San Francisco

Jordan Kantor

Ratio 3

How much do we have to know about the backstory of a work of art in order to understand and appreciate it? Jordan Kantor’s enigmatic paintings seem to pose this question explicitly, by challenging viewers’ expectations about the mediation of images. At a moment when eye-candy art has been in the ascendancy for some time, the relative inscrutability of Kantor’s canvases is pleasurable, in a slightly masochistic way. His paintings demand our commitment but give us something in return by requiring us to be actively responsible for interpreting them.

The larger pictures in the show are based on carefully chosen photographs. These range from an image of the Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini lying dead in the street to spectacular shots of the catastrophic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger: streaks of white smoke across a deep blue sky. Another is based on a negative image of four

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. Please sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW and save up to 65% off the newsstand price for full online access to this issue and our archive.

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2008 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.