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WHATEVER HAPPENED TO: LAURIE PARSONS

LAURIE PARSONS made a modest stir in the mid-’80s with her ephemeral interventions. Less than a decade later, she had all but vanished from sight. Another testament to the brutal vagaries of artistic success? Not exactly: BOB NICKAS’s year-by-year chronicle of the dematerialization of an art career puts Parsons’s disappearing act at the center of her project.

1986–87

An artist sends her slides to a gallery and is asked to take part in a group show. (And how often does that happen? Does never sound about right?) She exhibits unaltered found objects in the show, most memorably two metal patio chairs stacked one on top of the other, paint-flecked and rusted, holding a package wrapped in plain brown paper. Seen up against all the shiny new objects on display in galleries at the time, the work takes me by surprise. What’s in that box? And who left it there? The artist, I’m told, doesn’t make

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