Reviewing Artforum’s Advertisements: May 2013

  • The May Artforum has arrived, and it is a thick one! The ads this month are very, very strong, perhaps as a result of galleries angling for attention during the busy month to come, with Frieze New York and Art Basel Hong Kong on tap, and Art Basel proper not too far off. Tom Holert writes about the underloved Les Levine, while Bruce Hainley delves into the work of Monica Majoli, whose art provides one of the darker Artforum covers in recent memory. And Josef Strau has a great review of the touring Mike Kelley retrospective. There’s a lot to read and enjoy and ponder, but we are here for the ads. In the slide show at left, some of our favorites, including a superb and surprising layout decision. —A.R.

  • Monica Majoli, detail of Black Mirror (Kate), 2010, oil on panel, 16 x 20 1/8 in., from the diptych Black Mirror (Kate), 2010–12.

  • While the Spring Breakers palette is seductive enough on its own, the relative mystery—not much in the way of information here—makes this ad that much better. On the gallery’s website, there are a bunch of pandas set against neon leopard-print backgrounds with speech bubbles advertising things like "free ice cream" at the opening, which is tomorrow. Those pandas are pretty persuasive... —Zoë Lescaze

  • These ads actually appear on opposite sides of the same page, but by why not place them side by side and showcase the curatorial savvy of Artforum's ad team? —Z.L.

  • When I get really stressed at work, I just look at this ad and I feel a whole lot better. Thank you, Ellsworth Kelly and Matthew Marks Gallery. —A.R.

  • It took a while to realize this—I mean, it involved actually paying attention to the ads in Artforum each month (which, by all means, don't)—but did you ever notice that every recent Standard (Oslo) ad has had a blonde girl posing in a soccer uniform? It's true. And, uh, pretty weird! —Michael H. Miller

  • The Artforum ad with a photograph of an artist posing in his or her studio is by now a tired genre. Thankfully, here's a nice twist: the cigar roller simply doing his thing, enjoying his work, paying us no mind. —A.R.

  • Well if a cactus-balloon gift basket mysteriously arrived in your science lab, how would you look at it? —Z.L.

  • This piece, which you may have seen in another iteration at Documenta 13, is built primarily around audio recordings of the 1982 trial of former members of Potere Operaio and Autonomia Operaia, Italian political groups said to have been involved in the kidnapping and murder of former prime minister Aldo Moro. A stark, compelling commentary on ideology. None of that's in the ad, though so I guess I'll just say that I think the keys look cool. —Dan Duray

  • In 2010 Mike Kelley christened his Mobile Homestead with Champagne, but also with a bottle of Vernors ginger ale, which was invented in Detroit and can be seen here. Punk. —D.D.

  • I enjoy continuity. — D.D.

  • Yes! We all know how good this feels. Pure pleasure. —A.R.

  • "Guy in a boat on a river with a silly beard" is basically what I aspire to everyday. —M.H.M.

  • It’s like there was a glitch in the Lego factory and the The Wizard of Oz set only came with brick-road material. But I’m not complaining—whether it’s because they resemble gold bars or sticks of butter, there’s something satisfying about looking at all these little Legos. —Z.L.

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