• Thomas Demand

    Serpentine Galleries

    IN ORDER TO theorize what for him was the essence of Thomas Demand’s work, art historian Michael Fried returned in these pages last year (Artforum, March 2005) to the arguments of his 1967 essay “Art and Objecthood,” where he had famously articulated the contrast between “literalist” and “modernist” art. The viewer of literalist art was implicated in the “total situation” of a display, so that the shifting physical relationships of his or her body to artworks counted more than his or her ability to scrutinize the particular composition of any one piece. A modernist painting, on the other hand,

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  • László Moholy-Nagy, Nuclear I, CH, 1945, oil on canvas, 38 x 30".

    László Moholy-Nagy, Nuclear I, CH, 1945, oil on canvas, 38 x 30".

    “Modernism” and “Albers and Moholy-Nagy”

    Tate Modern and Victoria & Albert Museum

    IMAGINE AN ART EXHIBITION called “Modernism” focusing on the years 1914 to 1939. Sounds unlikely, doesn’t it? We think of artistic modernism as having had two great expansive phases: the first leading from Cézanne through Cubism to the birth of abstraction in the Netherlands and Russia but soon eclipsed—in the West by the postwar “return to order,” in Russia by the political changes wrought by Lenin’s death in 1924 (though the complete triumph of socialist realism would only come a decade later)—and the second, very different phase, commencing after World War II with the Abstract Expressionists

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  • Ceal Foyer

    Lisson Gallery | 27 Bell Street | London

    Seen first from the street through the gallery’s large front window, Genuine Reduction, 2006, carries out a subtle subversion. A small readymade sign with white letters against a red background, the piece bears a title that coincides precisely with its printed words, which motivates a play on its context. Joining art gallery facade to department store display window, the sign announces a double sale. But since there’s nothing else to advertise in the large, otherwise bare gallery, the work markets only its own reduction, which the artist has literalized by chopping off the final s at the end of

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  • Franz Ackermann

    White Cube | Hoxton Square

    “Home, home again,” a visually electrifying exhibition, pairs photographs of prosaic tourist hotels seen through the crosshairs of rifle scopes and enormous paintings of environmental devastation rendered in eye-popping colors. The canvases jump out to dazzling effect and strike viewers with dramatic scenes of broken-up infrastructure, downed planes, and urban ruin. Borrowing its title from a Pink Floyd song that meditates on life’s ages and lost time, the show turns the phrase to suggest an antiglobalization death wish, offering a thrilling before-and-after sequence beginning with the imagined

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  • Victor Man

    Timothy Taylor Gallery

    The most explicit work in Romanian artist Victor Man’s exhibition “The place I’m coming from,” Untitled (1939), 2006, comprises a pair of paintings: a film-still image of Dorothy’s ruby slippers, and a blurry, demonic female Santa, crushing underfoot the head of a man lying beneath her. The subtext is the disturbing contemporaneity of two events in 1939—the escapist Hollywood fantasy The Wizard of Oz and Europe’s definitive succumbing to Nazism. As ever with Man, the connection between the images is never overt, although a peculiar parallel is drawn between the delicate pose of the glittering

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