New York

Frank Lincoln Viner, Craig Kauffman, DeWain Valentine, Peter Alexander, Bruce Beasley, Robert Bassler, The Gianakos brothers and Eva Hesse

The Jewish Museum

Maxims: It is not what you do but how you do it. It is not what you do it with but what you do with it. Armed with these, I expected little from A Plastic Presence, an overview of the uses of plastic as a contemporary medium. The pretentious name of the exhibition did not help, nor did the sponsorship from private industry (although the Philip Morris Company has saved up indulgences with its support of the fine broad international exhibition “When Attitude Becomes Form”). My trepidations were perhaps unfounded. Tracy Atkinson, Director of the Milwaukee Art Center, made a judicious and in places bright and saucy selection. At moments it was inspiring; at others,wretchedly familiar.

There can be little question that plastic (or plastic-like compounds of slightly altered chemical structures) is our new material par excellence in a way that seashells or straw are not. This does not mean that

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