New York

Nils Norman

American Fine Arts

For the past decade Nils Norman has been devising a series of imaginative proposals for improving urban living conditions through community-based initiatives. He is no starry-eyed utopian, however: Norman is all too aware of how blind devotion to social progress under modernism has often been misguided and destructive. The foibles of dogma provide abundant material for an artist keen on uncovering hypocrisy. Norman has struck a careful balance between parodying visionary zeal and maintaining faith in alternative solutions to contemporary civic malaise.

Typical of his approach was the recent show “Dismal Garden,” in which several projects were displayed as a loose group. The sober side of Norman’s practice was represented by a straightforward collection of photographs, mostly from his recent book The Contemporary Picturesque (Book Works, 2000). The artist investigated a wide range of urban

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