A Reply to Nasinine T.
August 7, 2009
Dear Nasinine T.:
Although I am an art historian by métier, I never quite remember dates. But I do remember signal encounters. About two years before the fall of the shah, I was chatting with a couple of architects who were preparing to go to Iran to build dazzling modern structures for—as they say—“the people” of Iran. What! I exclaimed. You will be lunching in the palace with the shah and in the basement his agents will be torturing guys just like you. But of course, they thought I was exaggerating and went away.
At the time, I had found some Iranian students, mostly at Columbia, who were trying to reveal the real situation. I marched with them down Broadway, and learned how to dodge horses and billy sticks. When the “revolution” finally came, these graduate students rushed home to participate. You know the rest, I’m sure. Of about twenty, I know of only one who escaped the zealots and went to Scandinavia. The news of their disappearance was never broadcast here, and I have always had a hollow feeling of despair about how much in my lifetime had been left unrevealed.
The rapidity of Internet news somewhat dims the significance of what really happens… Only accounts such as yours can invade the imaginations of those who are concerned. Please do not abandon the print media (whatever is left, alas) and give us more authentic reportage. An image such as the fascists painting Xs on buildings is worth a thousand emails.
Bruce Naumans Spatial EncountersBy Charlie M. Schultz
DEC 21-JAN 22 | Art Books
A work of art is what it is, obviously, but it is also what it could be. In other words, it is more than itself, but how much more? And through what means does an audience recognize the multifariousness of its being? This is the question that gives gravity to the astute essays of Constance M. Lewallen, Dore Bowen, and Ted Mann in the remarkable book Bruce Nauman: Spatial Encounters.
First Encounters with Marcel DuchampBy Francis M. Naumann
OCT 2022 | Editor's Message
My first comprehension of a readymade was so momentous and life-altering that it is etched into my memory with such permanence that it seems to have happened yesterday, when, in actual fact, it occurred when I was eighteen years old, now some fifty-eight years ago.
Encounters with the Unknown in a Catalogue Raisonné ProjectBy Maria Quinata
FEB 2023 | Critics Page
How can we observe Motherwells reworking of his canvases (and titles) through their exhibition history? How did critics understand his early work, before signifiers like Irascible, New York School, and Abstract Expressionism cohered around Motherwell and his contemporaries? My colleagues and I were enmeshed in these questions (and more, so many more questions), as we delved into the pleasures (and frustrations) of research.
Three Encounters with Marcel DuchampBy Carroll Janis
OCT 2022 | Critics Page
And so it was in the early fall of 1950, when I was eighteen and working alone one morning at the Janis Gallery, that Duchamp appeared at the front door. I greeted him warmly; he was a family friend while I was growing up. Marcel had a natural grace, refinement, and modesty.