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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