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Artforum February 2012

In February 2012 Artforum: A stunning dromological haze surrounds the paintings of New York–based artist Jack Whitten, who here presents a new portfolio of never-before-published works.The artist’s prescient experiments—from video-like acrylic blurs to heat-set abstractions of Xerox toner on paper—have charted a singular course from the 1960s to the present, pulling the image into progressive technologies of transmission.

· And: Venerable painter Gerhard Richter turns eighty this month, as his widely acclaimed Tate Modern retrospective opens at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. Marking the occasion, art historian Benjamin H. D. Buchloh reflects on abstraction, decoration, and the aleatory—or what he terms the “chance ornament”—in relation to Richter’s latest bodies of work.
“What is the painter’s active or passive participation in the affirmative obscurantism that decoration has traditionally afforded the orders of power?”
—Benjamin H. D. Buchloh

· Eugene Wang sets the recent panoramic paintings of Liu Xiaodong—in which figures pose idly before vast, devastated landscapes, from the Three Gorges Dam to the wreckage of the Sichuan earthquake—apart from the neorealisms of his peers.

“Liu engages realism both as pictorial problem and as the fraught fulcrum between natural and synthetic, document and artifice, contingency and order.”
—Eugene Wang

· Critic Prudence Peiffer peers around the edges of Ad Reinhardt‘s black paintings, looking beyond those canonical monochrome works back to the artist’s roiling, frequently uproarious use of line in his drawings, cartoons, writings, and little-known slide photographs.

“In Reinhardt’s cartoons, the representational line of drawing becomes, by a kind of punning extension, the lineage of modernist teleology.”
—Prudence Peiffer

· Also: Ed Halter waves good-bye to no-budget movie-maker George Kuchar; David Joselit experiences Carsten Höller at the New Museum; and Nicholas Cullinan introduces Christina Mackie‘s 1000 Words on the occasion of her new exhibition at Chisenhale Gallery, London.

· Plus: Martin Herbert pictures how medium-specificity might appear in HD in an Openings on Ed Atkins; J. Hoberman sits in on a rare screening of Robinzon Kruzo, the 1947 Soviet version of Defoe’s tale—in 3-D(!); Eva Díaz sizes up Prospect.2 New Orleans; Alex Kitnick tests the atmosphere at MCASD’s “Phenomenal”; Jan Tumlir lays out “Under the Big Black Sun” at the Geffen Contemporary at LA MoCA; Benjamin Paul parses relic and realism in “The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Barry Schwabsky rehearses David Antin‘s collected writings; artist and architect Maya Lin plots out her Top Ten, and much more.

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