New York

“Modern Objects: A New Dawn”

Baskerville + Watson

Rather than sublating the artwork within social and economic concerns, “Modern Objects” isolated esthetics pure and simple—design, that is, without the designs it has upon us. Organized by R. M. Fischer (who curated its 1983 predecessor), the show included works by eight artists, and three surfboards.

What is a “modern object”? For Jeffrey Deitch, author of the accompanying essay-cum-brochure, it is a nigh-religious icon, an emblem of the boundless optimism and unquenchable aspirations that characterized the Modern period’s ideology of progress. Only now, he suggests, in an age weakened by post-Modernist doubt, can we experience the “spiritual” intimations of its sleek lines and shimmering surfaces, and savor the “state of mind” that they convey Interestingly, this focus parallels Jean Baudrillard’s concept of the nostalgist’s fetishism, which consists in imaginary attachment to the last

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.