museumsplatz 1 & at Karlsplatz
    October 19, 2012–February 3, 2013

    Curated by Angela Stief

    Like Jesus, Leigh Bowery left this morbid world at age thirty-three. Hardly a saint, however, Bowery was a complicated man: muse to Lucian Freud, cobelligerent of Michael Clark and Charles Atlas, thorn to straight thinking everywhere. “Everyone wanted to know Leigh because he was trendy,” said Bowery’s wife, Nicola Bateman, “but we just went to Sainsbury’s together.” A gravid Bowery would often eject Bateman, naked and “bloody” and covered in sausage links, from a bespoke “womb” onstage. But it seems he actually was pregnant, birthing outré pictures, performances, and repartee with virile glee. Through a selection of works by, of, and related to Bowery, including contributions from a suitably eclectic group of participants—a list that ranges from Ron Athey to Cerith Wyn Evans to Annie Leibovitz—“XTRAVAGANZA” stages a fitting tribute to a man whose delightful, haphazard oeuvre was really about one thing: inspiration.

  • Goldin+Senneby, The Discreet Charm, 2011. Performance view. Gothenburg biennial, 2011. Photo: Dorota Lukianska.


    Generali Foundation
    Wiedner Hauptstraße 15
    September 7–December 16, 2012

    Curated by Diana Baldon, Ilse Lafer, and Luke Skrebowski

    Addressing how artists “participate in and confront contemporary conditions of global production and capital,” this show ventures to frame the contradictions of contemporary art, perhaps even proposing its participants as a fifth column within the status quo. But the art on view here touches on much else besides: Goldin+Senneby’s The Discreet Charm, 2011–12, stages a scale model of the Generali Foundation within a mock-corporate “theater of a magic construction of value,” and Josephine Pryde’s series “Adoption,” 2009, implements the tropes of stock photography to create abject images of babies. The list of roughly twenty artists includes Mary Ellen Carroll, Ricardo Basbaum, and Henrik Olesen, as well as Seth Price and Josef Strau, whose writings on the show’s ostensible subject—particularly Price’s Dispersion, published as a PDF in 2003, and Strau’s reflections on the “non-productive attitude” in 1980s Cologne—should be considered required reading.