January 3, 2007 - Artforum - January 2007 in Artforum
January 3, 2007

January 2007 in Artforum

January 2007 in Artforum

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This month: Gogol in Seoul: The Films of Bong Joon-ho. Novelist and critic Gary Indiana looks at the practice of a Korean filmmaker who elides high-low distinctions, encoding deep social commentary in such popular genres as the detective picture, the romantic comedy, and now, with the imminent release of The Host, the monster flick.

Bong pictures the absurdity of our time as the mess generated by unlimited idiocy, the human condition as an unstable mixture of bad conditioning and decent instincts. His films heap shrewd, witty ridicule on all forms of authority, particularly the military and the police; his work is witheringly hostile to the United States presumed guardianship of South Korea and pointedly critical of his countrys family-owned conglomerates and their fascistically intimate relations with government. Gary Indiana on Bong Joon-ho

And: Glitter and Doom: German Portraits from the 1920s. Art historian Graham Bader visits this exhibition at New Yorks Metropolitan Museum of Art and finds that Weimars unflinching portrayals of villainous politicians, maimed veterans, sex-trade casualties, and rapacious tycoons present a riveting picture of a troubled time unnervingly resonant with our own–with implications for how artists, and the state, approach the body today.

The works in Glitter and Doom extend and arguably intensify Dadas anatomical operation–suggesting not an aesthetic strategy but an entire culture driven by an ongoing cycle of corporeal assault, inscription, experimentation, and decomposition. –Graham Bader in The Body Politic

The slippery character of socially accepted reality is what Xu calls mobile public fact, something the artist addresses often in a practice that is notable for its political punch. –Hans-Ulrich Obrist on Xu Zhen

Also: Cindy Sherman speaks with Johanna Burton about A Play of Selves, a 1976 work recently on view at Metro Pictures in New York for the first time in three decades. A split-personality narrative acted out in seventy-two black-and-white tableaux–Sherman, of course, plays all sixteen roles–the photographs prefigure the epochal Untitled Film Stills the artist would begin the following year.

I realize now that the female characters I took on were really ambivalent about themselves and the world around them and the roles that theyre playing, not just in this movie or that movie but in life. . . . It was that ambivalence that I was interested in. –Cindy Sherman

And: Claire Bishop sees the world through Cerith Wyn Evanss eyes at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; contributing editor Bruce Hainley meets the men of filmmaker William E. Jones; Tom Vanderbilt looks at the big pictures of Doug Aitkens first large-scale public artwork in the US, appearing this month on the facade of the Museum of Modern Art in New York; Julia Bryan-Wilson gleans the work of Sadie Benning, subject of a retrospective this month at the Wexner Center for the Arts; Michelle Kuo discusses Space Invaders tile-tag takeover; contributing editor Daniel Birnbaum considers the slippery slope of critical takes on Carsten Höllers slides at Tate Modern; Tom Holert reflects on the paintings of Silke Otto-Knapp; Harry Cooper finds hits and misses at the Whitneys Picasso and American Art; artist Eileen Quinlan lists her Top Ten; and Lisa Phillips remembers Marcia Tucker, the founder of New Yorks New Museum of Contemporary Art.

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