Louise Lawler’s Beguiling Institutional Critique

I remember when photographs by Louise Lawler, currently the subject of a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, first hurt my feelings, some thirty years ago. They pictured paintings by Miró, Pollock, Johns, and Warhol as they appeared in museums, galleries, auction houses, storage spaces, and collectors’ homes. A Miró co-starred with its own reflection in […]

A Fearful Frenzy: The Art Market Now

Life has been happier for many of us in the art world since we stopped caring about runaway commerce in art, which has seemed—but only seemed—to reduce all measures of aesthetic value to raw price. Sure, the billion-plus dollars shaken loose, since May, at three New York and London auctions of modern and contemporary works—with […]

The Danger Artist

Our final (so far) column on Chris Burden, by Peter Schjeldahl – you should read it. Burden adventured alone in wilds that aren’t outside civilized life but that seethe within it. He coolly structured convulsive experience.  His mastery of form made him a poet, as in a piece that I knew from hearsay and wrote […]

The Case of the “Million-Dollar” Broken Vase

When a local artist intentionally shattered a vase, last week, at the Pérez Art Museum Miami’s ongoing Ai Weiwei retrospective, most journalists predictably focussed on the price of the destroyed work, which was said to be a million dollars. CNN’sheadline was typical of the coverage: “MIAMI ARTIST DESTROYS $1 MILLION AI WEIWEI VASE IN PROTEST.” Variations […]