New York

“Body Politic”

Tower Gallery

Fashion is no stranger to the domain of art, so it’s not surprising that the most serious and salient topics should enter the commercial market. Over the past year we’ve been told that political art is a “hot” subject, a “new” direction—in short, a trendy topic. Through a manifestation of historical amnesia, such consumerism serves to shelve a reputable political past behind the latest intellectual commodity. It also reduces issues to tissue, to wrapping paper for the packaging of products.

Contemporary discourse, however, has an important and expansive focus in the political investment of the body—the innumerable coercions, constraints, and repressions exerted through the subjection of the human form. Yet you’d never have recognized this theme in “Body Politic,” curated by Steven L. Kaplan. Basically the show was a big, brassy, figurative ensemble, tying together myriad bodies with the

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