new-york

Matt Mullican

Brooklyn Museum

All the world’s a stage, as the saying goes, and by the same token the stage is a world unto itself, a hermetically sealed fiction that is also reality. Matt Mullican’s method of theatrical installation is an ambitious attempt to offer the kind of comprehensive world picture implicit in the fictions of environmental art, world stage, and cosmological schema. He wants something that is at once a Gesamtkunstwerk and a streamlined mirror of the world—a monadic art on a grand scale, its double meaning resolved through his notion of an international language.

Inherent in such a grandiose, visionary enterprise is the possibility of megalomania. Mullican avoids this danger on a perceptual level by inviting us to recognize the illusory/pictorial character of his art—his works here (some 50 of them) are oilstick rubbings that, indeed, seem to float like oilslick on a surface. He avoids it on a

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