Clockwise from top left: Ed Ruscha, Miracle, 1975, film still. Jimmy (Jim Ganzer). Jeff Burton, Untitled #48 (afghan), 1997, color photograph, 60 x 40“. Bridget Riley, Evoe I, 1999–2000, oil on linen, 6' 4” x 19' 1/4".

“Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism”

SITE Santa Fe

For those desperate to jump from Venice Biennale curator Harald Szeemann’s “Plateau of Humankind,” SITE Santa Fe provides the perfect place to land. Devoid of slo-mo videos and feel-good/feel-bad Cibachromes, “Beau Monde: Toward a Redeemed Cosmopolitanism,” curated by Las Vegas–based critic Dave Hickey, turns the tired notion of an international biennial on its ear and spins it, discovering in its trajectory all sorts of patterns and ideas. Sophisticated and subtly elegant, the show represents the antithesis of the yahoo perversity that Hickey’s detractors mistakenly attribute to him.

Shifting the rhetorical emphasis of a biennial from the “international” to the “cosmopolitan” is Hickey’s brilliant stroke, allowing him to trump art’s “One World/One A-List” hand with a show full of wild cards. Globalism here is manifested by artists who fuse several cultural and formal styles in their work.

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