• Carnegie International

    Carnegie Museum of Art

    People not already briefed on the strangeness of high-ambition contemporary art must have found the 1988 Carnegie International exhibition both a bafflement and a revelation. Those who entered wondering what they were “supposed to see” confronted a wide, confusing spectrum of stylistic cues. But the semiotic static of art sophistication abated here and there. Works like Wolfgang Laib’s beeswax hut and Bill Viola’s video room had a visceral immediacy, attesting that good new art does not have to come cloaked in theory to be convincing.

    The International offered unanticipated glories of color and

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