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Introducing a new feature: First Look, this month's art magazines

April 8, 2010 |  5:00 am

Newsstandartwider As much as I love the idea of the iPad, I also love the experience of the newsstand—actually paging through the new crop of magazines each month.

Over the years, this ritual has also become part of my job, first as an editor of an art magazine and then as a newspaper reporter covering the field. So I thought for my first Culture Monster post, it would be fun to share some noteworthy and newsworthy pieces from the April issues.

For articles that are also posted online, you’ll find links. Others simply say: "On newsstands." Check back the first week of May for next month’s highlights.

And click through for this month's picks, from Amanda Ross-Ho in Art in America to Terence Koh in W.  

--Jori Finkel

Rosshodavid In Art in America, New York artist Steel Stillman interviews Los Angeles artist Amanda Ross-Ho (right) before her first solo show in New York, now up at Mitchell Innes & Nash. (In L.A. she shows with Cherry and Martin.)

Her work is poetic, enigmatic, verging on evasive; this interview is refreshingly clear-headed. Ross-Ho talks about her childhood as a competitive ice-skater, the gift baskets and doilies that appear in her installations, and her urge to use in her work “everything in the studio—from art materials…to trash and cat toys."

Also in AinA: Edward M. Gómez interviews Brooke Davis Anderson, a curator at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, about “outsider” or self-taught artists like Martín Ramírez. Ramírez made his best work while institutionalized at the DeWitt State Hospital in California and is now a hit with the international art crowd—though not so much in his native Mexico. Anderson wonders if class plays a role in his reception there.

"Consider Nek Chand, in India," she says. "Chand’s Rock Garden in Chandigarh, which had received government funding, is often vandalized when he leaves town, and many believe it is because he comes from a low caste….” Newsstand.

For anyone who has missed the recent controversy over the new Degas bronzes for sale, ARTnews has the most complete story to date in its print edition.

Were these bronzes made from 74 plaster casts dating back to Degas’ lifetime, as a key player claims, or made fresh for collectors as some experts suspect? The story proves interesting not just because of the authenticity issues, as layered as the tutus of Degas’s famous dancers, but because of the loud silences of leading academics, who were upset enough to convene a secret meeting in January about the problematic bronzes but left this article—as well as Judd Tully's overview in Art+Auction—littered with blind quotes. Is it safe to print the following words: “fear of lawsuits”?

Also in ARTnews: Writer Hilarie Sheets writes about Bill Viola's new video game in development with USC’s Game Innovation Lab. The game, or rather "journey," puts Zen-like imagery from Viola's past projects to use. Players are rewarded for contemplation, not action; stillness, not speed. “The more you do things mindfully, the more is revealed to you,” says Viola.

EbnerDwell has yet another pro-prefab cover (“Prefab Today: Smarter, Faster, and Cheaper”) that reminds us just how much the magazine is still invested in the struggling modular-building movement. But one surprise inside: LOT-EK’s clever renovation of a three-story home in the East Village for conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner. Icing on the cake: The new penthouse is made from a pair of stainless-steel 18-wheeler truck bodies.
Speaking of artists who work with words, the L.A. transplant Shannon Ebner lands Artforum’s April cover and a feature by Tom McDonough. He reads her best-known photographs--for which she planted large cardboard letters in natural landscapes--as a slyly political sort of L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E poetry. On newsstands.

For W’s shopping issue, Haven Thompson corrals a mix of art stars—from Shirin Neshat to Terence Koh—into giving one-liners on their favorite designers, get-ups, etc. Comme des Garcons got the most shout-outs; Koh broke from the pack to list Gandhi as his style icon. On newsstands.

-- Jori Finkel

Top image: Hennessey + Ingalls newsstand.

Middle: Photo of Amanda Ross-Ho in her studio by Erik Frydenborg. Credit: Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles

Bottom: "USA, 2003" by Shannon Ebner. Credit: Wallspace, New York, and Altman Siegal, San Francisco