April 2020 in Artforum

April 2020 in Artforum



April 1, 2020
April 2020 in Artforum
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

The cover of Artforum’s April issue, John Baldessari’s This Is Not to Be Looked At, 1966–68, was decided shortly after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in New York. Just a week later, exercising what we thought then was simply an abundance of caution, Artforum’s staff began working remotely. Just two weeks after that, a quarter of the world’s population lives under some form of lockdown.

The global pandemic moves at a breakneck pace. This issue came together in a very different moment, but as I go through its pages now, I’m reminded that remarkable writing on remarkable art brooks history’s quickenings, because it holds its own time. 

“Meg told me that John felt that being laid up was no excuse for not making art,” writes Ashley Bickerton in one of four potent tributes to Baldessari (along with Meg Cranston, Thomas Crow, and Catherine Opie). “I could only think that a bedridden John would still be far more productive than I am, even on my best day.” Kaelen Wilson-Goldie’s feature on the films of Moyra Davey, keyed to a now-postponed retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, attends to the quietly explosive work of a master who for decades has made her home a center of productivity. Christopher S. Wood’s essay on the reprint of a classic piece of art history—Saturn and Melancholy—is a compelling intervention in the millennia-old attitude linking negative interiority and imaginative power, while David Rimanelli’s homage to Aubrey Beardsley finds a surprising ethical mandate in decadence: “The stormy, magnificent sea is a must all the time.” 

“And the world is wide. And the world is so small,” goes a chorus in The Great Immensity, the climate-crisis musical by Steve Cosson and the late genius Michael Friedman, whose catalogue is the subject of a heartfelt piece by his colleague Michael R. Jackson. “And so we ride on our little leaky, sinking boat of hope across the hot world to come.”

Beginning April 1, we’re making the entire April issue available and freely accessible to all on artforum.com. Find what matters to you; whatever’s left is not to be looked at.

David Velasco


We also encourage you to follow us on Instagram, where we are posting images from artists’ exhibitions around the globe that have been shuttered or postponed due to the coronavirus crisis. 


In the latest Artforum:

Thomas Crow, Meg Cranston, Ashley Bickerton, and Catherine Opie on the art and life of John Baldessari (1931–2020)

“He stood out from his celebrated contemporaries for having achieved his deserved stature after many years in provincial obscurity, supporting a young family on the teaching jobs that came to hand near his San Diego home.”
—Thomas Crow

“John may have shot from the hip, but he rarely missed. As a master of the improvisational and the expedient, he mass-produced artistic license. Everything was OK. Everything counted.”
—Ashley Bickerton

Speaking Volumes: Kaelen Wilson-Goldie on the films of Moyra Davey

“The artist still somehow emerges from her seemingly radically confessional body of work with her mystery, her enigma, intact. We don’t really know her, at least not fully.”
—Kaelen Wilson-Goldie

Indecent Proposals: David Rimanelli on the art of Aubrey Beardsley

“Behind Wilde’s famous dictum ‘All art is quite useless’ is one of William Morris’s: ‘Nothing useless can be truly beautiful.’ And Beardsley, apotheosis of preening etiolation and voluptuary indecency, was in truth a useful artist: an illustrator.”
—David Rimanelli

Deep Fake: Phil Taylor on Dora Maar’s Le simulateur, 1935

“In Maar’s response to the crises of the ’30s, she mimics realism’s ethics of actuality and social concern, only to upend them through displacement and disorientation.”
—Phil Taylor

And: Marina Vishmidt on Cameron Rowland, Michael R. Jackson on Michael FriedmanDaniel Marcus on Danielle Aubert’s Detroit Printing Co-op, and more than 40 exhibition reviews from around the globe.

Plus: Christopher S. Wood on Saturn and Melancholy, Rachel Seville Tashjian on Willi Smith, Nasser Rabbat on Ancient Nubia Now, J. Hoberman on Jean Cocteau’s Orpheus, Joe Bucciero on Trevor Shimizu, Chanon Kenji Praepipatmongkol on Suddenly Turning Visible, and Stephen Malkmus shares his Top Ten.

RSVP for April 2020 in Artforum
April 1, 2020

Thank you for your RSVP.

Artforum will be in touch.


e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.