• Wolfgang Laib

    Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

    Wolfgang Laib, whose largest US retrospective to date began its tour at the Hirshhorn in October, is an artist of particular import for a historical moment when “sensation” and “brilliance” have become merely hyperbolic synonyms for “the new.” What Laib’s work offers is sensation in the purely perceptual sense of the word, a kind of ecological ethic that aspires to supplant what the artist sees as the rational, mediated mind-set of Western culture. It is brilliant, but its brilliance is of a decidedly organic, Zen cast.

    Laib was trained in medicine in his native Germany but turned to art in the

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