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Controversial “Skin Fruit” Opens at The New Museum

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Janine Antoni's "Saddle" at The New Museum's "Skin Fruit" exhibition - photo by Traven Rice

I stopped by the New Museum’s controversial exhibit, “Skin Fruit: Seletions from the Dakis Joannou Collection” on Tuesday to see what all the fuss was about.  The exhibit, which is curated by artist Jeff Koons, has been under scrutiny from the art world because Greek billionaire Joannou sits on the museum’s Board of Trustees and is a good friend of Koons (as well as a collector of Koons’ work). The critics have alleged a potential conflict of interest, given the close relationships among Joannou, Koons and The New Museum. The controversy has generated a lot of discussion about whether the museum has become too insular (see Jerry Saltz’ NY Magazine piece  here.)

I have to admit I found the show, curated from one of the world’s leading collections of contemporary art, breathtaking. It includes over 100 works by 50 international artists spanning several generations. It’s the first time the collection has been displayed in the U.S.  The works did seem a bit crowded in the New Museum’s exhibit space, but it’s an incredibly engaging show and I think it will be a crowd-pleaser. Here are some more photos depicting a few of my favorite pieces:

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John Bock’s "Maltratierte Fregatte" ("Maltreated Frigate")

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Kiki Smith's "Untitled (Bowed Woman)"

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Maurizio Cattelan's "All" and a museum "officiant" preparing to sing

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Takashi Murakami's "Inochi"

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Tim & Sue Noble & Webster's "Masters of the Universe"

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Charles Ray's "Fall"

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