Raymond Hains

Centre Pompidou

“Raymond Hains, la tentative”: The very title of the show—“Raymond Hains: The Attempt”—underscores the difficulties involved in mounting a Hains retrospective. The first challenge is posed by the sheer variety of the artist’s oeuvre, from his photographs taken through fluted lenses and the tom posters he first realized with Jacques de la Villeglé in 1949, to his Nouveau Réaliste work alongside Yves Klein in the ’60s, to his recent collages of digital images, “Macintoshages,” 1997-. The second hurdle is Hains himself who has long avoided participation in a retrospective, leaving the task to curators such as Daniel Abadie, who organized the first Hains survey, at the Centre National &Art et de Culture in Paris in 1976.

Hains has always preferred looking ahead to checking the rearview mirror; he favors the adventure of art over his own consecration. Hence, his career, like his work,

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