View of “Haim Steinbach,” 2013.

Haim Steinbach

CCS Bard Hessel Museum

View of “Haim Steinbach,” 2013.

Like most artists, Haim Steinbach has been subject to the tyranny of the label, the easily identifiable category—a boon for critics, curators, and collectors (and for students cramming for art-history exams), but a practice that risks reducing our understanding of the artist to a few salient characteristics and a slot in a movement or historical period. For Steinbach, this has resulted in his being defined primarily through his signature shelf works of the 1980s, groupings of objects that helped position him alongside neo-geo artists such as Ashley Bickerton and Jeff Koons, whose work was driven by a fascination with the sheen and allure of the commodity. With its inclusion of a wide range of eighty-odd works by Steinbach, some dating back to the early 1970s, this show, curated by Tom Eccles and Johanna Burton, offered a broader and more nuanced view of the artist, making

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