March 2, 2009 - Artforum - March 2009
March 2, 2009

March 2009

March 2009 in Artforum

This month in Artforum: “Dara Birnbaum and Cory Arcangel: In Conversation.” If the manipulation of popular imagery, once the purview of avant-garde practice, is now common among homemade videos placed online, then what new obstacles and opportunities await artists working in these modes? Birnbaum—pioneering video artist and subject of a pivotal retrospective next month at SMAK in Ghent, Belgium—sits down with media artist and programmer Cory Arcangel to compare notes on art in light of widespread appropriation and increasingly fragmented audiences.

“I initially avoided galleries like the plague. I didn’t want to translate popular imagery from television and film into painting and photography. I wanted to use video on video; I wanted to use television on television.” —Dara Birnbaum

“It’s important to note that the whole media landscape has changed in just the past couple years. Media is no longer a one-way street. It’s participatory. People just make things. And so I don’t know whether it’s so necessary for art to ‘reveal’ anything anymore.” —Cory Arcangel

Plus: “Cover Versions: The Reinvention of Music Video.” We wanted our MTV but got much more: While the music video has largely disappeared from television, its accelerated clip and audiovisual onslaught have nevertheless come to pervade our entire media environment. Artforum asked a range of contributors—directors Michel Gondry and E*Rock, as well as artists Rodney Graham, Michael Bell-Smith, Steina, and Cao Fei—to reflect on the genre’s sprawling contemporary manifestations and unlikely historical fonts. Media curator Barbara London also traces the rise of the music video and its surprising convergence with video art, minimal music, and pop marketing.

“It’s true that video killed the radio star. Unfortunately, I am guilty.” —Michel Gondry

Also in March: Los Angeles–based artist Charlie White investigates the reemergence of collage in art practice and popular culture, while art historian Tom McDonough offers a close reading of French décollage artist Jacques Villeglé’s retrospective at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

“The manner in which collage can make meaning—in an atmosphere dense with remixes, mash-ups, and shuffles—will be very different than it was in times of crisis past.” —Charlie White

“Even if Villeglé’s model of anonymous collaboration with what he called the ‘spontaneous, iconoclastic gestures of passersby’ was inevitably compromised, it still provides significant precedent for artists currently attempting to forge new links with the world outside the gallery.” —Tom McDonough

And: Art historian Ina Blom considers the question “Whatever Happened to Sex in Scandinavia?”; Liz Kotz profiles Primary Information’s 1960s revivals; Amy Taubin tracks a nuclear family meltdown in Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s film Tokyo Sonata; Catherine Wood appraises solo shows by Jeff Koons and Tino Sehgal in situ; Tom Vanderbilt talks with geographer, artist, and author Trevor Paglen about his photographic surveys of classified military activity; critic John Kelsey discusses “theanyspacewhatever” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, while curator Helen Molesworth considers the uneasy helix of relational aesthetics and identity politics when that show is considered alongside the museum’s recent retrospective of Catherine Opie; musician-composer Stefan Tcherepnin lists his Top Ten; and artists Liza Béar and Hans Haacke remember all-around avant-gardist Willoughby Sharp, who died this past December.

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