John Armleder, Olivier Mosset, Haim Steinbach
Fri Jul 11 2008
Photograph: Courtesy Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
Time Out Ratings<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
There’s nothing better than inaugurating an exhibition series with a gang of old-timers and revealing that they’re actually the height of fashion. John Armleder, Olivier Mosset and Haim Steinbach certainly seem to be, thanks to this show of new work, the first in the Nicole Klagsbrun gallery’s “scheme of trilogies” program. While not veering far from their respectively well-trodden paths, all three artists appear more relevant than ever.
Armleder, known for his performances of the 1960s and ’70s and hard-edged abstraction of the ’80s, shines in the glitter-suffused drip painting Baptisia leucantha. His embrace of pop culture, echoed in Flush, a double-toned, floor-to-ceiling silver wallpaper, never compromises his commitment to aesthetic investigation. Similarly, Mosset, a member of the Paris BMPT (Buren, Mosset, Parmentier and Toroni) group of the ’60s, continues to question the value of originality with Untitled, six deep-green monochromes sensually painted in acrylic and Rhino coating (a material used as a sealant on houses). For his part, Steinbach, a staple of the early ’80s New York scene, consistently exposes the intersection between commodification, desire and aesthetics in the critic…2, an arrangement of ordinary objects (glitter party hat, polyester witch hat and rubber dog chew) on a display shelf.
These warhorses haven’t just aged gracefully: They appear not to have aged at all. Without appearing either cynical or moralistic, Armleder, Mosset and Steinbach comment on the marriage of youth and mass culture while noting just how intensified that combination has become since this triumvirate first emerged.