new-york

“Stubborn Materials”

Peter Blum Gallery

“After innovation—the critical deluge; after the deluge—fashion; after fashion—the group show; after the group show (and its coverage by mass media)—criticism of criticism. These episodes replace each other rapidly on the art scene today, crowding good and bad art alike off the stage in preparation for the next act.” The words, Lucy Lippard’s, are from 1966, but they couldn’t feel less dated. The banality of most group shows, compounded with their inevitably short shelf lives, makes a good one—summer or otherwise—that much more arresting. “Stubborn Materials,” curated by gallery director Simone Subal, was one such show, especially because its strategy seemed to be to deter cursory scanning by assembling works that subvert presumptive meaning. Resisting gimmicky double takes in favor of earnest wit born of happenstance accumulations (and savvy juxtapositions of unspectacular supplies), the

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