David Hammons, Bliz-aard Ball Sale, 1983. Performance view, New York.

David Hammons, Bliz-aard Ball Sale, 1983. Performance view, New York.

“Work Ethic”

Baltimore Museum of Art

Curator Helen Molesworth’s “Work Ethic” ambitiously argues for a new approach to evaluating post–World War II artistic practice. Rather than organizing contemporary art around a focus on style or content, avant-garde secession, or medium-based investigation, the exhibition measures changing conditions of artistic labor since the 1950s. The rich array of work by nearly fifty artists demonstrates how they have adopted administrative capacities and managerial identities, and favored conceptual processes over manual production, enacting modernity’s paradigmatic shifts in labor. These include the waning of manual manufacturing and the rise of an information-based service economy, the further evolution of which is the recently coined “experience economy,” a designation of micromanaged zones of commerce that project ambience around products to increase profits. One danger in hooking art into

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