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Asger Jorn: The Open Hide.

Dive into ASGER JORN: THE OPEN HIDE (Petzel, $45) and you'll feel like you've tumbled into an alternate twentieth century where postwar painting (among other things) has been hijacked from under the noses of haughty gatekeepers by a bravura jester. On Jorn's terms of sophisticated evisceration, "the process of encountering the unknown, the accidental, disorder, the absurd and the impossible" meant turning art inside out. Instead of creating showpieces to decorate the chic modern cathedral/stock market/penthouse, he concocted sinister, laughing cave paintings more suited to the playground or abattoir. This book gains much from its compression and concision: The expert text by Axel Heil and Roberto Ohrt elucidates the artist's work about as well as any rational, "reasonable" appreciation could. It offers a good thumbnail biography of Jorn and his passage through Cold War times as a maker of all manner of haunting images, books, and spaces. He was a member of the Danish resistance during the Second World War, moved decisively forward as a founder of the Cobra (along with Constant) and the Imaginist Bauhaus movements, and became a key figure in the Situationist International. The Open Hide evocatively displays a body of work and ideas that is more flexible--and perhaps ultimately more durable--than the absolutist, anarchist-monarchist decrees of Debord himself. Jorn's greatest accomplishment was not that he established the Scandinavian Institute of Comparative Vandalism after parting with the Situationists, but that in nearly every word, deed, and action, he managed to live up to the riotous implications of such an auspicious name.

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Title Annotation:Artful volumes: BOOKFORUM CONTRIBUTORS ON THIS SUMMER'S ART BOOKS
Author:Hampton, Howard
Publication:Artforum International
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 22, 2017
Words:256
Previous Article:Constant: Space + Colour; From Cobra to New Babylon.
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