May 31, 2009 - Artforum - Summer 2009
May 31, 2009

Summer 2009

Summer 2009 in Artforum

This summer in Artforum: The art of Ryan Trecartin. “Imagine slasher films without blood; porn without nudity; the Sistine Chapel without God; the New York Stock Exchange without capital,” muses critic Wayne Koestenbaum, considering the best ways to surmise an artist whose latest epic—composed of three interconnected, modular psychodramas—is currently on view in the group show “Younger Than Jesus” at the New Museum in New York. In a self-described “subjective survey” of Trecartin’s work, Koestenbaum argues that the artist’s kind of apocalypse-as-party adds a new chapter to the story of human attention.

“Walter Benjamin drew a distinction between concentration and distraction, with the latter falling prey to false consciousness and the former rising to revolutionary art’s challenge. Paradox: Trecartin’s characters concentrate on distraction.” —Wayne Koestenbaum

And: Yoko Ono in Conversation with Rirkrit Tiravanija. For more than fifty years, Ono has produced work revolving around the reorientaton and inversion of audience expectations—making, for instance, a chess set with pieces that are all white, so that the opposing players will eventually be unable to tell their sides apart. On the occasion of her being awarded the Golden Lion at this year’s Venice Biennale, Ono spoke with Tiravanija—who has designed a new bookstore and informal meeting area for the Biennale’s Palazzo delle Esposizioni—about art, Buddhism, and the Bed-In project she did with John Lennon in Amsterdam and Montreal forty years ago.

“Some artists will try over time to communicate in more and more complex forms. But in my case, I started very complex and then wanted to communicate in a simpler way, so that we would really reach each other.” —Yoko Ono

Plus: “The Personal Effects of Seth Price.” For nearly a decade, Price has made artwork and composed essays that have placed him at the forefront of younger artists considering art’s tenuous engagements with a broader culture radically impacted by new media. Artforum editor Tim Griffin considers Price’s video, vacuum-form sculpture, and repeated use of digital and analog “effects” to play on our senses of memory and identity alike.

“Price continually creates the impression of specific histories for images and sounds— histories they do not, in fact, possess.” —Tim Griffin

Also in summer: Benjamin H. D. Buchloh examines the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s recent exhibition “Art of Two Germanys/Cold War Cultures”; Hamza Walker talks with Peter Saul about the artist’s most recent work; Sean Keller takes stock of architect Renzo Piano’s numerous museum projects, most recently the majestic Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, unveiled last month; Chus Martínez introduces the installations and architectural interventions of Brazilian artist Renata Lucas; James Quandt lauds Lucrecia Martel’s film The Headless Woman; Richard Deming examines a recently unearthed short film by avant-garde pioneer Kenneth Macpherson; and Bruce Jenkins considers the recent gallery presentation of the late artist Paul Sharits’s 1975 film installation Shutter Interface.

“Pop is the world’s best art movement. Minimalism, on the other hand, I could never understand at all. Why would anyone want to look at less instead of more?” —Peter Saul

Finally: Hal Foster considers German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s new book on the birth of terrorism and the rise of environmental thinking; Brigitte Weingart assesses anthropologist Michael Taussig’s ruminative tome What Color Is the Sacred?; Claire Bishop visits the 10th Havana Biennial; Taraneh Fazeli goes to Night School; Briony Fer reviews German sculptor Isa Genzken’s retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery in London; Gene McHugh muses on the age of social networking in the New Museum’s inaugural triennial, “Younger Than Jesus”; Pamela M. Lee encounters a dystopian undercurrent in this year’s Sharjah Biennial; artist Lindsay Seers counts down her Top Ten; and Christopher Williams remembers sculptor, art historian, and critic Coosje van Bruggen, while Lynne Cooke pays homage to the late German artist Hanne Darboven.

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