Critics’ Picks

Peinture sans fin (Painting Without End), 1972, wood and paint, dimensions variable.

Peinture sans fin (Painting Without End), 1972, wood and paint, dimensions variable.

Paris

André Cadere

Musée d'Art Moderne de Paris
11 avenue du Président Wilson
February 14–May 11, 2008

This modest exhibition, which traces Warsaw-born Romanian artist André Cadere’s Conceptual and performative practice in 1960s and ’70s Paris, reflects the quiet yet fierce determination the artist displayed in his interventions, promenades, and “paintings without end”—wooden rods made of individual cylindrical elements, each painted with a different color. Cadere, uninterested in authoritative gestures, used a mathematical formula to determine the order of the colors in each rod; likewise, the height of each element matches the rod’s diameter. A number of these works are included in the show, casually propped against the wall, leaning in a corner, or laid across the floor, as if the artist himself had casually set them down. They create simple but marked juxtapositions with the definitively authored masterworks filling the rest of the museum. Cadere challenged the status of traditional media, as well as that of the institution, by pulling color and composition off the canvas and off the wall, choosing instead to stroll down city streets with his constructions, activating the work in space and time. A series of documentary photographs depicting Cadere at gallery and museum openings with a striped pole over one shoulder capture both the artist’s sense of humor and his commitment to the project. In a black-and-white snapshot from an opening in Paris in the early ’70s, one sees the white-haired Pop icon Andy Warhol seeming confused by Cadere’s appearance. Thirty years after his death, Cadere’s inventiveness remains fresh.