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

Ahead of ARCOMadrid this week, a guide to the best institutional shows in the city
At La Panacée, Montpellier, Nicolas Bourriaud’s manifesto for a new movement and attempt to demarcate an artistic peer...
A report commissioned by the museum claims Raicovich ‘misled’ the board; she disputes the investigation’s claims
In further news: Jef Geys (1934–2018); and Hirshhorn postpones Krzysztof Wodiczko projection after Florida shooting
If the city’s pivot to contemporary art was first realized by landmark construction, then what comes after might not...
Ignoring its faux-dissident title, this year's edition at the New Museum displays a repertoire that is folky, angry,...
An insight into royal aesthetics's double nature: Charles I’s tastes and habits emerge as never before at London’s...
In other news: Artforum responds to #NotSurprised call for boycott of the magazine; Maria Balshaw apologizes for...
At transmediale in Berlin, contesting exclusionary language from the alt-right to offshore finance
From Shanghai to Dubai, a new history charts the frontiers where underground scenes battle big business for electronic...
Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton, UK
Zihan Karim, Various Way of Departure, 2017, video still. Courtesy: Samdani Art Foundation
Can an alternative arts network, unmediated by the West's commercial capitals and burgeoning arts economies of China...
‘That moment, that smile’: collaborators of the filmmaker pay tribute to a force in California's film and music scenes...
In further news: We Are Not Surprised collective calls for boycott of Artforum, accuses it of 'empty politics'; Frida...
We Are Not Surprised group calls for the magazine to remove Knight Landesman as co-owner and withdraw move to dismiss...
Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film is both gorgeous and troubling in equal measure
With Zona Maco opening in the city today, a guide to the best exhibitions across the Mexican capital
The question at the heart of Manchester Art Gallery’s artwork removal: what are the risks when cultural programming...
In further news: Sonia Boyce explains removal of Manchester Art Gallery’s nude nymphs; Creative Scotland responds to...
Ahead of the India Art Fair running this weekend in the capital, a guide to the best shows to see around town
The gallery argues that the funding body is no longer supportive of institutions that maintain a principled refusal of...
The Dutch museum’s decision to remove a bust of its namesake is part of a wider reconsideration of colonial histories,...
At New York’s Metrograph, a diverse film programme addresses a ‘central problem’ of feminist filmmaking
Ronald Jones pays tribute to a rare critic, art historian, teacher and friend who coined the term Post-Minimalism
In further news: curators rally behind Laura Raicovich; Glasgow's Transmission Gallery responds to loss of Creative...
Nottingham Contemporary, UK
‘An artist in a proud and profound sense, whether he liked it or not’ – a tribute by Michael Bracewell
Ahead of a show at Amsterdam’s EYE Filmmuseum, how the documentarian’s wandering gaze takes in China’s landscapes of...
In further news: Stedelijk explains why it cancelled Ettore Sottsass retrospective; US National Gallery of Art cancels...
With 11 of her works on show at the Musée d'Orsay, one of the most underrated artists in modern European history is...
Reopening after a two-year hiatus, London’s brutalist landmark is more than a match for the photographer’s blockbuster...
What the Google Arts & Culture app tells us about our selfie obsession
At a time of #metoo fearlessness, a collection of female critics interrogate their own fandom for music’s most...
A rare, in-depth interview with fashion designer Jil Sander

Latest Magazines

frieze magazine

November - December 2017

frieze magazine

January - February 2018

frieze magazine

March 2018