PRINT December 2016

Jack Bankowsky

Kai Althoff, untitled, 2011, wood stain, Plexiglas, rubber, metal, fabric, and silk-screen ink on wood. Installation view, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2016. Photo: Kai Althoff.

1 KAI ALTHOFF (MUSEUM OF MODERN ART, NEW YORK; CURATED BY LAURA HOPTMAN AND MARGARET EWING) Consult the deliberately tattered (and conspicuously incomplete) checklists at the gallery’s entrance; savor the catalogue’s contentious curator interview (“KA: I think you are blind. . . . LH: I am most certainly not blind”); and lose yourself in the vertiginous, granny’s-attic mise-en-scène that threatens to gobble up the jewel-like easel paintings which stud the chaos. If Althoff bites the hand that feeds as hard as he does—and, what’s more, performs his ingratitude for all to see—this has everything to do with an artful ecology that depends as much on what transpires beyond the edges of the canvas as within the frame, and yet to say as much fails to capture the work’s singular poetry. If I had to pick one flourish among a hundred to betoken Althoff’s oblique genius, it might

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