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Dennis Adams, Malraux’s Shoes, 2012, HD video, black-and-white, sound, 42 minutes.

Dennis Adams

Kent Fine Art

Dennis Adams, Malraux’s Shoes, 2012, HD video, black-and-white, sound, 42 minutes.

For his forty-two-minute-long video Malraux’s Shoes, 2012, artist Dennis Adams disguises himself as André Malraux, a novelist, art historian, and politician who is known in part for his concept of the “museum without walls.” Malraux famously realized this museum in The Imaginary Museum of World Sculpture (1952–54), a three-volume cornucopia of reproductions of works of art from all cultures, a virtuoso demonstration of heterogeneity in art—deliriously varied and infinitely extendable. The museum-as-archive brings to mind T. S. Eliot’s line in The Waste Land (1922): “These fragments I have shored against my ruins”—for archives, after all, are a kind of ruin. They remind us that all we have left when time has done its dirty work are a few memories, and flawed ones at that, because reproductions are hardly adequate to the real thing.

Adams’s video, itself a reproduction, is

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