• Robert Smithson

    Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia

    Thumb back through the pages of Artforum thirty years ago. “Robert Smithson,” declared John Coplans in the first sentence of “The ‘Amarillo Ramp,’” “was a problem from the beginning.” An odd enough pronouncement, given its quasi-necrological context: Published in 1974, the essay was the first that the magazine devoted entirely to the artist since his death the year before. Of course Coplans (then a little over two years into his controversial stint as editor) was quick to explain his claim. One problem was formal. Smithson’s sculpture was eccentric, its spiraling antigeometries dissident answers

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  • Sam Durant

    Blum & Poe | Los Angeles

    Previously Sam Durant has satirically exploited the disjunction between the redemptive aspirations of modern art and design and the actual needs and wants of a public that has generally favored the nostalgic promises of pop over the rigors of “the new.” Beyond Greenberg’s assertion of a golden umbilicus binding even the grungiest bohemia to an elite patron class, questions of audience tend to constitute a willful blind spot at the very core of modernist ideology. As Durant has shown, the problem stems from the artist’s own inherently fractured self-image: Rejecting one’s (typically) middle-class

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  • Anne Collier

    Marc Foxx Gallery

    The first work in Anne Collier’s third show of photographs at Marc Foxx, a color print entitled I Am Not Ashamed (all works 2004), perfectly encapsulates the artist’s oeuvre. Record albums are stacked against a wall, their tops aligned save one that has been pulled up and is pinned against the wall by the compression of its neighbors. This bears an illustration of a wall graffitied with the slogan that is the title of both Collier’s photo and the inspirational album it co-opts. The strange visible invisibility of On Kawara—offering a small utterance but little other direct expression or

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  • Jim Drain

    Peres Projects

    For anyone unfamiliar with Forcefield, the Providence-based art and music collective in which Jim Drain participated, a brief synopsis might be in order: Forcefield surged to popularity when, as the cliché goes, they were “plucked from obscurity” for the 2002 Whitney Biennial. Their contribution to that show was a pandemonium of ear-cracking sound, seizure-inducing films, and bewigged mannequins sheathed in the collective’s trademark knit Afghans, which look like they were produced by a team of Taylorist acidheads with industrial looms. With an engagé ethos involving anticommercial, trash-assimilating,

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