Santa Fe

SITE Santa Fe

SITE Santa Fe

IN ORGANIZING this year’s SITE Santa Fe Biennial, Klaus Ottmann made two decisions that stood as curatorial provocations, both for this show and for big, pulse-taking exhibitions more generally. First, he pronounced that no peremptory theme would get in the way of the art itself. Second, he disallowed the dizzying glut of work typical of today’s endless biennials and fairs in which no piece is given the contemplative space it needs. In fact, there are so few artists in Ottmann’s exhibition—thirteen in all—that it’s possible to list them swiftly and savor his sense of curatorial modesty. They are Mirosław Bałka, Jennifer Bartlett, Patty Chang, Stephen Dean, Peter Doig, Robert Grosvenor, Cristina Iglesias, Wolfgang Laib, Jonathan Meese, Wangechi Mutu, Carsten Nicolai, Catherine Opie, and a musical collaborative from Norway, Thorns Ltd.

Ottmann’s challenge to the hegemony of concept-heavy

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