George Brecht

Museum Ludwig

THE MUSEUM LUDWIG in Cologne and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona recently put their American counterparts to shame by co-organizing the first major exhibition of George Brecht’s work in twenty-eight years (the previous show was also in Europe and, like the current one, was labeled a “heterospective” by the artist). From a purely nationalistic point of view, the lack of even one US venue at first seems rather odd, if not scandalous: After all, even though Brecht has been living in Cologne since 1971, he was born George MacDiarmid eighty years ago in New York, and he counts as one of the last survivors of the elastic Fluxus group, which is currently enjoying a surge of new interest among young artists and scholars. But this institutional inadventurousness is in some ways predicated by the art itself—“border[ing] on the nonexistent,” as Brecht put it—and by the artist’s persistent

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