Best in Show: 1996–2000

The second in our new five part series: the frieze editors select the most significant shows from the past 25 years

'Traffic', 1996, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud, (CAPC musée d'art contemporain de Bordeaux)

Carl Freedman: ‘A participating artist suggested to me, as a helpful introduction, that 'Traffic' was 'a great show, but the works aren't very good'. Faced with a sprawling mass of rough constructions, giant sculptures, messy forms, and the drone of scattered and contesting video presentations in the brown, expansive gloom of the museum's cavernous main gallery, I was curious to know what could have been meant by 'great'.’

'Sensation', 1997, curated by Norman Rosenthal (Royal Academy of Art, London)

Roland Kapferer: ‘Now we could go down the critical theory road. God knows, many of today’s ‘concept stars’ are doing so. Slavoj Žižek, who has virtually made a career out of quoting bits of Adorno, makes repeated pleas for intolerance in a tolerant and post-political society, regularly referring to the ‘Sensation’ exhibition at London’s Royal Academy as an example of fully integrated establishment art.’

'Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979', 1998, curated by Paul Schimmel (LA MoCA)

Frazer Ward: ‘I saw a Hermann Nitsch CD in a music store the other day, and I wasn't particularly surprised. In the last two or three years, in the US at least, there has been a lot of interest in performance art. There have been books (and more are coming), issues of journals, academic conferences and exhibitions of older works - or their documentation - especially from the 60s and 70s. Elements of performance and its companion, video, have appeared in works by high-profile, younger contemporary artists (Janine Antoni, Matthew Barney, Gillian Wearing etc.). Now, to top it all off, there is the enormous, impressive exhibition at Los Angeles' MoCA, 'Out of Actions: Between Performance and the Object, 1949-1979'.’

Turner Prize, 1999 (Tate Britain, London)

Dan Fox: ‘I admit to nostalgia for the 1990s because I was a teenager for the first six of them, and then at art school. To someone growing up outside of London, art looked like part of the broader media-scape – interchangeable with hearing Tricky on the radio and watching Alan Partridge on TV – and it’s crucial to understand the compression effect that the pre-Internet media had on the reception of British art in that decade. National newspapers, radio and television (just four channels until 1997) were transfixed by the yBas and the Turner Prize, constructing a London-centric perspective that distorted the picture.’

Venice Biennale, 1999, curated by Harald Szeemann (various venues)

Jörg Heiser: ‘The art world’s relationship to popular culture is as confused as anyone else’s: wanting to participate and disengage from it at the same time; feeling on top of it, yet also overrun by it. Harald Szeeman’s Aperto highlights the Biennale’s capacity for embracing event culture and spectacle, both in the sheer quantity of works on show and the shiploads of material of which some pieces comprise. Maybe all of this makes it easier for video installation to look good again: it allows itself, and the spectator, a space and a pace of their own. At the same time, it opens up a sideline dealing with the realities of the mass media.’

Other notable exhibitions: 

Rachel Whiteread, 1996 (Tate Liverpool); 'Cities on the Move', 1997, curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Hou Hanru (Secession, Vienna; CAPC, Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux); ‘Deutschlandbilder’, 1997, curated by Echkart Gillen, et.al (Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin); documenta X, 1997, curated by Catherine David (various venues, Kassel); 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, 1997, curated by Okwui Enwezor (various venues); Hayward Gallery, London); Bruce Nauman, 1997 (Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg); ‘The Photomontages of Hannah Höch’, 1997, curated by Peter Boswell and Maria Makela (Walker Art Center, Minneapolis); 1st Berlin Biennale, 1998, curated by Klaus Biesenbach, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Nancy Spector (various venues, Berlin); 24th Bienal de São Paulo, 1998, curated by Paulo Herkenhoff; Sarah Lucas, 1998 (Sadie Coles HQ, London); ‘Examining Pictures: Examining Paintings’, 1999, curated by Francesco Bonami and Judith Nesbitt (MCA Chicago); Common Culture, 1999 (Real Gallery, New York); Pipilotti Rist, 1999 (Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris)

Most Read

The US writer, who died last week, brought a quality of inestimable importance to the modern novel: a mind that was...
The $21M painting was the highest price ever paid for a work by a living African American artist at auction
Royal bodies, the ‘incel’ mindset and those Childish Gambino hot-takes: what to read this weekend
In further news: women wearing rainbow badges beaten in Beijing’s 798; gallerists Georg Kargl and Richard Gray have...
‘Coping as a woman in France is a daily battle: the aggression can be subtle, and you always have to push harder to...
The rapper and artist have thoughts about originality in art; Melania Trump tries graphic design – all the latest...
The dilapidated Nissen hut from which Rachel Whiteread will take a cast
Yorkshire residents complain that the concrete sculpture of a ‘Nissen hut’ will attract excrement, vandalism and litter
Poul Erik Tøjner pays tribute to Denmark’s most important artist since Asger Jorn
Toyin Ojih Odutola’s portraits of a fictional aristocratic Nigerian family push toward an expanded definition...
Photographer Dragana Jurisic says her account was deactivated after she uploaded an artwork depicting a partially naked...
In further news: open letter protests all-male shortlist for BelgianArtPrize; Arts Council of Ireland issues...
From Sol Calero’s playful clichés of Latin America to an homage to British modernist architect Alison Smithson
Everybody’s favourite underpaid, over-educated, raven-haired art critic, Rhonda Lieberman, is as relevant as ever
‘Prize & Prejudice’ at London's UCL Art Museum is a bittersweet celebration of female talent
The curators want to rectify the biennale’s ‘failure to question the hetero-normative production of space’; ‘poppers...
A fragment of the brutalist Robin Hood Gardens will go on show at the Venice Architecture Biennale
‘Women's role in shaping the history of contemporary art is being reappraised’
Three shows in Ireland celebrate the legendary polymath, artist and author of Inside the White Cube
The legendary performance artists will partner up again to detail their tumultuous relationship in a new book
An open letter signed by over 100 leading artists including 15 Turner prize-winners says that new UK education policy...
Naturists triumph at art gallery; soothing students with colouring books; Kanye’s architectural firm: your dose of art...
Avengers: Infinity War confirms the domination of mass culture by the franchise: what ever happened to narrative...
The agency’s founder talks about warfare in the age of post truth, deconstructing images and holding states and...
From hobnobbing with Oprah to championing new art centres, millennial crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is following a...
A juror for the award last year, Dan Fox on why the Turner Prize is and always will be political (whatever that means)
The argument that ancestral connection offers a natural grasp of the complex histories and aesthetics of African art is...
One of most iconic and controversial writers of the past 40 years, Tom Wolfe discusses writing, art and intellectual...

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

March 2018

frieze magazine

April 2018

frieze magazine

May 2018