New York

“Statements: Leading Contemporary Artists from France”

Various Venues

The whole exhibition was self-congratulatory and bureaucratic; it was a first-class example of administered culture. There was no way of separating its bureaucratic form from its artistic content, which was not only “distorted” by its management, but determined by it. But then what would “undistorted” art be, since every content is mediated by some social structure, organized by some legitimating institution? The point in this exhibition of French art, however, was that most of the art readily lends itself to its institutionalization as culture, its exhibition in government-appointed, “official” galleries. The art in no way resists becoming habitual, yet claims to be “avant-garde,” revolutionary in its originality—claims to be throwing off old artistic habits and codes of consciousness. Without knowing it, it is thus in bad faith—explicitly reconciled with what it implicitly claims to be

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