Few philosophers incite muddled cultural takes like Jacques Derrida. “Given Time: The Gift and Its Offerings,” curated by Arshiya Lokhandwala, is titled after Given Time: I. Counterfeit Money (1991), Derrida’s deconstruction of Marcel Mauss’s classic sociological treatise on reciprocity and exchange, The Gift (1925). Basing his argument on a cyclical retelling of Charles Baudelaire’s “Counterfeit Money,” a parable about a man who gives a beggar a high-value coin that turns out to be counterfeit, Derrida develops the notion of the impossibility of a genuinely altruistic gift, concluding that such a gift is that much more worth questing after. If this powerful message anchors the show, the welter of irrelevant works dominating the show, some by India’s biggest artists, does more to strategically legitimate the endeavor than to commemoratively revisit Derrida’s text.
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