New York

“Illegal America”

Franklin Furnace

Artists have been committing illegal actions for years, in chosen as well as unexpected contexts. Some of these have been basically generic, stemming from the artist’s role as the agent of free expression—the one who stands apart from, and opposed to, society’s institutionalized codes. Yet others have developed from esthetic aims, or have arisen almost inadvertently through the artistic magnification of unforeseen yet deeply inhering transgressions.

In this show curator Jeanette Ingberman set out to survey the field of criminal esthetics and to raise, in the process, certain questions about the role and reach of illegal discourse. She assembled a selection of photographs and texts at once documenting these actions and discussing their underlying sociopolitical concerns. Her “cases” ranged from streetworks and random vandalism to well-known historical acts; included were Vito Acconci,

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