new-york

John Chamberlain

Dia Art Foundation

“In what I do, constant hard work is not necessary; my drive is based on laziness. . . . I don’t mind admitting that I’m lazy because laziness is, for me, an attribute”: thus John Chamberlain on John Chamberlain, in a statement accompanying this show. It’s hard not to like a man with that kind of attitude—an attitude that allowed Chamberlain to do things that, in the ’60s and careful early ’70s, were verboten. It was a time when artists worried a lot. Certain things were not allowed—for example, paint on sculpture. Applied chroma was nothing, formalists opined, but a skin, and therefore it was stricken from an essentialist program. Now we post-Modernists know better, but this outmoded rule exerts an atavistic power, an ember still flaring occasionally into controversy or sparking a joke. And surely one of the funniest puns of recent years has to be the literalism of Steve Keister’s coverings

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