Issue

3.14 / Sidesplitting

May 3 2012

Introduction

May 3, 2012. The “fragmentation, unfamiliarity, and unknowableness” that Rob Marks ascribes to embodiment in his shotgun review of Stephen De Staebler’s sculptures echoes across much of the performative work from the 1970s that make an appearance in this issue. Produced during a time when systems, language, and actions were the prevailing concerns of Conceptual art practice, as Terri Cohn notes in her review of “State of Mind” at the UC Berkeley Art Museum, these works treat the body as a precarious or malleable object and highlight the inherent instability of an identity rooted in a physical self. They have a tendency to disrupt and critique, but in ways that are farcical, so as Bas Jan Ader plummets off the roof or Martha Wilson photographs herself in drag, we laugh even as their actions call the notion of subjectivity into question. Laughter is a form of rupture, after all; it can irrevocably change the way we perceive a situation or person, but it seems that’s okay as long as we’re in on the joke. Enjoy—PM

Features

Interview with Martha Wilson

Interview with Martha Wilson

By Bad at Sports

I think my M.O. and the M.O. of every artist is that you try to do the thing that scares you the most, right? So the thing that scared me the most was moving to New York. I thought the women artists would hate me.

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