Michael Asher

Michael Asher, no title, 1973. Installation view, Galleria Franco Toselli, Milan. Photo: Giorgio Colombo.


MICHAEL ASHER seems to have been the only American artist in the second half of the twentieth century (with Marcel Broodthaers being his European counterpart) for whom the challenge of producing art in late capitalist society remained a perpetually irresolvable contradiction, if not a provocation. For the others, even the most advanced and complex among them, often friends of both Michael and Marcel, any number of an infinite variety of compromises had been latent from the start, or else their work would eventually become sufficiently distilled to maneuver the fundamentally unacceptable conditions increasingly governing artistic production (anomic desublimation, historical amnesia, slippage from mere commodification to purely speculative investment, extreme forms of spectatorial alienation, and total spectacularization, to name but a few).

After working his

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