True story: I took a disaffected, directionless high school senior to the opening of “Voodoo,” and, wildly enthused by this show, she applied to art school the next day. That’s how inspirational this gem of a group exhibition was. “Voodoo: Hoochie Coochie and the Creative Spirit” roughly coincided with Nicolas Bourriaud’s grand Tate Triennial, a twenty-first-century mission statement on the future of curating filled with large-scale, theoretically au courant works. In contrast, “Voodoo”—crammed floor to ceiling with some fifty-five works dating from the nineteenth century to the present—represents a more relaxed and accessible curatorial hand. Its familiar exhibition strategy might read: Pick a nonart theme (say, “voodoo”); gather artworks and other objects that fit beneath its broad thematic umbrella; publish a matching catalogue.

Yet “Voodoo” soared above this formulaic curatorial conceit

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