6/1/13 5:14 PM
Brad Fiore’s sculpture of the international star curator Hans Ulrich Obrist looks from afar to have been executed in the style of a Stephen Balkenhol wooden totem, all rough hand-sawn edges and smartly naïve simplification. But then Fiore himself steps up to the grey-suited, big-headed and somewhat short papier-mâché figure and begins to speak in a slurry of International Art English that he freely admits to having cribbed from e-flux and to not entirely understanding. This renders Fiore’s “Obrist Totem” both very smart and very painful, a simultaneous display of the young artist’s earnest interest in his chosen field and need to address it in the most ironic manner imaginable. The confusion could not be more contemporary, and Fiore is right to lay it at the feet of HUO and his colleagues, who have spent the past two decades spectacularly promoting modes of art making via vocabularies and situations that ultimately have added up to the very kind of learned alienation that Fiore reveals in between himself, his speech and his deliberately unstudied figurine.