Magazine article Artforum International

"Exhibitions of an Exhibition": Casey Kaplan Gallery

Magazine article Artforum International

"Exhibitions of an Exhibition": Casey Kaplan Gallery

Article excerpt

When Swiss curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist began organizing exhibitions in the early '90s, his clear point of reference was the '60s and '70s, in terms of both content and his own persona, which drew on Harald Szeemann's transformation of the curator into an auteur. Whatever one thought of shows like Obrist's "Do it"--which self-consciously revived Fluxus-era instruction-based projects--he never hid his historical debts. By contrast, Obrist's less rigorous followers--and they are many--thrive on the knowledge that current curatorial practice is a voracious and permissive beast and allows for greatly exaggerated claims to innovation and criticality. Jens Hoffmann, a Berlin-based Obrist protege who started mounting exhibitions in the late '90s, may be the most ambitious among them.

As summer group shows go, Hoffmann's "Exhibitions of an Exhibition" was not terrible. On view were works by Meschac Gaba, Simryn Gill, collaborators Joseph Grigely and Amy Vogel, Roni Horn, Brian Jungen, Marepe, and Rosemarie Trockel--a varied assembly balanced between old hands and up-and-comers. But the curator's traditional prerogative of choosing artists no longer seems to be enough of a challenge; cunning maneuvering must now accompany it. Hoffmann asked four other young curators to each write a short text (to be available at the gallery) explaining the makeup of his exhibition, thus supposedly offering not one but four "different" curated shows. Declaring that he wanted to avoid the average curator's drive to "resolve" the relationships among the objects, Hoffmann passed along the responsibility to his guests and received the credit as uber-curator (on this point, visit his other summer project, The Next Documenta Should Be Curated by an Artist, at e-flux. …

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