new-york

Adam McEwen

Nicole Klagsbrun

“History is a Perpetual Virgin endlessly and repeatedly Deflowered by successive generations of Fucking Liars.” One hell of a title, so it’s doubly unfortunate that the exhibition it was appended to, British artist Adam McEwen’s New York solo debut, was neither as analytically incisive nor as bullishly confrontational as the hard-boiled moniker implied. Instead, McEwen served up a warmed-over selection of conceptual witticisms that, while slickly executed and superficially appealing, ultimately settled into a holding pattern of comfortable irony and self-satisfied gimmickry. It was the kind of rote exercise that a former colleague of mine liked to call “People Doing Art.”

This was particularly unfortunate given that, on the evidence of “Power, Corruption and Lies,” the group exhibition he cocurated with writer Neville Wakefield at Roth Horowitz last summer, McEwen has a comprehensive

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