COLUMNS

  • Mara Hoberman

    AMID GENERAL TIGHTENING of purse strings in Europe, 2012 was a big year for Paris museums. The Palais de Tokyo unveiled a $26 million renovation that tripled its size in April, the Louvre opened a new Islamic wing (its largest expansion since I. M. Pei’s glass pyramids) in September, and “Hopper fever” made the Grand Palais’s retrospective (the American painter’s first in France) a true blockbuster this fall. However, the Musée de l’Art Moderne still has on view the best show of the year. Honoring MAM’s seventieth anniversary, “L’Art en guerre” (Art at War) delivers on its ambitious objective

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  • the Gemäldegalerie

    THIS SUMMER, old-master paintings were—for once—a hot topic. The Gemäldegalerie, the branch of Berlin’s state museums long celebrated for its world-class collection of late-medieval to eighteenth-century art, might soon have a new purpose: housing a collection of Surrealist art recently donated by prominent Berlin collectors Ulla and Heiner Pietzsch. Lacking sufficient exhibition space to display these works or funds for a new building, the city’s foundation of state museums, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, decided to use the Gemäldegalerie to display the Pietzsch Collection,

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  • M. F. Husain’s Through the Eyes of a Painter

    IN A RADICAL AND SHORT-LIVED initiative in the 1960s, India’s national Films Division (established as a documentary unit just after independence in 1947) invited artists and filmmakers to develop their own experimental projects. Under the direction of visionary chief advisor Jean Bhownagary, this was a major undertaking for a country with a fledgling infrastructure to support even conventional art forms; ironically, it led to experimental cinema in India emerging with the government’s funding and at its insistence rather than in opposition to it. In 1967, this gave prominent painter Maqbool Fida

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  • Forrest Bess

    THE CONTINUED mythic, outsider status of Forrest Bess is a testament to the sheer anxiety he sparks around hierarchies of vision and social organization—hierarchies that are central to how we legitimate works of art. It is no small feat for an artist who showed regularly during the peak years of Betty Parsons Gallery (that epicenter of the development and promotion of Abstract Expressionism) to continually reemerge as a holy grail of glimmering and elusive marginality. Since Bess’s death in 1977, his work has made cameo appearances in discourses as varied as an essay in Art Journal griping

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  • Arte Povera in Naples

    CAN A HISTORICAL EXHIBITION of Arte Povera, which necessarily reframes as sculptures works that were once performative and ephemeral, provide something new to contemporary viewers and still honor the unrepeatability of the first experiment? One answer was posed by “Arte Povera più azioni povere 1968” (Poor Art Plus Poor Actions 1968) at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donnaregina (MADRE) in Naples this past winter. (The exhibition was part of “Arte Povera 2011,” a nationwide celebration coinciding with the 150th anniversary of Italian unification.) Curated by Eduardo Cicelyn and Arte Povera’s

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  • the new Islamic art galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

    ON NOVEMBER 1 OF LAST YEAR, after much anticipation and a series of celebratory events, the new “Islamic Art” galleries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York opened to the public. They had been closed for more than eight years to allow for the renovation of the Greek and Roman galleries immediately below (the heavy machinery’s vibrations might have damaged the delicate objects) and during their hiatus had undergone their own extensive renovation. Their surface area and content have been expanded, their appearance and significance transformed. The result is nothing less than spectacular.

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  • the spaces of occupation

    The eviction of protesters from New York’s Zuccotti Park last November has done little to diminish the significance of occupation as a mode of political action. Looking back on last year’s many encampments—and their disruptions of urban space—Artforum invited sociologist Saskia Sassen to discuss the relationship of occupation to notions of territory and power, while artist Hans Haacke, whose own work has famously made visible the hidden economies and spatial politics of art, presents a selection of photographs he took at Occupy Wall Street this past fall.

    OCCUPYING IS NOT THE SAME as

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  • Christopher D’Arcangelo

    In an attempt to find alternatives to “curatorial control” I am making the following proposal to you the reader:

    A. You will find that the following page of this journal has been left blank. That page is yours.

    B. You can remove that page from this journal and do anything you want on it.

    C. You can then install the page anyplace in the viewing space of LAICA, at any time and in anyway you want.

    I am aware of the fact that this proposal is a product of “curatorial control.” In any case it is my hope that, through these kinds of activities from inside and outside the art world, we may find alternatives

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  • right-wing masculinity

    AS THE PRIMARIES APPROACH, there has been much outrage (and even more amusement) over the mincing, glide-walking, and supersibilant Dr. Marcus Bachmann, spouse and dance partner of Tea Party Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Doc Bachmann is a therapist whose counseling practice, Bachmann & Associates, is known for its techniques of praying away the gay, transforming miserable homosexuals into blissful Christian heterosexuals. The funny thing is that Bachmann is, in the words of Jon Stewart, “an Izod shirt away from being the gay character on Modern Family.”

    Andrew Sullivan noted

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  • “Atlas—How to Carry the World on One’s Back?”

    LONG FABLED as the father of iconology—indeed, of modern art history—Aby Warburg has of late assumed the role of its crazy uncle. In contradistinction to the plodding, fact-finding, tamed iconography that followed in his wake in the early twentieth century, in recent years Warburg has been revalorized as advancing a radical anachronism, discontinuity, and antipositivist turn in the understanding of images and objects. A leading figure in this revival is Georges Didi-Huberman, who in 2002 published a major study of the visionary German art historian and is a curator of one of the past

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  • Nicolás Guagnini’s The Panel Discussion, the Tennis Match, and a Bodegón

    NICOLÁS GUAGNINI’S The Panel Discussion, the Tennis Match, and a Bodegón, 2011, centers on a long plywood table that holds two groups of miniature wooden figures, one at either end. The back row, commissioned from a professional caricature wood-carver, represents a panel discussion that, according to the press release, features “an American publisher and art dealer, . . . a well known German artist, . . . and a well known German professor of Art History,” who are flanked by a facsimile catalogue from the Nazis’ 1937 “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art) show propped on a miniature easel. It takes

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  • Jack Smith’s posthumous career

    AMONG THE MANY EVOCATIVE ELEMENTS to be found in “Thanks for Explaining Me,” the recent exhibition at Gladstone Gallery in New York devoted to the work of Jack Smith (1932–1989), was the unmistakable sound of the artist’s voice, at once somnolent and hysterical. Even before one had fully entered the show, Smith could be heard loudly complaining about art-world corruption.

    Smith was famous long ago for his scandalous 1963 film Flaming Creatures, and like an insanely protective parent, he took steps to ensure that none of his subsequent work would ever leave the nest. Thus, as positioned by curator

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