COLUMNS

  • Into the Storm

    APRIL 16, 2017 AT 2:24 PM EST

    Dearest Bruce,

    Today, a resurrection. 

    On Tuesday, as you recommended, I went to Light Industry to see Lyn Blumenthal and Kate Horsfield’s 1984 conversation, or portrait of, Craig Owens, part of Video Data Bank’s incredible interviews with artists and writers. This was some six years before he died, age thirty-nine, of—I rehearse the intolerable boilerplate—AIDS-related complications. 

    Eighty black-and-white minutes. Owens sits in a director’s chair in front of a makeshift backdrop—the zigzag of a wrinkled moving blanket. He talks and talks, always smoking. Or… he’s

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  • Above and Beyond

    “EVERYTHING has a schedule if you can find out what it is.” —John Ashbery

    On Labor Day, the sun in Virgo and Neptune in Pisces achieved perfect opposition. One way to translate this: The heart attempted austerity & sobriety under the crushing, carceral weight of delusions and dreams, my own and everyone else’s.

    There was a sheet of pure pain wound around my heart, like a postallergen sour gelatin or a Fruit Roll-Up for anhedonic adults you’d buy at Whole Foods. I’d been home two days. My mom had been fully homeless two days. North Korea had detonated a hydrogen bomb in those two days. I was trying

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  • Peak Peaks

    PARTS 1 & 2

    EUCALYPTUS TREES, WEAKENED BY DROUGHT, are on their last legs all over Los Angeles. One fell and knocked out the power lines next to my friend’s house, where I am staying, in Eagle Rock, and we stood on the deck drinking Vinho Verde––delicious, like if wine were beer––watching the action. A fire truck loitered for an hour, produced no helpers, and left. Disruption made the street its own neighborhood. Homeowners came out wondering, hands synchronized on hips. One man retrieved his digital camera and tripod and took commemorative photos. Another ambled the length of his driveway twice

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  • Harun Farocki’s final project

    Where does the wind come from? From the trees.

    How did the wind begin? Because the branches move.

    Do the branches make the wind? Yes.

    But how do the branches move? Because of the wind.

    —Jean Piaget, The Child’s Conception of Physical Causality (1930)

    SOME TWO YEARS before he died, Harun Farocki released the first installment of Parallel I–IV, 2012–14, the four-part film cycle that was to become his last major work. Whereas many of Farocki’s films explored polemical images of technology and violence—from the flying smart bombs that repeatedly appear in Eye/Machine I–III, 2000–2003, to

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  • Look and Listen

    Two years ago, artist Moyra Davey and writer Maggie Nelson were asked to commence a wide-ranging conversation over email for a book project that never came to light. This summer, I invited them to revisit their conversation. What follows is the second of a two-part feature. To read their introductions and part one click here. —Lauren O’Neill-Butler

    MAGGIE NELSON: First of all, if we want to talk about things that make us feel ashamed, I’m very ashamed that the above exchange took place in March 2015, and now it’s the end of October 2015. So sorry, and onward!

    I haven’t read the Barthes quotation

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  • We Belong

    PRIDE MONTH 2017 was momentous, and contentious, for reasons big and small. June’s Facebook pages were littered with rainbow “pride” emoticons, and I used mine for everything. At the same time, a debate about the rainbow flag’s ability to represent its varied constituencies swept through comments, asking if Gilbert Baker’s 1978 creation had become co-opted as a corporate logo, needful of additional black and brown stripes to better address those banded together under the LGBTQIA banner. Often unspoken but nevertheless felt was the shared posttraumatic stress of knowing that a year before, the

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  • Yours, Truly

    Two years ago, artist Moyra Davey and writer Maggie Nelson were asked to commence a wide-ranging conversation over email for a book project that never came to light. This summer, I invited them to revisit their conversation. What follows is the first of a two-part feature. —Lauren O’Neill-Butler

    MAGGIE NELSON: This conversation is something of a time capsule, which is just now seeing the light of day. In 2014, Moyra Davey and I were asked if we’d like to be in conversation for a publication about photography called Entanglements, edited by Arthur Ou and Shannon Ebner. I was excited about the

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  • Travel Logged

    I WAS IN Gloucester, Massachusetts in June, finishing a book in the house where T.S. Eliot spent his childhood summers. I hadn’t been particularly in the mood to worship the dean of modernism, but rereading Four Quartets, especially after eating one or two psilocybin mushrooms, was arresting. You should try it.

    I was researching the Yezidi religion for the penultimate section of my book. I kept circling around the 2014 massacre and mass enslavement of women by ISIS that took place on and around Mount Sinjar, because that was the time peacocks started showing up in my life, and because I’d met a

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  • Documenta 14: Artists’ Artists

    Tomorrow, the fourteenth edition of Documenta opens its iteration in Kassel, Germany. On the ground, we asked artists in the exhibition, curated by Adam Szymczyk along with a team of nearly twenty curators and advisors, to choose another artist or artists who, in the early moments of the show, immediately stood out in their minds. Documenta 14 in Kassel is open to the public from June 10 through September 17, 2017; the exhibition in Athens opened April 8 and runs through July 16, 2017.

    ZAFOS XAGORARIS

    VIVIAN SUTER

    NAEEM MOHAIEMEN

    SERGIO ZEVALLOS

    ROSALIND NASHASHIBI

    ANNIE SPRINKLE & BETH STEPHENS

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  • the NEA

    IN SEPTEMBER 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed legislation that would establish the National Endowment for the Arts, the largest arts funder in the United States. In March of this year, President Trump proposed its elimination. While any immediate action has been forestalled, the threat to thousands of community organizations, museums, artists, and projects that benefit from NEA grants still looms. In light of this, Artforum asked five distinguished artists and critics to reflect on the NEA’s vital impact.

    JOHNIE SCOTT

    IN THE MONTHS immediately following the Watts riots in Los Angeles in

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  • Venice Biennale: Artists’ Artists Part II

    In the prelude to the opening of the 57th Venice Biennale, we asked artists exhibiting and being celebrated around the city to choose something to highlight on artforum.com. Here are some of their selections. The biennial is open to the public from May 13 through November 26, 2017.

    DINEO SESHEE BOPAPE

    JEREMY SHAW

    KATJA NOVITSKOVA

    IVÁN ARGOTE

    JASMINA CIBIC

    VAJIKO CHACHKHIANI

    CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN

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  • Venice Biennale: Artists’ Artists

    Today, the 57th edition of the Venice Biennale opened for early viewings. On the ground, we asked artists showing in “Viva Arte Viva,” curated by Christine Macel, to choose another artist who, in the early moments of the exhibitions, immediately stood out in their minds. The biennial is open to the public from May 13 through November 26, 2017.

    McARTHUR BINION

    RACHEL ROSE

    DAWN KASPER

    TAUS MAKHACHEVA

    SENGA NENGUDI

    LEE MINGWEI

    MICHELLE STAURT

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