Summer 2011

Summer 2011


June 3, 2011

Summer 2011 in Artforum

ACTING OUT: THE AB-EX EFFECT. The world was supposed to end this past month, but we’re still here. No Rapture, no Apocalypse. The same could be said of Abstract Expressionism: That dripping, demonstrative, unabashedly tactile practice has met its maker many times over. Yet its effects are everywhere to be seen today. This special section of Artforum‘s summer issue considers the historical nuances and contemporary persistence of AbEx—and the ways in which artists are engaging its expanded notions of affect, material, and experience, but to vastly different ends. More than twenty critics, artists, scholars, and curators feel the heat.

· Curator Harry Cooper reveals the roiling contradictions of Abstract Expressionism—the “band of selves,” the “controlled accident”—that have shaped much art today.

“The AbExers devised various strategies to dislodge a picturesque relationship to the world—and yet, like a bad perfume, it hung around.”
—Harry Cooper

· Artist Amy Sillman isn’t ashamed to like AbEx—and seeks to understand why its vulgarity, its virtuosity, and its campiness have been reclaimed by artists, not least women and queers, now.

“AbEx: Saw it? Loved it! Got the tote bag—and it came with a free Charlie Parker record!”
—Amy Sillman

· Terry Winters talks with curator John Elderfield in anticipation of his blockbuster “De Kooning: A Retrospective,” opening this fall at MoMA.

· David Joselit distinguishes between abstraction then and now, from the “passage” of signs in AbEx to the “broadcast medium” of contemporary painting.

· And: Daniel Marcus traces the suppression and reappearance of the figure and the face in the paintings of Jean Dubuffet, Cathy Wilkes, and cover artist Josh Smith; conservator Carol Mancusi-Ungaro brings the preservation of the AbEx monochrome to the surface; and Graham Bader finds the painterly gesture both emptied and full in the circulation and transmission of Roy Lichtenstein‘s Pop “brushstrokes.”

· Five “Close-ups” illuminate single projects that sit in the nexus—or the wake—of AbEx:
· Carroll Dunham on William Baziotes‘s odd Dwarf, 1947
· Ann Temkin on Cy Twombly‘s transitional Academy, 1955
· Jordan Kantor on the cool hand of Albert Oehlen‘s “Fingermalerei,” 2008–
· Mark Godfrey on Christopher Wool‘s new work for the Venice Biennale
· and Molly Warnock on art informel impresario Georges Mathieu‘s frenzied Battle of the Bouvines, 1954

· Also: Fourteen artists—including Richard Prince, Ei Arakawa, Nicole Eisenman, Scott Lyall, and Julian Schnabel—offer their personal takes on AbEx.

· Plus: Cory Arcangel takes Euro-trance seriously; curator Achim Hochdörfer introduces Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig‘s “1000 Words”; with the rise of computational architecture, critic Sean Keller calls for architects to look at painting again; Okwui Enwezor considers the controversies surrounding Ai Weiwei and Sharjah Biennial 10; James Meyer casts his vote for the Whitney Museum of American Art’s “Glenn Ligon: AMERICA”; Ina Blom plays the audience to Jutta Koether‘s “The Thirst” at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Amy Taubin contemplates Romanian filmmaker Cristi Puiu‘s Aurora; and much more, as Artforum closes its forty-ninth season.

Visit Artforum online at

To subscribe, visit

Visit artguide—Artforum‘s free directory of the international art world, listing art fairs, auctions, and current gallery and museum shows in more than 400 cities—at

RSVP for Summer 2011
June 3, 2011

Thank you for your RSVP.

Artforum will be in touch.

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.

Feel free to subscribe to additional content from the e-flux platform: