Artforum reviews “Stories of Almost Everyone,” on view at the Hammer Museum, curated by Aram Moshaye
“Stories of Almost Everyone”
by Colby Chamberlain for Artforum
Thanks to Gotthold Ephraim Lessing and Clement Greenberg, the Greek statue of Laocoön is indelibly associated with modernism’s strict separation of narrative and plastic arts. Now that medium-specific studio artists have ceded ground to project-based multitaskers experimenting with documentary, ethnographic, and archival research, however, perhaps we need to revisit the story behind the statue. After all, who is Laocoön if not the first critic to caution against accepting an artwork at face value? This survey of art from the past twenty years, featuring more than thirty international artists, will foreground how objects are tasked with relating (and, more problematically, verifying) historical narratives. One notable inclusion is Jill Magid’s The Proposal, 2016, a diamond ring made from the ashes of the preeminent Mexican architect Luis Barragán. A catalogue with contributions from Lynne Tillman, Julie Ault, Chris Kraus, and others should offer crucial insights into whether contemporary art has become a vessel for ecstatic truths or simply a Trojan horse.
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