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Daniel Birnbaum

Hans Ulrich Obrist Interested in Time, Hans Ulrich Obrist

by Paddy Johnson on March 16, 2018
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The line for last week’s keynote lecture at the Armory Show was as long as the speaker’s resume; slated to talk was Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of the Serpentine Gallery and arguably the most famous curator in the world. But since Obrist is a fixture at large art fairs, the huge turnout was a surprise. Having watched a few of his interviews online, I worried that the talk would be a pretentious ramble. My fears weren’t entirely unfounded, though no one could accuse Obrist of lacking enthusiasm as he spent well over an hour discussing notions of time, the archive, unrealized projects, and the Serpentine’s recent shows. Central to all of this was his belief in the freedom to experiment.

But Obrist’s talk had limited success in getting attendees fired up, likely because of the curator’s consistent failure to fully elucidate his themes.

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