PRINT April 1981

The Guggenheim: Singular Pluralism

EXXON’S “19 ARTISTS, EMERGENT Americans,” at the Guggenheim Museum in New York, is under attack from those who think art should remain pure of corporate sponsorship. But with President Reagan projecting budget cuts at the National Endowments, to whom can museums turn for support but to corporations? Think of it as blood money for art’s sake—a cynical statement, perhaps, but true. Be that as it may, in “19 Artists” the indefatigable Peter Frank, self-avowed “pluralist,” has, despite his claims to having as catholic a taste as there is around, surprised everyone with his curatorial orthodoxy. He likes obsessive abandon and cool austerity—but not the range in between. This “pluralist” show has been filtered through the singular sensibility of one equally intoxicated by language and art history—something that’s not unexpected from a critic whose strongest suit is flamboyant esthetic diction

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