New York

Matthew Day Jackson

Nicole Klagsbrun/Peter Blum

Any exhibition that name-checks Jorge Luis Borges while explicitly quoting a list of artists including Goya, Bierstadt, Brancusi, Buckminster Fuller, Bruce Nauman, and Charles Ray would seem all but fated to read as a hopelessly derivative muddle. Yet Matthew Day Jackson’s recent project rarely felt like simple epigonism. (And make no mistake: While it was split into two independently titled shows, each in its own Chelsea gallery, this was unmistakably one project.) In fact, it rarely felt like simple anything—rummaging through the histories of culture and society, looking for fungible commodities on which to build his unorthodox meditations on belief and mortality, Jackson engineered a physically sprawling and intellectually complex twofer that more often than not lived up to its considerable ambitions.

The project was divided so that primarily two-dimensional work appeared at Klagsbrun

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