April 2, 2012 - Artforum - April 2012
April 2, 2012

April 2012

April 2012 in Artforum

This month in Artforum: Straight-faced guinea pigs, opulent fabrics, MRI scans, and desolate landscapes: These are the subjects of Josephine Pryde‘s photographs, which are as winsome as they are cruel. Critic Tom Holert illuminates the London- and Berlin-based artist’s technically dazzling lens on affect and agency, consumption and biopolitical control, on the occasion of her midcareer retrospective now on view at the Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen Düsseldorf.

“Pryde’s luscious shots of little rodents jocosely shuffling around packing paper, shipping tubes, and other material remnants of an art exhibition must be considered provocative, even ridiculous.”
—Tom Holert

· And: Rachel Kushner takes a “Close-Up” of Stan Douglas‘s new project, Disco Angola, 2012, which stages a lavish, disquieting diptych of 1970s disco and revolutionary energies alike.

“Dancing and national-liberation movements are not of the same order, obviously, but the symmetry in which Douglas places them introduces a call to find some logic in their pairing.”
—Rachel Kushner

· T. J. Demos plots out our post-natural condition, in which environment, finance, and human activity are inextricably intertwined, and under which the utopian bona fides of postwar Land art have become an outmoded fantasy.

“Just as nature can no longer be understood as a pristine and discrete realm apart from human activity, art’s autonomy is all the more untenable when faced with ecological catastrophe.”
—T. J. Demos

· For sixteen years, Parisian artist Jean-Luc Moulène documented a botanical creation left to run wild: the garden of one Victor Chaudun, former director of the arboretum at Versailles. For this issue, Moulène presents a portfolio culled from an archive of thousands of photographs—periodic indexes of a terrain suspended between cultivation and ruin.

· Also: Anne M. Wagner remembers Abstract Expressionist matriarch Helen Frankenthaler, David J. Roxburgh gives his perspective on the East-West binaries of Hans Belting’s Florence and Baghdad, and Diedrich Diederichsen gives his verdict on “Before the Law, Kasper König’s final exhibition at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne.

· Plus: From the National September 11 Memorial—now sunk into the footprint of the World Trade Center—to Berlin’s stunted Liebknecht monument, Graham Bader reevaluates the commemorative power of absence; Alan Licht tunes into new box sets of UK post-punk projects DOME and Groovy Records; Melissa Anderson tells the fateful story of Cristián Jiménez’s Bonsái; Jeffrey Kastner goes into the wild with an “Openings” on Singaporean artist Zhao Renhui and his Institute of Critical Zoologists; J. Hoberman takes a snapshot of “The Radical Camera” at the Jewish Museum in New York; artist Hank Willis Thomas lays out his Top Ten; and much more.

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