New York

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum | New York

It seems that everyone—with the exception of the vain and the nakedly ambitious artist—hates the midcareer retrospective. The origins of the age of prematurity can be traced to exhibitions such as the one mounted by Jane Livingston and Marcia Tucker in 1972 at the L.A. County and Whitney museums documenting the career of then-31-year-old Bruce Nauman. Since then, the increasing emphasis by art dealers on "judicious placement”—a euphemism for thrusting the work of younger artists onto those collectors who sit on museum committees—coupled with the expanding ranks of art administrators, has firmly established the midcareer retrospective as a regular feature of the exhibition landscape. Scaling the museum system, with the aid of endless exegeses propped up by learned footnotes (in Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ case a staggering 131), has, it seems, become something of a mandatory investment. None

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