April 1, 2010 - Artforum - April 2010
April 1, 2010

April 2010

April 2010


This month in Artforum: “Concrete Poetry: The Art of Shannon Ebner.” Surmising the Los Angeles–based artist’s photographs of stylized icons in public space, and her pictures of temporary, text-based sculptures placed in expansive landscapes, scholar Tom McDonough finds a practice indebted to Nauman and Ruscha—but only while it also offers one of the most profound and novel cultural responses to the impasses of contemporary art and American society.

“Ebner seeks to unsettle our vision and break down instrumentalized language—expressions of symbolic command—in all its forms.” —Tom McDonough

And: Argentine artist Marta Minujín discusses her Minucode, 1968. Some forty years ago, this early progenitor of Happenings, having been invited to make a project for the Center for Inter-American Relations (CIAR) in New York, employed computer databases to generate cocktail-party invitation lists for people in specialized fields ranging from politics and economics to art and fashion. After filming the resultant soirees—whose guests included Diana Vreeland, Veruschka, and Al Hansen—she cloistered the participants whom computers had deemed workaholics, sending them off to a separate room, where they made collages deconstructing the signs of contemporary media. With documentation of the work slated for display this month at the same location—known today as the Americas Society—the artist spoke with art historian Daniel Quiles.

“We had Tony Martin bring all the materials that he would normally bring for a light show, gels and so on. And the eight politicians or the eight economists would sit there picking colors, making slides, listening to Jimi Hendrix.” —Marta Minujín

Plus: Claude Lévi-Strauss. His revelatory application of linguistic theory to the field of anthropology gave birth to a structuralist model that forever transformed the studies of art history and literature, psychology and sociology. Following the anthropologist’s death this past October at the age of one hundred, Artforum asked art historian Thomas Crow, anthropologist Michael Taussig, and cultural theorist Sylvère Lotringer to consider his life and legacy.

“By attending to Lévi-Strauss’s example, it is possible to comprehend the fascination exerted by the ostensible object of art as a glimpse of its place in a lived symbolic complex of perpetual transformation, which is to say, a higher and wider plane of existence.” —Thomas Crow

“The anthropologists had been led to the promised land, parched, and had drunk accordingly. The inevitable surfeit of intoxicated revelation led to the routinization of charisma.” —Michael Taussig

“The insistent rationality Lévi-Strauss upheld for so long—the entire system that came to encompass the universe, nature, and man alike—was never very far from a kind of delirium.” —Sylvère Lotringer

Also: Okwui Enwezor appraises the Museum of Modern Art in New York’s recent Gabriel Orozco retrospective, which travels this month to the Kunstmuseum Basel; Sean Keller traverses the platforms and footnotes of Liam Gillick’s midcareer retrospective, which was at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago this past winter; painter Carrie Moyer locates the germinal force of feminist art in “Seductive Subversion,” a show of female Pop artists at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia; Bruce Hainley protests the decay of lying when it comes to the art of Dianna Molzan; Martin Herbert looks at John Stezaker’s remixed photographic images through the prism of the British artist’s little-known work of three decades ago; John Kelsey logs the alchemical designs of fashion design team Rodarte; Mark von Schlegell chronicles the “Paperback Revolution” with a special selection of disintegrating titles culled from his own bookshelves; and this month’s Top Ten is counted down by DAS INSTITUT.

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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 www.artforum.com/guide

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