Vienna

“The Death of the Audience”

Secession

The Vienna Secession filled the difficult art-world summer gap with revolutionary panache and imaginative profundity. Curator Pierre Bal-Blanc, head of the Centre d’Art Contemporain in the Paris suburb of Brétigny, called with impeccable logic for the death not of the author but of the audience. Why should the public any more than the artist be compartmentalized or privileged?

The thirty-five artists included are all over fifty years old, having lived through and possibly been influenced by the rebellions of the 1960s; marginalized both by institutions and by the art market, they have cultivated practices that distance them from authoritarian artistic gestures and the notion of the artwork as masterpiece. Their work is therefore concerned with ruptures, radicalism, and utopias. But Bal-Blanc’s show reframed these pieces in surprisingly new, witty ways, launching an intellectually challenging

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