posted by Christopher Howard — Jun 15, 2011
CAA recently published the Spring 2011 issue of Art Journal, which includes a Centennial essay by the noted scholar Richard Shiff and, on the front and back covers, a project by the Los Angeles–based artist Paul Sietsema.
The issue acknowledges CAA’s Centennial year with Shiff’s text, “Every Shiny Object Wants an Infant Who Will Love It,” a state-of-the-field essay on contemporary art. Beginning with the unfigured sensory experience of a Donald Judd installation in Marfa, Texas, the text examines the human impulse to organize and categorize the elements of aesthetic experience.
Paul Sietsema created two news works for the issue: Untitled Composition for the front cover and Painter’s Mussel for the back. Both are based on found photographs and slyly pun on the interplay between language and the working life of artists today.
The Spring issue also publishes an essay by Saloni Mathur that details the postcolonial context in which the American designers Charles and Ray Eames explored the traditional arts of India—and helped configure the industrial-design program of the newly emergent nation. Next, Christopher Bedford, chief curator of the Wexner Center for the Arts in Ohio, invited seven artists and curators to join him in pondering the peculiarities the art-speak word “project” (as used in the first paragraph of this news item). While some see it as a useful term, others find darker implications in its widespread use.
An essay by Karen Kurczynski called “Drawing Is the New Painting” suggests that the pressures of the contemporary marketplace can jeopardize drawing’s characteristics of expression and immediacy. In a monographic study titled “City of Degenerate Angels,” Ken D. Allan traces the art and publishing efforts of Wallace Berman in the context of the 1950s Los Angeles jazz scene in which the artist came of age. Additional audio evidence for Allan’s argument appears on the Art Journal website.
The Reviews section of the issue, edited by Howard Singerman, contains Michael Corris’s analysis of Julia Bryan-Wilson’s book, Art Workers: Radical Practice in the Vietnam War Era, and Alzo David-West’s assessment of two publications about art and visual culture in North Korea.