Cologne

“Heute” Westkunst

“Heute” Westkunst

The “Heute” (“Today”) section of this summer’s “Westkunst” exhibition in Cologne was about as small and evolved as the human appendix. “Heute” was in fact a kind of appendix, or better, a coda, to the enormous, almost overwhelming panorama of the main exhibition. The “Westkunst” catalogue lists 238 artists, many of them represented by more than half-a-dozen works. By contrast, the entire burden of showing the work of today fell on a mere 37 contemporary artists. Worse, the selection seems to have been influenced mightily by the ability and willingness of each artist’s commercial agent to foot the costs of getting his or her goods to Cologne.

Whatever the complaints legitimately provoked by the selection of art for “Westkunst,” the principal exhibition had sufficient contextual kinship that it could be presented, for better or for worse, as sets of internally cohesive units: the panorama of

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