New York

Michael François

Bortolami Dayan

Encountering an exhibition that eschews color, hints at violence, and deploys symbols most often associated with nationalism, one tends to expect political critique. This show, Michel François’s first New York solo in five years, boasted all of these attributes but stripped them of their usual associations.

With its predominant use of anarchists’ favorite color, a militaristic-sounding title, “Theater of Operations,” and the prominence of motifs such as a flag and an eagle, one could be forgiven for likening François’s show to those of younger European artists like Marc Bijl, Gardar Eide Einarsson, or Jakob Kolding, all of whom channel capital-P politics into their art. But the works on view here either thwart or muddy coherent political readings—and the graphic punch of all that black could be seen as an elaborate (if perhaps unintentional) red herring.

François’s orchestration of

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