PRINT November 1993

The Broken Mirror

It was hard to tell what this exhibition was trying to be. A showcase for the already familiar? A legitimization exercise for painting generally, or for this particular group of painters (even though the works presented did not hang together, either perceptually or conceptually, and in fact were wildly discrepant)? At best, the show proved only the pluralism of painting today, saying little about its value and sidestepping the problem of ranking the artists included by any critical criteria whatsoever.

The curators—Kasper König and Hans-Ulrich Obrist—said they wanted to eschew the “Besserwisserei” or “We-know-better-than-you-do” mentality, and to avoid creating a hierarchy. But the result, rather than the archaeological layering of various approaches to painting they seemed to be after, was chaos. In any event, the process of selection itself inevitably set up a hierarchy of insiders versus

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