Paul Etienne Lincoln

Alexander and Bonin

Looking at Paul Etienne Lincoln’s outlandish gadgets, one gets the impression of the artist as gentleman tinkerer: Think of his Equestrian Opulator ©, 1990–2000, a standing aluminum telescope that can peel an orange and set off flares while affording a relaxed viewing of horse races. His less whimsical projects, however, point not to an amusingly anachronistic wizard but to a forward-thinking intellect busy salvaging history from myth.

This crowded twenty-year survey of Lincoln’s editions and performance projects included models and relics alongside slick booklets and boxed sheaves providing context for and content of the elaborate works that were not on view. The necessity of so much close reading, combined with the subtlety and delicacy of the objects presented, slowed the viewing process to a crawl. In the elegant machine New York–New York, 1987–2003, a nonfunctioning model for which

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