Magazine article Artforum International

"The Third Mind": Palais De Tokyo

Magazine article Artforum International

"The Third Mind": Palais De Tokyo

Article excerpt

Recent exhibitions at the Palais de Tokyo have made it their task to reveal marginalized or undervalued historical figures. Ugo Rondinone's selection of thirty-one artists for his exhibition "The Third Mind" continued this program of rediscovery, mingling contemporary and historic works in a series of visual dialogues made by groupings of works.

Of the thirteen such conversations comprising the exhibition, several stood out. The proto-Minimalist artist Ronald Bladen was described by James Meyer in this magazine in 1999 as a "somewhat obscure figure"--this certainly remains the case in Europe. His unforgettable Cathedral Evening, 1971, a black portal with a sheer jutting architrave, dominated the largest room in the exhibition and created a dynamic severity around which Nancy Grossman's frighteningly cool leather-masked heads and Cady Noland's silk screen-on-aluminum cutouts of images from the American media were austerely positioned. The effect was to recontextualize a Minimalist sculpture both historically and erotically--although what this really means is a little harder to say. Similarly striking and perplexing was the display of works by Valentin Carron, Jay DeFeo, and Martin Boyce. Carron's large, wall-mounted crucifixes are made from fiber resin designed to imitate wood, each appearing incredibly heavy and charged with meaning, yet void of any direct religious significance. Four of these mingled with DeFeo's jagged monochrome paintings, creating a gothic atmosphere completed by Boyce's spiderweb of neon lights, which hung from the ceiling (When Now Is Night [Web], 1999).

Even when the combinations were not suggestive of a "third mind," the affinities elected by Rondinone were memorable. Particularly successful was the combination of Robert Gober's enigmatic wall-mounted sinks, waxy architectural drawings by Toba Khedoori, and Troubled, 1999, a small pile of wood and rubbish by Laurie Parsons. …

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