New York

Arman

John Gibson Gallery

In a crowded performance entitled Conscious Vandalism, the nouveau realiste accumulator Arman busted up two rooms of furniture comprising, he said, a “typical bourgeois apartment.” A decorous announcement in wedding-script type set the tone of pretended gentility. Then Arman, alternately wielding a razor, two axes, and a sledge hammer, proceeded to destroy the mock living room and bedroom constructed along one wall of the gallery. The audience was roused to especially loud cheers for the masterful battering of a liquor cabinet, a TV set, and a Dali print hanging above the bed. After the performance, the ruins and a color videotape of the action remained on exhibition. But why’d he do it? Does he plan to repeat this simple formula of ironic violence ad infinitum? It’s hardly inciteful. As Saul Ostrow remarked, these were two rooms that everyone agreed should be destroyed. Before the action,

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