November 1, 2009 - Artforum - November 2009
November 1, 2009

November 2009

November 2009

This month in Artforum: “Taste Tests: The Art of Urs Fischer.” Whether making work with moldy bread, melting wax, or Froot Loops screenprinted on massive mirrored boxes, Fischer probes the inner workings of embodied experience and cultural production—reframing both process art and kitsch in turn. On the occasion of the artist’s first major solo exhibition in the US, currently on view at the New Museum in New York, Artforum‘s Michelle Kuo explores his feverish range of materials and means.

“In Fischer’s universe, the gustatory, the optical, the base, and the ideal are impiously interchangeable.” —Michelle Kuo

Plus: In the wake of her survey this summer at Kunsthaus Zürich, Katharina Fritsch presents a curatorial project for the magazine, “Double Life,” which features such juxtapositions as Veit Stoss’s sixteenth-century limewood Annunciation in Nuremburg (beneath which Fritsch’s grandfather was baptized) and an exotic flower that blooms for just a few hours one night each year. Artforum senior editor Scott Rothkopf introduces the project and sets it against the larger backdrop of the artist’s practice as it was portrayed in Zurich.

“The sacred and the profane merge with each other in the crystalline fog of Fritsch’s oeuvre, so that in a retrospective context we are left to ponder precisely which is which.” —Scott Rothkopf

Also: If the legacy of modernism has emerged in recent years as the central preoccupation of contemporary art and architecture, interest in the Bauhaus and its key proponents has only intensified—with an impressive array of Bauhaus retrospectives taking place across Europe and the US this year to mark the ninetieth anniversary of the school’s founding. On the occasion of “Bauhaus 1919–1933: Workshops for Modernity,” opening this month at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, architectural historian K. Michael Hays reflects on the unprecedented influence this storied design school has had on virtually every aspect of visual culture.

“A self-declared ‘summary of all that is contemporary,’ the Bauhaus represents the original institutionalization of an avant-garde art practice that is wholly integrated with the design, manufacture, distribution, and marketing of the environments and equipment of daily life—which would not be a bad characterization of our own present design ideal.” —K. Michael Hays

And: Last month Artforum published two extended selections from Commonwealth (Harvard University Press, 2009), the new, final volume of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Empire trilogy. In this issue, political theorist David Harvey offers a close reading and critique of Hardt and Negri’s argument—and the authors respond.

“Are all those screaming right-wingers interrupting the health-care reformers in the United States an instance of singularities in motion as a jacquerie? They are certainly erupting in a seemingly infinite rage against the capitalist state’s attempt to impose a new form of biopower on their world.” —David Harvey

“One central difference here between our view and Harvey’s is that we do not consider capital to be the exclusive axis of domination, and, hence, overthrowing capitalist rule is not, in our view, the only mode of revolutionary activity.” —Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri

Plus: Jessica Morgan outlines the work of Lebanese actor, playwright, and video artist Rabih Mroué, who discusses his “Letter to New York,” the artist’s US debut at P.S. 122 as part of Performa 09; Adriano Pedrosa presents Gabriel Sierra’s play on do-it-yourself object-structures; Tom McDonough reflects on Philippe Parreno’s nonretrospective “journey through time” at the Centre Pompidou; Matthew Jesse Jackson asks what it means to judge “The Quick and the Dead,” the Walker Art Center’s survey of Conceptual art present and past; Sanford Kwinter interprets the algorithms of Matthew Ritchie’s The Morning Line; Daniel Birnbaum responds to Andy Warhol, Arthur C. Danto’s study of the Pop icon; Amy Taubin unwraps Richard Kelly’s film The Box; the principals of Basel-based, artist-run gallery New Jerseyy count off their Top Ten; and Thomas Crow remembers art historian, writer, and Art & Language member Charles Harrison.

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