WHEN THE STEDELIJK MUSEUM in Amsterdam and the Museum Brandhorst in Munich decided to jointly organize “the first comprehensive retrospective of the work of Seth Price,” they brought up fundamental questions about the art world’s favorite form of hagiography. If retrospective exhibitions are, by definition, exercises in containment and summary, how can they deal with an artist as notoriously slippery as Price, who first received significant attention for a PDF calling for art’s “dispersion” beyond and outside the institutions of the art world? If Price used that early document to advocate for an “aesthetic program” that “does not function properly within the institutionalized art context,” can a museum exhibition be the proper lens through which to look back at his work?
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