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THOMAS HIRSCHHORN: CAVES OF NEW YORK

On the heels of his sprawling Bataille Monument, realized for Documenta 11, THOMAS HIRSCHHORN made his Manhattan gallery debut last fall with Cavemanman. MICHAEL WILSON paid a visit to the site as the Swiss artist’s modern-day cardboard-and-packing-tape Lascaux took shape.

THE PROPOSAL SEEMS, AT FIRST, LUDICROUSLY AMBITIOUS. Put forth in a fax headed PRE-PROJECT <<CAVEMAN>>, it outlines, in a childlike but unambiguous hand, Thomas Hirschhorn’s intention to transform Barbara Gladstone Gallery into a network of caves. On second read, certain material aspects—the use of timber, cardboard, and packing tape, for example—assert themselves. The idea is at least economically feasible, if still a vast undertaking. And although Hirschhorn’s plan omits illustrations and solid technical details, it does establish a narrative context: The caves have been home to a reclusive philosopher who has withdrawn from the outside world in order to confront his all-consuming preoccupation with the achievement of equality “between all human beings, all over the world.” It is August 22, 2002; on November 2, Cavemanman will open to the public.

A first visit to the installation-in-progress,

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