Tomorrow Is Another Day
In brief: Themes of community, nationality and how it feels — as a gay black man — to be an outsider in America were explored in a series of sometimes monumental site-specific installations, many of which referenced mythology. The works operated in direct reaction to the Palladian pavilion building, which was modelled on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello plantation.
What they said: ‘I’m black, but just because I’m black doesn’t mean I’m representing the whole black race. I don’t believe in a univocal representation of nationhood either. That’s impossible. That’s not what I’m about’ — Mark Bradford
Works by Mark Bradford offered at Christie’s this season
In brief: A thematic survey across three separate sites that revealed ‘the magic of meaning as it emerges through relentless repetition of language and form’, arranged under three themes: ‘Fountains and Neons’, ‘Heads and Hands’, and ‘Sounds and Space’.
What they said: ‘If Bruce Nauman’s work were a liquor, it might well be Campari, the vile Italian drink that nevertheless tastes so refreshing on muggy Italian afternoons. Come to think of it, isn’t a Campari and soda called an “Americano?”’ — Ben Davis, Artnet
Works by Bruce Nauman offered at Christie’s this season
In brief: The artist explored the nature of change through his ‘Blue Collar’ pictures of dark urban landscapes from 1992, together with a new cycle of images. The original, black and white Blue Collar works were displayed on one side of the building; the new paintings in colour on the other, with Ruscha describing the pairs as alluding to ‘the anxiety that had developed around the modernist vision of progress in a postmodern age’.
What they said: ‘It would be difficult to name an artist who has remained as consistently in the vanguard of contemporary art for as many years as Ed Ruscha’ — Linda Norden, co-curator
Works by Ed Ruscha offered at Christie’s this season
In brief: An entirely new body of work specifically for the exhibition, composed of six independent sculptures, three prints, one photograph, and an artist’s book. The exhibition explored the ‘persistent promises of democracy and the essential contradictions that attend the exercise of citizenship’.
What they said: ‘I have never seen as good a show in the American pavilion as Gober’s…. [His] sparse and precise installation of sculpted objects, hand-etched newspaper clippings (they look torn from the paper, but they’ve been re-created exactly) and Xeroxed flyers advertising for a cat-sitter, are all meditations on America’ — Mark Wallinger
Works by Robert Gober offered at Christie’s this season
In brief: The first black American artist to represent the United States at Venice in a solo show exhibited 19 luscious paintings executed in the previous 10 years, which collectively offered a scathing commentary on American racism. ‘Colescott’s paintings are the work of a contemporary American painter fully aware of the entire spectrum of American and African-American art and culture,’ wrote Miriam Roberts in the show’s catalogue.
What they said: ‘There’s something here to offend everyone, but there’s also real painting — a fluent interaction of form and colour which derives, through many permutations, from Fernand Léger, with whom Colescott once studied, and from Pablo Picasso, the artist he thinks about most often these days’ — The New Yorker
Works by Robert Colescott offered at Christie’s this season
In brief: An exhibition of nine sculptures and four installations executed between 1984 and 1993, four of which were created specifically for the Biennale. The period covered by the exhibition saw Bourgeois produce some of her most monumental works, which address themes of anxiety, alienation, love, identity, sex and death.
What they said: ‘Although Bourgeois’s presence had been felt in the art world for more than half a century, she has remained outside the mainstream and ahead of her time, fiercely independent, avidly feminist, and singularly visionary… [Her] legacy is central to our understanding of art at the end of the millennium’ — Charlotte Kotick, curator
Works by Louise Bourgeois offered at Christie’s this season
In brief: A touring exhibition of minimal sculptures by the American artist, who died in 1973 while inspecting one of his vast outdoor earthworks projects, the most famous of which is Spiral Jetty in Utah’s Great Salt Lake.
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What they said: ‘Smithson’s... reputation was very much a product of the cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s. The artist was seen by his admirers to represent everything that was most innovative and daring in the art of that tumultuous decade’ — Hilton Kramer, The New York Times
Works by Robert Smithson offered at Christie’s this season