School of Paris

Putting theory into action: the reconstructed wreckage of Arman's Conscious Vandalism (detail, 1975)
Robin Holland
Putting theory into action: the reconstructed wreckage of Arman's Conscious Vandalism (detail, 1975)

Details

'Premises'
Guggenheim Museum Soho
575 Broadway
Through January 10

Catalogue essayist Sylvère Lotringer describes the curatorial concept as "unfolding in its complex spirals the very space of thought." I'd go further: this exhibition has the structure of a double helix. Wreaking havoc with American presumptions about French art, it rearranges the genetic material of recent art history. And despite a good deal of theorizing about Deleuze, Debord, Virilio, and Godard in several catalogue essays, the exhibition presents its radical and comprehensive thesis with a certain funky je ne sais quoi that's not only lucid but ludique. I suspect that Jacques Tati, bumbling through a perplexing material world, is the true presiding spirit of "Premises."

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