New York

“Pictures and Promises”

The Kitchen

Doubtless the most provocative show during January was “Pictures and Promises,” “gathered” by Barbara Kruger for the Kitchen. It’s the kind of assembling that can be viewed many different ways, depending on what propaganda you marshal to describe the visual propaganda. For those who argue that art is in a crisis, on a trajectory hurtling towards devolution, this collection of images, which includes art “information” by Hans Haacke juxtaposed with advertising “information” by Seagram’s, can be used as propaganda on behalf of their argument—in this show, “art” and “commerce” are indistinguishable. For those who think that all visual information is created equal, “Pictures and Promises” proves that the point of any image is communication—no matter whether the message is to buy liquor (as in a Seagram’s ad) or to question corporate America (as in a Hans Haacke polemic).

In a city where museums

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