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RITES OF SILENCE: THE ART OF WADE GUYTON

JUST WHO DOES HE THINK HE IS? Poised in front of Wade Guyton’s work, admirers and detractors alike often find themselves asking the same question. It’s not so much a query regarding the artist’s character—though of course it’s partially that, too—but rather the expression of a genuine quandary, one that can feel so basic that it’s hard to find the way to frame it. Where is he coming from? is another way to put it, and it may be a little closer to the mark. But the real question is rather, and perhaps simply: How are we to understand Guyton’s relationship to what he makes? And following from that: Why do the oblique contours of this relationship seem to announce themselves as the very content of the work?

Consider two of Guyton’s one-person shows mounted in the past six months, the first at Friedrich Petzel Gallery in New York, the second at Galerie Chantal Crousel in Paris. While a group

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