Kai Althoff

Institute of Contemporary Art

Kai Althoff’s career seemed to take off in a big way, at least in New York, after his 2001 exhibition at Anton Kern Gallery. In 2002, a suite of watercolors was exhibited to great acclaim in Laura Hoptman’s “Drawing Now: Eight Propositions,” at the Museum of Modern Art. With the exception of a passel of photographs and one offbeat sculpture at Kern (an agglomeration of two chairs and a sword), both spotlights on this hitherto relatively obscure German artist—obscure stateside, that is—gave the impression that his métier was painting and works on paper. Nicholas Baume, curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston’s retrospective, “Kai Kein Respekt (Kai No Respect),” does a superb job of rectifying this skewed perspective: The show includes sculpture, photography, video, installations, music, and text pieces. For those who admire Althoff’s “traditional” works but remain unaware of

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