Magazine article Artforum International

Robert Blanchon

Magazine article Artforum International

Robert Blanchon

Article excerpt

BETTY RYMER GALLERY SCHOOL OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO

Robert Blanchon, who died in 1999 at thirty-three from AIDS-related illnesses, was the ultimate accelerated man. Whether sending out press releases and personalized invitations for what turned out to be a fictitious panel discussion on Conceptual art in 1989 (he got me on that one, and the embarrassment/exhilaration of being so artfully and aptly tricked was unforgettable), or having fourteen street and shopping-mall caricaturists do on-the-spot portraits of him and showing the results at the Drawing Center in New York in 1991, Blanchon was driven by a restless, high-keyed humor and a kind of incredulity over how many ways there are to foster artistic engagement and how few of them are pursued in the contemporary art world. (He would have approved of a sentence as long and hybridized as that one.) His flitting from project to project and medium to medium--as well as city to city; in his brief career he lived and worked in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles--was not evidence of aesthetic inconstancy but a reco rd of his peripatetic, febrile intellect.

This exhibition, "Minimal Provocations:

The Art and Influence of Robert Blanchon," acknowledged his brief tenure as a teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and included work by sixteen of his former students alongside his own. These largely confirmed what one might have guessed, that Blanchon didn't teach style as much as attitude, or better yet, made attitude into style, and what his students mostly share is their independence. …

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