London

Focus: “Rites of Passage”

Tate Britain

I succeeded, one could say, because I work in a very interesting field where I try in a very conventional field of culture, the so-called art scene, to develop a wider step.

—Joseph Beuys, 1980

As with all good exhibitions, there are many routes one can rake through “Rites of Passage: Art for the End of the Century,” at London’s Tate Gallery. Indeed the ride itself implies a variety of routes, as in life, with periods of transition, false doors, and so on. One could attempt to follow a chronological line, for example, noting (with initial surprise) that the oldest artist included here, the still-vigorous Louise Bourgeois, born in 1911, is fully ten years older than Joseph Beuys, who died in 1986. The youngest artist, Hamad Butt, was born over 50 years after Bourgeois, in 1962, but died in 1994, while the Spanish artist Pepe Espaliú, born in 1955, died a year earlier than Butt, in 1993.

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