New York

Fred Wilson

The Studio Museum in Harlem

Already in the early ’90s, certain critics were balking at Fred Wilson’s museum interventions and his peculiar brand of materialist historicism, levying charges that the artist’s finger-pointing politics were not only too overt but, worse still, passé. While some argued that Wilson preached to a choir of self-congratulatory art world impresarios who surely knew better than to champion whitewashed narratives of art, or to revel in the power of institutions apart from that bestowed in inverse relation to the sanctimoniousness of their critique, Wilson’s work nevertheless raised discomfiting questions about the subjects of art and those for whom it presumably speaks.

Ten years later, on the heels of representing the United States at the 2003 Venice Biennale, Wilson’s traveling retrospective seems less belated than simply redundant. It isn’t that “Fred Wilson: Objects and Installations 1979–2000”

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