Vienna

Cosima von Bonin, DER ITALIENER (THE ITALIAN), 2014, Styrofoam, fiberglass, laminate, galvanized steel, lacquer. Installation view.

Cosima von Bonin, DER ITALIENER (THE ITALIAN), 2014, Styrofoam, fiberglass, laminate, galvanized steel, lacquer. Installation view.

Cosima von Bonin

mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien

Cosima von Bonin, DER ITALIENER (THE ITALIAN), 2014, Styrofoam, fiberglass, laminate, galvanized steel, lacquer. Installation view.

Was there a critical entry point into Cosima von Bonin’s reference-laden retrospective, or have we reached a historical condition in which the “handmade readymade”—a couture item especially manufactured for the museological context that also refers to the stream of mass-produced commodities—is all we have at our disposal? The exhibition’s title, “Hippies Use the Side Door. The Year 2014 Has Lost the Plot,” offered a heavy-handed hint. Since, for a time, only the side doors to the museum were open, anyone who accessed the building during this period was automatically branded a hippie—presumably implying that today’s first-world neoliberal bohemian assumes the stylized posture of a commoditized counterculture that exists only as a canned narrative or a lifestyle choice.

The exhibition itself was a remarkable Crystal Palace of gimmicks and diversions accompanied by

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