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Ralph Rugoff

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Penroseland

SUPER-CANNES | By J.G. BALLARD | Picador | 392 pages | $24 hardcover J.G. Ballard is our poet laureate of Modernism‘s dead zones. In the course of writing 25 books, he keeps scratching the same itch, repeatedly directing our attention to the stifling sterility and security of our entertainment culture......
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Virtual Fiction

Richard Powers routinely tackles subjects few of his fellow literary novelists would touch with a 10-foot pole. Molecular genetics, corporate commerce, pediatrics and artificial intelligence are but a few of the arenas his fiction has explored. And Powers doesn‘t merely use these subjects as fictional backdrops, but transforms them into......
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The Lost People

In the early 1990s, when pictures depicting victims of the civil strife in Somalia and the Sudan became a staple of news coverage, media pundits invented a national syndrome they dubbed “compassion fatigue.” Exposure to recurrent images of human misery had supposedly drained our reservoirs of sympathy and overtaxed our......
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Artitecture

Photo by Marcus Leith Art museums, the cliché goes, are the cathedrals of our age, luring the faithful with the relics of Modernist saints. But these days, museum buildings have seemingly become more significant — or sexier — than the art they contain. It was Frank Gehry’s astonishing edifice, not......
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Fantasia

Photo by Gary BoasFOR THE TRULY DIE-HARD FANS, A glossy 8-by-10 of their chosen icon is never enough. Nothing less than a physical confrontation will do, a sighting in the flesh. And this momentous event must be documented with tangible evidence, such as an autograph or, above all, a personal......
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Fop Art

When ”Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection“ opened at the Brooklyn Museum of Art earlier this year to a storm of front-page publicity and political brouhaha, my heart sank. Not on account of Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s pathetic attempt to win over right-wing voters by attacking the ”sick“ art......
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The New York Century

The Eli and Edythe L. Broad CollectionNEW YORKERS ARE RENOWNED FOR BEING A PROFOUNDLY provincial group, dedicated to a pre-Copernican world-view that the cultural universe revolves around Manhattan. It's an attitude that finds its most extreme form in the local art world, whose members often define themselves in opposition to......

Global Warming

IT'S BECOME A CLICHé TO OBSERVE that all art centers have become peripheries, that no single major city or nation can currently claim to be a global aesthetic capital. And in this decentered landscape, in which migratory artists and curators have emerged as notable fixtures, the international biennial has taken......
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Fame

REGRETTABLE THOUGH IT MAY BE, THE SALIENT CULTURAL artifact of our 20th-century democracy is the celebrity, a phenomenon intimately linked to the rise of photography as a mass medium. In the dark ages before the invention of the camera, fame was a question of how many pairs of lips uttered......
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The Lunar Shot

Courtesy NASATHIRTY YEARS AGO, APOLLO 11 BLASTED OFF FROM Cape Canaveral before the collective admiring gaze of 1 million witnesses, who had assembled on the Florida coast for what was essentially the rocket lover's counterpart to Woodstock, an earthshaking light show that roared at decibel levels undreamt of by even......