new-york

“Regift”

Swiss Institute / CONTEMPORARY ART

Lewis Hyde asserts, in the introduction to his book The Gift (1983), that “works of art exist simultaneously in two ‘economies,’ a market economy and a gift economy.” Recent contemporary art can be accused of focusing on the former to the detriment of the latter. Hyde’s subsequent insistence that “a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift there is no art” appears to ignore or be at odds with the realities of a commercial market flying high, as it was recently, or laid low, as it seems to be now. Yet his counsel is a welcome reminder that, no matter our commercial concerns, we must also acknowledge other ways of valuing art and pay heed to its other functions. This group exhibition, organized by artist John Miller, suggested something similar by presenting artworks that engage the subject of gift exchange.

“Regift” brought together two dozen artists and art

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