bordeaux,-france

Matthew Ronay, Double Cloak of Stars, 2009, cotton, nylon-waxed cord, fiber rush, plastic, walnut, papier-mâché, paint, plaster, cotton, gold leaf, 8' 5“ x 12' x 10”. From “Secret Societies.”

“Secret Societies”

CAPC musée d'art contemporain

Matthew Ronay, Double Cloak of Stars, 2009, cotton, nylon-waxed cord, fiber rush, plastic, walnut, papier-mâché, paint, plaster, cotton, gold leaf, 8' 5“ x 12' x 10”. From “Secret Societies.”

The social turn, the pedagogical turn, the speculative turn. How many more “turns” can the art world put up with before getting too dizzy to stand up? One turn that I hope is here to stay, though, is the esoteric turn, with its passionate quest for the murky realms of the unknown. But how does one expose secretive practices without killing the mystery? Shouldn’t the occult remain occult? Still, the timing of “Secret Societies: To Know, to Dare, to Will, to Keep Silence,” curated by Alexis Vaillant and Cristina Ricupero and previously on view at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, would seem to be perfect, given such disparate phenomena as WikiLeaks’ “war on secrecy” and the US government’s widely proclaimed yet more or less hidden “war on terror.” The world is rife with conspiracy theories. And the art world itself can be seen as a huge secret society for the already initiated. If

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