New York

“American Bricolage”

Sperone Westwater

Like flâner, bricoler is one of those French verbs for which there is no real equivalent in English. The flaneur strolls through city streets without a destination; the bricoleur cobbles together bizarrely functional if totally impractical objects from materials at hand, more muddled inventor or dotty visionary than strategic entrepreneur. Both activities carry a hint of the subversive—particularly in this country, home of assembly-line efficiency, planned obsolescence, and automobile addiction.

Indeed, coming on the heels of a surging ’90s economy that begat art distinguished by its slick good looks (a quality increasingly extended to artists as well), Tom Sachs and David Leiber’s show was a prescient about-face, charting the undercurrent among artists who have shunned professionalism in favor of an inspired amateurism. As if to assert its nationality, “American Bricolage” began with Greg

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