New York

Eddo Stern


Among the more provocative essays published after September 11 was Slavoj Žižek’s “Welcome to the Desert of the Real,” which suggested that Americans would have to renegotiate their relationship with spectacular culture after Al Qaeda attacks forced the rupture of our seamless, unbearably light, endlessly entrancing mediascape. Whatever has happened along these lines in mass culture, it’s worth asking whether any such shift has taken place in New York art production, particularly in pieces most obviously inflected by today’s agitated political climate. For example, Thomas Hirschhorn’s stunning installation at Barbara Gladstone Gallery might suggest the answer is no. The Swiss artist’s massive cave made of wood and duct tape kept to seductive blueprints belonging to installations of the ’90s boom: a low-tech, narrative style, mapping, in part, contemporary politics onto an immersive

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