New York

“The Crystal Stopper”

Lehmann Maupin | New York, W 24 Street

In the ’80s, both the art market and the institutions that supported it expressed a sudden interest in the marginal, embracing a plethora of critical viewpoints on race, class, and gender. What was political and social in art was also what made it relevant and hence “real.” But with the recent move away from “multiculturalism” toward “globalization,” the affirmation of difference has been shown to mask a propensity to traffic in stereotypes, raising oddly nagging questions. Is there really an “African-American” or “Latino” art? Are “artists of color” required to speak about ethnic experience? If much was wedged into place—who is licensed to speak for whom and about what—hard-edged debate over the desirability of assimilation rages again.

Into this fray Carlos Basualdo introduced “The Crystal Stopper,” an exhibition that one might be tempted to read through the veil of multicultural politics;

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