View of “Stories of Almost Everyone,” 2018. Photo: Joshua White.

“Stories of Almost Everyone”

Hammer Museum

View of “Stories of Almost Everyone,” 2018. Photo: Joshua White.

A KIND OF POST-CONCEPTUAL malaise crept over me when, twenty minutes into viewing “Stories of Almost Everyone,” a group exhibition centered on the narratives that “accompany” objects, I found myself spending more time reading and rereading wall texts than looking at the works themselves. Of course, one could graft this overreliance on mostly dry, institutionally crafted text onto a critical argument about the further evacuation of art’s aura—and a concomitant call for further engagement with the discourse surrounding art’s production and reception—but I don’t think that’s what curators Aram Moshayedi and Ikechukwu Onyewuenyi are after.

Rather, in attending to the narratives attached to objects, the curators aim to pressurize our expectations of those objects’ purposes and histories. Many of the works in the exhibition, such as Danh Vo’s Lot 34. Replogle Thirty-Two-Inch

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