New York

Bryan Hunt

Blum Helman Gallery

“Artificts”: a name for recent artworks intentionally crafted to look like artifacts awaiting ethnographic investigation. They are fictions resembling freshly unearthed objects from bygone civilizations. What distinguishes artificts from art? Certain tentative, hazy qualities: an oxidized look that translates into rust or mist, the twin assurances of timelessness and timeliness, a fraudulent aura of mystery.

Who makes artificts? Nearly everybody. Painters, sculptors, conceptualists. Why are they proliferating? Object worship—out of style during a spate of anti-object art—is coming back with a vengeance. Anthropological palaver attending “the object” is equally à la mode. There’s a peculiar humor in talking about contemporary art anthropologically: it’s like talking about yourself in the third person.

Invented during the Enlightenment, a speculative science meant to trace the origins of man

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