Dear Henry Tate,
The word ‘museum’ can often trigger thoughts about preserving, ordering and labelling the past – along with all its well-known sedative side-effects of defusing the original power of an artwork. In the encyclopedic universe of a museum, contemporary art – with its ambition to open up new perspectives on the world – might, in the worst case, just end being filed away with the art of yesterday.
However, looking at your bust portrait that was on display in the Turbine Hall during Head to Head, we were made aware, once again, of how simply, yet powerfully, Tate can create a convincing blend of old and new. Besides being placed in the same space as video portraits by Gilbert & George and Absalon, as well as other bronze portraits by Rodin and Giacometti, a new image was made as the mix of visitors circulated among all those (well-ordered) busts.
In his conversation with Lynne Cooke, Rem Koolhaas talks of a ‘blurring’ or a “leaking from one area to another, which should lead to discoveries” within expanded historic time frames. It is a very important topic that lies at the centre of interest of the artists and writers in this issue of Tate Etc. And similarly, Thomas Hirschhorn’s recent project – the Musée Précaire Albinet – showed how the familiar can be reinvigorated when he borrowed artworks from the Pompidou Centre collection for his popular makeshift museum in the Paris suburbs. Hirschhorn, like you, believes in art that can shape the world. So, we hope that you get a sense of this sentiment within the pages of this, and future issues.
With best wishes,
Bice Curiger and Simon Grant
In this issue
What are you looking at? Gilda Williams casts an eye over the photographic works of four female artists: Vanessa Beecroft, Nikki S. Lee, Catherine Opie and Collier Schorr, and how these portray the tensions and myths of contemporary America
From their relationship with a ‘revolting personage’ of a father, to strings of obsessive affairs, Virginia Ironside explores the unfulfilled search for happiness portrayed in the art of the siblings
In May 2004 Thomas Hirschhorn set up a makeshift museum – the Musée Précaire Albinet – in a Paris suburb. Run by local residents, it displayed a selection of modern masters borrowed from the prestigious collection housed at the Pompidou. Alfred Pacquement, director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou, recounts how this interactive project came about
Robert Frank is one of the world’s most influential photographers. For more than fifty years, he has broken the rules of photography and filmmaking, challenging the boundaries between the still and the moving image. In 1996, he was presented with the Hasselblad Award, for his contribution to the development of post war-photography. Six reflections on his photographs to coincide with his ‘Storylines’ Exhibition at Tate Modern, including Frank himself, with Lou Reed, Ed Ruscha, Mary Ellen Mark, Liz Jobey and Mark Haworth-Booth
Mark Godfrey on the shifting notions of time and space in recent film and video
In the Studio: Adriano Pedrosa visits Beatriz Milhazes
From the suffragette who took a cleaver to Velázquez’s Rokeby Venus in the National Gallery in 1914 to the outraged citizen of Milan who fell from a tree while trying to cut down an installation by Maurizio Cattelan in May 2004, artworks have long been at the mercy of individuals hell-bent on harming them. Brian Dillon offers a personal diagnosis of the multiple motivations behind some of the world’s most notorious art attacks
New York-based video artist Paul Pfeiffer explains how J.M.W. Turner’s painting Light and Colour (Goethe’s Theory) – The Morning after the Deluge provided new insights into the shifting nature of visual perception, in which the familiar features of traditional landscape painting – horizon line, single-point perspective, the illusion of depth, the scenery itself – dissolve into a painterly mist. Such insights have informed Pfeiffer’s own work
Arthur Smith hangs around at Michael Landy’s Semi-detached
Paul Barlow looks at George Frederic Watts’s Hope
In his second visit to the Tate archive, Paul Farley discovers the delights of old vinyl
The Art and the 60s: This Was Tomorrow exhibition broke new ground for Tate Britain by mixing fine art, architecture and photography. In a rare interview, seminal architect Rem Koolhaas talks to curator Lynne Cooke about the influence of Cedric Price, 1960s buildings and their legacy
Language has been a key element in Bruce Nauman’s work. For the fifth in The Unilever Series of commissions for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, Nauman, who is one of the most important visual artists working today, uses the human voice as the focus of a new installation. Robert Storr talked to the artist on his ranch in Galisteo, New Mexico