San Francisco

“The Human Condition: Biennial III”

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

With this enormous exhibition of painting, sculpture, photography, and works on paper by over 60 artists from the United States and seven European countries, the Bay Area’s major Modern art museum boldly (and belatedly) acknowledged the international resurgence of expressionism and figuration. The idea of the “human condition” offered a brilliantly apt organizing concept within which to focus on the psychological, social, and political statements pervasive in current art, but the broad theme, and the loose interpretation given it by the show’s curator (and the museum’s director), Henry Hopkins, also permitted an amorphous roster and an irregular number of works per artist, resulting in an exhibition that looked less curated than haphazardly assembled. The show functioned better as an inconsistent sampling, generally of figurative expressionism, than as a cohesive examination of artists’

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