New York

Joseph Kosuth

Sean Kelly Gallery

Given the increasing number of “constituencies” that art institutions must serve, and their concomitant transformation into entertainment emporia, it is perhaps not surprising that the notoriously sober Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth has yet to be the subject of a US museum retrospective. Sean Kelly Gallery’s recent forty-year survey, whose contents were selected by the artist, reminded viewers why: Simply put, a concentrated dose of ascetic, language-based art makes for a visually numbing experience. What the exhibition offered instead—the elusive trail of an intermittently fascinating intellectual expedition—remains unlikely to win over any less than diligent crowd.

But perhaps this is as it should be. The show was titled “a labyrinth into which I can venture (a play of works by guests and foreigners),” the first half of which is drawn in part from Michel Foucault. A paragraphlong

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