Tag Archives: David Velasco


Douglas Crimp—art historian, essayist, educator, author (Before Pictures), editor (October, throughout the 1980s), curator (Pictures)—died this morning in New York City.

“[In Before Pictures] I was interested in putting together two aspects of my life that were fairly difficult to negotiate in my first decade in New York—my art-world self and my gay-world self—at a time when both those worlds were highly experimental. I experienced innovation, experimentation, and transformation in the queer world and the art world simultaneously but mostly separately. I had to figure out how to make my two worlds, if not cohere, at least not be absolutely in conflict. My hope for Before Pictures is that it will provide a ‘queer history’ of both these worlds by putting them in conversation. I expect it might change how we think of 1970s gay culture, which we know mostly from the work of historians who write about the flourishing of gay politics. It might also change how we think about the art world of the ’70s.

“I had several different motivations for writing the book. One is that, in my ACT UP days, I made a whole bunch of younger friends, people mostly twenty years younger than me. I experienced the extraordinary explosion of gay culture during the 1970s, but they didn’t. I talked about it, they asked me about it, and on a couple occasions people said, you should really write about the gay ’70s in New York. That is not only because of their interest in what I was saying but because we were all horrified by the new narrative that was being put in place by gay conservatives. This narrative held that the ’70s represented our immaturity, an immaturity that led inevitably to AIDS, which in turn made us grow up and mature, become good citizens who wanted to get married and settle down and behave ourselves. I opposed that narrative in all of my AIDS writing.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Jarrett Earnest*

“It has always seemed to me, given what little I understand or have experienced of seeking sexual partners over the internet, that people not only advertise who they want to appear as, but also believe they truly know who they are and what they want. What I took from the gay liberation ethos was that we didn’t know who we were and we didn’t necessarily know what we wanted. Instead, we felt we should be open to everything, even things we thought we didn’t want, which might open you to partners of different races, to differently abled partners, and certainly to people with different sexual proclivities. I tried many things that frankly I was quite repelled by, but I was just being a good liberationist, thinking, ‘OK, I can’t say, No, I don’t do that, or That’s not who I am.’ I didn’t necessarily seek such things out a second time, but I often surprised myself. I guess that would be my question to you: How much do you surprise yourself?

“My experience of diversity and of racial discourses was all in my queer life, not in my art world life. The latter was a very white world, no question. There only began to be a consciousness about the paucity of women artists and numbers of black artists in the Whitney Biennials around that time. We’ve moved some from there. It was also the time when the Museo del Barrio was founded as a response to the lack of diversity in the mainstream art world. But I would have had to go pretty far afield from my own activities and experience to bring that stuff in. So it really came in terms of my other life, essentially. I experienced that as just one of the really big differences between the kind of people I knew in the art world and the kind of people I knew in the queer world…

“The interdisciplinary or hybrid quality of the memoir flows from that juxtaposition that started with the first chapter, in which I discuss what I call ‘my two first jobs,’ haute couture with Charles James and conceptual art with Daniel Buren at the Guggenheim; two seemingly incommensurate things, I use that sort of incommensurability throughout as a means through which to interrogate both sides. I do this in the chapter about [George] Balanchine and  [Jacques] Derrida, for example. The idea was that juxtaposing the gay world and the art world would unsettle the standard narratives of each and then come up with a different kind of history of both. I’m hoping that is what the book accomplishes. It’s a history of New York in the 70s, it’s a very personal history, but I think it is also a broader history.” — Douglas Crimp, interview by Malik Gaines**

See Crimp on Trisha Brown.

See David Velasco on Crimp.

*”Douglas Crimp with Jarrett Earnest,” Brooklyn Rail, 2016; reprinted in Jarrett Earnest, What it Means to Write About Art (New York: David Zwirner Books, 2018), 102–118.

**”Conversations: Douglas Crimp and Malik Gaines,” Document 9 (Fall-Winter 2016): 130–133.

From top: Douglas Crimp in the 1970s; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp in his loft on Chambers Street, downtown Manhattan, circa 1975; book covers, MIT Press (2); Crimp (right) and Daniel S. Palmer in New York City, 2016, photograph by Katherine McMahon; book cover University of Chicago Press and Dancing Foxes Press; Pictures exhibition catalog, Artists Space, 1977. Images courtesy and © the author’s estate, the photographers, and the publishers.


Join dancer-choreographer Steve Paxton and Artforum editor David Velasco on Thursday for a conversation following the 3 pm performance of STEVE PAXTON—PERFORMANCES BY STEPHEN PETRONIO COMPANY, part of the Judson Dance exhibition at MOMA.



Thursday, December 13, at 4 pm.

Museum of Modern Art

11 West 53rd Street, New York City.

Top: Trisha Brown and Steve Paxton.

Above: Yvonne Rainer and Paxton in Word Words, 1963. Photograph by Al Giese.

Below: Paxton (standing) and Robert Rauschenberg in Spring Training (1965). Photograph Ugo Mulas © Heirs of Ugo Mulas. All rights reserved.


“For Ralph Lemon, evasion and erasure are counterintuitive; they mark history’s traces and court the past’s return. History—with its discrete epochs, nameable masses, and willful actors—is neither salve nor refuge for those who lie beyond its rules.” — Thomas J. Lax, “For Starters”

Artforum editor-in-chief David Velasco will present the choreographer, dancer, writer, and visual artist Ralph Lemon in the last of this year’s graduate art seminars at ArtCenter.


Tuesday, December 11, at 8 pm.

LA Times Media Center, ArtCenter College of Design

Hillside Campus, 1700 Lida Street, Pasadena.

See ArtCenter Talks: Graduate Seminar, The First Decade 1986–1995, Stan Douglas, ed. (New York: David Zwirner Books/Pasadena, CA: ArtCenter Graduate Press, 2016).

Ralph Lemon and Okwui Okpokwasili perform Untitled (2008) at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Image credit: MOMA.


WEIGHT OF THE EARTH—THE TAPE JOURNALS OF DAVID WOJNAROWICZ is a collection of “audio journals that document Wojnarowicz’s turbulent attempts to understand his anxieties and passions, tracking his thoughts as they develop in real time.”*

Artforum editor David Velasco has written an introduction for book, out now from Semiotext(e).

WEIGHT OF THE EARTH—THE TAPE JOURNALS OF DAVID WOJNAROWICZ, edited by Lisa Darms and David O’Neill (South Pasadena, CA: Semiotext(e), 2018).*

Top: Andreas SterzingDavid Wojnarowicz and Peter Hujar at an opening at Civilian Warfare Gallery in the East Village, 1983.

Above: David Wojnarowicz, Jean Genet Masturbating in Metteray Prison, 1983.

Below: Wojnarowicz.


“The art world is misogynist. Art history is misogynist. Also racist, classist, transphobic, ableist, homophobic. I will not accept this. Intersectional feminism is an ethics near and dear to so many on our staff. Our writers too. This is where we​ stand. There’s so much to be done. Now, we get to work.” — David Velasco, new editor of Artforum, 2016.

Velasco’s first issue since succeeding Michelle Kuo is out now, and Jerry Saltz loves what he’s seen so far:

See: vulture.com/wherever-the-new-artforum-is-headed-im-along-for-the-ride

Image credit: Artforum/Kia LaBeija, Untitled, 2017.

Image result for artforum jan 2018

ArtForum January 2018