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Material Witness: Santiago Sierra

WHEN SANTIAGO SIERRA WAS INVITED to inaugurate the new exhibition space of London’s venerable Lisson Gallery in 2002, he was fairly well behaved for someone who, in Mexico City five years earlier, had flambéed a gallery’s interior with gasoline and a blowtorch. The Madrid-born, Mexico City–based provocateur merely blocked access to the building for three weeks (using a beautifully constructed metal shutter), leaving would-be private-view attendees stranded on the pavement sans the expected perks of alcohol and canapés. Still, it was too challenging for many, including one big-time collector who swore never to shop at Lisson again. So when Sierra came back in July of this year to show in the original Lisson space, expectations were running high (or low, depending on your appetite). And this time the doors were open.

Comprising objects and a video, the exhibition was titled “POLYURETHANE

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