new-york

Sven Sandström and more

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

Rousseau, Redon and Fantasy, Thomas Messer baldly forewarns, is “a summer exhibition organized around a broad and admittedly imprecise theme which, while providing a degree of unity, serves primarily as an occasion to gather . . . a group of beautiful paintings.” Insofar as a large body of Rousseau, Redon and Ensor (who got short shrift in the credits) was assembled, not to mention a legion of works of more or less Symbolist, Dada and Surrealist lineage, the Guggenheim exhibition may be regarded as a success. The problem lies not with the pictures, which are indeed very handsome, but with a serious abdication of responsibility. The museum must (as it pretends to do), at least in part, organize selective thematic overviews and then, in turn, it must properly elucidate these selections—otherwise the pictures become no more than handsome spreads in no way different from the exhibitions of

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