New York

Joel Otterson

MoMA - The Museum of Modern Art

Joel Otterson’s recent exhibition for the Museum of Modern Art’s “Projects” series worked its false charm with particular effectiveness as an insinuation of the museum’s hidden cultural agenda. Otterson’s sculpture has fabricated its authority from the alluring formalist patterns of predictability in the tall shadow of Modernism since at least 1982, with his first post-art school appearance in the then newly opened Gallery Nature Morte. His recent work, even more devilish in its impersonation of classic Modernist totemism, simultaneously harasses and pays homage to the canon of received avant-garde esthetics enshrined at MoMA. Otterson’s gift of discreet internal contradiction relies heavily on the presumptive expectations of his audience, and the context of an establishment art palace provided much potent material for him to work with.

His strategy is to reassign alternative meanings and

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