May 1, 2009 - Artforum - May 2009
May 1, 2009

May 2009

May 2009

This month in Artforum: “The Prime of Mister Larry Johnson.” Typography, orthography, montage, typesetting, and pasteup are but some of the outmoded techniques and technologies deployed by Los Angeles–based artist Larry Johnson in work that raises questions about subjectivity, the mainstreaming of gay life, and the perishability of the sensibilities and tastes that give rise to an era. On the occasion of Johnson’s major survey exhibition this summer at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, Artforum contributing editor Bruce Hainley considers the artist’s “urgent bulletins, often for an item called, just like the magazine, Self.”

Also: “Breaking the Codes.” Director Jim Jarmusch sits down with critic Amy Taubin to discuss his new film, The Limits of Control, in which actor Isaach De Bankolé plays a hit man tracking down his target through various Spanish cities and towns—generating a sequence of cryptic, dreamlike scenes befitting the William S. Burroughs essay from which the movie takes its title.

“I think we’re at a moment in history where we’ve already begun a kind of apocalypse of thought, where all the models we have been led to believe in are crumbling.” —Jim Jarmusch

And: “The Poem Will Resemble You: The Art of Lorraine O’Grady.” Known during the early 1980s for her alter ego Mlle Bourgeoise Noire—a critical persona bound to burst into art openings throughout New York—O’Grady has since created a three-decade practice devoted to hybridity in art and social situations alike. Artist Nick Mauss considers her work as it moved from collagist poetry inspired by Mallarmé to performance and appropriation, bringing personal stories into the public sphere all the while; and, in a special project, O’Grady reflects on “The Black and White Show,” an exhibition she organized as Mlle Bourgeoise Noire in the burned-out East Village of 1983.

“There are so many coexisting tendencies in any given time. What is lost when the present reduces the past, ties it up with a ribbon so it can move on to the future? Is that result necessary? Is it real?” —Lorraine O’Grady

Plus: “Divided Interests: The Art of Alighiero Boetti.” Between the abundance of postwar Italy’s “economic miracle” and the ascetic bent of Conceptual art, Boetti took up the multiple implications of making and thinking, consumption and revolution, local and global. Art historian and curator Mark Godfrey takes stock of the artist on the occasion of a recent retrospective at the Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Donna Regina (MADRE) in Naples.

“At the heart of his sense of systems was a desire to undo oppositions, not to produce synthesis but to understand the duality of everything.” —Mark Godfrey

Also in May: Greil Marcus listens to Marianne Faithfull’s first studio album in twenty years; art historian Jaleh Mansoor examines a major survey of the art of Piero Manzoni, curated by Germano Celant at Gagosian Gallery in New York; Sarah Michelson talks about her work premiering this summer at the Kitchen in New York; critic Martin Herbert mines the melancholic romance of Dutch artist Guido van der Werve’s videos; art historian Sabeth Buchmann takes stock of Ree Morton at Vienna’s Generali Foundation; Edgar Schmitz investigates curator Nicolas Bourriaud’s Tate Triennial; David Deitcher interprets Paul Graham’s “filmic haikus” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Christoph Cox remembers Max Neuhaus, who died this past February at the age of sixty-nine; and Byron Kalet counts down his Top Ten.

And: Artforum looks ahead to summer with previews of fifty shows opening worldwide, from Cy Twombly in Chicago to Isa Genzken in Cologne, including first glimpses of Katharina Fritsch’s retrospective at the Kunsthaus Zürich and Bruce Nauman’s multi-venue contribution to the United States pavilion at the 53rd Venice Biennale, as well as an extended interview by Artforum editor Tim Griffin with Biennale director Daniel Birnbaum about the upcoming show.

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