new-york

Rob Pruitt

Gavin Brown's enterprise | 620 Greenwich Street

If The Book of the Courtier, the etiquette guide penned by the sixteenth-century Italian diplomat Baldassare Castiglione, is known at all today, it’s probably for its coinage of sprezzatura, a word it uses to describe a very particular, and very practiced, mode of nonchalance. One classic translation renders the term an approach that “shall conceal design and show that what is done and said is done without effort and almost without thought.” According to Castiglione, then, “true art” will be that “which does not appear to be art” at all.

All the ripest paradoxes of the courtier’s Renaissance koan were on view at Rob Pruitt’s recent extravaganza—a hilariously gigantic, tirelessly ironic, and sociologically fascinating show that featured dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of works deployed across a truly astonishing expanse of Greenwich Street floor space. At once a ravishing display of earnest

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