Bilbao

View of “Richard Artschwager,” 2020. Photo: Erika Ede. © Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

View of “Richard Artschwager,” 2020. Photo: Erika Ede. © Richard Artschwager/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Richard Artschwager

Guggenheim Museum | Bilbao

Curated by the late, great Germano Celant, this ambitious retrospective of Richard Artschwager’s works occupied a single gallery of the Guggenheim Bilbao. The densely packed show, which was co-organized by the Guggenheim Bilbao and Italy’s Museo di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea di Trento e Rovereto, featured almost seventy pieces made between 1962 and 2013, the year of the artist’s death. Rather than provide a historical overview of Artschwager’s career, it proposed an immersion into his fundamental concerns—indeed, the visitor was besieged by them on all sides. Their only constant was the artist’s questioning, in various ways, of the dividing lines between art and everyday objects.

Historically, the art object is distinguished by its uselessness and sophistication. Though the idea of the work of art as an end in itself continues to operate today, formal perfection and the use of noble (that

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