February 1, 2010 - Artforum - February 2010
February 1, 2010

February 2010

February 2010


This month in Artforum: “The Art of Danh Vo.” For years, the Vietnamese émigré Vo has been an arranger and stager of things—whether social or personal artifacts, or, more likely, both—always seeking out the tacit elisions and gaps in meaning that percolate through institutions governing the relations of state and individual, artist and spectator, public and private. Here, in the wake of the major survey of Vo’s work that Kunsthalle Basel mounted last year, curator and critic Luigi Fassi takes a close look at the artist’s sculpture and performance to date.

“Vo’s serial-marriage piece suggests the upside to the frighteningly arbitrary nature of identity: Just as identity is subject to random fate and bureaucratic caprice, it is also subject to individual will and can be a site of resistance.” —Luigi Fassi

Plus: On the occasion of a major retrospective of the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres at Wiels Contemporary Art Center in Brussels, Joe Scanlan considers the terms of the artist’s current presentation and reception, wondering whether our changed economic environment and museum contexts have caused many to lose sight of what was originally provocative about his artwork. And, in a 1000 Words feature, Danh Vo discusses the thinking behind his turn as guest curator for an upcoming reinstallation of the Gonzalez-Torres exhibition at Wiels.

“If his work is going to remain vital and relevant, then it is time for his works’ ‘dark side’—their affinity with social control, finance, and private property—to be discussed.” —Joe Scanlan

“I thought I knew and understood Gonzalez-Torres after so many years of stalking his works. But then I always forget that they often have detonators embedded within them, with each piece intending to question a previous production.” —Danh Vo

And: Ina Blom sounds off about this fall’s “The Anarchy of Silence” at the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, the first major retrospective of John Cage’s work since the aleatoric master’s death in 1992; Huey Copeland traces a course through the framed layers of black memory in Leslie Hewitt’s photo-based installations; and George Baker sits down with Kaja Silverman to discuss her new book, Flesh of My Flesh (Stanford University Press, 2009).

“The myth of Orpheus and Eurydice provides a much more compelling account of gender than does the Oedipus myth—one based on mortality instead of castration. The story also helps us to see the foundational nature of gender: The turn away from woman is a turn away from all relationality.” —Kaja Silverman

Also: James Meyer travels to see curator Christophe Cherix’s “In & Out of Amsterdam” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Scott MacDonald expands on filmmaker Artavazd Peleshian’s development of “distance montage”; choreographer and performer Ursula Eagly follows the footsteps of Deborah Hay at Performa; Melissa Anderson sings the praises of Jessica Hauser’s Lourdes; Michael Ned Holte does a double take in reaction to Michele O’Marah’s Pamela Anderson–inspired video trilogy “A Girl’s Gotta Do What a Girl’s Gotta Do”; Andrew Hultkrans ranks the object-based publication The Thing Quarterly among his favorites; Irene V. Small sifts through the ashes of the Hélio Oiticica archive; architect and artist Jesko Fezer counts off his Top Ten; and Julie Ault considers the life work of artist and activist Nancy Spero, who passed away this past October at the age of eighty-three.

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