JOHN COPLANS: COPING WITH THE VOID

John Coplans: Self-Portrait (Feet, Frontal), 1984 The Body Politic Oddly enough, one of the best essays written about Weegee, last week's subject, is by John Coplans (1920 - 2003), this week's subject. His essay, titled "Weegee the Famous," is in Weegee's New York (Schirmer/Mosel, 1982). He erred, I feel, on the side of attributing too much naiveté to that artist's brutal vision. But this is how cults are born: No other art form rivals photography's capacity to be meaningless, to topple into a … [Read more...]

WEEGEE THE WRITER

Anthony Esposito, Accused "Cop-Killer", January 16,1941 Gunman Doesn't Want His Picture Taken. For the first time since Bruno Richard Hauptman, police today permitted photographers in the line-up room at headquarters. The subject was Anthony Esposito, under indictment with his brother, William, for the murder of a business man and a policeman in Tuesday's tragic Battle of Fifth Avenue. The detectives, manacled to Esposito, didn't want their names or picture in the papers. They obliged by turning … [Read more...]

FRED WILSON’S QUEST

Fred Wilson: Mine/Yours, 1995. Collection: Whitney Museum How Objects Get Their Meanings Artist Fred Wilson has worked in various museum education departments: at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Craft Museum, the Whitney. Therefore it may seem only natural that his main subject appears to be museums, and most particularly how museums present, and in doing so either consciously or unintentionally interpret, the objects they put on public display. I have worked in museums too, so of … [Read more...]

JEFF KOONS: POP ART, PART 3

Jeff Koons: Balloon Dog (Orange), 1994-2000. Stainless steel, 10 ft x 12 ft x 45 in. The Pre-New, The New, and the Post-New The secret is out. A classy survey of Jeff Koons' work, covering 25 years of outrageousness at C & M Arts (45 E. 78th St., through June 5), proves that Pop Art never died. Was I the only one to call certain art of the '80s Neo-Pop? That can't be; it's so obvious now when you look at Koons' work that he was doing Pop, and still is. By using the prefix neo, I was probably … [Read more...]

ROBERT INDIANA’S PEACE SIGNS

Robert Indiana, Four Diamond Peace Diamond (2003) The Painted Word Let us imagine for a moment that Pop Art was more important than we thought it was. Taking its cue from, among other things, de Kooning's use of Marilyn Monroe's smile on one of his Women, Rauschenberg's and Johns' use of common imagery (some would count these two, plus Larry Rivers, as Pop), and sources as far afield as Cubist collage and Bruegel, Pop Art is generally defined as the nonpainterly depiction of images from the … [Read more...]

ERRO’S WARRIOR WOMEN

Erro, Pop's History, 1967 Too Political To Be Pop? This is the year of the second Icelandic invasion; the first happened before Columbus. Adventurous Icelandics settled briefly in what they called Vineland. You can even read about it in one of the Icelandic sagas. Now its art that's coming over. First, Dieter Roth at MoMA and P.S. 1; now Erró at the Grey Art Gallery of New York University (100 Washington Square East, to July 17) and Goethe-Institut (1014 Fifth Avenue, to July 16). Erró is … [Read more...]

BROOKLYN MUSEUM REBORN?

A Pavilion Grows in Brooklyn The Brooklyn Museum has a new look. Images of the just-inaugurated "entry pavilion" look best when shot inside, aimed at the glass ceiling or outside from high above to include the plaza. Unfortunately, when you actually see the Polshek Partnership redo of both entryway and front yard upon emerging from the subway or just at street level, the pavilion looks like a flimsy glass tent with no relationship to the looming hulk of a building it inadequately fronts. The … [Read more...]

DIETER ROTH: BREAKING THE MOLD

Dieter Roth: (detail)Garden Sculpture What Are Masterpieces? "Roth Time," the first U.S. retrospective of Dieter Roth (1930-1998), is now at P.S.1 and MoMA QNS through June 7. [See the MoMA website for an online exhibition.] Ten years ago I could not have predicted that such a survey -- actually a double-header -- would receive the Museum of Modern Art imprimatur. Although Roth was European (German mother, Swiss father), there hasn't been much of a market for his work in the U.S.A., or much … [Read more...]

RUPPERSBERG’S ‘THE NEW FIVE FOOT SHELF’

Ruppersberg: (detail) The New Five Foot Shelf Why Leave Home? He lives there in two rooms which he had covered ceiling to floor with the most strange and troubling designs that made certain distinguished critics repeat for the thousandth time: It is nothing but Literature!    -- Giorgio de Chirico, quoted at the beginning of each book in     Ruppersberg's The New Five Foot Shelf I like to keep my eye on new forms as they grow and mutate. In the deep, dark past … [Read more...]

THE FUTURE OF THE RECIPROCAL READYMADE

AAA Corp, TransmissionTour, The Wages of Fear #01 The Use-Value of Art There must be something to Jung's idea of synchronicity. Or did my brain store away some dim memory of a press release? In any case, after last week's exposition of my categorical risk concept --inspired by the Lee Lozano exhibition at P.S.1 -- here is an exhibition on related matters, "The Future of the Reciprocal Readymade," curated by Stephen Wright for apexart (291 Church St., south of Walker, to April 17.) Yes, there is … [Read more...]