vienna

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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